An excellent article by Thomas Bleha on ICT in the United States. The state of our internet and telecommunications infrastructure is a complete and utter joke. We are supposed to be happy and greatful for our 3mb service (in reality 2.6mb at best)? And that’s just for download (in good areas and with good ISPs and telecommunications’ "spokes") with a marked decrease in upload (no wonder my outbox seems to hang).
Before Bleha’s article came out, I was talking to the local phone repairman who was working on the wires in my house about the sporadic internet outages I was experiencing. He said a few years ago he and the rest of the repair(wo)men were being trained on fiber optics that were just about to be laid but then the buyout happened and those plans were shelved. Nearly a decade after that buyout and fiber that was about to be laid still isn’t.
In the first three years of the Bush administration, the United States dropped from 4th to 13th place in global rankings of broadband Internet usage. Today, most U.S. homes can access only "basic" broadband, among the slowest, most expensive, and least reliable in the developed world, and the United States has fallen even further behind in mobile-phone-based Internet access. The lag is arguably the result of the Bush administration’s failure to make a priority of developing these networks. In fact, the United States is the only industrialized state without an explicit national policy for promoting broadband. Things changed when the Bush administration took over in 2001 and set new priorities for the country: tax cuts, missile defense, and, months later, the war on terrorism. In the administration’s first three years, President George W. Bush mentioned broadband just twice and only in passing. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) showed little interest in opening home telephone lines to outside competitors to drive down broadband prices and increase demand.