Affordable high-speed Internet access would bring us
jobs, community, “online commerce and services, the ability to reach world
markets, to invent and innovate, to learn and communicate” and
“a wealth of economic activity and information”
writes Susan Crawford, a very savvy and experienced communications law professor
who has been recommended by many as a potential chair of the FCC,
who also explains why we aren’t currently getting it.
The Diane Rehm Show 10 January 2013,
Susan Crawford: “Captive Audience”,
and that’s the title of her book,
Captive Audience: The Telecom Industry and Monopoly Power in the New Gilded Age,
The sea change in policy that led to the current situation has
been coordinated over the past twenty years by legions of lobbyists,
hired-guneconomists, and credulous regulators. The cable companies
have no incentive to upgrade their core network hardware to ensure
that advanced ﬁberconnections are available to every home
throughout the country. Communications companies describe globally
competitive high-speed access as aluxury, just as the private
electricity companies did a century ago.
Yet communications services are now as important as electricity.
Today if you asked American mayors what technology they most want
for their city, the majority would say, “affordable high-speed
Internet access.” And they want these networks not simply for
the jobs created to construct them but because the Internet brings
the world to their community.
High-speed Internet access gives towns
and cities online commerce and services, the ability to reach world
markets, to invent and innovate, to learn and communicate. It brings
a wealth of economic activity and information.
But despite these
manifold beneﬁts, Americans continue to treat such services as the
exclusive domain of private monopolies and as luxuries
obtainable only by the wealthy.
Not coincidentally, the United States has fallen from the forefront