On Wednesday, I went down to Washington to testify to the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship as part of hearings with the title "Improving Internet Access to Help Small Business Compete in a Global Economy." There were two panels of experts – including two of the five FCC commissioners -- who shared with the Senators on the committee how important it is for the federal government to develop a national broadband strategy. The message we all delivered was that if the U.S. wants to stay competitive in a global, wired world, we need to make sure that broadband Internet access is both cheaper through increased competition and more widely available, especially in rural areas.
The Democratic and Republican members of the committee, which is chaired by Senator John Kerry (D-MA), listened attentively to our testimony and asked some good questions. When my turn came, I testified that Black Duck's software updates are so richly complex and bandwidth-intensive that we're forced to send them on DVD by snail mail rather than push them through the slow Internet pipes many of our customers are forced to use. I also made the point that a farmer working his field in rural Denmark has faster and cheaper Internet access than someone in New York or Boston.
The hearing was only the first of what I hope will be many more. What we face in America isn't a shortage of ambition to take the Internet in new directions. In fact, I said during my testimony that entrepreneurs are finding a way to succeed in the Web 2.0 world, despite Internet bottlenecks. But not having those obstacles -- at least when it comes to delivering our products and collaborating with talented people around the world – would make what we build that much more powerful to the customers we serve.
By the way, if you'd like to see the all of Wednesday's testimony, keep your eyes peeled for the video that will be archived here. In the meanwhile, I have included some pictures taken by the American Electronics Association who lined me up for this testimony. Let me know what you thought of my testimony, my tie, or both.