The Corner

Broadband Competition is Working

Until very recently, it’s been a commonplace to suggest that America’s big incumbent cable companies will never build high-speed Internet for the masses without government intervention. Widely respected scholars have argued that we need an “industrial policy” for high-speed Internet access, lest we fall behind other countries. When critics have replied that what we really need are innovative firms to compete with the broadband incumbents, not regulation or industrial policy, they’ve been dismissed as naïve, or as shills for industry. But as Michael Hendrix reported in NRO in December, the advent of Google Fiber has lit a fire under the cable giants. When Google decided to offer its own high-speed Internet service, and when it managed to get municipalities to relax some of their rigid regulations in the process, companies like Comcast and TimeWarner immediately moved to upgrade their service. Tim Lee of Vox has more on how Comcast, TimeWarner, and AT&T are adapting to the Google Fiber threat, and how Google Fiber is prodding the cable incumbents to upgrade their service even in markets that Google Fiber has yet to enter. (And Klint Finley of Wired has more on Comcast’s plans in particular.) 

Can we expect the partisans of regulation and taxpayer-financed broadband to say that they were wrong, and that what we really needed was for a disruptive new entrant to raise expectations and persuade local governments to allow them to do crazy things like build fiber in neighborhoods with a high enough level of demand to support new service? Or can we expect them to ignore these new developments and keep pushing the same policies? 

Reihan Salam — Reihan Salam is executive editor of National Review and a National Review Institute policy fellow.

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

Students’ Anti-Gun Views

Are children innocents or are they leaders? Are teenagers fully autonomous decision-makers, or are they lumps of mental clay, still being molded by unfolding brain development? The Left seems to have a particularly hard time deciding these days. Take, for example, the high-school students from Parkland, ... Read More
Elections

Romney Is a Misfit for America

Mitt’s back. The former governor of Massachusetts and occasional native son of Michigan has a new persona: Mr. Utah. He’s going to bring Utah conservatism to the whole Republican party and to the country at large. Wholesome, efficient, industrious, faithful. “Utah has a lot to teach the politicians in ... Read More
Law & the Courts

What the Second Amendment Means Today

The horrifying school massacre in Parkland, Fla., has prompted another national debate about guns. Unfortunately, it seems that these conversations are never terribly constructive — they are too often dominated by screeching extremists on both sides of the aisle and armchair pundits who offer sweeping opinions ... Read More
U.S.

Fire the FBI Chief

American government is supposed to look and sound like George Washington. What it actually looks and sounds like is Henry Hill from Goodfellas: bad suit, hand out, intoning the eternal mantra: “F*** you, pay me.” American government mostly works by interposition, standing between us, the free people at ... Read More
Film & TV

Black Panther’s Circle of Hype

The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) first infantilizes its audience, then banalizes it, and, finally, controls it through marketing. This commercial strategy, geared toward adolescents of all ages, resembles the Democratic party’s political manipulation of black Americans, targeting that audience through its ... Read More