We look at internet policy and regulations as a view into the broader question of the relationship between government regulations and markets. Are all regulations harmful to the free market? Is a free market always the best? How do ideas like net neutrality and local loop unbundling play into it?
Chris said, wrongly, that the North Carolina state government prevented Charlotte from building its own municipal fiber. What actually happened was the state passed a law preventing cities (like Wilson, North Carolina, which with the FCC sued the state but ultimately lost in a federal appeals court) from building out infrastructure to other communities (including rural areas outside the incorporated area of the city). The laws claimed to be in defense of competition; but there is notably no rush to build higher-speed internet to those rural areas.
The Winning Slowly Internet Platform
What do we think is necessary for a well-functioning internet?
- Consistency and Reliability: or, you should be able to get sufficient speeds to learn or do your job on a normal basis.
- A Free/Functioning Market for Content: or, a level playing field for all the bits.
- A Competitive Market for Internet Service: or, enabling (1) and (2) by making internet service providers earn customers.
Local loop unbundling
As an alternative to net neutrality: “We don’t need net neutrality; we need competition—Op-ed:”Unbundled access" actually works."
Cell phone competition:
The big four in the United States: AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile
- MVNOs: Wikipedia
- Republic Wireless
Previously on the show:
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