Will Rinehart on Broadband Part Two

This is the second and final part of our conversation with Will Rinehart on broadband infrastructure plans. (First part is here.)

We discuss some of the biases, information gaps, and challenges that have to be overcome in order to extend high-quality broadband to all populated parts of rural America. We also discuss the fact that broadband inclusion isn’t really a problem the nation can solve through construction projects alone.

The broadband portion of the infrastructure bill is a huge improvement over some of the early plans floated by Democratic progressives because it has a focus on immediate steps that can and must be taken for the sake of immediate progress.

Rather than building for a far distant future that may never come to pass, Congressional spending on the problem of encouraging people to connect to current networks solves 80% of the inclusion problem. The economics of competition work very differently in markets with high fixed costs. These markets work better with a consumer welfare focus than with the competition focus.