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Government-Run Broadband: Will it Work this Time?

In “Th e Music Man,” Professor Harold Hill convinced the people of River City, Iowa that forming a band would protect the town’s boys from sin and corruption. In a modern replay, today’s music men are trying to convince cities that government-run broadband networks will bring economic, cultural, and educational benefi ts. Th ough it is not quite saving the youth from the iniquities of pool-playing, the government-run broadband promise is an equally hollow con. To date, government-run broadband has a consistent track record of over-promising and under-delivering. But $4.7 billion of stimulus under the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) and $4.2 billion for potential broadband-related ‘smart grid’ technologies is breathing new life into the government-run broadband movement...