Pluralistic: Incomplete vs. overshoot (26 Feb 2024)

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All (Broadband) Politics Are Local

A Chance for Individuals to Make a Difference.

Farmers and co-op members assisting professional telephone pole installers raise a rural phone pole, with rope and pulleys, 1930s.

“We’re the phone company, we don’t care.” –Lily Tomlin

Even before the lockdown, we all hated our ISPs. Comcast routinely won “worst company in America” polls. AT&T was a trash-fire of endless boondoggles and scandals. Verizon charged you $12/month to rent a modem, and also charged you $12/month to not rent a modem. Everyone hated Frontier for its slow speeds, which were revealed to be the result of the company’s practice of “installing” phone lines by tying them to trees with twine or draping them over shrubs. New York State ordered Charter/Spectrum to leave the state and never come back.

Then the pandemic struck, and terrible internet service became a matter of survival: it was how your kids went to school, how you visited the doctor, how you saw family, how you participated in civics and politics, and, for those of us who were lucky enough to have remote-capable jobs, how you earned your living.

The dismal state of the American telecoms industry, where monopolies divided up the country into non-competing exclusive territories like Pope Alexander VI dividing up the “New World,” suddenly became a lot more important.

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Pluralistic: 05 Jul 2020

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Pluralistic: 24 May 2020

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