Bushwacked in the Internet

Paul Krugman, writing in the New York Times on July 23rd, made the point that, thanks to regulatory policy over the past 7 years, the US has dropped from being the world leader in per capita access to the Internet to somewhere past 10th place, depending on the details. The reason? The big phone and cable companies have been allowed to stifle the growth of bandwidth available and overcharge the customers of Internet services.

Specifically, Krugman states, “the United States made the same mistake in Internet policy that California made in energy policy: it forgot — or was persuaded by special interests to ignore — the reality that sometimes you can’t have effective market competition without effective regulation.”

Now I must admit that in the early days of telework I usually maintained that technology wasn’t the problem; organizational conservatism was far more important in obstructing the development of telework opportunities. That also was when much work could be accomplished by use of the telephone network.

But times have changed. Most “office” work today involves computers and high speed networking, wired or unwired. Your office is wherever you are if you have access to a quality telecommunications link. If you don’t have that access you may well be at a disadvantage.

Which is why, in the past few years while our government has been falling down on its job, the rest of the developed world is cleaning our clock. It used to be that high speed telecommunications was a service needed only by huge organizations. Therefore  telecommunications regulation was considered to be a fight among elephants. Unfortunately, that’s where it has stayed in the US; the squabbling has been about which big organization has the most control, not about how the best service can be delivered to individual citizens. The networks should be serving your interests, not special interests.

It is becoming increasingly urgent that you contact the FCC, your congresspeople, local and state regulatory authorities. Insist that they work harder on moving us into the 21st century instead of back to the 19th.

One thought on “Bushwacked in the Internet”

  1. Dear Jack,

    I’m very glad about your blog keeping us live on this subjects. Regarding connectivity, please check (if not done yet) this idea, created by an Argentinean exile (Martin Varsavsky): http://www.fon.com/en
    In my opinion, a revolution on wireless access that will challenge the big companies you mention.
    Best regards from BUE,

    Eduardo

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