Something from last week that slipped through the blogging cracks was this page-one USA Today story entitled "U.S. Net access not all that speedy". Like most USA Today articles, it's short and punchy. Unfortunately, it's also a good example of a common MSM malady: acting as an uncritical megaphone for a special-interest group. The group in this case is the Communications Workers of America (CWA) union.
The USA trails other industrialized nations in high-speed Internet access and may never catch up unless quick action is taken by public-policymakers, a report commissioned by the Communications Workers of America warns.Oh, no! Another crisis, one that can only be solved by "public-policymakers"! And—as anyone who has even a hint of cynicism in their bones might expect—the solution involves plenty of regulations, mandates, subsidies, tax breaks, and outright government spending, that all wind up sending money into the pockets of CWA workers and (hence) their union.
Now, of course you would expect the CWA to be in favor of that. You might not expect USA Today to be taken in so completely by a slick rent seeking union campaign, but there it is. There's nary a hint in their story that—just maybe—there are other things Americans might want to spend money on besides high-speed Internet access, and (in any case) it might be a good idea for market mechanisms to work out matters of supply, demand, prices, and costs. The story might as well have been written by the CWA, with USA Today's reporter simply putting her name on the top.
The article helpfully points the reader to the slick website the CWA has set up in support of this campaign, www.speedmatters.org, full of smiling Americans of all colors, ages, sexes, and abilities demanding "high speed internet for all." And—I must admit—they have a very cool page where they'll measure the upload and download speed to the computer from which you're browsing. You can compare your speeds with the "typical" results from your state, the US, Canada, Germany, Iceland, Sweden, and Japan.
[A slight boast, not that you care: I have standard-issue Comcast cable modem access, which scored a 6408 Kbps download speed, which was faster than all but the Swedes and Japanese. The upload speed was 2287 Kbps, better than all others in the comparison. Heh! "I got mine, Jack." But despite these good results, I don't feel unusual. I've just decided to spend some extra money on faster access, without asking the government to force someone else to provide it.]