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Monday, March 07, 2005
At the beginning, we led the world in broadband deployment. But by 2004, we ranked an embarrassing 13th. There are many places, like Philadelphia, where service is lacking. And there are many places, like San Francisco, where competition is lacking. The result of the duopoly that currently defines "competition" is that prices and service suck. We're the world's leader in Internet technology - except that we're not.
The solution is not to fire private enterprise; it is instead to encourage more competition...
Let the markets, both private and public, compete to provide the service that telecom and cable has not.
I can't disagree with Lessig's premise that encouraging public intervention into a market might actually improve service and pricing. It's unfortunate that public entities have earned themselves such a reputation of inefficiency and poor performance, but they have, and the result is the lack of choice and effective service we have today. I am far from a Keynesian, but somehow, Lessig's proposal seems sound for the evolution of broadband.
MORE: On the subject of the effects of municipal entry into the market comes this:
Charter Communications has been offering a popular cable television package in Ashland for $24.15 per month while offering the same package for $45.99 per month in other Rogue Valley communities that lack a city-owned telecommunications service.
The price difference raises the issue with city officials of whether Charter, the nation's third largest cable company, has engaged in predatory pricing against the Ashland Fiber Network, the City of Ashland's cable television and high-speed Internet service.
If the presence of public entities force private ones to lower prices, I am all for it, but not at the expense of the surrounding townspeople. Ironically, now that Charter has been called on the practice, they have raised their prices to the locals in Ashland.
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