As the deficit supercommittee searches every corner to make budgetary ends meet, one solution they are considering, "incentive auctions" of the TV bands, could threaten the future of wireless innovation.
Regulate the Internet? Seize control? That's all nonsense, but nonsense to which our elected representatives, through the influence of the Tea Party and the big telecom companies, are willing to accede.
While the U.S. has blindly followed a path of broadband industry "deregulation," other nations in Europe and Asia beefed up their pro-competitive policies. The results are evident in our free fall from the top of almost every global measure of Internet services, availability and speed.
As the nation prepares to dedicate Dr. Martin Luther King's National Memorial, let's give ourselves this thought experiment: "What would Dr. King be doing today if he were armed with the social media and telecommunications technology we take for granted?"
Smart communities invest in themselves rather than depending on big, absentee corporations. Requiring Comcast to provide affordable broadband connections is better than not, but continuing to let Comcast effectively decide who can afford access to the Internet is madness.
The proposed AT&T merger is a threat to the business model and shareholder value of every mobile Internet startup and emerging player expecting open access to the wireless Internet. Industry leaders need to speak up.
With the vast majority of Americans greatly overpaying for slow and unreliable broadband compared to connections in Europe and Asia, hundreds of communities have started building their own networks. And the industry is fighting back.
H.129 is terrible public policy. The Internet is essential infrastructure for the 21st century, and communities that rely solely upon private companies to provide public infrastructure will always have second-rate service.
We can, and certainly should, continue to pursue this goal of universal broadband connectivity. But in order to be truly effective, we ought to focus our energies on making sure that people use the technologies they are connected with.