Internet connectivity (the lower-level, packet-shipping parts) in the U.S. is presently in a transition from privately-held and operated ventures into fundamental infrastructure. This transition is following the historical paths taken by other aspect of our infrastructure, like water, gas, and the electrical grid. Each of these started out as a novel invention, and each became so essential to modern living and the economy that they became “infrastructure”.
The transition into infrastructure is never quick, nor easily accomplished. For example, it took social intervention — organized through government agencies and deployed via public-private partnerships — to complete rural electrification. The existing electric companies were strong influencers throughout the process. The effort gave rise to electric coops in areas where it was too costly for a single investor (e.g. a electric company) to build out.
It is past time to be thinking about this process, what it will mean, and how it will be accomplished. The transition already underway, yet the timeline remains indistinct. The starting point is to look at where we are now, both in terms of deployment and policy, and then to look towards a future of trusted, reliable, affordable, and ubiquitous connectivity on top of which communities and companies thrive. Please join!