Pluralistic: Fighting junk fees is "woke" (04 August 2023)

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Culture War Bullshit Stole Your Broadband

Your internet sucks because telco monopolists kept Gigi Sohn off the FCC.

A Victorian gentleman and lady use a tin-can-and-string telephone while standing before a soiled and sooty American flag.

So, the next time you complain about your phone service, why don’t you try using two Dixie cups with a string? We don’t care. We don’t have to. We’re the Phone Company. — Lily Tomlin, The Phone Company

The internet is an American invention. It exists thanks to US public dollars that were showered on military contractors, with a little incidental spillover onto America’s institutes of higher learning.

54 years after the first Arpanet demo, America is an also-ran in the global internet league tables. Americans pay more for slower broadband than their counterparts, whether that’s in wealthy countries of the global north, or looted post-colonial nations in the global south.

This matters because the internet isn’t a mere pornography distribution system, nor a tool of extremist radicalization, nor a glorified video-on-demand service —nor any of the other dismissive epithets used to minimize the consequences of America’s worst-in-class internet service.

The internet is a single wire that delivers free speech, a free press, free assembly, access to education, civics, health care, community, politics, family, employment and even romance.

And America’s internet is terrible.

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Pluralistic: 13 Jun 2021

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Pluralistic: 29 Mar 2021

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