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Cook’s Edge: Jim Kayne Lives in Vancouver and is not a telecom specialist nor is he employed in the telecom Industry. But Jim has the best comment I have seen on Jim Baller’s plan.

Jim Kayne: A big plan, but it seems nothing else will do the job in the States.

The preamble struck me:

“Developing an ambitious and workable National Broadband Strategy will take a major commitment of time, effort and money. It will require a strong national consensus on the need for such a strategy and on the dangers of failing to develop one. The process will require support at all levels of government and from all major stakeholders, including the established communications service providers. The project must also have access to substantial financial and other resources.”

Baller addresses the need to educate and inform parties to the process (especially the average person), while recognizing that the matter will “graduate” to legislative and executive action.

He also acknowledges the need to re-enlist service providers: a cooperative and inclusive effort.

Unstated (and probably not knowable until the process is near completion) is the degree of change (both required and achievable) to the Telecomms Act.


In the absence of Jim Baller’s plan, the US has no initiative to move past status quo. Many informed people have rung the alarm, but he’s the first to articulate the steps necessary to achieve results.

Kudos to him. Any concerns expressed should be seen against the backdrop of his commitment.

The timing (before the next election) is about right for getting the matter into the political domain.


Immediate concerns were:

1 - Maintaining some kind of control over the process, both scope and timing: not allowing things to be debated to death or pushed into cul-de-sacs
2 - Overcoming obvious and not-so-obvious resistance from status quo players
3 - Adequacy of the media campaign, and equally,
4 - Sponsorship and funding


One can envision an effective and efficient media campaign. This is vital, because it ties together all participants, and creates momentum as it negates anticipated resistance from well-funded opponents.

Personally, I’d love to be part of the media effort: a priceless opportunity to do something original and dynamic, with public-spirited concepts that catch the attention of voters and legislators alike.

Linkages across various media (a PBS show on broadband, for instance) should be exploited for maximum bang for the buck.


Will the plan work? It can.

The devil’s always in the details, eh?

One Response to “Jim Kayne on Jim Baller:A big plan, but it seems nothing else will do the job in the States.”

  1. on 05 Feb 2007 at 6:14 pm Gordon CooK

    A comment from Frank Coluccio, DTI Consulting, NY NY: Allow me to say a word about Jim Kayne. His continued input on my forum over the past eight years has been very beneficial to me, often elucidating on matters that are highly technical, sometimes esoteric where it becomes evident that he’s done quite a bit of research in preparation, all from a layman’s perspective, while pointing out issues that I couldn’t see for the forest.

    In the case at hand, I explained that I had suggested the use of mass media as a means of getting the message out, and that the idea didn’t pass muster on this list. Here’s what Jim. a Canadian citizen, with an interest in investments and wireless technology, had to say. in response. I was particularly intrigued by his ability to frame this matter entirely as a business proposition, to the point of issuing RFPs and soliciting marketing approaches from respondents, which I thought was absolutely brilliant:

    Jim Kayne: Hi Frank –

    I, too, recommended running primers over one of the Discovery Channels and a stint on PBS, but it went over like a lead balloon with some members.

    It’s probably counterproductive for anyone to make discriminations about who should carry the story. The more coverage, the better.

    Discovery Channel, PBS, CBC, NBC, CBS, ABC, 20/20, 60 Minutes, Nova, local news, with local implications. It doesn’t have to be advocacy. I believe telling the story, without bias, simply and accurately will inform the public.

    When people understand the dimensions of the issue and the promise of change, they’ll make the right decision.

    The advocacy side is different: that’s where you want a theme, with a ‘hook’. We’ve seen so many successful media campaigns: Where’s the beef? comes to mind. If a similar hook could be found for the broadband dialogue, it would give the process a tremendous boost.

    That question, asked by the stereotypical Little Old Lady caught the attention of millions of people, and became a catch-phrase widely repeated, and universally understood.

    Perhaps Jim Baller can tender an RFP for an integrated campaign; an RFP allows different approaches and competing visions: they tell you how they’d do it, and you get to choose the best. The successful applicant may well have ideas and approaches that exceed internal visions and expectations. A properly-constructed RFP could also allow different vendors to participate in different aspects of the process, under a guiding concept.

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