Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Why Americans Pay More For Lousy Internet Service

Why US Internet access is slow, costly & unfair (video)

I don't know how much you are paying for your internet access, but almost everyone of my American friends complain of the usage restrictions, the slow connection and the over all price. The network itself has been slow to expand and offer access to rural and inner city America. As I have said, I live in a very rural part of France, but my ADSL service is cheap and extremely fast. We are at the end of the line here and the service is still via phone cables strung up along the road, so our biggest worry is the physical condition of the cables...About 2 years ago, I was having real problems with internet and phone connections. The France Telecom guys came out twice and then I was walking along the road and I heard a clicking sound over head...I found the problem, Mr. Boudy, the big farmer had strung his electrical cow line cable across the road using the phone pole! He was shorting out our service. So I called France Telecom, they came out again, fixed the problem and thanked me. Boudy was pissed because he got in trouble and had to come up with another solution for his cow line. The cow lines still cause me problems, but it's another thing all together. My neighbor has donkeys and his own electrical fence line which runs at one point along with Boudy's. When he first switched on his new system, my digital television service went out totally! The two lines in tandem were were broadcasting some kind of bizarre interference...it took a week to sort that out...I still have problems with AM, LW and Short Wave radio reception.
But I depend on the internet for so much now. I watch movies and stay in touch with the rest of the world and keep up to speed culturally all with the internet. Why is my service here so much better and cheaper than in the USA?
 A big part of the reason is that we have a lot more competition in here. It’s routine, in Europe, to get a broadband, phone, and cable TV package that starts at around $40 a month. And the phone package of course has unlimited calls domestically, and a lot of free calls internationally as well.
From Bill Moyers:

Susan Crawford, former special assistant to President Obama for science, technology and innovation, and author of Captive Audience: The Telecom Industry and Monopoly Power in the New Gilded Age, joins Bill to discuss how our government has allowed a few powerful media conglomerates to put profit ahead of the public interest — rigging the rules, raising prices, and stifling competition. As a result, Crawford says, all of us are at the mercy of the biggest business monopoly since Standard Oil in the first Gilded Age a hundred years ago.
“The rich are getting gouged, the poor are very often left out, and this means that we’re creating, yet again, two Americas, and deepening inequality through this communications inequality,” Crawford tells Bill.

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