America's communications infrastructure is
stuck at a copper wall. For the vast majority of homes, copper wires remain the
principal means of getting broadband services. The deployment of fiber optic
connections to the home would enable exponentially faster connections, and few
dispute that upgrading to more robust infrastructure is essential to America's
economic growth. However, the costs of such an upgrade are daunting for private
sector firms and even for governments. These facts add up to a public policy
Last week the New America Foundation's Wireless Future Program
released a new working paper proposing a novel idea to solve this problem: consumer-owned fiber connections.
with Tails: What if you Could Own your Internet Connection?, New America
fellow, Tim Wu and Google Policy Analyst, Derek Slater, proposed a model that
encourages consumers to purchase and own the "last-mile" connection
that runs into their home. By purchasing their own fiber optic connections,
consumers would be able to connect to a variety of service providers. This
model holds the potential for higher broadband speeds, greater competition, and
lower Internet service prices.
also hosted a companion event where the authors discussed their proposal.
Additional speakers included Wireless Future's Research Director, Sascha Meinrath; the President and Founder of the
Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, Robert Atkinson; and Link
Hoewing, Assistant Vice President for Internet and Technology Issues at
New America Foundation
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