The stimulus packages being worked up by governments the world over all seem to have a broadband component. Even the Sri Lanka government which barely has enough money to pay its bills, is thinking of launching a USD 100 million satellite for high speed Internet (I guess this means broadband?). Leaving aside the insanity of the Government of Sri Lanka operating satellites, even the other proposals to provide government subsidies to rollout fiber networks can have bad effects that need to be thought about, before taxpayer money is doled out. As the Economist points out:
Another drawback with big state subsidies for broadband is that they could distort the market and create regulatory problems. Fibre networks are already being built by private companies in many countries; the prospect of handouts might cause them to delay their plans, in the hope that the state will pay for things they were going to do anyway. Weaker operators, unable to finance new networks, would certainly like governments to come to their aid. To ensure that governments do not end up creating new monopolies, it makes sense to insist that any firm that builds a network using state subsidies must also open it to rivals, unpopular though this is with those lobbying for aid.