Internet Service Monopolies
Posted on August 25, 2016
Part 1. Libertarian Domination
US communications monopolies provide slow speed at high prices, putting us far behind world best practice in Internet service. That is quite obviously going to show up over time in reduced international competitivity, not that libertarians give a damn.
This is a political fact, not an economic fact. It is caused by non-regulation, which is caused in turn by the business-libertarian veto power over economic policy.
Despite their claims about competitive free markets, business-libertarians support monopolies at every opportunity (aside from a few irrelevant face-saving, purely theoretical comments from Cato Institute). The only reasonable way to understand this is to assume that top libertarians such as the Koch brothers are much more interested in expanding inequality than in expanding output. That is, they have a powerful taste for lording it over everyone else. And monopolies are a wonderfully effective means of increasing inequality by transferring wealth from consumers to capital owners. (By the way, libertarians nearly always say “free markets,” not “competitive free markets.)
Part 2: Municipal Broadband
There is a simple and effective remedy to the bad cable, telephone, and internet service we all are experiencing: free municipal wifi Internet service. (You can then use the Internet to get your telephone and TV, though some proprietary channels are not yet available on the Internet.) Municipal fiber cable could also work, but wifi appears to be a better bet.
Of course it is not truly free: we’d pay for it by means of taxes and fees. However if done right we could get far better service at far less cost. Don’t believe me? Ask Santa Monica CA and Chanute KS.
Now needless to say the monopolists are doing everything they can to get their Republican minions to outlaw municipal wifi and municipal broadband. However it is still legal in Kansas.
Highspeed municipal wifi would likely help jumpstart economic development, because it is very attractive to web-based businesses.
My allegedly progressive Lawrence in particular ought to be a ringleader in municipal wifi. Lawrence’s soi-dissant economic development forces are never going to support it, but a movement of concerned citizens just might be able to make it happen. Is anyone interested?