Biden’s Plan to Fix America’s Internet

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America, our internet stinks. And it’s time to try a different approach to fix it.

Millions of Americans do not have modern Internet service. It is a symptom of our Internet slackness that we do not even know how many. There is an incredible number of internet providers 14.5 million families. or It is probably 157 million people. Even for those who have reliable access, Americans generally pay more for a worse Internet service than our counterparts in most other affluent countries.

White House New infrastructure plan Includes a proposal to spend $ 100 billion to rapidly expand Internet access to every household. Its central premise is a powerful one: to get the Internet we all deserve, the federal government should be more involved – but not by much.

The Biden administration plan lacks details, and has a large spending bill Will be difficult to pass. But I need to explain why we can get the White House plan.

First, how it works now:

We currently have the worst aspects of free market capitalism and heavy handed government. Taxpayer money is channeled into Internet service, but the money is often spent in shortside ways. A system that promises light regulation actually has many rules – often Encouraged by companies that protect their interests – But the rules are often misguided or poorly enforced.

The government now hands over a lot of money and rights to internet companies. The result is that Americans are counting on Several billion dollars every year To Help build an internet network For subsidies in places like rural towns and in the cost of service Schools, libraries And The houses.

But funds often help maintain AOL-era Internet pipelines. And the money is spent on short-term solutions. For example, it helps schools pay Internet providers for Wi-Fi hot spots, when it would be better to have faster Internet pipelines that they control.

“This is not to say that online communities have not received investment. They have,” said Katherine de witt, Which manages the Pew Charitable Trust’s Internet Access Project. But, he told me, “The time has come for the federal government to play a more active role.”

What is in the White House’s Internet plan:

Admin this week Set High-Level Goals: High quality internet pipeline should reach every American home and soon. Taxpayer money should not help finance old Internet technology. And we should pay less for internet service.

Those theories seem simple but are deceptively revolutionary. The plan is essentially a statement that the work we are doing now is not working, and the government should not sit down and continue the system.

As De Witt said to me, the role for the government should be to focus on the mission of everyone involved in the Internet System Ledger: build fast, 21st century Internet pipelines to reach everyone and ensure that Public first and last word on our Internet system instead of Internet companies.

When the federal government should get out of the way:

The Biden administration laid down the principles, but it proposes to leave wiggling rooms for communities, states and companies to come up with Internet technologies and policies tailored to their needs.

My colleague cecilia kang wrote This week about community activists in Maryland who jury-rigged a system of antennas and routers to provide Internet service to low-income families. The White House wants to go back More community-based Internet providers Like that one, as well as government connected networks like In Chantanogo, Tenn..

White House support for alternative Internet providers is a message that large Internet companies such as Comcast and AT&T may be part of the solution, but they are not the only answer. Not surprisingly, big internet companies Not hugging warmly The Biden Plan.

A business group that represents Comcast and others said America’s Internet plumbing was in good standing and the government should not micropanage the Internet network nor prioritize the government-owned network. Here is more Why Internet Providers Are Not Happy.

Challenges and Opportunities Ahead:

I do not want to minimize the difficulties faced in fixing America’s Internet system. It would be difficult to build an Internet network that reaches all Americans, especially in sparsely populated areas. It is unclear how the White House plans to make the service affordable for all.

But I must emphasize what is exciting about the White House plan. It identifies the right problems, declares a worthy mission and calls for fewer barriers to bridge the best of government with the best of capitalism.

If the White House plan works, our Internet system may be less expensive and more effective for all of us.

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