The need for broadband can be satisfied in a matter of months by spending money where it can do the most good: on end user inclusion programs and subsidies. The long term need for better and better broadband exists as well, but it lives on a completely different timeline.
Municipal broadband overbuilders such as Chattanooga Tennessee, Longmont Colorado, and Fort Collins Colorado are in the curious position of acting as both marketplace regulators and market participants.
Coalition members are engaged in some exciting demonstrations and some real network builds, especially Rakuten and Reliance Jio. Rakuten is building a new nationwide 4G/5G network in Japan, and Reliance Jio, creator of the world’s largest mobile network, is blanketing India with 5G.
Net neutrality sucked the oxygen out of Internet policy for a decade, turning every discussion of Internet policy into a debate over the best way to ensure the Internet remained true to this newly discovered foundational principle of the Internet. But these promises were hollow because net neutrality only applied to one part of the Internet, data transmission between consumers, Internet-based businesses, and Internet Service Providers.
None of the proposals for ISP regulation or platform regulation currently in the mix are very good. If the Internet is good for anything, it’s a great disruptor. Is is too much to ask it to disrupt its own policy frameworks toward the goal of producing more of the good and less of the bad?
US broadband is nothing to sneer at, as all of us who have taken the time to study it in depth are happy to say. Alternative fact reports targeted at naive journalists have the potential to do serious harm, so I would encourage anyone who finds OTI’s United States of Broadband remotely credible to dig a little deeper before firing off clickbait headlines. You might be a victim of fake news.