Susan Crawford has a plan
for getting us fast Internet access for jobs, community, education,
and health care.
Susan Crawford wrote for Wired 2 October 2012,
We Can’t All Be in Google’s Kansas: A Plan for Winning the Bandwidth
about how the incumbent telephone and cable companies that provide
our Internet access aren’t going to help:
They have no incentive to do so. Because they never enter one
another’s territories, they don’t face the competition that might
spur such expansion.
Instead, incumbent internet access providers such as Comcast and
Time Warner (for wired access) and AT&T and Verizon (for
complementary wireless access) are in “harvesting” mode.
They’re raising average revenue per user through special pricing for
planned “specialized services” and usage-based billing,
which allows the incumbents to constrain demand. The ecosystem these
companies have built is never under stress, because consumers do
their best to avoid heavy charges for using more data than they’re
supposed to. Where users have no expectation of abundance, there’s
no need to build fiber on the wired side of the business or build
small cells fed by fiber on the wireless side.
If the current internet access providers that dominate the American
telecommunications landscape could get away with it, they’d sell
nothing but specialized services and turn internet access into a
So what is her plan?