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U.S. broadband coverage (click to enlarge)  (Source: FCC)
Public sentiment is that its best to leave 80 million Americans unconnected to "high speed" broadband

While it's hard to put an exact number on how many Americans have no internet coverage, there are still some regions of the country in which less than 5 percent of the population has access to the internet.  Depending on how you define "high speed", over 80 million Americans, or about a quarter of the population, have no access to the high speed broadband that the modern web relies on so heavily.

Interestingly, a public poll from the Pew Institute indicates that the majority of Americans aren't very concerned with pushing better coverage for these individuals.  The phone survey (which would only be conducted via landline phones) asked 2,252 adults (aged 18 and older) whether expanding affordable broadband should be a top priority for the government and 53 percent of those polled responded "No".

In total, 26 percent said the government should play no part in pushing out high-speed internet; 27 percent indicated they didn't care if it did, but that it was "not too important"; 30 percent said it was important, and 11 percent said it should be a 
top priority. 

The poll, which can be found here, also offered other interesting results -- for example, growth in internet use among African Americans is outpacing that of white Americans.

Aaron Smith, author of the Pew Internet Project's report, comments, "A debate has arisen about the role of government in stepping in to ensure availability to high-speed Internet access for all Americans.  The majority think not, and the surprise is that non-users are the least inclined to think government has a role in the spread of broadband."

The Federal Communications Commission -- led by appointees of U.S. President Barack Obama -- has made it clear that it thinks that broadband access 
should be a top priority.  It's in the process of deploying a scheme to offer high-speed 100 Mbps internet to 100M U.S. homes and to extend cable coverage to areas that currently cost to much to deploy to (according to the telecommunication companies).

If the recent poll is any indication, the FCC's plan may prove unpopular. 

The debate over internet coverage isn't just a U.S. one, though.  Internationally, the level of coverage, freedom of information, and net neutrality are hotly debated issues.  Finland recently propelled the debate to the forefront when it legislated broadband internet as an essential human right.

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RE: Of Course
By Reclaimer77 on 8/12/2010 2:49:40 PM , Rating: -1
I'm not interested in debating your made up armchair economics that are based out of something you found in a fortune cookie.

Geez and I thought I could be condescending at times. You're an ass, and completely missed the point of my post. If you have beef about the conclusions being given from an FCC making an obvious case for it's own interests, you should be attacking the author of the article instead.

RE: Of Course
By eskimospy on 8/12/2010 3:26:25 PM , Rating: 3
I'm only condescending to people I have contempt for; those people who talk about things from a reasoned and informed perspective get the same in return, regardless of whether they agree with me or not. You and a few others behave extremely poorly on these forums however, and so you reap what you sow.

RE: Of Course
By Reclaimer77 on 8/12/2010 5:54:28 PM , Rating: 1
those people who talk about things from a reasoned and informed perspective get the same in return,

You aren't reasoned or informed yourself, so I honestly don't see how you could differentiate.

You and a few others behave extremely poorly

As you yourself say, only to people I have contempt for.

RE: Of Course
By eskimospy on 8/12/2010 6:21:56 PM , Rating: 2
So you have contempt for the site itself? You frequently begin comment threads unprompted to derail the conversation and start political trolling.

I'm absolutely informed before I speak, and I take pains to make sure that my posts reflect that. Please try and do the same in the future.

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