Best Practices/Big Ideas

Make broadband affordable and competitive by eliminating price gouging at the wholesale level.

Want to know why high speed Internet service is so expensive in the US compared to the rest of the world? Or why many ISPs must throttle, ration, and/or cap bandwidth usage to avoid being unprofitable? Many, if not most, American citizens do not realize that it's because the wholesale costs which providers themselves must pay are needlessly high. Because the FCC has not yet acted on the issue of "special access" pricing, incumbents who control the "middle mile" have been able to foreclose competition, collect monopoly rents, increase what nearly everyone pays for broadband (especially in rural areas), and slow deployment by making it economically difficult or even infeasible.

This is something which the FCC could do today, even before the Broadband Plan is released; in fact, it could report positive progress to Congress as part of the Plan if it did so. (It has had a docket open on the issue since 2005.) The FCC should act now within its current authority, and -- in the plan -- ask Congress to extend its authority in this crucial area. It's necessary to serve consumers.

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Idea No. 51