Imagining the Maximum Net
Here's a question: should the decision to build the Net to maximum capacity--the broadest we can make broadband--be based on whether or not today's carriers can think of a way to pay back the cost of building it?
While we're answering that, let's ask if the Net should be private at all. Are the rivers and seas private? How about the Interstate Highway System?
I pondered these questions this past Wednesday while on the plane home from a series of industry events. At each of these events, nearly everybody had a laptop, and nearly every laptop was connected to the Net. And everybody experienced frustration with connection speed. Slow Net connections are to industry tradeshows what traffic tie-ups are to Los Angeles.
On my own laptop, at 38,000 feet over the southwest desert, I read and re-read "Analysts Question Bell Investments", written by Ted Hearn and published in Multichannel News. It's a report on what financial market analysts told the Senate Commerce Committee, which is expected to vote soon on a bill that would, in the story's words, "ease phone-company entry into cable markets and perhaps include network-neutrality safeguards".
At issue in the story is whether and how carriers can make profits by investing in additional broadband infrastructure.