Print 81 comment(s) - last by rvertrees.. on Aug 16 at 5:40 PM

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 Lerianis on 8/13/2010 11:17:06 PM , Rating: 2
Why would it jump again just because internet access is given to all Americans? Actually, why SHOULDN'T we do this just because that is likely to happen?

If we said that, we wouldn't have made things like computerized assembly lines!

It's a STUPID argument, a very stupid one! The fact is that we could find OTHER things for all the Americans who would be put out of work by modernization to do IF WE WOULD TRY!

Unfortunately, most people are stupid enough to believe that "THE FREE MARKET IS THE ANSWER!" to that.... it is not, in any fashion/shape/etc., the answer to that problem.

There comes a time where you have to realize that free market puts more people out of work than it employs when you bring modernization and robotics into the discussion. Then, you have to find something for people to do to make money, and who is the best for that?

THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT! Which should be EXPANDING things like regulation jobs and other things in order to put some of these people back to work.

RE: Of Course
By rvertrees on 8/16/2010 5:40:32 PM , Rating: 2
*Brain Explodes*

Let me see here. The Government makes its money from taxes and taxes come from the citizens and citizens get there money from their jobs.

Tell me how is the federal government generating money by hiring more people for regulation jobs. First of all you are going to have to increase taxes to support that many jobs and the higher taxes go the less the citizens are payed and the less companies make.

On top of that new jobs in regulations require more regulations to be made. Regulations slow down the business and less efficient business means higher costs to the company.

"I modded down, down, down, and the flames went higher." -- Sven Olsen

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