Wired Magazine has an article outlining steps they say would help increase broadband in rural areas:
- Allow smaller providers to lease infrastructure
- Improve access to utility poles
- Streamline the right-of-way
It’s a mashup up of the Open Access network strategy, which had more momentum 7 years ago and Google Checklist from 3 years ago. I like the idea of three steps to making rural broadband happen. I’m not sure these are the right three steps – at least not for every community.
The framing of the article recognizes that policies based on the assumption of a free market only work where there is a market…
Republicans argue that the government should stay out of regulating the internet. And, in a perfect world, they’d be right. Ideally, if your internet service provider slipped permission to use your browsing history for ad targeting into its fine print or decided to charge you more to access Netflix than Hulu, you’d just switch to a different provider that offered better terms.
But that’s not an option most people in the US have.
According to an FCC report released last year, only a little more than one-third of the population had more than one internet provider that offered speeds of 25 Mbps or more, the FCC’s minimum definition of broadband. For rural America, the situation was even more dire. Fewer than half of rural residents had access to a single 25 Mbps provider.
I think it’s worth creating multiple scenarios for any policies, storyboards of potential impacts to warn of unintended consequences.