Broadband

Why Biden's Broadband Bonanza Is Likely to Fail

We already know how to affordably expand connectivity; government-run networks ain’t it.

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Never-ending infrastructure week is back, baby, and it's bigger than ever!

The Biden-Harris administration's proposed infrastructure-jobs bill is both expensive—with a $2 trillion sticker price—and expansive. What isn't infrastructure, these days? According to some senators, everything from personal care to parental leave could fit the infrastructure bill.

It's a deliberate reframing of what most people think "infrastructure" is. President Biden says that infrastructure is about "putting Americans to work to get the job done." (I, for one, require high quality organic coffee, and lots of it!) His press secretary Jen Psaki does admit that this is mostly intended to be a "job-creating package that creates good, union jobs, higher paying jobs." Well, it is called the "American Jobs Plan," not the "We Will Build the Roads Plan." Oh, and somehow all of this is going to be green, too. What is the climate but a bit of natural infrastructure?

It's obvious why the inner party would prefer a broad definition of infrastructure. The more that qualifies, the more that can be funded. How convenient that so many of the proposed neo-infrastructure programs just so happen to be largely operated by or for the benefit of Democrat constituencies.

It's much more reasonable to include high-speed internet deployment as part of an infrastructure package. Beyond the fact that it involves installing literal utility equipment in the physical environment, having access to the internet is an essential part of contemporary life.

The White House is going for some New Deal retro appeal, harkening back to the 1936 Rural Electrification Act. "Broadband is the new electricity," folks. As we'll see, the administration is drawing from more than just Great Depression nostalgia in selling their plan, adding a good dose of real deal central planning on top.

Okay, okay, so broadband is infrastructure. Apparently, it is super-infrastructure, judging by the funds they want to spend. The package includes some $100 billion intended to close the digital gap in America, bring down costs, and promote competition. That's a lot of fiber optic cables. For frame of reference, previous broadband infrastructure packages only included single digits of billions for expansion.

So how is America's broadband infrastructure, anyway? It's pretty good—not the best, but getting better. Although the U.S. digital infrastructure was able to handle the stresses from COVID-19 remote work and home isolation fairly well, there are still parts of the country where people lack access to fast, affordable, and reliable internet—this is the "digital divide," which the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) had made a priority to close under the Trump administration. There's definitely room for improvement.

You can look at connectivity from a few different angles: speeds, prices, and access. The FCC tracks internet speeds across OECD countries; its most recent report finds that the U.S. ranked 10th among developed nations in 2016. New America has some handy international data on average internet costs; the U.S. falls a bit higher in monthly costs than the international average, but it's far from the most expensive. The FCC has tracked the digital divide in its annual "Broadband Deployment Report" for several years; its most recent publication finds that the number of Americans living without access to acceptable internet has dropped to around 14.5 million in 2019—a fall of about 4 million from the previous year.

So if we want to improve America's digital infrastructure, closing the digital gap in terms of access should be a top priority. You would think you could easily do that with $100 billion on the table. Unfortunately, the broadband funds will almost certainly not be wisely spent. From the looks of it, the Biden-Harris administration's plans to expand broadband access will be a big waste. The reason is that the massive spending plan mostly doubles down on policies that have already failed in the past.

One of the biggest problems is that the plan "prioritizes support for broadband networks owned, operated by, or affiliated with local governments, non-profits, and co-operatives"—a long way to say "funds government-run internet." The plan fact sheet claims that these providers have "less pressure to turn profits" and therefore more of a "commitment to [serve] entire communities."

That's not what the experience with government-run internet has shown. Time and again, forays into such networks have resulted in higher costs, not lower costs. Municipal broadband hasn't done much for access or jobs, either.

It is because government-run internet providers don't feel pressure to turn a profit that costs and service suffer. One reason is implied in the fact sheet itself: the network is run for the benefit of employees and incumbents rather than the community it is supposed to serve. These government-run networks tend to end up as a hand-out for the people lucky enough to get the largesse, not the community as a whole.

This vintage throwback to FDR-style government-run services may presage yet more big government policies from the bad old days of central planning and austerity. Although the plan doesn't explicitly state it, there is a risk that this broadband push may result in a move towards old-school rate regulation. Much of the language discusses "overpriced internet service" and "price transparency." Keep an eye out for such rhetoric to morph into out-and-out calls for government price regulation of internet services.

There's a lot of pointed language about "future-proofed" infrastructure too, which isn't specifically defined, but has been interpreted to mean a bias towards fiber broadband. This is an odd choice at a time when one of multiple delivery mechanisms—fiber, wireless, and increasingly high-speed satellite—could be a better fit for a particular area or customer.

Any serious plan to expand broadband in America should not prioritize a particular channel, even if you really, really like the aesthetics of the Tennessee Valley Authority. You should set a goal and incentives for a variety of organizations to compete and best provide services. This is what we've largely done to close the digital gap so far, and it's how we'll keep finding success.

Actually, there is already a ton of federal and state money up for grabs explicitly intended to expand broadband access. The federal government has allocated some $100 billion (there's that number again) to promote fixed, high-speed broadband in rural areas for the past two decades through the FCC's Universal Service Fund's Connect America Fund. Before literally doubling down with more money on this effort, why don't we improve the programs that already exist?

My former Mercatus Center colleagues Brent Skorup and Michael Kotrous have thought a lot about how to reform USF spending to better effectuate the connectivity that everyone wants. Right now, the funds mostly subsidize telecom providers, and unequally at that: the bulk of the 2018 funds were doled out to providers in five measly states. Plus, these programs are mired in high overhead costs and inefficiencies.

Here's a better idea: why not rearrange those funds as a consumer voucher payment that households can use to directly lower their broadband costs? This introduces more market choice, as households can make the best decisions for their own broadband needs, while smoothing out regional inequalities and getting away from the incentive problems involved with simply giving money to providers.

And what of the supply side? There is much that governments can do to encourage faster broadband infrastructure deployment. The goal should be to make it easier for companies to build out the structures that are needed. States should consider implementing policies like "dig once," which makes it easier to install new fiber equipment whenever someone is digging in the ground anyway.

Consumer vouchers and smart fiber installation norms may not be as sexy as a 1930's-inspired "Rural Broadbandification Act" spending bonanza on government-owned networks, but these ideas have proven track records of success. We already know how to expand internet connectivity. Biden's municipal broadbandapalooza is not the way, but it should prove profitable to the party allies fortunate enough to grab some of the handouts.

NEXT: Scott Wiener Is California's 'YIMBY' State Senator

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  1. I am surprised you missed it, but there is an easy answer to America’s broadband problem. Broadband in most urban areas is not a problem. Population density makes the financial proposition fairly straightforward for ISPs.

    America’s problem is that much of the country has low population density. This makes for expensive broadband. In most cases, it is so expensive that you cannot get high quality broadband at any price.

    New technology to the rescue! SpaceX is currently rolling out a satellite based internet service that promises high-end broadband speeds for $100 a month per customer. With 100 billion dollars in the kitty, this subsidy would easily cover the $500 startup cost for most of rural America. Problem solved.

    Since we don’t want all of our eggs in one basket, we could spread that out among the other two providers, if they ever get their service off the ground. As you say, simply providing a voucher to the customer would cover this.

    SpaceX already has customers in the United States and Europe receiving high-speed broadband even though their constellation is far from complete at this juncture.

    Yet for some reason we are going to hand tens of billions of dollars over to big companies like Verizon, Comcast, and AT&t. Worse, a major chunk of that money will be going to the really terrible second tier players that provide service across middle America. CenturyLink, Century, Spectrum, Frontier… These are the companies who are positioned to take advantage of subsidies to push their networks further into the hinterlands and upgrade their aging networks around small cities and towns.

    But SpaceX short circuits that whole thing. Their prices are reasonably competitive with what people are currently paying for extremely low end broadband in most of these locations. For a hundred bucks a month you get over 100 megabits per second right now, and they are talking about up to one gigabit per second.

    I have no clue why we are even discussing spending a hundred billion dollars with legacy copper internet broadband providers to get them upgraded to more passable service. The problem with these services is the extremely high ratio of infrastructure to customers. Rural Minnesota and Wisconsin simply do not have the population density to make this economically feasible without subsidies. The space-based solution completely skips this problem by using radio waves.

    This is a solved problem. Throwing a hundred billion dollars in subsidies at the legacy providers is simply a payoff, it cannot be justified any other way.

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    1. SpaceX is currently rolling out a satellite based internet service that promises high-end broadband speeds for $100 a month per customer.

      Hilarious.

      1. https://www.reddit.com/r/starlink

        Here’s a Reddit group dedicated to the topic. People are posting their results. Most seem incredibly happy with their service – but you have to remember that a lot of them have been paying more than $100 for less than 10 megabits per second.

      2. I’ve wondered about that high-speed internet via satellite thing – it seems to me that, unless the satellite is orbiting three feet over your house, you’re going to have an inescapable lag with a satellite that isn’t going to be measured in milliseconds.

        1. I have satellite internet; HughesNet. Streaming sucks, weather always impacts reception, the dish doesn’t shed snow well. etc. I’ve considered StarLink, but this is the message I received”

          “Starlink is currently at capacity in your area through 2021, your order might not be fulfilled until late 2022. You will receive a notification once your Starlink is ready to ship.”

        2. Current customers are seeing real world 40ms – 60ms ping times. Meaning they are playing FPS games just fine. This is before the constellation is built out.

          Eventually they plan to have laser interlinks between the satellites that will provide the lowest latency available anywhere for long haul connections.

        3. I have a close relative with it (starlink). It’s outperforming the fixed wireless they had before in both bandwidth and ping times. the ground station is even in the same general vicinity of where the fixed wireless tower is.
          The satellites in low earth orbit are closer distance wise than many of the servers that are being connected to…so bouncing off the satellite might add 400 miles to a 1400 mile (crow flies) trip, but that’s not even the same as light only travels at 2/3s the speed in fiber, so it’s even less of a distance through free space

        4. Yeah, effectively it IS about three feet over your house, compared to Hughsnet. Once they get the inter-satellite laser links going, it will be LESS laggy than ground based internet, because light only travels at 2/3 light speed inside an optic fiber, and at full speed through space.

        5. Why? The speed of the signal has the same limit whether sent through copper, fiber-optic or air – the speed of light.* What drives the lag time is distance traveled. A signal over your landline follows a twisty path from your house to the nearest trunk to another trunk before finally being passed to the node in California where it follows another twisty path to the server you need. A signal sent via satellite goes straight up, straight across and straight down. The satellite signal covers more miles ‘as the crow flies’ but the landline signal doesn’t even come close to following the crow’s path. Straighten out that twisty landline path and it could easily be longer than the distance up to the satellite.

          No, the real problem isn’t the distance and lag but the interference. Fiber is a pristine environment for the signal with few if any defects to interrupt, scatter or defuse. Satellite signals must punch through highly variable water vapor concentrations, dust conditions, etc. That’s a signal-to-noise problem, not a signal transmission time problem.

          * Okay, yes there are some differences but they are negligible for this analysis.

          1. They actually intend to make money off of low latency users with their laser interlinks. Their links between Australia or Asia and London and New York will be much faster than fiber optic.

            Has others have said, light moves much slower through fiber optic cable than it does through the vacuum of space. It is enough that it makes quite a difference.

            1. “Lasers”

              1. Sharks with frickin lasers on their heads.

      3. I will say that satellite networking is a refreshing breath of fresh air wrt to product-based marketing relative to ethos-based marketing. Maybe I’m not exposed to the ethos-based portion of it, but the discussions of it have significantly less ‘topple the fiat, get rid of ICEs, decentralizing manufacturing, and save starving Africans from rising oceans’. Even the strictly technical parts are relatively pragmatic. Compared to promises of 500 mi. ranges and 5 min. charges at a $30K price point, 100Mbps, potentially 1Gbps, at $100/mo. is comparatively modest.

    2. In 2010 Comcast was taken over by the FCC. All the senior leaders were replaced by Obama appointees.

      Comcast is a wholly owned subsidiary of the US National Socialist Democracy and a major, force driving for the destruction of the US Constitution and property rights.

      1. Source? Looking at Comcast’s board of directors most of them have been there a lot longer than that and none have any history working for the FCC.

        1. I don’t know how accurate the statement is, but Senior Leadership is usually the C-Suite, not the BOD (granted, there’s often overlap).

    3. A friend in rural area used to be on WiMax. One tower goes a long long ways. He was getting better speeds than I was just two miles away from the Googleplex. WTF? Not sure what ever happened to WiMax.

      But with most bandwidth being taken up with streaming, no one needs upload speeds. So repurpose all those satellite dishes. Problem solved.

    4. “I have no clue why we are even discussing spending a hundred billion dollars with legacy copper internet broadband providers to get them upgraded to more passable service.”

      Starlink potentially bypasses both the NSA’s ability to tap internet communications, and a wide variety of approaches to censoring the internet. Biden wants to drag the internet back down to the ground, where it will be easily accessible for both purposes.

      1. “Starlink potentially bypasses both the NSA’s ability to tap internet communications,”

        Nice get! Hadn’t thought of that.

      2. Biden wants us to get the children off the computer and internet and turn on the record player for them.

    5. If you read the article it mentions that the bulk of the money goes to non-profits and government owned/municipal internet companies, not the big boys.

      1. Which is just another payoff. Internet services in cities is not something that needs subsidies from the federal government to obtain. If municipalities that are rolling their own cannot reach all of their citizens, it is because they have made the mistake of trying to operate a business instead of operating a government.

        You don’t have any trouble getting internet in cities without subsidies. Internet companies can make enough to turn a nice profit because they don’t have to run a lot of wire per customer.

        That is why all of our federal internet rollout programs have the word rural somewhere in the package. Those are the people who are underserved by the free market. If it costs $50,000 to send fiber out to your farm, Comcast is not going to subsidize that cost for you. And for the most part, neither is your county. Not if they have more than a handful of people in that circumstance.

        Satellite internet does not compete in the cities because they cannot handle the density. It is the perfect complement for the United States existing infrastructure.

        Paying Kansas City 35 million dollars to expand their municipal broadband service does not make a lot of sense. At least, not if your primary motivation is getting people on the internet. I mean, if your primary motivation is expanding the notion of government provided services, then it makes perfect sense.

        1. In case the point of that wasn’t clear, it means we should not be spending federal subsidy dollars from these infrastructure packages to run wired internet anywhere. If we need to subsidize anything, we can subsidize startup costs for these satellite providers.

          SpaceX is a couple of years away from having a full constellation. We are talking about spending billions of dollars on this infrastructure plan.

          It costs $500 to get a Starlink package from SpaceX. That’s a steep price if you are living hand to mouth, so let’s pretend that a subsidy is warranted here. Let’s also pretend there are 50 million homes in rural America That would be eligible for a subsidy. That number is probably high, but let’s go with it for the math sake.

          That would be 25 billion dollars to provide broadband internet access to all of rural America. And you would be guaranteed to be finished within a couple of years. And we could all get rid of that surcharge on our phone and cable bills that we have been paying to provide this service via landline for the last 30 plus years.

          1. Never gonna happen. All those dumb-ass hicks in the sticks are the ones that voted Trump. Sleepy Joe ain’t gonna give em high speed intertubes so they can read more Qanon. If he was smart, he would but this country has moved waaaay past being smart.

            1. The idea that those “hicks in the sticks” that have no internet all belong to an internet group Qanon proves the saying it is better to remain silent and let people wonder. You just removed all doubt.

      2. It doesn’t. Most of CAF II and RDOF went to the large price cap carriers.

    6. Ah, Frontier. There’s a forward-thinking company on the rise.

      After they closed their purchase of Verizon assets in 2010, the new management brought the staff at my office in a room and said, “don’t worry about selling Ethernet or SONET, we deliver DSL and POTS lines and that should be your focus.” It went well for them.

    7. “I have no clue why we are even discussing spending a hundred billion dollars with legacy copper internet broadband providers to get them upgraded to more passable service. ”

      Because it’s not about solving broadband access issues it’s about the federal government spending $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$. What the money gets spent on and whether anything gets accomplished is secondary to spending the money.

    8. Or, stop catering to housing preferences that were chosen on other grounds. People build on river banks and by the shore? Let them assume the normal risk of floods. People move into the country? Let them assume the costs of broadband and mail service. Why just take where they’re living as a given? These things should be factors in individuals’ decision to move out of the city into the country or vice versa. Same with roads and other transportation facilities.

      1. I live in a rural area and I agree with you. The easiest way to get fast Internet where I live is via mobile broadband and it works great. I’ve got a 50 gigabyte hotspot on my phone and 10 more on a tablet (plus unlimited data when used on those devices rather than the hotspots). More than I need. If I wanted to screw around on a computer all day or stream two or three movies every day I wouldn’t have moved here. Everyone I know around here who moves to the country looks at the internet options available and what kind of cell signal they’ve got at that location. It isn’t the government’s responsibility to bring fiber to my door because I chose to live here.

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  2. “How convenient that so many of the proposed neo-infrastructure programs just so happen to be largely operated by or for the benefit of Democrat constituencies.”

    Which is why the rest of the article about how “effective” the bill is is pointless. The bill, just like the Covid Bill that only spent about 10% on Covid, is completely effective in it’s actual goal, which is expanding the power and wealth of Democrats and their cronies.

    I’d really like someone at Reason do an article on the big picture effects regarding the immense transfer of wealth and power that’s occurred in this country in the past year due to the actions of Democrat politicians at both the state and federal government.

    1. Whether or not Biden’s plan is going to be a failure depends on what you think his plan is meant to accomplish. I’d say as a plan to spread hundreds of millions of dollars to government contractors and insiders for government boondoggles, it’s going to be a roaring success.

      1. This is what I say all the time. Our issue isn’t that “government isn’t working”, it’s working EXTREMELY well. Just not for us.

    2. Yeah, the point isn’t the goods and services, it’s the money. It’s a way to steal it and apportion the loot.

  3. The scariest part is they don’t think they even have to pretend anymore. They’re being completely blatant about changing the very definitions of words to suit their needs and most of the media is going along with it. I really hate to bring up Trump, but can you imagine the media reaction if he came out and said a bunch of shit that clearly wasn’t infrastructure but instead was kickbacks to his allies, was infrastructure?

    1. Meant as a reply to Jerryskids.

    2. They also don’t bother pretending that money is real anymore. Since the market crash of 2008, how many trillion dollar packages have we passed without much in the way of debate? There were two within a year of the 2008 election.

      Trump dropped a few trillion for covid relief.

      And now Biden has several multitrillion-dollar add-ons that are not getting any discussion or debate. The Senate parliamentarian even made the bizarre ruling that they can use the budget reconciliation process for this infrastructure bill which is not the budget. This means there will not be a debate, because the party bosses can simply whip their party into line and get a straight up or down vote.

      So our base budget has gone from several hundred billion dollars to four or five trillion dollars in the space of three administrations. And we are adding half again as much on top of that a couple of times a year for special handouts. How the hell is our currency not looking like Weimar Republic marks?

  4. If government had been in charge of the internet in the late 90s, we would all be on government provisioned ISDN networks. Gosh, we really missed that bullet!

  5. “America is only successful as a Nazi (def; National Socialist) regime.”, The [WE] own you party of Hitler, Nazi’s and Slavery..

  6. Why Biden’s [take your pick] Is Likely to Fail

  7. The goal as it was under Obama is to make broadband a regulated utility, so prices will go up in neighborhoods that can afford it, to pay for it in rural and poor areas that cannot. These are people that love crony corporatists who do their bidding and you can bet large ISPs will roll over in order to get the belly rub and monopolies forever.

    1. … Don’t forget the added advantage of a Regulated Press.

  8. “According to some senators, everything from personal care to parental leave could fit the infrastructure bill.”

    The Billy Jeff school of word redefinition for political control.
    The more things change, the more they stay the same.

  9. Worker that was raped accusation and civil trial
    Or
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    1. Ment as a reply to quos “why Biden fill in the blank will fail”

  10. >>What isn’t infrastructure, these days?

    nobody you think you’re snarking *at* gives a fuck about your sarcasm

  11. The new money will probably be run like CAF II and RDOF, which were reverse auctions. I don’t think there’s much appetite for government run networks like the author claims.

    Fiber is better than every other technology. I doubt satellite (even starlink) will keep up with the insane growth of bandwidth demand. Whenever I read an article written by a journalist in the field I work in, I always end up questioning the entire publication.

    I’m starting to think the world is too complicated for journalists to understand and write about, and it’s just getting worse.

    1. This is a great point. Starling will have its purpose, but a straight fiber connection is still king.
      The other thing this article leaves out is that in rural areas, broadband is not going to be a money maker, just as electricity in rural areas.
      The real problem is that companies like ATT and Comcast don’t want to build in rural areas, So if they won’t, what’s the other choice?

      And the argument in these comments of “well don’t move somewhere that doesn’t have internet” doesn’t work for poor families who have lived in the same town for generations.

      The article also conveniently leaves out many municipalities and electric cooperatives that have deployed fiber and are seeing success with it.

      Unfortunately, people want to view this through a political lens and hate on it because of who is in power. Federal funding under Trump went to munis and electric utilities, and nobody batted an eye. Same thing happens under Biden, and now it’s bad.

      People in rural areas need high speed internet. Traditional cable companies aren’t going to do it. Some areas are fortunate enough to have telephone cooperatives that have built fiber to the home. For those who aren’t that lucky, starlink may be a decent option, however a lot of companies and industries won’t want the problems that come with satellite internet.

      1. Well said. There are also tons of locally owned telecom cooperatives and private companies that have been in these areas since the early 1900s. They’re chomping at the bit to get grant funding to build out their networks. I agree with everything you said.

  12. Here’s a better idea: why not rearrange those funds as a consumer voucher payment that households can use to directly lower their broadband costs?

    Libertarian ‘think tanks’ have a similar problem to left-wing ones. They are often pretty good at seeing the existing problems of a situation. They suck at seeing a problem in practical terms rather than ideological ones. So they always propose a solution that fits with their ideology rather than one that solves the problem.

    I mean keerist – you can’t actually lower any prices by simply handing out checks to people.

    1. If they knew a way to lower prices, they’d be in the business.

      1. Govt can lower prices if the ‘thing’ is land-based or a natural monopoly – and the means of financing is debt. But that’s it. And decision-making in govt is almost always corrupt and incompetent – including decisions about handing out checks to people.

    2. Libertarian ‘think tanks’ have a similar problem to left-wing ones. They are often pretty good at seeing the existing problems of a situation. They suck at seeing a problem in practical terms rather than ideological ones. So they always propose a solution that fits with their ideology rather than one that solves the problem.

      You’re being too generous….the libertarian think tanks solutions are bad faith arguments.

      They spend so many words railing about financial aid driving up the costs of education to capture the free money …
      and then they turn around and say the solution to broadband access and affordability is vouchers (free money) .

      A much better solution is to have the government build out and own the last mile infrastructure and let the internet providers compete to be the providers for the residents.

      The last mile build out is the most expensive and the reason why most municipalities let the ISP do the build out and then give an ISP a local monopoly in town to recoup their costs and make money. (I know that some places have more than one option — but we are still limited — ideally, the market would have a lot more choices to choose from rather than the local cable company, Directv or Att)

      But that last mile infra is in fact something the municipality should be investing in. It’s a good for the neighborhood as a whole and will continue to benefit new people who move in.

      1. I agree with the basic idea there. Except the two parties can’t be trusted to implement and/or bring accountability and/or restrain itself when restraint is the real solution to the problem. Which gets us right back to crappy ideological ‘solutions’ to nothing.

      2. The government does not grant monopolies to ISPs for the provision of internet services. Designated incumbent local exchange carriers (based on plain old telephone service) receive subsidies but there are no regulations stopping a competitor from overbuilding the incumbent. Happens all the time, even in rural areas.

        1. “but there are no regulations stopping a competitor from overbuilding the incumbent.”

          You mean like replacing old networks with fiber optic networks? Surely it’s a question of insanely high costs rather than regulations. These companies can probably make more money on financial wheeling and dealing than betting on expensive long term investments in infrastructure, at least that’s what my lefty spider senses are telling me.

          1. Yeah, the “one provider” problem is driven my economics. Rural areas don’t have the population density to deploy and operate a broadband network without subsidies. Even when overbuilding another provider in a more populated area carries risk.. if enough networks overbuild and there aren’t enough customers to go around, it can cause all of the providers to fail.

            But yeah, it’s all about the money, no government granted monopolies in this space since deregulation was passed in the mid 90s.

  13. Seriously?!? “why not rearrange those funds as a consumer voucher payment that households can use to directly lower their broadband costs? ” That’s your answer?? Let’s take a program just like what we did to make college more unaffordable, and double down on that failure? How does having the government take money from citizen “A” and give it to citizen “B” to buy internet lower costs? I mean I get how that helps out citizen B, but WTF?!? Has everyone lost their fucking minds? Here’s an idea – citizen B decides reliable, fast internet is important to them, so they either move to where it’s available, or pay someone to make it available to them by working for a living and being an adult. Is that an option?!? This Nanny state bullshit is getting ever more ridiculous every day…

    1. I wonder how many farmers would read that and be insulted? Of course plowing under a lot of towns and using them to grow food would be a lot more productive than all the money spent on welfare and crime. It would also help with climate change. If city dwellers would grow up and stop living on top of each other and sniffing gas fumes daily they could probably see the difference in quality of living and move out as millions have already done.

  14. “even if you really, really like the aesthetics of the Tennessee Valley Authority”

    What’s not to like? Chattanooga Tennessee has the fastest Internet in the country, apparently. A speed of 1 Gbps provided by a municipally owned provider.

    “According to a survey of 175,000 people conducted by Consumer Reports, Chattanooga’s municipally-owned telecoms provider, the Electric Power Board of Chattanooga (EPB), received top marks for value, speed and reliability. Only Google Fiber comes close to matching EPB for value, and even then, it failed to live up to the local service’s speed and reliability ratings.”

    https://tech.co/news/chattanooga-fastest-internet-usa-2018-08

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