Former FCC Chairman's Plan: Government Subsidized Fiber To The Home

from the hmmm dept

I noticed a few Supernova attendees commenting on their own sites about former FCC Chairman Reed Hundt’s claim that the government should be subsidizing the installation of fiber to the home. Now, Dan Gillmor has written up a brief summary of Hundt’s remarks and why Hundt thinks it’s worth government money to make sure that every home has real broadband connections. He specifically suggests that their be a $20/month charge to every homeowner, which goes towards implementing this plan, while also saying this would let the government cut out other fees, such as universal service phone subsidies while canceling the requirement that TV stations send out over-the-air digital broadcasts. Both would be unnecessary, if everyone had fiber to the home, though you can just imagine how much people would complain if they had to pay this $20/month fee. Hundt’s basic rational is that fiber-to-the-home is critical infrastructure that is better built under the centralized control of government (like the highway system) than through competitive methods. He plans to write a much more detailed paper about how this plan would work. While I like the idea of fiber-to-the-home, I always worry about government mandated technology choices – because (like Clay Shirky’s Supernova talk about Minitel), doing so locks you in to a technology, even after it is obsolete.

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Comments on “Former FCC Chairman's Plan: Government Subsidized Fiber To The Home”

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Anonymous Coward says:

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That’s absurd. Mandatory levies and government management of what’s just an extended human requirement? That’d be like the government running the health care system, and that’s just wrong. After all, see how competition and IP has made it possible to offer decent, affordable healthcare to all americans; it’s obviously the best system in the world. Few people are sick, everyone gets the operations they need, etc.
No, there’s no need to have a single organization controlling infrastructure like that. It’d just be a monopoly, if it wasn’t the government doing it.
Americans are not too apathetic to make the capitalist method work: America’s the pride of the world economy!

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