It’s hard to pick up a business or technology magazine without reading how the United States is falling behind in broadband telecommunications. After the requisite bemoaning of our low and falling rank, these articles usually close with a vague and ill-defined plea for policy makers to do more to accelerate broadband deployment and take-up.
What is all too often missing from the debate over broadband is a case for why public policy should focus on broadband. After all, a host of other cool digital technologies have been recently introduced, but there is no talk of an iPod gap or the need for a national Blu-Ray player strategy. But broadband is different in two key ways. First, it is a not just a consumer technology like the iPod