the free market is great, except when it’s not.
here’s a perfect example: municipal internet.
minneapolis is one of a few cities in the country that has rolled out a municipal wifi network. the price is decent, but the I’ve heard nothing good about the reliability. did you know, in stockholm, for example, that 100mbps internet is $11/month?
I pay ~$60/month for 12mbps down/2 up service from comcast. If I had a better option, I’d switch. The other options are:
Qwest, 1.5 down/.768 up is $40 (for those of us who don’t want their overpriced home phone service)
Or, I could pay $30/month for 6/1 service via the minneapolis wifi if I sign up for a 2-year contract.
So, why didn’t minneapolis focus on building a city-wide fiber optic network that could be resold to private companies?
Because private companies fight it tooth and nail. Americans pay more for their broadband than just about every other developed country. Think comcast, qwest or us internet want to compete with 100mbps service?