The world of fiber optic connections reaching neighborhoods, homes, and businesses will represent as great a change from what came before as the advent of electricity. The virtually unlimited amounts of data we’ll be able to send and receive through fiber optic connections will enable a degree of virtual presence that will radically transform health care, education, urban administration and services, agriculture, retail sales, and offices. Yet all of those transformations will pale compared with the innovations and new industries that we can’t even imagine today. In a fascinating account combining policy expertise and compelling on-the-ground reporting, Susan Crawford reveals how the giant corporations that control cable and internet access in the United States use their tremendous lobbying power to tilt the playing field against competition, holding back the infrastructure improvements necessary for the country to move forward. And she shows how a few cities and towns are fighting monopoly power to bring the next technological revolution to their communities.
About the Author
Susan Crawford is the John A. Reilly Clinical Professor at Harvard Law School. She is also the author of Captive Audience: The Telecom Industry and Monopoly Power in the New Gilded Age.
“A timely and urgent look at how America is sacrificing its digital future, productivity, connectivity, social mobility, entrepreneurial growth, education, and every other public good, thanks to rapacious telcos, scumbag lobbyists, and negligent, cash-hungry politicians. . . . You should be reading this.”—Cory Doctorow, Boing Boing
“Crawford convinces with impeccable journalism and empathetic portraits of rural communities and low-income cities in distress, the ails of which could be much alleviated by a large-scale federal investment in fiber optic connections . . . Crawford’s work is both refreshing and potent in how it clinically identifies the problem, and proposes a straightforward, feasible solution.” —Publishers Weekly
“Essential reading.” —Kirkus Reviews, (starred review)
“Crawford’s narrative is a damning indictment, grounded in facts, and a critically important story. But Fiber also offers a way out of connectivity misery.”—Viktor Mayer-Schönberger, Science
“Trenchant and personal.”—Foreign Affairs
“If we can just finish the last mile for fiber to reach into households, Susan Crawford shows, we can unleash a revolution of economic growth, education, and health, and address inequality in a whole new way. Crawford shifts effortlessly from the heights of policy to the literal ground level and shows us the way.”—Anthony Marx, President, New York Public Library
"By vividly describing a world filled with fiber-enabled technology as well as the perils and possibilities for achieving it, Susan Crawford has written a playbook for a fairer and more prosperous United States."—Andy Berke, Mayor, Chattanooga, Tennessee
“Engaging and accessible … An indictment of national regulatory politics and crony capitalism and a love story about the plucky local governments overcoming the odds to bring their own communities into the twenty-first century. A microcosm of what ails America—and what nonetheless can give us hope.”—Yochai Benkler, Harvard Law School