Financing broadband and the open access red herring

A common theme, when discussing the financing of broadband, is to claim that the open access business model "has not been proven." True open access has only been around in the U.S. for about three years, and the opponents of open access are creating a double standard. Apparently, to "prove" open access works, communities that take that route have to be in the black within a year or two, and really, it would be better, apparently, if they were in the black on day one.

What's the double standard? The double standard is that private sector telecom companies take years to get into the black, and routinely run up billions in debt that won't be paid back for a long period of time. That's apparently okay--communities will be held to a higher standard, though.

There is a second, very sly argument running alongside the "prove it works" argument. It is this: "Open access is bad because it has not been proven." Okay...let's accept that premise for a moment and now let us ask the question that no one asks..."What business model should be used instead?" The business model that open access opponents want to use is the tired old monopoly triple play, which has, over the past fifteen years, failed utterly to get "big" broadband to U.S. residents and businesses.

So the open access opponents want everyone to use a "proven" approach: triple play, which has been proven not to work. Sly, no?

Open access projects like Utopia, nDanville, The Wired Road, and Palm Coast FiberNET are thriving--in those communities, increased competition has brought lower prices for telecom services, and the efforts are generating enough funds that all those communities continue to expand their networks to more customers.

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