I've got a lot to say about the whole cartoon jihad, but I haven't been able to get the words down for a number of reasons. One reason is that things have been happening so fast, papers have been publishing, riots, new viewpoints, etc. Also, my life has been a little busier than usual, but the most important problem I've been having is that my DSL service is very bad. I had Verizon at one time and switched to AOL. Now the AOL has been in the dumper for a week. I can't even bring up my Blogger site without timing out. I'm beginning to doubt whether I have things set up properly. I'm also suspecting AOL of doing nasty things to sabotage Blogger. In short, I'm getting paranoid. I've also been told that switching from Verizon to AOL has nothing to do with the connection. It's just an accounting change. Ooooo!
The broadband issue is apparently a big deal internationally. Other countries are doing better. Here's an excellent posting on Sunfell putting the blame on George Bush's penchant for cronyism.
The countries surpassing the United States in broadband deployment did so by using a combination of public entities and private firms. The Japanese built their world-class system by ensuring "open access" to residential telephone lines, meaning competitors paid the same wholesale price to use the wires. The country is also establishing a super-fast, nationwide fiber system via a combination of tax breaks, debt guarantees and subsidies. But of particular note, the Japanese government also encouraged municipalities to build their own networks, especially in rural areas. Towns and villages willing to set up their own ultra-high-speed fiber networks received government subsidies covering approximately one-third of their costs.
Unfortunately, the United States has pursued the opposite policy. President Bush has called for "universal, affordable access for broadband technology by the year 2007," and FCC Chairman Kevin Martin claims broadband deployment is his "highest priority." But they have made no progress toward these goals; in fact, they have rewarded their corporate cronies for maintaining high prices, low speeds and lackluster innovation. Federal policies have not merely failed to correct our broadband problems, they have made them worse. Instead of encouraging competition, the FCC has allowed DSL providers and cable companies to shut out competitors by denying access to their lines. And whereas the Japanese government encourages individual towns to set up their own "Community Internet," Washington has done nothing. Fourteen states in the United States now have laws on the books restricting cities and towns from building their own high-speed Internet networks. No wonder America is falling behind its Asian competitors.
I'm thinking of going with ComCast at this point. Or blogging from the library.
2/8/2006 7:58 PM