Is fiber optics to virtually all homes a sensible policy goal? Perhaps not. At least, so argue Professors Middleton and Given, who suggest that, although wireless broadband may not be as fast as fiber, its adoption will be more rapid because it offers other attractive characteristics. Mobile broadband may have a disruptive effect on the overall broadband market, making fiber to the home less attractive. If this is so, should universal service obligations be extended to mobile broadband? And should governments rethink their plans for a ubiquitous fiber optic infrastructure? Middleton and Given argue that they should.
Canada Research Chair in Communications Technologies in the Information Society, Ryerson University.
Professor of Media and Communications, Institute for Social Research, Swinburne University of Technology. This research was supported by a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada grant: Developing Next Generation Broadband Infrastructure: Learning from Australia's National Broadband Network.