Why is this page text-only?


Geoff Daily

App-Rising.com covers the development and adoption of broadband applications, the deployment of and need for broadband networks, and the demands placed on policy to adapt to the revolutionary opportunities made possible by the Internet.

App-Rising.com is written by Geoff Daily, a DC-based technology journalist, broadband activist, marketing consultant, and Internet entrepreneur.

App-Rising.com is supported in part by AT&T;, however all views and opinions expressed herein are solely my own.

« Fold Proteins, Score Points, Cure Cancer | Main | It's the Webbys, Acknowledging Internet Excellence »

May 12, 2008 10:50 AM

In The End, The Users Always Pay

Here’s a simple truth about broadband that too often gets lost amidst the din: in the end, you and I are the ones who pay for broadband deployment.

It doesn’t matter who’s doing that deploying, be they private, public, or somewhere in between, its the users of those networks that ultimately pay to have them built.

Whether it’s private companies passing through costs and raising prices, or public entities spending tax dollars, or something in between, in the end the money’s coming out of our pockets.

It’s an important thing to remember as it reframes the public vs. private debate around deployment. Instead of defining one as good or bad, it suggests that if it’s our money driving this than we need to be considering two things first: how can we make the most of what we have and what are the goals we want to achieve.

I want to make sure my dollar’s being spent to give me the best possible service.

And I want my dollars to be invested with the long-term social benefits in mind not simply short-term profits.

Private guys are more efficient but not as interested in the public good, and public entities are all about the public good but notoriously inefficient.

Keeping this basic tenant that we're the ones paying in mind is important when considering just about any telecom legislation.

For example, last week I was lamenting about how the net neutrality debate had taken what I feel is a wrong turn when Sen. Wyden began threatening network operators with higher taxes and more lawsuits. What was left out of his remarks is the reality that since users ultimately pay, penalizing network operators would likely trickle down to harm you and me by resulting in higher prices or lower service.

At the same time, if we're the ones paying for the network, and private companies aren't building networks with enough capacity or reach to satisfy what we feel we need, then it suggests we should be putting our money elsewhere.

But at the same time again, I don't want my dollars going to purely public endeavors for fear that they won't be able to innovate in delivering new and innovative services over these networks as that task is most often best left up to private companies so long as they exist in a competitive environment.

I don't claim to propose any answers in this post, but I would suggest that before we make any more decisions regarding broadband in this country, we must first remember that in the end its the users (meaning you and me) paying to have it built, no matter who's actually doing the deploying, and its the users who pay to keep it running, no matter who's actually delivering services.

Del.icio.us Digg Yahoo! My Web Seed Newsvine reddit Technorati


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Post a comment

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)