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

Christopher Mitchell is the Director of the Community Broadband Networks Initiative with ILSR. He is a leading national expert on community networks, Internet access, and local broadband policies. Christopher built, the comprehensive online clearinghouse of information about local government policies to improve Internet access. Its interactive community broadband network map tracks more than 600 such networks. He also hosts audio and video shows online, including Community Broadband Bits and Connect This!