4 thoughts on “In A Broadband Minute”

  1. Hi Om, appreciate your blog very much. Regarding the bit on the Heartland Institute — what’s the difference between a bias and a point of view? In fact, their analysis is spot on.

    The state of wireless availability is a reflection of customer demand and economics, not a “failure”.

    It is inevitable that muni WiFi will be more expensive (actual costs, not consumer price) and lower performing than the commercial alternatives.

    Broadband penetration is growing at a brisk pace in *many* forms. Why mess with it?

    Here’s more: http://orinsf.typepad.com/orinsf/2005/08/broadband_a_for.html

    – Matt

  2. Broadband growth in the US has grown at a slower pace than elsewhere in the developed world. Demand is related to price, and US price is 10x the price in Japan and Korea. Service in the US is provided by an oligopoly which is keeping prices high and supply constrained.

    Market fundamentalist critiques of muni broadband leave out a few critical points.

    * the Heartland Institute criticizes government supported broadband, but doesn’t criticize government subsidies for their incumbent telecom funders. After all, government spending is bad only when it goes to somebody else.

    * Competition helps keep prices down, and US telecom policy is to reward the oligopoly.

    * Some kinds of public goods are well-suited to goverment support. Libraries, local roads, and elementary education aren’t run for profit. Society has decided that these things are required infrastructure, and there’s a decent argument that broadband service is basic infrastructure like roads.

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