Sept. 21, 2014 SIGN IN | REGISTER

Luken: Economic Growth? There's an App for That

Still others argue that there is not enough competition and that broadband Internet should adopt European-style pricing and other regulations because some Europeans play less for Internet service. But massive taxpayer subsidies built many of those broadband networks - a state ownership-and-control policy that virtually no U.S. policymaker supports.  Nor should they - the taxman recoups from consumers whatever is saved on their broadband bills.

Others say that local governments should get into the business of building broadband networks because they might be able to undercut existing prices. But local government-owned broadband networks have been tried, in cities as large as Philadelphia and Chicago and as small as St. Cloud, Fla., and nearly every case has ended up in failure with budget overruns and debt, inferior networks and a lack of consumer interest.

The most important parts of our everyday lives - driving our cars, grocery shopping, our children's education and many more - are becoming vastly more convenient and efficient because of the broadband revolution. And these thousands of flowers bloom in large part because the government has mostly adopted a light touch on broadband and allowed this magical ecosystem to flourish.

Charlie Luken is a former Democratic Member of the House and served as mayor of Cincinnati from 1983 to 1991 and from 1999 to 2005. He is now senior counsel at Calfee, Halter and Griswold, a Cleveland-based law firm.

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