Monday, March 22, 2010

Help Us Google, You’re Our Only Broadband Hope. (The Government Has No Spine.)

As Harvard Law professor Yochai Benkler lays out in an excellent op-ed today in the New York Times, this new broadband plan may sound great, but it won’t go nearly far enough. The reason is that there is simply nowhere near enough competition in almost all of the markets in this country. In fact, under the new plan, some 85% of homes covered would have no choice when it comes to a provider. So while it’s great that just about everyone will potentially have broadband access in 2020, plenty likely won’t be able to afford it.

And even those lucky enough to have a choice, are probably only going to be able to choose between two options — and again, both of those are likely to be very expensive. The U.S. has the highest broadband prices among advanced nations, while countries like Japan and France get faster (and better) services, for a fraction of the price many of us pay. Again, it’s all about competition. So why do we put up with it? Because the U.S. government has no backbone and ruins its own ideas (such as the National Broadband Plan) because they give into corporate lobbyists.

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