America’s Spotty Broadband

A new video from Vox explains the issues with America’s broadband internet coverage. Interestingly, it suggests that the US Government follow a model similar to electrifying US communities, which could be a good idea. It touches upon private, corporate efforts to offer broadband, but doesn’t really get too much into the impact of what that might mean. Ultimately, the video explains that government isn’t doing enough to provide broadband internet to rural communities, and, as a result, these communities lack the advantages that high-speed internet offers. Vox asserts that this is correlated with lower income, education, and health in these communities.

Whether it’s a private company or the government that offers broadband internet to rural America, there are still pitfalls with both models. On the one hand, an increasingly consolidated corporate landscape might mean that any private companies that offer broadband might work together in an oligarchy or exist as a monopoly.

As suggested in the Vox video, the low profits in installing rural broadband infrastructure makes this kind of project suitable for the government to take on. But–if you’ll permit me to put on my tinfoil hat for a moment–the mass surveillance programs disclosed from 2013 onward make this just generally unpalatable, if not specifically inimical. Then again, maybe we don’t need to worry about that since if surveillance were to be expanded with a commensurate broadband expansion, that would happen whether the expansion was privately or publicly funded. Alright, tinfoil hat removed.

Matt