Google gets in the man’s face

This morning while taking a shower I heard an interesting piece on NPR. The Obama stimulus plan included $7 billion to upgrade the nation’s broadband infrastructure. Looking back at FDR’s rural electrification program, what’s not to like? For one, a lot of applicants are applying from places that already have broadband access – they just don’t like how much it costs. That’s not in the spirit of this supporter’s backing of the program. But I digress. For as much as I don’t like the idea of parts of the nation geiting cheaper broadband before other parts of the nation get any, the more egregious behavior (as we’ve learned to expect) comes from the near monopolies who have chosen not to deliver broadband access to the outer reaches of their territories. Somehow this public option (and someone on the AM dial will call it such) is patently unfair.

Look, if the second most hated industry, the health insurance behemoths can get the very people they’ve spent the last couple of decades screwing to pile onto the street en masse to defend those insurance companies’ right to screw them. Why shouldn’t the most hated industry, the cable and phone companies stand up for their constitutional right to screw Americans? Surely Glenn Beck will rally the troops. Yep, the largest (and bankrupt) ISP in Maine, FairPoint is fighting rural broadband. I can just see it —  they get a bunch of folks storming the Augusta legislature demanding the socialists in Washington keep their paws of their cherished 56k connections.

Typically this is one of those stories where the outrage lasts all as long as a sound bite, but I was reminded of it reading this Times article. Google’s decided the Internet is too slow. Megabits? Who cares? We need at least a gigabit to the home.

First the company stands up to the Chinese Communists, then it prods the US telecom industry to deliver decent service. How about Larry Page and Sergey Brin run in 2012? Unlike most corporate weasels, Google doesn’t throw its money at lobbyists to plead their case in the halls of corruption and moral bankruptcy. Google spends its money proving its point in the real world.

In an interview, Richard S. Whitt, Google’s Washington telecommunications and media counsel, said Google did not see the test as a new business venture as an Internet service provider, but rather as an effort to push the industry into offering faster Internet access at lower cost.

“We are not getting into the I.S.P. or broadband business,” said Mr. Whitt, using the industry shorthand for Internet service provider. “This is a business model nudge and an innovation nudge.”

Whatever. Just keep sticking it to the man and we’re good. Now if only Google wanted to nudge the healthcare industry.

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