Broadband to Nowhere? That is the Status Quo

Date: 3 Feb 2009 | posted in: information, MuniNetworks | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

In a misguided column entitled "Congress Approves Broadband to Nowhere," L. Gordon Crovitz suggests other countries have been more successful than the U.S. in expanding access to fast broadband but then rejects the approaches they took and encourages more of the same policies that have led to U.S. downfall. 

In response, I submitted the following letter to the editor at the Wall Street Journal:

Gordon Crovitz rightly notes that the U.S. has fallen behind our international peers when it comes to broadband. Our networks are slower, more costly, and we have fewer provider choices.

Having diagnosed the problem, he goes on to suggest we need less government intervention for a "real stimulus." The irony is that the countries he cites as surpassing us have embraced government intervention in broadband.

Their success is no accident of history. They have forced open access upon incumbent providers and, at times, used taxpayer money to roll out the essential infrastructure of the new economy. We have fallen behind precisely because we have not treated broadband as the natural monopoly it represents.

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Christopher Mitchell is the Director of the Community Broadband Netwroks Initiative with the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. He runs MuniNetworks.org as part of ILSR's effort to ensure broadband networks are directly accountable to the communities that depend upon them.