Last month, when President Bush made his call for "universal broadband," we noted that the statement was fairly meaningless. Now that he's been talking about it again, there have been plenty of press reports talking about the announcement, but not much in the way of details. Now, Gregory Rosston is pointing out that the announcement without any real plan behind it is almost guaranteed to make broadband much more expensive. What we have now is a vague goal and no plan. That's the cue for all sorts of special interests and policy wonks to try to carve out a piece of this "opportunity" for themselves, rather than a plan for actually promoting broadband usage. Senator Kerry is getting set to launch his own plan for broadband later this week - and the initial report suggest it's not much better. Yet another lesson in election politics: make broad, general statements ("universal broadband for all!") with no real plan to back it up (planning is hard) and don't bother looking at the real consequences of what you're suggesting. In the meantime, without any help from a Presidential plan, it appears that, via the market, broadband is growing at a rapid clip, and plenty of companies are seizing the market opportunity to offer broadband where it's needed. Universal broadband is an excellent goal. It's just not clear that there's been any sort of market failure that requires the government to step in.
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