“Bi-Partisan” Infrastructure Bill Allocates $40 Billion for Government-Owned Internet
Who wants the government tracking your personal broadband usage or what web pages that you view?
With government-owned internet service, the government will potentially know everything about you and your private business.
Included in the “bi-partisan” infrastructure bill was $65 billion for broadband projects. This included $42.5 billion earmarked for municipal efforts, despite numerous examples of government-owned broadband boondoggles and failures.
While supporters of government-owned networks (GON) will argue that they’re needed because the private sector won’t build them, broadband providers have spent more than $1.6 trillion since 1996 to build and improve networks, a 71% growth in rural broadband, according to Taxpayers Protection Alliance.
In spring 2021, President Joe Biden proposed spending $100 billion on broadband and the administration is serious about the effort. The second-most-highly paid White House official is its broadband czar.
In the last 10 years, there have been dozens of GON proposed in municipalities and states across the country, some of which died before they got started, while others were sold at a loss to private companies, according to Reason Magazine.
In Kentucky, a 2015 plan was to build a GON over more than 3,000 miles for an estimated $350 million and be completed by 2016.
An audit four years later found that the stalled project cost taxpayers at least $1.5 billion, thanks to cost overruns, consultant fees, and a crooked bidding process that gave contracts to political connections instead of to people who could do the job quickly and well.
The government networks that remain are nearly obsolete because 5G wireless connections and other private-sector innovations offer competitive speeds and better prices.
So what does government plan to do? Pour $42.5 billion into more of these projects.
Before Congress allows that funding to be passed, it should consider whether the private sector is already serving its customers well and whether government needs to be involved at all.
The #WasteOfTheDay is presented by the forensic auditors at OpenTheBooks.com.