What is fascinating about the utter failure of our duopoly of two parties is how they have failed to even do the little things rights. You would hope that, while wasting hundreds of billions, the two parties could at least offer a modicum of help for citizens. This week’s report from Ookla Speedtest offers one clear example. The United States ranked behind Estonia, Hungary, Slovakia, and Uruguay. We are 31st in the world.
So here is a no-brainer. Faster Internet is better for citizens and businesses. It is offered free in many countries or at low cost. In the United States, it is subject to endless charges and differing speeds. Due the utter failure of Congress to deal with this issue, cities are now trying to move to supply high-speed Internet.
To give you an idea of how bad we are in this study, the best Internet services are found in Hong Kong with a download speed of 72.49 Mbps. We are 20.77 Mbps. It is fighting that we are behind Slovakia since that country also recently ranked higher than the United States in press freedoms.
The reason is simple — lobbyists from the telecommunication companies are one of the most powerful groups in Washington. Few members dare to resist them. Companies Comcast, Time Warner, Verizon, and AT&T have controlled different areas of the country to maximize profits and resist improvements. These lobbyists — and their pocket members — passed the 1996 Telecommunications Act with the promise that it would foster competition. Instead, it allowed them to divide markets and merge into effective monopolies — imposing higher charges and lower quality services. For example, fiber optic infrastructure which is a priority in other countries have been largely abandoned by most companies to avoid the costs. Then again, no one seriously expects us to compete with Estonia and Uruguay on technology, right?
When I lived in Chicago under the original Richard Daley, everyone would acknowledge that the machine was ripping off everything that was not nailed down but at least they kept the streets clear of snow. I never thought I would look back to that period as an example of good government. However, we have too many politicians who place the public interest well below party and personal interests. They cannot even guarantee the most basic public programs that clearly would benefit not only citizens but the economy. There is just no advantage in our political duopoly in confronting our business monopolies.
Source: The Week