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February 11, 2003

Political marketing

A Broadband Hookup in Every Home ~ subsidy for downloading porn. Come on, there are real problems with literacy and basic levels of health and well being in this country-let alone Kentucky (the state proposing this). For the majority of people, the difference between broadband & 56 K for activities such as online shopping & or checking your account is minimal. The real payoff comes in peer-to-peer music & porn piracy.

Posted by razib at 02:24 PM

Razib, I agree with you completely on this. It ranks with the Clintonian (or whoever's it was) pure demagoguery slogan of putting a computer into every classroom -- as if there were any other way to learn geometry than by opening a book and sitting hours a day on one's butt with a pencil and paper, studying it. This stuff MUST be set in motion by behind-the-scenes outfits that stand to profit from the massive state or federal funded sale of computers -- obviously the computer companies themselves, acting through kick-backs to local and national pols.

Posted by: Unadorned at February 11, 2003 02:56 PM

there is a difference between a broadband link and 56k for online commerce stuff, but that's because the people who design online commerce sites all have broadband, and don't realize just how pokey all those images make pages.

Posted by: Anthony at February 11, 2003 04:22 PM

if amazon is too slow, people should try amazon light. you can get cheap dial-up access for $12-16/month if you don't require a disk with all sorts of "features" (spyware, trojans, annoying pop-ups, requests to install netscape). where i live high speed is around $30/month because the city has subsidized a fiber network, but it costs more in other places, more like $35-40. is it worth it? i don't think so for most people.

IT IS WORTH IT FOR music freaks & young single guys looking for porn.

Posted by: razib at February 11, 2003 04:48 PM

Yes, but we'll never break the "content" industry's stranglehold on our government until everyone is a music / porn pirate!

Information wants to be free! ;)

Posted by: Joel at February 11, 2003 05:16 PM

Something wants to be 'free'.....

Posted by: David at February 12, 2003 11:40 AM

I agree that healthcare and teachers' salaries should get state money before a broadband subsidy, but missing from consideration here is that there's more to broadband than speed.

Education, communication, and enlightenment are the immediate effects of subsidized broadband, and important applications to come won't come if the conduit isn't there. Dialup never becomes as much a part of life as broadband because dialup involves having to find time to connect, interrupt phone usage, deal with busy signals and disconnections for a clunky web experience that only lets you experience part of the web, whereas with broadband you're simply online.
Once the household has this convenience, it becomes part of their lifestyle. Googling replaces looking up things in the dictionary or set of encyclopedias, which not all homes will even have. The searcher has to learn to determine the relative authority and veracity of the information they read, and developing good bullshit filters is a critical part of the learning process. With broadband access a household would be more likely to watch on-demand programming rather than traditional broadcasting, with all the implications in terms of exposure to different quality of media. A subversion of media consumption habits helps do away with small-town provincial ideas such as the prevalent "all dark skinned people are towel-headed terrorists" idea. Here the message of the medium is that, speaking from personal experience**, no matter if you're the only person in your whole town who likes the things you like or feels the way you do, you aren't alone. You don't have to develop an interest in budweiser, buck-toothed girls, and big-wheeled trucks just to have friends. This creates opportunities for the smart-but-underexposed kids to rise above.

** I grew up in a small town in Mississippi, and though I am very proud of it because I learned things that can't be learned in a city that I would have hated to have missed out on, I knew I had to rise above. I don't miss the skoal-dipping buck-toothed girls, either.

Posted by: Grady at February 12, 2003 03:41 PM

I don't know what good broadband's going to do all the people down on the ladder who either don't have computers or have ones that are so old their processors can't handle broadband.

Posted by: gwen at February 13, 2003 08:46 AM