When the Governor’s Broadband Task Force released its report (PDF) a couple weeks ago there was some optimism and excitement that practical steps would be taken to advance the broadband infrastructure in the state particularly in rural and under served areas. Some of us believe that government needs to take the lead as clearly the free market is failing us as we fall further behind the rest of the world.
But the Eureka Reporter managed to find someone who thinks otherwise. In an opinion piece by Daniel Ballon of the Pacific Research Institute, the report’s recommendations a likened to Senator Ted Stevens’ (R – Alaska) boondogle bridge to nowhere. The Pacific Research Institute appears to be a think tank with a mission to”…champion freedom, opportunity, and personal responsibility for all individuals by advancing free-market policy solutions.”
While Mr. Ballon makes some interesting arguments, his conclusions make little sense. In the face of the Broadband Task Force’s conclusions and all evidence he claims “Only in the absence of government interference can the state achieve service that is both universal and competitive.” If this were true, why does the U.S. keep falling behind countries where governments have realized that public investment is necessary to advance deployment, boost speeds and keep prices reasonable for the very individuals the Pacific Research Institute purports to support?
While I don’t take seriously anything I read in a propaganda rag like the Eureka Reporter I had to take a look to see what Ballon was spouting. While I find the Pacific Research Institute highly suspect, I thought his points made a lot of sense. He is correct that government run enterprises tend to bog down due to the bureaucracy involved. Government should ordinarily set policy, and let the private sector do the build-out within those parameters. Finally in response to Carson Park Recycler above, insurance is one of the most regulated industries in the nation.
Mr. Ballon probably thinks that we’ve got a great health care system, since insurance corporations operate unfettered by government bureaucracies.