September 3, 2019
Corporations Aren’t the Problem with Broadband Access
Greedy corporations are the primary reason that rural areas do not have access to high-speed Internet, presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren argued in a recent Washington Post op-ed, and as a result the federal government should create a new broadband expansion program. This argument fails on a number of levels, contends AAF’s Director of Technology and Innovation Policy Will Rinehart: A government program does not change the fundamental costs and dynamics of broadband deployment, and corporations are often the vanguard of Internet deployment in rural areas.
Simplistically scapegoating the profit motive of Internet service providers ignores the cost realities and market forces driving Internet deployment. The United States is a large and decentralized country, and as a result expanding high-speed Internet is difficult and expensive. Before blaming private companies for limited access, policymakers would do well to understand both the challenges facing expansion efforts and the successes that the United States has already had in this area.