Arnold Kling

Five Routes for the Last Mile?

Arnold Kling, Great Questions of Economics
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In this Business Week interview, FCC Chairman Michael Powell does not sound terribly sympathetic to the idea that progress in broadband deployment requires breaking up the Bells into wholesale and retail units.

Right now, [for broadband] you have a choice of a telephone-based provider -- DSL -- or a cable provider ...there's probably going to be a satellite company that can deliver high-speed data, too

...when we talk about advanced wireless, we're talking about broadband. We'll see that fourth platform provider. And I'm ready to say there will be a fifth. Somebody is going to [figure out how to] use the electrical grid as a broadband platform.

Discussion Question.Powell's argument is that allowing the Bells to be monopolists in DSL will do no harm if they face competition from other "last mile" broadband providers. How can we evaluate whether there is sufficient competition?

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