Monday, November 26, 2007

A shared view of sorts...

Susan Crawford had an excellent post on her blog. Though I think my favourite portion of her post was only a secondary point to freedom of speech/net neutrality, it is a very powerful and important point that needs to become clearer, in my opinion at least.

Society has treated electricity and water as a public utility available to every person. In a similar way telephone communication has transitioned into the same 'utility' view. Our next step is to transition highspeed Internet access to a similar position of a public utility.

In the past the US has transitioned first potable water, then electricity, and then the telephone as utilities with great efforts to spread availability across the country. Many politicos have told us repeatedly that the Internet is the future and that it is vital for American jobs and so forth. Why is it that the US, with all of this political rhetoric, still had not transitioned into thinking that highspeed Internet Access is a utility?

There are many points that I do not understand fully. However, I am sure one of the cons in transitioning to this view is the need for regulation. The last time I tried to research communications regulations, read as FCC publications etc, the regulatory body seemed quite capable of the task. One of the FCC's duties is to promote the best interests of the public. If everyone agrees that the Internet acces is almost mandatory for a prosperous life in the US, why has the FCC not helped to foster an environment of highspeed Internet diffusion or for that matter the rest of the US government?

As with the other public utilites, time was needed to make the transition from viewing electricity and water from amenities to necessities. My hope is that the time required for the US to take step of transition will not be too much longer. The US is slipping further down the OECD rankings and if we do decide to act, it may be too late to catch up to other societies.

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