Policy Papers

Scientific American’s Flawed Broadband Analysis


The Scientific American editorial oversimplifies a complicated issue and exhibits a partial understanding of the facts, at best. Not only does it rely on superficial comparisons, it wrongly assumes that residential wireline broadband is a primary indicator of a country‟s competitiveness in the information economy. More importantly, however, it focuses on the wrong issues, thereby further distracting policymakers from more urgent broadband policy “to-dos.”

Editorials like Scientific American’s help to keep us mired in the seemingly endless debate over net neutrality and infrastructure sharing as the broadband world moves on. The best thing policymakers could do to improve U.S. broadband is to move spectrum into the market to make it easier for existing carriers to offer better services, and cheaper for new competitors to enter the market. Eliminating barriers to wireless broadband growth is far more relevant to the future of broadband and national competitiveness than is the availability or price of 100 Mbps residential broadband.