Várias cidades ao redor do mundo, especialmente na Ásia, já oferecem broadband em altíssimas velocidades com preços baixos. As cidades que possuem broadband acabam sendo favorecidas para novos negócios e para atrair moradores da mesma maneira que a eletrificação de algumas cidades trazia oportunidades para elas no século passado.
O impacto disso é que a inovação tecnológica de produtos e serviços acaba acontecendo nos lugares onde o broadband é lugar comum (veja o documentário sobre a Coréia do Sul no blog do Om Malik).
O problema é que as operadoras se recusam a oferecer para o governo conectividade de alta velocidade, pois sabe que o governo abandonaria a telefonia convencional rapidamente num ambiente de acessibilidade plena por IP, sendo obrigada a perder margem e dividir receitas com outras empresas numa nova cadeia de valor.
E o paralelo como a energia elétrica é incrivelmente forte, como mostra este trecho do artigo apontado:
Borrowing from Richard Rudolph and Scott Ridley's 1986 book, Power Struggle: The Hundred-Year War Over Electricity, Baller showed that when electricity first became available in the 1880s, privately owned utilities marketed “the new technology as synonymous with wealth, power and privilege,” lighting large cities, businesses, and the homes of the rich. Electricity also allowed factories to stay open 24 hours a day, and led to the institution of swing shifts. But communities that didn't have electricity couldn't produce as much, and couldn't keep up with urban competitors. Rural communities were left with the choice of forming a government-owned utility or being left in the dark. Even big cities like Detroit built municipal power systems to cut prices and extend service. In response, private utility companies responded with a massive propaganda and misinformation campaign that attacked advocates of municipal power as “un-American,” “Bolshevik,” and “an unholy alliance of radicals.”
But the expansion of electricity, Baller argued, showed that the presence—or even threat—of competition from the public sector is one of the surest ways to secure quality service and reasonable prices from private enterprises delivering critical public services. FDR, he notes, called municipal power systems “a birch rod in the cupboard, to be taken out and used only when the child gets beyond the point where more scolding does any good.”
And Roosevelt picked up the birch rod himself. In 1935, he created the Rural Electrification Administration (REA), which gave loans and other help to small towns and farmer cooperatives interested in setting up their own power systems. The REA turned out to be one of the New Deal's most successful programs. Within two years, hundreds of new municipal power utilities were up and running across the country, and within 20 years, virtually all of rural America had electricity, provided either by rural co-ops or big utilities spurred to action by municipal competition. Baller concluded: “The plain, hard truth is that universal electric service would never have developed on a timely basis in the absence of municipally owned electric utilities and rural electric cooperatives”—which still account for more than a quarter of the power in the country today.