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Re: [funsec] Not so fast, broadband providers tell big users (fwd)
At 01:33 PM 3/13/2007, Roland Dobbins wrote:
On Mar 13, 2007, at 10:10 AM, Daniel Senie wrote:
And today we have unregulated monopolies in many communities, and unregulated duopolies in the rest. Are we better off without regulation? That's unclear.
Do you believe that's necessary and/or desirable in order to make broadband ubiquitous?
A universal service charge could be applied to all bills, with the funds going to subsidize rural areas. Even the electrical utilities have this kind of thing going on... there's an energy conservation charge on my electric bill that is used to pool funds that are used for energy efficiency projects. The solar panels on my roof were partially paid for by a grant from such funds.
There are alternatives to close control of monopolies using mechanisms of this sort. If it's in the best interests of the country to provide universal access, then such a mechanism will likely be the way.
How do longer-range wireless technologies like WiMAX potentially impact the equation?
If cell phone companies have not covered an area, what makes you think WiMAX is a magic solution? How well does WiMAX work to cover hilly, forested, rural terrain? Who will pay to put up enough towers to provide coverage? Will municipalities unhappy about the look of towers consider this a reasonable alternative to running services along telephone poles that already exist? If the cell carriers haven't found it economic to provide coverage, why would the WiMAX provider?
It all comes back to economics. If there's an interest in providing universal access, then somehow there will have to be financial incentives for less populated areas to be covered. Verizon, Comcast, ATT and the like have no hearts and thus will not cover rural areas out of the goodness of those non-existent hearts, unless there's a financial incentive to make it worthwhile.