Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

John Hodgman: ‘The government should be laying down broadband like Eisenhower laid down interstates’

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Exactly: the same sort of investment in infrastructure that benefits the common welfare. Eisenhower (a Republican) pushed the Interstate highway system—well supported by the automotive and trucking industries, to be sure—and I would say it has paid off: Interstate highways show the value of a socialized approach in certain areas.

The same clearly goes for (true) broadband networks, which our telecoms don’t want to spend money on—though they will go to considerable lengths to stop municipalities from offering broadband services to their communities. I.e., the telecoms don’t want to do it, but they don’t want anyone else to do it, either.

Brian Fung writes in the Washington Post:

Long before John Oliver called for an end to “cable company f**kery,” another comedian also named John was beating the net neutrality drum. As far back as 2006, author and actor John Hodgman was using postal envelopes to explain how Internet service providers might let content from Google and Amazon through to consumers very easily while discriminating against content from other companies.

Now Hodgman is back at it. In an essay on Tumblr posted Monday night, Hodgman takes aim at large telecom companies who can “control what is increasingly a mandatory purchase” for many Americans: access to high-speed broadband that connects them to information, entertainment and economic opportunity.

Hodgman has some personal stake in the issue as a performer. Arguing that the Internet helps promote artists and small businesses that drive the U.S. economy, Hodgman added that many of the country’s dominant telecom providers would not be in their successful position today had they not benefited from public resources such as land and wireless airwaves.

The issue has clearly been on Hodgman’s mind for some time. At the end of a lengthy response to a separate BuzzFeed article, Hodgman told his readers he’d be holding an impromptu Q&A session on Tumblr for an hour to discuss Obamacare, net neutrality as well as any other issue his followers thought important. Amid queries on his favorite vegetable (brussels sprouts) and whether to see the movie “Interstellar,” (…yes?) Hodgman saved his longest response for last.

“I believe in capitalism but not monopolies,” Hodgman wrote. “I believe in entrepreneurship and I am not against government efforts to foster it. I believe more communities should invest in their own broadband to break regional telecom monopolies. Personally I believe that the federal government should be laying down broadband like Eisenhower laid down interstates. And I believe preferential fast-laning for big companies will decrease competition and quality and ultimately hamper what is poised to be the most important area of economic, cultural, and technological innovation of our time.”

This isn’t far off from . . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

18 November 2014 at 11:23 am

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