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Democracy & Technology Blog National Broadband Plan’s flawed premise


The Washington Post’s reaction to the National Broadband Plan that was deemed approved and issued with fanfare by the FCC this week:

BY THE Federal Communications Commission’s own account, broadband use in the United States has exploded over the past decade * * * * So it is curious that the FCC’s newly released National Broadband Plan faults the market for failing to “bring the power and promise of broadband to us all” — in reality, some 7 million households unable to get broadband because it is not offered in their areas. Such an assessment — and the call for government intervention to subsidize service for rural or poor communities — is premature, at best. * * * * it is hard to see in this field the signs of gross market failure.

The FCC did not vote on the plan, according to David Hatch at CongressDaily, to avoid the possibility of a split vote. That could have meant an eye-opening 3-2 vote, if the plan has no Republican support. Which would have been no surprise, since the basic premise that there is a problem in this sphere which government is uniquely suited to fix through “smart” regulation and public subsidies, is wrong.

Hance Haney

Hance Haney served as Director and Senior Fellow of the Technology & Democracy Project at the Discovery Institute, in Washington, D.C. Haney spent ten years as an aide to former Senator Bob Packwood (OR), and advised him in his capacity as chairman of the Senate Communications Subcommittee during the deliberations leading to the Telecommunications Act of 1996. He subsequently held various positions with the United States Telecom Association and Qwest Communications. He earned a B.A. in history from Willamette University and a J.D. from Lewis and Clark Law School in Portland, Oregon.