Because broadband is on the agenda for the April 6 County Council meeting, I’m thinking and writing about the issue again. Los Alamos County has spent a lot of Council and Staff effort and some money studying and talking about the communication business here since the 1990s. Over several years I’ve read a few sources about the communication business, and recently I did some searching as I set up this blog. I’ve found that people are saying that in the United States we are paying more for worse service than much of the rest of the world because each region is served by unregulated monopolies. In other words we are being charged monopoly rents. However, I have not seen a serious study that estimates the amount of those rents. I contacted two experts, Christopher Mitchell at the Institute for Local Self Reliance and Professor Susan Crawford at the Harvard Law School, and asked how to estimate those rents in Los Alamos County. They each
suggested that I contact Joanne Hovis at CTC (https://www.ctcnet.us/). Here are replies from Dr. Hovis to a couple of emails:
I wish I had a resource to which I could direct you but I don’t
know that anyone has done that analysis. It would be a valuable
contribution to the field if it were undertaken.
I appreciate you thinking of us, but I would recommend you speak to an economist on that. I suspect their work would be more persuasive on that kind of issue than that of a consultant like us.
So CTC has experience and expertise on technology, but not economics or business.
It would be nice to have an estimate of the monopoly rents that we as a community are paying because that amount is the floor for what we should spend to get better service.