Larry Lessig has an article in Wired Magazine talking about how the city of Burlington, Vermont is working to provide a fiber optic network around the city. He discusses the economics of natural monopolies and explains why having the government supply such a network is not based on socialism, but good old fashioned capitalism - where the benefit of having that network that anyone can use reaches everyone. Here's where it gets more interesting. Instead of regulating the network, Burlington is letting its users own the network - so that they end up keeping the prices low themselves. This is based on the work of economist Alan McAdams from Cornell. Which brings up a side point: professor McAdams was (and, in fact, still is) something of a mentor to me, and has filled my head with much of the economics that we base our ideas on here at Techdirt. He also deserves thanks (and, he never lets me forget this) for giving me class credit my final year of business school to create what would eventually become Techdirt. As such, he was the first person other than myself to see this site. He's been on a crusade lately to get these ideas about fiber optics out to the world, so it's great to see such a piece in Wired.
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