Give a listen to Christopher Mitchell's interview on the public affairs radio program Minnesota This Week. Mitchell is director of the Telecommunications as Commons Initiative at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance.
Near the end of the interview, Mitchell advocated government loans and loan guarantees to telecom cooperatives similar to those made by the U.S. federal Rural Electrification Administration to electric power coops starting in the 1930s. Mitchell said this would be a better policy than subsidizing investor owned telcos.
Such subsidies, Mitchell suggested, don't provide sufficient incentive to and accountability of private providers to offer quality service and network upgrades. Since community based cooperatives don't have to earn a return for investors, they can concentrate solely on serving their members.