crypto and public policy

Yet Another Private Platform

Filed under: Policy July 19, 2004 @ 6:13 pm

Verizon just announced its Fiber service. For $35/month, Verizon will lay a fiber line to your home and give you 30Mbps internet connectivity. Then they’ll sell you cable TV, too. And maybe switch your phone service to VoIP?

Sounds great, except for the somewhat-hidden gotcha: the FCC is not requiring that this new infrastructure be set up for competition, and that’s one reason why Verizon is pursuing it. So in a few years, we’ll have separate coax cables from Comcast and RCN, and separate fiber cables from Verizon and all the other companies. That’s a bit like forcing each airline to set up its private airport. The only result: locking out competition, specifically smaller, more nimble, more innovative players.

When will we learn that, with a tiny bit of smart regulation, we can get solid, shared platforms for innovation that benefit everyone instead of a mess of redundant, incompatible solutions?

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