Some thoughtful comments on broadband policy

From Gregory Rosston and Scott Wallsten [click here]. Here is a summary of what they say:

  • The income divide in broadband access far outweighs the urban-rural divide. I suspect that is true in Australia as well. The implication is spending lots of money to wire rural areas will likely have a very small impact on broadband usage there.
  • Emphasis should be placed on subsidies to low-income households for broadband rather than attempts at universal service obligations. In Australia, the current plans to provide equal broadband prices everywhere rule that out.
  • Using experiments or auctions are the best way of delivering low-income subsidies on broadband. This could also be used to support efficient deployment of rural broadband.