In the News: Christopher Mitchell
August 3, 2021
Media Outlet: Wall Street Journal
The Senate recently approved a $1 trillion infrastructure bill, something that could have huge impacts in the realm of broadband and connectivity. The bill includes $65 billion to improve Internet access for low income, traditionally isolated communities. In addition, the bill mandates minor reforms such as requirements to disclose service levels and prices and to withhold funds from carriers with prolonged outages. The bill also distributes grants through state offices and not the Federal Communications Commission as has been done in the past for broadband funding. The purpose of this shift, according to ILSR’s Community Broadband Networks Initiative Director Christopher Mitchell, is that state offices are more knowledgeable about how best to distribute resources. The bill stops short, as he mentions, at funding public networks, which could serve as competition to the monopolies currently dominating the broadband industry.
I don’t see anything here that will change the structure of the market to create real competition. The states know a little bit better, and frankly the localities know really well where the gaps are.