Top Cable Lobbyist Argues Against Broadband as Utility - NYTimes.com - NYTimes.com: While the Internet and broadband systems were built “with the help of the government,” Mr. Powell said, “they have suffered terribly chronic underinvestment.” In 2002, when Mr. Powell was chairman of the F.C.C., the agency voted to regulate cable-modem broadband service as a lightly regulated “information service” rather than as a “common carrier.”Mr. Powell, a former U.S. Federal Communications Commission chairman, correctly diagnoses the poor state of American Internet telecommunications infrastructure in characterizing it as suffering from chronic underinvestment. But oddly, he offers the wrong remedy in declaring the government should take a hands off approach and avoid treating it as a common telecommunications carrier like landline telephone service, available to anyone who wishes to order it.
That's been the status quo since the 1996 Communications Act become law, leaving about a quarter or more of all premises without modern landline Internet access, with some still offered only dialup service that most Americans were using since before the law was enacted. Powell's tortured logic would suggest that requiring Internet service providers serve all premises will somehow make that sorry situation worse. It simply doesn't add up.