This piece originally appeared in Capitol Weekly.
The California Public Utilities Commission should be applauded for its efforts to help California lead in advancing “broadband for all.” But misguided CPUC rulemaking on service quality threatens to reverse years of progress.
Policymakers, local communities and wireless service providers all share the CPUC’s goal of increasing coverage in rural and tribal lands, where geography and terrain make it challenging and expensive to expand broadband. But more regulation won’t help achieve this. It will take all of us working together to remove barriers that prevent the building of infrastructure that supports connectivity in these hard-to-reach places.
Service quality metrics that track outages and dropped calls do not solve the largest roadblock to closing the digital divide: access. In fact, imposing new metrics will further widen the gap between the haves with connection and the have-nots.