Matt Lewis

Obama should lay out a national broadband policy vision during SOTU

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Matt K. Lewis
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      Matt K. Lewis

      Matt K. Lewis is a senior contributor to The Daily Caller, and a contributing editor for The Week. He is a respected commentator on politics and cultural issues, and has been cited by major publications such as The Washington Post and The New York Times. Matt is from Myersville, MD and currently resides in Alexandria, VA. Follow Matt K. Lewis on Twitter <a>@mattklewis</a>.

One issue I hope President Obama addresses during his State of the Union tomorrow night is expanding broadband. (When I say broadband, I mean any tool that increases Internet access; it could be wireless, wireline, LTE, or Satelitte.)

It’s not a conservative or liberal issue — and Obama has talked about it before. But the truth is we don’t have enough broadband capacity today — and there’s no way we are prepared to handle the demand that is coming tomorrow.

This transcends the problems you and I can expect to face when trying to stream ’30 Rock’ on Netflix. The implications regarding communications and cybersecurity are huge.

Laws, to the extent they are already in place, are archaic. Even just a couple decade ago, lawmakers couldn’t envision today’s online infrastructure.

Unfortunately, the answer isn’t just to do something. There are a lot of ways we can mess this up. For example, in the past, ATT provided a phone line to every home that wanted one — but they also had a subsidized monopoly.

Today’s policymakers must simultaneously avoid over-regulation, while also ensuring competition by preventing monopolies.

We can do this through the free market — but it will take a national policy vision to see a myriad issues involving taxation, immigration, transportation, and communications through a lens that asks: “Does this increase broadband deployment?

It’s time to start laying out that national policy vision.