Mr. Obama, in a speech this week in Iowa, called on local governments to get into the Internet business, even though the law in some states prohibits risky and expensive government-owned broadband networks. The president pledged billions of dollars to encourage cities to build broadband infrastructure.
The prospects are not encouraging. Municipal broadband networks in Florida, Virginia, Louisiana, Vermont, North Carolina, Utah and Tennessee have cost millions and failed to make good on promises of quality service at low cost to subscribers. Under the president’s plan, time and money, and lots of it, would be spent to provide broadband service in places already well-served by private Internet providers. The president’s scheme won’t do much to help deserving and underserved rural areas get better service.
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