It’s a dog-eat-dog world out there. And the Corporate Wolves are loving it.
Now, don’t mistake me for a left-wing, socialist hippie. I’m just a blue-collar person tired of paying more than the Frogs for necessary services. Yes, the internet is necessary.
In a time (and a country) where democracy is touted as the best form of government in the world, you’d think that the internet, the most democratic innovation of the 21st century, would be equally accessible to all. Unfortunately it’s not, and as is evidenced by my own deathly slow DSL connection and my increasing dependence on the free wireless at the local library, the best internet access remains inaccessible to a large number of people.
Comcast, Time Warner, and Verizon are the only companies large enough to be able to afford the expense of extending high-speed fiber to homes across the U.S., and the lack of competition allows them to get their money’s worth. (For more information on this instance of the failure of capitalism, see Professor Yochai Benkler’s op-ed.) Everyone knows that cable and internet bills are extremely expensive, and I did the comparison- it would cost me more than my health insurance to get connected every month. Which is why I was excited to hear that Google has it in the works to experimentally provide broadband service to at least 50,000 (and possibly up to 500,000) homes.
Google is the only company with enough resources to even begin to make a mark in the market, and if they wanted to take their initiative even further, they could take a page from the European playbook and share the cost of laying new fiber with future competitors, which would allow them to reach an even larger audience. Their Android platform is already doing a good job of giving the iPhone a run for its money (don’t worry, I’m still a Mac person), and I hope for all our sakes that they can get this new project off the ground and to a level where even I can reap the benefits.