Infrastructure as Public Good
Broadband is infrastructure — like highways, if not railroads. If you rely upon "markets" alone to provide infrastructure, you'll get less of it, and at a higher price.
Yeah, if you didn’t subsidize infrastructure, and people had to pay for it on a cost basis, they might actually have to make rational decisions of how much to consume based on the cost of providing it. Awful, huh?
Then, you might be buying something from a small factory 15 miles away, instead of from a big factory 1000 miles away that’s able to invade the local market because highway subsidies make it artificially competitive. You might be buying produce from a local farmer, instead of from corporate agribusiness plantations in California using subsidized irrigation water from the Army Corps of Engineers and shipping their food cross-country on subsidized highways. And without subsidized transportation to piggyback on, Wal-Mart’s artificially efficient high-speed and -volume distribution system might not be able to drive local retailers out of business.
Awful, just awful.