Monday, September 19, 2011

Internet Service and US Infrastructure

Government makes a difference. The political right in the US argues that government should be shrunk to fit in a bathtub where it can be strangled. But government provides the rules and the infrastructure for a civilized society. Thanks to the Republicans, the US standard of living is falling fast.

Here is the state of Internet service in the US. From a post by
The New York Times reported on Wednesday that the U.S. has sunk to 25th in a global ranking of Internet speeds, just behind Romania.

Why? Because our nation's regulators abandoned an earlier commitment to foster competition in the marketplace for Internet access providers.

In the years that followed the signing of the 1996 Telecommunications Act, lobbyists working for powerful providers like AT&T, Comcast and Verizon pressured a compliant FCC to tear down all of the important safeguards established by Congress.

Under the Bush administration, the FCC tossed out competitive broadband safeguards such as open-access requirements, which opened lines to other providers. In 2002 the agency declared that high-speed cable Internet access would no longer be considered a telecommunications service that opened the network to competitors, but rather an “information service” that did not. Following a 2005 court decision, the FCC also reclassified broadband delivered by the phone companies as an “information service.”

These were radical policy shifts that went against the long-held assumption that open communications in competitive markets were essential to economic growth and innovation.
Sadly, the right has whipped up propaganda that has taken a large proportion of the mind share in the US. In amongst the "hooray!" screams for Rick Perry's record of executions, there is a constant drum of propaganda for tax cuts and loosened regulations to "let the job creators" grow the economy. Funny. They've been unleashed for 30 years and the state of the US economy is now worse than it was in the 1960s and 1970s. So much for "job creators", a slick nickname for "fat cats sucking the life blood out of the economy".

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