A Public Option for the Internet

Source: 
Author: 
Coverage Type: 

Abdul El-Sayed, who is running for governor of Michigan, just laid out an ambitious program that could serve as a model for states across the country. “MI-Fi” is a a public-public partnership in which the state would provide cities and municipalities with funding to share the cost of constructing their own high-speed broadband networks. These networks would then be run by the cities themselves—in some cases, in competition with private companies. Governments would charge users a fee to access the service, either by providing their own retail service or by outsourcing to a state-run internet service provider that would assist communities unable to handle their own service. Without shareholders or the profit motive, research suggests that this public internet would result in lower costs for consumers. El-Sayed’s plan, moreover, would create a series of smaller internet companies—rather than a large state monopoly—so there is little reason to believe that another behemoth, which would in turn create costs to support its expansive overhead, would be created. El-Sayed’s plan doesn’t just focus on rural communities—although it’s likely they would benefit the most from such a plan.


A Public Option for the Internet