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Free Broadband in Your Future?

Well maybe not free but something has to be done. The U.S. is rapidly falling behind the rest of the world in delivering broadband Internet service to its citizens. Not only does the U.S. have some of the slowest Internet speeds but American broadband prices are among the highest in the world.

Did you know that in Japan you can get Internet connections that are 16 times faster than a typical American DSL line for about 20 bucks month? In France you can get unlimited telephone service, 100 TV channels, and a DSL connection that is 10 times faster than the typical U.S. connection for about $38 a month.

So what's the problem America...

Now you have probably seen commercials that make it appear that cable Internet and DSL prices are getting cheaper. But if you examine the fine print you'll find that the download speeds offered are barely faster than dial-up and the contract terms make the offer little more than a "bait and switch" scheme!

If you look at the many countries surpassing the U.S. in broadband speed, availability and price, you'll find that most all have rules that require local cable and telephone monopolies to allow competing ISPs access to their networks at wholesale prices. The U.S. has no national broadband policy that actively encourages true competition.

The problem would appear to be that too many Federal politicians who are supposed to work for you and I actually work for the big corporations. Oh, they talk a good fight but when you examine what they actually do (or in this case fail to do) it's seems pretty obvious where their true loyalties lie. Fortunately they don't control everything. (Not yet that is.)

San Francisco Gets Free Wi-Fi

Jan. 2008... A company called Meraki plans to turn the city of San Francisco into a test site for its vision of a low-cost, community-powered Wi-Fi network. Funded by Google (and others), Meraki plans to donate enough equipment and Internet access to provide free wireless service to all residents with (hoped for) download speeds of 1 megabit per second. (Read the San Francisco Chronicle article.)

In this writer's opinion the project is likely doomed to fail. It probably won't be able to deliver what people really want; dependable high speed Internet access for cheap or free. But hopefully it will succeed at something even more important and that is raising public awareness that broadband service in America is over-priced and under-delivered.

With e-commerce becoming more and more vital to the U.S. economy, something must be done. And soon.

So do your part. Visit where you can sign a petition to Congress and the FCC telling them you want free broadband.