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Going Wireless

By Matthew Yglesias  

"Going Wireless"

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Nancy Scola on the new National Broadband Strategy: “At first read, this 350-page-plus planning document is probably going to disappoint many people.” I, by contrast, will be one of the many people who doesn’t have the patience to read a 350+ page planning document! But Scola says a non-disappointing part is that “the FCC is pushing forward with a wireless auction that would reward licensees for selling back the slices of the national airwaves they no longer have a need for.”

That sounds like a good idea to me. People sometimes use the United States’ relatively low population density as an excuse for our merely-middling broadband speeds. That doesn’t add up, since our speeds aren’t great in the dense parts of the country either. But providing “last mile” broadband service to rural areas is still legitimately hard to do, and putting wires everywhere doesn’t see very practical. I believe there are some physical constraints to how much you can really do with wireless broadband, but with better spectrum-management you could still get decent service to a lot of folks who these days can’t really get online.

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