How to best provide high speed internet access to Americans is an ongoing debate. For example, some think the internet is a utility. As a result, they contend that municipal broadband service is the most viable way to provide access to underserved communities. In contrast, others think the solution is to remove regulatory barriers and encourage further competition by private industry.
Looking to Europe for Lessons on Government Internet
For examples of highly regulated, government owned systems look to European networks. Opponents point to those networks buckling under the pressure of higher use during to COVID-19 pandemic. In short, the government systems could not meet increased demand. As a result, consumers suffered.
Meanwhile, US systems are doing much better during the global crisis. By and large private industry operates the majority of networks in the US. In the long run, the underlying forces including competition and lower levels of regulation led to a better network and a better result for consumers.
Companies have demonstratively made more investments in their networks than governments over the same time frame. As a result, they provided consumers with better performance and innovative solutions to problems. Conversely, that level of innovation doesn’t happen in municipal broadband systems. Therefore, opponents of municipal broadband argue the solution for a lack of access is incentivizing competition and removing impediments caused by regulation.
ISEG Executive Director Ted Bolema Cited as Regulatory Law and Economics Expert on Municipal Broadband
Dr. Ted Bolema, Executive Director of the Institute for the Study of Economic Growth (ISEG), was quoted as regulatory law and economics expert by Jarret Skorup of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Skorup quoted Dr. Bolema in “Virus Shows Internet Is Too Important for Government to Run” from the Detroit News on April 30, 2020.
As Theodore Bolema, director of the Institute for the Study of Economic Growth at Wichita State University, has noted:
‘Governments have no sustainable advantage in offering broadband, as compared to private companies. [Private Companies] bring far more experience from other communities where they operate. So the only way governments can compete is by giving themselves regulatory advantages. [Or they compete] by arranging for taxpayer subsidies for their operations.’
The internet is too important to trust in the hands of government officials.
Read the entire article on municipal broadband at The Detroit News.