Yochai argues that the government’s 100 Squared Initiative - which aims to get 100 megabits-per-second service to 100 million households, at affordable rates - is hardly sufficient as it doesn’t drive competition:
“Affordability is the hard part — because there is no competition pushing down prices. The plan acknowledges that only 15 percent of homes will have a choice in providers, and then only between Verizon’s FiOS fiber-optic network and the local cable company. (AT&T’s “fiber” offering is merely souped-up DSL transmitted partly over its old copper wires, which can’t compete at these higher speeds.) The remaining 85 percent will have no choice at all.”
Yes, sounds like a oligopoly and the government playing it’s part in perpetuating it. This allows providers to set pricing, and is stifling innovation in internet access. As a result, America will suffer, and pricier and slower access than the rest of the world will have cascading effects on the consumers and businesses who rely on high-speed internet.
I’m glad that Google’s interests are aligned with America’s on this one, and Google is being proactive about promoting high speed internet with their project to bring one ultra high-speed broadband network in at least one US community- and they’ve received quite the response - more than 1,100 community responses and more than 194,000 responses from individuals
And I like Google’s analogy comparing this to the space race in that it will require an “all hands on deck” approach for a nationalistic effort to drive innovation.
“As with the space race in the 1960s, America needs a national effort by our scientists, engineers, companies, educational institutions and government agencies. Just like that great national adventure, we need near-term and long-term goals.”
But the analogy doesn’t go far enough as the internet is much more fundamental to every American’s life than going to space.
The internet was invented in America, and we were leaders in internet infrastructure for years and thrived. We are now behind many countries in Europe and Asia in speed, technology, and price. I hope the public and private sector can come together to make broadband a national priority, by promoting competition and investing heavily, to help restore America’s position as a leader in internet access.