Susan Crawford notes a few of the glaring problems in telecom policy in the US with recommendations that would allow the country to move to a better infrastructure.
She has another commentary in Bloomberg
In his speech last week, Genachowski also mentioned the advent of 4G wireless Internet access as an occasion for national celebration. He is right that 4G may provide a substitute for slow cable connectivity. But data caps imposed by the dominant wireless carriers, AT&T Inc. and Verizon Wireless, make getting access to boatloads of data by way of a wireless device unimaginable for most Americans.
In any case, no one is claiming that 4G will bring gigabits to the U.S. In order to get even advertised 4G speeds, you have to be close to a tower, and there can’t be too many other people sharing the connection. True, there is discussion about developing very-high-capacity wireless connections that rely on stable, accurate point-to-point transmissions blasted across wide bands of radio frequencies not subject to interference from, say, leaves or rain. For anyone relying on a mobile device while moving through life, none of these conditions will be in place.
So wireless can never be a full substitute for a wired connection. More broadly, fiber policy is wireless policy: With competitive fiber installed in more American neighborhoods, we would all have better mobile data connections. As things stand, the incumbent cable companies have no particular competitive or regulatory incentive to install that fiber.
Given these realities as well as other obstacles -- for example, existing providers often control poles to which competitors need access -- Genachowski’s call for more “test beds” may not actually bring Americans cheaper, faster or better network access. At least, though, the FCC is now talking about gigabits.
Her new book, Captive Audience: The Telecom Industry and Monopoly Power in the New Gilded Age, is excellent. (caveat - Susan is s friend).
Now if Susan was made the new FCC chair ....