High-Speed Broadband as Public Utility? Not so fast…

Richard Bennett, our fair editor, has published an excellent piece in Governing.com, taking issue with assertions made by Susan Crawford in her new book “Captive Audience” and echoed by some others, calling for high-speed broadband service to be regulated as a public utility, as in the energy sector:

Broadband service is many things, but a “natural monopoly” is not one of them. In fact, advances in technology such as wireless LTE, faster satellites and increased deployment of fiber optic cable are combining to make broadband markets more competitive year after year.  Forward-looking policymakers would love electricity markets to enjoy the benefits that competition brings where it’s practical and meaningful.

As they say, read the whole thing, but if you don’t have time, at least read the takeaway:

The argument for a massive reorganization of America’s broadband markets depends on a set of facts that don’t exist. Our system needs constant attention at the margins, to ensure full participation and development in the right direction, but the system is fundamentally sound and in no need of major repairs. I wish we could say as much for our utility networks.