Well, I did write the footnote...and the header...

I did not write this, but it echoes my sentiment pretty much exactly. I don't have the cable, I don't have the DSL, I don't have the home phone service. Maybe I'm picky, but until more consumers demand more from the telecommunications giants, we'll have more of the same. I used "more" way too much in that sentence. From this article at Salon.com, via an article on the issue of net neutrality at this place.

Next time you sit down to pay your cable-modem or DSL bill, consider this: Most Japanese consumers can get an Internet connection that's 16 times faster than the typical American DSL line for a mere $22 per month.

Across the globe, it's the same story. In France, DSL service that is 10 times faster than the typical United States connection; 100 TV channels and unlimited telephone service cost only $38 per month.* In South Korea, super-fast connections are common for less than $30 per month. Places as diverse as Finland, Canada and Hong Kong all have much faster Internet connections at a lower cost than what is available here. In fact, since 2001, the U.S. has slipped from fourth to 16th in the world in broadband use per capita. While other countries are taking advantage of the technological, business and education opportunities of the broadband era, America remains lost in transition.

How did this happen? Why has the U.S. fallen so far behind the rest of its economic peers? The answer is simple. These nations all have something the U.S. lacks: a national broadband policy, one that actively encourages competition among providers, leading to lower consumer prices and better service.

Instead, the U.S. has a handful of unelected and unaccountable corporate giants that control our vital telecommunications infrastructure. This has led not only to a digital divide between the U.S. and the rest of the advanced world but to one inside the U.S. itself. Currently, broadband services in America remain unavailable for many living in rural and poorer urban areas, and remain slow and expensive for those who do have access.

*Contrast that with Comcastic's current offer of $33 each for their broadband, cable tv, and phone services. Yours for only $99 a month. Oh wait, shit! Didn't we mention!? That's only the introductory rate. After a month or so, you pay $54.95 for cable, (you get to pick 9 premium channels!) your phone service will be $39.95, and broadband will be $50 by the time we tack on all the surcharges. Once you add long-distance (did we forget to mention that the phone service you were getting for $33 a month didn't include any long-distance? Silly us. But it's all digital!) you can well expect to be paying close to $200 a month for your home telecommunications needs. Just wait til a company like Comcastic starts offering mobile services as well. Oh, right, there is one. It's called VerLieszon. Hmm. Bitter much?

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