ZDNet correspondent Sumi Das talks to Senior Editor Sam Diaz about President-elect Barack Obama’s response to the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation’s new report which ranks the U.S. 15th in the world in broadband adoption, below South Korea, Australia, and Norway, to name a few. Diaz discusses why access is essential and the challenges of wiring a country in the midst of an economic crisis.
Will Obama administration usher in universal broadband access?
December 9, 2008, 4:33 PM PST | Length:00:03:06
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>> Simi: Hello, I'm Simi Das assumed spelling for ZD NET, here with our senior editor, Sam Diaz. Sam, thank you for being with us.
>> Sam: Any time.
>> Simi: President elect Obama is sort of going down as one of the most tech savvy politicians that we've seen in quite some time. Recently he said that it's unacceptable that the U.S. ranks fifteenth in the world in broadband adoption. Why is this unacceptable? Why is broadband adoption such a high priority?
>> Sam: You know, broadband has really become, I mean broadband is the gateway to the internet, and the internet has become a part of life. If you really think about broadband -
>> Simi: Dial up just doesn't cut it any more.
>> Sam: Not at all. I mean those pages will load really, really slow, and increasingly there's a lot of stuff on the internet that everyday people are being directed to. I mean if you're going to apply for a grant for college, if you're going to renew your car to the DMV, these sort of services people are being directed to the internet.
>> Simi: That's right.
>> Sam: And without the right connection, they really can't do that, they're really at a disadvantage. You have to think of broadband now increasingly as a utility. So just as anyone can get a phone, you don't have to have a phone in your house, but anyone can get a phone. Same thing goes for things like electricity, running water. Broadband ought to be just as accessible as those things are.
>> Simi: It should be available to you.
>> Sam: That's right.
>> Simi: Okay. So in order to improve the ranking, does that mean that the government is gonna have to take over?
>> Sam: Oh that makes a lot of people just twitch at the idea -
>> Simi: Right.
>> Sam: - of the government running the internet. And you know, I don't know that it has to be that way. I don't know that it can stay the way it is with you know, companies, the cable companies, telecommunications companies, there's a lot of fear out there. The American public is right to be afraid of it that you know, money from the government would just go to lining the pockets of CEOs and we really wouldn't see much change. I think that there's probably some sort of compromise in there. You know, the president elect did not give any details about how he would do this.
>> Simi: Right.
>> Sam: There's got to be some compromise in there. I mean maybe it's you know, involving somebody from the government to oversee the adoption and rolling it out into a broader area.
>> Simi: There's also the question of censorship. I mean a lot of people are concerned about censorship.
>> Sam: Oh that's right, absolutely. But I don't think you're gonna see that, at least not in this country. We're you know, we still have a lot of laws in place, there are a lot of rights, and soon as the government starts trying to censor the internet, I mean lawsuits will fly all over the place, you know. Groups like the EFF and other public interest groups will be all over that.
>> Simi: Absolutely.
>> Sam: Yeah.
>> Simi: Okay. And finally, who's going to be paying for all of this, given that there are industries that need bailouts left and right nowadays?
>> Sam: Well we have to be realistic about it. I mean we are, the taxpayers are going to pay for it. I mean you know, the president elect has said that this country needs a major investment in infrastructure. And we're not just talking broadband. We're talking you know, roads and bridges, and you know, all the sort of core things that will not only create jobs, but you know, also revitalize the economy. You know, I'm actually glad that broadband is one of those things. I think that broadband really does need a boost here. And you know, if that means that we're gonna have to pay for it, well I mean, we're gonna have to pay for it, right? That's just what it's gonna come down to. At some point the American public's gonna have to step up and do something for ourselves, and I think this is one of those things where we invest in ourselves.
>> Simi: Okay. Inauguration day is not so far away now -
>> Sam: That's right.
>> Simi: - a little over a month and a half. We'll see how he handles this dilemma. Sam, thank you so much.
>> Sam: Sure.
>> Simi: For more you can go to blogs.zdnet.com.
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As opposed to ...
My take: Your choice of where to live does not give you the right to demand the top of the line infrastructure at public expense. If I CHOOSE to live on an island 10 miles out in a lake, do I have the right to demand that a two billion dollar bridge be built?
just some FYI of how things work at the WHOoFBI
An example of how money was used as part of a growing of a church chain of religious leaders from organizations that supported Bush and who wanted "a check":
Grants flow to Bush allies on social issues:
Bush rewarded with support by Democratic black pastors after giving them funds for "faith-based initiatives":
Former 2nd in command of the Office of Faith-Based Initiatives tells story of Bush using Christians for political motives by buying their votes with FBI monies:
So, these people are doing good for the community...with our tax dollars...by...mobilizing political action groups? Or building up their churches?
What happened to feeding the poor? Tending to the infirmed? Clothing and housing the needy?
I assume I'm not the object either.
Hey, jd, how about including the object's name in the subject line? Thanks!
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