America's communications infrastructure is stuck at a copper wall. For the vast majority of homes, copper wires remain the principal means of getting broadband services. The deployment of fiber optic connections to the home would enable exponentially faster connections, and few dispute that upgrading to more robust infrastructure is essential to America's economic growth. However, the costs of such an upgrade are daunting for private sector firms and even for governments. These facts add up to a public policy challenge.
Our intuition is that an innovative model holds unrealized promise: household investments in fiber. Consumers may one day purchase and own fiber connections that run from their homes. They would then be able to connect to a variety of service providers, including today's Internet, television, and telephone services, as well as ultra-bandwidth intensive services of the future. Consumers would have the opportunity not only to get a fast broadband connection, but also benefit from greater competition and lower prices in the retail service market.
Communications Law | Internet Law | Law
Kernochan Center for Law, Media and the Arts
Tim Wu & Derek Slater,
Homes with Tails: What if You Could Own Your Internet Connection?,
CommLaw Conspectus: Journal of Communications Law & Technology Policy, Vol. 18, p. 67, 2009; New America Foundation Wireless Future Program Working Paper No. 23
Available at: https://scholarship.law.columbia.edu/faculty_scholarship/1565