Now that the White House, Congress, and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) are getting serious about rural broadband deployment — in contrast to the past eight years — it is time to develop strategies that actually make positive impacts. Policies for rural broadband have seemed random the past eight years: billions of stimulus dollars were thrown at unneeded and failed projects, the FCC expanded failing systems such as Lifeline, the Obama White House and the FCC moved to limit the profitability of rural broadband, and the FCC chose an arbitrary definition for broadband. These failed policies wasted billions of dollars and did little to help rural communities gain broadband connectivity. It is time to let markets lead the way.
Fake news has become a cause célèbre and fighting it has attracted some powerful players. Facebook just launched its “disputed” tag for possible fake news, and Google has promised to also go on the attack. But can current tech firms really stop or even slow down fake news? Probably not. Frankly, these firms’ business models enable the economic engine that powers fake news, and the demand for a social media site’s version of the truth is probably quite low.