December 19, 2019
Understanding the Sanders Broadband Plan
Senator and presidential candidate Bernie Sanders recently released a plan to achieve universal broadband access in the United States — spending $150 billion to increase deployment, regulating broadband rates, and using antitrust to break up broadband companies. But by ignoring the economics of broadband and overriding local initiatives to expand access, the Sanders plan reaches for radical change at the expense of what could work, argues AAF’s Director of Technology and Innovation Policy Will Rinehart.
In the final days of the Obama presidency in 2017, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) estimated that about $80 billion would be needed to get every home connected to a fiber or cable connection….The Sanders plan is nearly double the FCC figure because he wants to create a new fiber network run by nonprofit institutions and state governments. While Sanders claims he isn’t a capitalist, he is clearly working within a market framework because his plan assumes that this new entrant will add competitive pressure on firms.