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U.S. considers some “free” wireless broadband service | Reuters

March 10, 2010

Yes, I had to add the quotes in the headline, since Reuters’ writers apparently don’t understand how the price system works. See comments below excerpt.

The FCC provided few details about how it would carry out such a plan and who would qualify, but will make a recommendation under the National Broadband Plan set for release next week. The agency will determine details later.

One way of making broadband more affordable is to “consider use of spectrum for a free or a very low cost wireless broadband service,” the FCC said in a statement.

Full Article:

Contrary to popular belief – There is a way to make something “free” or “very low cost”:

Refuse to pay the cost.


Or perhaps pass a law that mandates a “very low price”.*

So the question is, which of the following seems the most just?

a) You evaluate the price of a service vs. the quality of a service, and choose whether that price is worth the trade off.


b) You are compelled by law to have a cost taken from you, and let a third party, who the cost won’t effect, determine the value of the trade off, as well as the quality of service you will receive.


c) You choose to force someone else** by law, who you don’t particularly like for some arbitrary reason to pay the costs of the service.


*Inevitably, the regulated “free” or “very low” price will cause demand to exceed supply -> leading to a shortage. A shortage, which could easily have been avoided had the price system been free to fluctuate and act as an indicator of the relative supply, demand, and cost of providing and maintaining a broadband WiFi network.
Unless, of course, the FCC rationed the supply of broadband access – as they already allude to doing by mentioning “…who would qualify.” Those, “who qualify” likely won’t be paying the real cost either. This scenario is option “c”, managed by the third party from option “b”, by the way.

**Whoever this person is, they are not like you. They could be a different race, sex, or occupation, but just for this example, let’s pick a random, high sounding level of yearly income. Higher than what you make, at least…

Posted via web from Andrew Colclough

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