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let's unpack the unpack.

> Wireless infrastructure is immature and [the government can't spend].

The exact same thing could be said for the computer industry in the 40s and 50s, which was almost entirely funded by the government, precisely because only it could spend enough money for big risk long term stuff. Ditto the internet itself. Ditto the airplane. Therefore there is ample evidence that the government can spend, and spend big, on strategic stuff, and there is ample evidence that, over decades, it pays off bigtime.

> capital expenses are high, recoup etc

That's why you want the government in, because it has a much longer investment recoup horizon, and the government, unlike private networks, benefits from the general indirect economic growth advantages of good mobile infrastructure. That's precisely why it is the government that builds roads, often at a project-specific NPV loss, but at a huge NPV positive for the economy, which it taxes. In other words, only the government is able to capture the collateral positives of good infrastructure, giving it a higher incentive to spend more than private companies.

> competitive cycle rinse repeat etc

Quarterly targets are a strong disincentive to long term capital intensive projects. Most such projects undertaken by the private sector have, at a minimum, government concessions to allow restriction of competition, pricing guarantees, or outright government financial support. Notice the whole thing where municipalities cannot expand their internet service? There you go.

In general the whole dogma that the government is always useless at everything, is very pre-2008, ie. dangerously incorrect.

Not sure about the downvotes, unless it's because of the new HN motto where everyone downvotes things they disagree with.

<In general the whole dogma that the government is always useless at everything, is very pre-2008, ie. dangerously incorrect.>

You set up a good strawman. And the implication that since 2008 (what exactly happened there?) we're somehow more capable of having well run, long term, government projects in the US is not supported by much evidence.

Yes, government can have a longer recoup horizon; but it also has an extremely short political horizon. If something doesn't succeed on the first attempt, it becomes fodder for whichever party is in power and supported it.

And while government has had successes in the past, as the investment folks remind us, is no guarantee of future successes, especially in something as complicated as creating a continent-wide wireless infrastructure. Imagine the cost, the rent-seeking, the cronyism, the NIMBYism that will infect such a project.

Government is not an agency like DARPA that is free to investigate and develop technologies without concern for budgets and satisfying constituents. Look at how politicized the FCC is. Imagine handing it perhaps the largest communication system in the world, and expecting it to manage it. Keep it upgraded. Understand which technologies are worth something, and ones which are dead ends. Oh, and make sure Grandma in Broken Bow, Nebraska has as good a connection as someone in Berkeley or San Diego.

And back to your strawman; show me large Federally run government programs implemented since 2008 that are on budget, meeting original goals, and not having huge unintended side effects.

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