Let me try to get both of them, and all of you, on the same page in one sentence.
The Internet IS Your Economy.
Forget who does it, or who profits. Stop thinking of the Internet as some giant pie to be carved up by business, the government, and users.
The state of your Internet is the state of your economy. The more bandwidth you have, the more readily available it is, the richer you are. The less you have, the less available it is, the poorer you are. This is true for corporations, for nations, for individuals.
As ol’ Ross Perot used to say, it’s just that simple.
Now, we know how the Bells and cable operators are treating the Internet. It’s property. Their property. Their property which they may let you use, under terms and conditions, and for prices which they determine to be in their best business interest. Want better? Build your own.
Imagine if roads were run that way. (Amazingly, some politicians today want
to run roads that way again.) Imagine if your ability to get around
were under the control of some private entity, which manipulated your
ability to get around for its own private purposes.
You’d be pretty mad at that. This, by the way, is precisely how Third
World phone networks were run before the Internet. They were sinkholes
of corruption, hugely profitable for the concession holders, hugely
valuable to the tyrant of the moment. This is how Third World countries
stayed Third World for so long. (First commenter to get the name of the individual at the right correct gets a copy of my 2002 book, The Blankenhorn Effect.)
Now, thanks to the Internet, this is no longer the case. Now even
countries like Togo and Uganda understand the idea that, with
competition set up so as to encourage greater supply and lower prices,
everyone can benefit.
And we’re forgetting that. We’re ignoring that. We are deliberately
re-organizing ourselves, at the dawn of the Internet Age, as Third
World tinhorn dictators did for decades.
Unless you get mad right now, and demand change right now, that’s where
your children will be living. The Third World. We have fallen from
first in broadband to 16th in just five years. We are going to fall
further. Meanwhile, the Bells hoard bandwidth, dole it out with an
eye-dropper at eye-popping prices, and run ads to convince you
everything is hunky-dory. They then pay -off politicians, just as they
once paid off the Third World dictators, to convince you that everything is
Well, everything is not hunky-dory.