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  • ILSR’S Christopher Mitchell on fighting monopolies

    Posted by DrRon Suarez on January 17, 2024 at 2:02 pm

    We asked our chatbot to summarize this article:

    Christopher Mitchell, the Director of the Community Broadband Networks Initiative, discusses the challenges and solutions to fighting monopoly power in the broadband internet industry in his document “Fighting Monopoly Power.” Key points from his discussion include:

    1. Monopoly Control Over Broadband: Mitchell highlights that the control of broadband infrastructure by a few corporations has led to many Americans being disconnected, underserved, or paying too much for substandard service. This monopoly control is particularly harmful to rural communities and communities of color.

    2. The Digital Divide: The lack of affordable and available broadband access has created a significant digital divide, impacting tens of millions of Americans. This divide hinders economic and civic participation and exacerbates inequality between prosperous and marginalized communities.

    3. Cable Companies’ Dominance: Mitchell points out that cable companies have dominated broadband access due to internal cost advantages, leaving them to control a significant portion of the market. This control allows these companies to lock customers into overpriced and underperforming service contracts.

    4. Impact of Telecom Monopolies: These monopolies have led to lost business growth, job creation, and economic opportunities, especially in rural areas. They also influence the entire economy by limiting access to high-speed internet, which is now a necessity for most businesses.

    5. Community Networks as a Solution: Mitchell advocates for community-scaled Internet Service Providers (ISPs), which are more effective at delivering fast, affordable, and reliable internet. These networks, built and maintained by cooperatives of users rather than corporate ISPs, promote digital equity by giving control and ownership to community members.

    6. Policy and Legislative Challenges: The document discusses the role of policymaking in the U.S., which has inadvertently favored the consolidation of telecom companies and impeded the development of community networks. There are barriers in 19 states against creating public options for broadband networks.

    7. Recommendations for Change: Mitchell suggests various measures to empower community broadband, such as giving local governments the freedom to build networks, allowing cities to issue bonds for broadband infrastructure, supporting smaller communities, and establishing broadband grant programs.

    8. Role of Municipal Networks: The paper also highlights the importance of municipal networks in offering resilient, affordable, and democratically governed internet access. These networks can disrupt the market controlled by monopoly ISPs and provide more transparent and equitable internet access.

    In summary, Mitchell’s work emphasizes the need for a shift towards community-owned and operated broadband networks to counter the monopolistic control of the broadband market, thereby enhancing digital equity and access.

    DrRon Suarez replied 1 month, 2 weeks ago 1 Member · 0 Replies
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