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Daily Democracy

Ryan Blethen discusses the press, media and democracy. Daily Democracy is part of the Democracy Papers, a series of articles, essays and editorial opinion examining threats to our freedoms of speech and the press.

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June 26, 2008 2:24 PM

Broadband's reach, or lack there of

Posted by Ryan Blethen

A coalition is working to do something about America's dismal broadband penetration, which has been well documented. InternetforEveryone.org wants to connect every American to the Internet with an affordable fast broadband connection. The effort, which is being spearheaded by Free Press, launched its campaign Tuesday.

The organization's numbers on broadband use in the U.S. is sobering; only 40 percent of racial and ethnic minority households have broadband and 20 million Americans live in areas with no broadband. The grim list goes on.

The sum of the numbers adds up to a problem for the U.S. At the beginning of the decade our broadband infrastructure was being built out at a rate that made the U.S. one of the world's leaders in connectivity. That has changed. We now lag far behind much of Europe, especially northern Europe, and Asian nations like Japan and South Korea.

Hopefully InternetforEveryone.org can create enough heat to get the telecommunications and cable companies and Congress to make broadband deployment a priority. If broadband continues the way it has for the past eight years Americans are likely to end up paying more for inferior service compared to our competition. An expensive and slow Internet is not good for American innovation or commerce.

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