Document Type

Working Paper

Publication Date

2008

Center/Program

Kernochan Center for Law, Media and the Arts

Abstract

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.

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