Why the government should provide Internet access

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A Q&A with Susan Crawford, Former Special Assistant to President Obama on Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy.

When asked why there should be a public option for Internet access, Crawford replied: “We need a public option for Internet access because Internet access is just like electricity or a road grid. This is something that the private market doesn't provide left to its own devices. What they'll do is systematically provide extraordinarily expensive services for the richest people in America, leave out a huge percentage of the population and, in general, try to make their own profits at the expense of social good.”

The private market cannot sufficiently provide these options because as private entities, rather than equitable distribution, they will always be seeking the highest reward. “They're going to leave out less wealthy areas and places that are more remote,” she explained. “But we're one country and every American needs this access just the same way every American needed a telephone line.”

Crawford sees the Internet as a utility that will provide a changing platform that should be adaptable to future networks. What is required to make this happen, ultimately, is leadership, according to Crawford, noting that infrastructure issues are bipartisan by nature.

Why the government should provide Internet access