Multiple Use Network Infrastructure And Rights Of Way

Kudos to Craig Newmark for picking up on a story that I think is really, really important: running fiber optic cable through natural gas pipelines.

The cable can be inserted into a tube placed inside existing underground gas lines serving homes and businesses by cutting “small incisions in the streets,” Peevey said.

Think about it: most of the industries on which we spend much of our regulatory attention are network industries: electricity transmission, telephone wires, cable wires, natural gas pipelines. An important way to make these industries more contestable, and ultimately competitive, is to enable other firms to enter and compete with the regulated utility. Allowing companies that own rights of way and other networks to carry network infrastructure of other industries is an important step in making these network industries contestable.

Because, as I quoted Al Lowi as saying yesterday, natural monopoly is a myth.