On Wednesday, Republican FCC commissioner Ajit Pai released a statement praising the Google Fiber project as a model for other metropolitan areas to follow. He argued that it shows that “it is critically important that states and local communities adopt broadband-friendly policies when it comes to rights-of-way management.”
Fred Campbell, a former FCC official who now hangs his hat at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, has been singing a similar tune in recent weeks. He portrays the Google Fiber project in Kansas City as a triumph for free markets, once government gets out of the way. “Deregulation promotes private investment,” he writes in a recent analysis of the broadband network. He regards the Google project’s apparent success as a rebuke to groups like Public Knowledge and Free Press, which advocate a more active government role in developing and regulating broadband networks.
Yet closer examination of the Google Fiber project reveals a more complex story. It’s true that the Google Fiber project hasn’t developed the way many liberal groups wanted it to. But it’s important not to gloss over the fact that Kansas City’s support for Google’s network went well beyond deregulation to outright corporate welfare. It’s hardly an example of the free market in action.
Powered by WPeMatico