Another Way To Get Incumbents To Provide Broadband to Rural Areas

There’s been a lot of talk lately of how muni WiFi projects will offer competitive pressure to the incumbents to offer more accessible broadband solutions to more customers. And Techdirt strongly believes additional healthy, American, competition in the broadband segment is good a thing, as we’re sure all our carrier friends agree… But up in the Highlands of the UK, the Scottish Executive (a govt branch) has agreed to fund the expansion of BT’s private DSL network into 378 additional exchanges. These exchanges, so far, were deemed unprofitable for BT to upgrade. While there are very strong arguments both for and against this method of pushing DSL penetration, it us undeniable that the Executive is very serious about the universality of high-speed Internet for all the citizens of Scotland. “Ubiquitous broadband availability brings great opportunities for Scotland in education, public services and business life, and will place Scotland among the leaders of the G8 countries in terms of availability.” Perhaps this is a good marriage of the profit motive, and the public interest motive. Disclosure: BT is a consulting client of my firm, but not on this issue.

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