February 11, 2015
Has the private sector failed when it comes providing Americans with affordable, fast Internet service? Municipal broadband network supporters would say so, but Lindsay M. Lewis, executive director at the left-leaning Progressive Policy Institute, says no.
In The Wall Street Journal today, Mr. Lewis reports, “Internet speeds in the U.S. are among the fastest in the world” and “more than 90% of American households are now served by connections capable of neck-snapping speeds of 100 megabits per second.” (As Mr. Lewis explains, that is four times the speed necessary to stream a movie on your computer.) Additionally, 12 U.S. states are on the top 20 list for fastest broadband speeds in the world.
Most consumers are not only able to access these lightening-fast speeds – they’re able to afford them. Lewis notes, “Competition in the broadband market is robust, and the result is that entry-level prices in the U.S. are among the most affordable world-wide.” Cable, DSL and wireless all fight for consumers’ affection, competition that not only reduces prices but pushes companies to create faster and faster networks.
The private sector is responsible for these developments, Lewis argues, not government. In 2012 and 2013 alone, private companies invested $144 billion, or about $197.2 million a day, in their broadband networks. Lewis reports this figure is twice the amount European companies invested in their infrastructure during the same period. (See CNE’s post from Feb. 9 for recent private sector investments and expansions.)
In his op-ed, Lewis also touches on the fact that so many government-owned networks have failed and argues municipal networks take away funds for “basic infrastructure, including roads and bridges, schools, prisons and hospitals …”
All of these facts lead Lewis to conclude the fight to allow more cities to create their own taxpayer-financed networks “is a poor solution to an imaginary problem.”
We couldn’t agree more.
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