One of America's leading authorities on technology and telecom policy, Motley is a writer, television and radio commentator, political and policy strategist, lecturer, debater, activist, and policy advisor to The Heartland Institute.
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Giving Everyone a Fair Shot (on BarackObama.com)
They have even in Orwellian fashion so-named a terribly unfair bill.
As with most things government, the more it does to make things fair, the more unfair things get.
Bad decisions like…the 2009 $819 billion “Stimulus.”
How is it “fair” to conscript into debt our great-grandchildren and beyond at all – let alone for a plan that failed so utterly (and predictably)?
Again, when the government gets involved, “fairness” begets unfairness. And failure – for everyone but government, which always succeeds in getting bigger in the unfair, failed process.
It is also unfair for the government to tax businesses – and use that money to create or fund competitors to said businesses. Of which the “Stimulus” did a whole lot – most expressly in the $7.2 billion broadband Internet “stimulus.”
Take what is happening in Hays, Kansas and its surrounding areas. Eagle Communications, a small broadband provider, had already invested its own considerable coin to build out broadband Internet access for and to their customers in these parts of the state.
Only now the government has given $101 million to another provider – which they are going to use to “overbuild” – on top of Eagle’s network. “Overbuild” meaning – build service with government money to Hays, Kansas – an area that already has access to service via Eagle.
Lake County (Minnesota also) wanted to get in on the government broadband gravy train… There are already four private broadband providers serving large swaths of these areas… So most of…Lake County…already ha(d) broadband service.
And all four private providers are doing it for less money than Lake County will charge.
Was this destroy-the-private-sector result the intent of government broadband money? Of course not.
(T)he purpose…(wa)s to deliver service to people who don’t already have it.
Shocker – government screwed up. Over, and over, and…. This is terrible – not just for the companies and areas directly affected, but the entire country.
(These companies are) now facing…newly government-dug ten-foot hole(s), and looking at possible bankruptc(ies)….
(And p)rivate broadband companies that were considering building out to un- or underserved areas will now most likely not do so – for fear of a government-funded competitor coming in and landing on their heads.
Is there a solution? Yes – get the government the heck out of the broadband business.
Sadly, that’s way too much to ask of Washington. What we are getting instead is a Farm Bill reauthorizing this ridiculous status quo – and an amendment from Virginia Democrat Senator Mark Warner, which he pathetically, proudly proclaims:
(P)rovides meaningful broadband access for unserved rural communities by requiring that at least 25 percent of households in a proposed project area qualify as unserved or underserved. The Secretary of Agriculture will have discretion to reduce the percentage to not less than 18 percent for project areas covering 7,500 or fewer people, and 15 percent for areas covering 5,000 or fewer.
So 75% of private-sector-broadband homes can get a government competitor any-and-everywhere the Leviathan wants. Unless the area is even harder and more expensive to serve – in which case the government can overbuild at an even greater level.
Meaning in the areas you most want and need private sector investment – the more the government can do to drive out the private sector.
This is government “reform.” And please save us from a government looking to legislate ‘fairness.’
[First Published at Red State]