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2/13/2013


You need to watch this episode of Moyers and Company…

Filed under: News — Charlie Summers @ 2:08 am

…especially if you have Internet access (and if you don’t, how are you reading this?).

Look, I whine a lot in this space about how Internet access in the United States is pitifully slow compared to other parts of the developed world, and folks tend to ho-hum. But 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 shows how the U.S. 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.

An example from the show: “It’s fair to say that the U.S. at the best is in the middle of the pack when it comes to both the speed and cost of high speed internet access connections. So in Hong Kong right now you can get a 500 megabit symmetric connection that’s unimaginably fast from our standpoint for about 25 bucks a month. In Seoul, for $30 you get three choices of different providers of fiber in your apartment. And they come in and install in a day because competition’s so fierce. In New York City there’s only one choice, and it’s 200 bucks a month for a similar service. And you can’t get that kind of fiber connection outside of New York City in many parts of the country. Verizon’s only serving about 10 percent of Americans. So let’s talk about the wireless side for a moment, you know, the separate marketplace that people use for mobility. In Europe you can get unlimited texting and voice calls and data for about $30 a month, similar service from Verizon costs $90 a month. That’s a huge difference.”

Seriously…watch this episode.

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