Opinion: Google Fiber deal not in best interest of NC public

Occasionally I will post opposing opinions and different views about broadband services. This article below posits that broadband Internet provides no value to the community and individuals yet goes on to claim that such an asset should be owned by the government. 

The economic benefits to a broadband network are well documented and readily available if the writer chose to search and read them. I can definitely provide personal experiences how broadband Internet has enriched my life and made me more productive. Also, I take aim at why the government should own this network. With his logic, the government should own the other broadband networks as well. I quickly discounted the validity of his claim with his poor analogies and oxymoronic reasoning. I applaud Google for coming to town and introducing true competition in the markets that they enter.

BY DAWSON GAGE

The announcement of a deal with Google to bring ultra-fast Internet to the Triangle is being hailed like rain in the desert. Amid an economy that, flashes of optimism aside, remains in stagnation, we imagine that the super-fast Internet will super-charge our businesses, our schools, our very lives.

High-speed Internet doesn’t really improve the speed or, more importantly, the quality of how most of us do business –most of us don’t work for Netflix or engage in high-speed financial speculation. It also doesn’t make children learn faster or better – I somehow doubt that more HD streaming video will solve our education problems.

I rejoiced when my family first got broadband Internet when I was about 13, but I doubt it has made any of our lives richer or more productive. The usefulness of computers, for the most part, has little enough to do with how fast they are. No one wants delivery vans and school buses that go 20,000 mph.

In light of this, a massive dose of skepticism is appropriate. The upshot of the Google deal is that an enormously valuable piece of public infrastructure, which ought to be owned in common by the public, is handed over lock, stock and barrel to a private company based in California. This same company was deeply involved in the illegal, secret surveillance of all our Internet usage by the NSA. Its entire business model is founded on the premise that Google has the right to meticulously monitor and record every morsel of data that passes within its reach.

Do we in North Carolina share this premise?

Moreover, the law passed by the General Assembly to make public municipal Internet services illegal (save for that of Wilson, which was grandfathered in) is itself testament to the fact that public alternatives are feasible and sustainable. Indeed, at the time of that bill’s passage, the town of Chapel Hill was already laying its own high-speed fiber, which now presumably will be annexed by Google.

Continue Reading

About Mark Milliman

Mark Milliman is a Principal Consultant at Inphotonics Research driving the adoption and assisting local governments to plan, build, operate, and lease access open-access municipal broadband networks. Additionally, he works with entrepreneurs and venture capitalists to increase the value of their intellectual capital through the creation of strategic product plans and execution of innovative marketing strategies. With more than 22 years of experience in the telecommunications industry that began at AT&T Bell Laboratories, Mark has built fiber, cable, and wireless networks around the world to deliver voice, video, and data services. His thorough knowledge of all aspects of service delivery from content creation to the design, operation, and management of the network is utilized by carriers and equipment manufacturers. Mark conceived and developed one of the industry's first multi-service provisioning platform and is multiple patent holder. He is active in the IEEE as a senior member. Mark received his B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Iowa State University and M.S. in Electrical Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University.
Bookmark the permalink.