There is a certain points in which government regulation is bad, and this is one of those:
The U.S. has fallen behind much of the Western world when it comes to phone, cable and Internet service. Americans actually pay much more for inferior service compared to their global counterparts.
In his new book, The Fine Print: How Big Companies Use 'Plain English' to Rob You Blind, Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter David Cay Johnston highlights these astounding facts:
- Americans pay four times as much as the French for an Internet triple-play package—phone, cable TV and Internet—at an average of $160 per month versus $38 per month.
- The French get global free calling and worldwide live television. Their Internet is also 10 times faster at downloading information and 20 times faster uploading it.
- America has gone from #1 in Internet speed (when we invented it) to 29th in the world and falling.
- Bulgaria is among the countries with faster Internet service.
- Americans pay 38 times as much as the Japanese for Internet data.
Since the mid-1970's when Ma Bell was cited as holding a monopoly over phone service, Americans have been told more competition would lower their phone bill. But the promise of lower prices has actually led to higher prices, says Johnston.
Johnston goes on to lay out the very reasons why we are so bad off:
The telecos got the rules changed while we weren't watching," says Johnston in the accompanying interview. Basically, the phone and cable companies lobbied Washington to change laws and regulations to favor their business over their customers.
And remember the so-called "Information Superhighway"?
Over the course of the last 20 years, nearly $500 billion has been collected by the telecom companies to (allegedly) bring America into the 21st century with an "Information Superhighway," says Johnston. That works out ot $3,000 per household to have access to high-speed Internet.
Yet when we talk about things like net neutrality, the right starts screaming about government regulations. They fail to realize that government regulation is what's killing us in costs and speed. It's also what is preventing us from taking hold of a 21st century economy and going with it.
If we want to be serious about excelling, then we need to be serious about the cause of the problems. That means failed, partisan ideologies must be thrown out. If we don't start looking into the problem, then we will help further the demise of our economy and our future. It's time for a new technology bill that erases these problems and creates a sound foundation we can build upon. Don't let America fall into the technological abyss.