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A Tech-Econ Mashup with a Libertarian Flavor

Trade-offs

I’m at work reading through the grant requests for stimulus money for the federal broadband internet plan, and it’s driving me insane. Companies and state telcos are asking for millions and millions to roll out fiber and gigabit services to places like rural Iowa and Mississippi.

Listen, there are trade-offs that come with living in Nowheresville, Midwest. Iowa =/= San Francisco. In exchange for less congestion, fresh air, sprawling backyards, less crime, good midwestern sensibilities, etc., you don’t get state-of-the-art broadband. There just aren’t enough people (“demand”) to support it. In fact, there’s a whole host of things you don’t get in rural America: Whole Foods and other upscale grocers, good ethnic dining, gay culture, couture fashion, iPhones, high costs-of-living, the crazier kinds of democrats, the list goes on and on.

I mean, the very fact that there are still people living in Mason City, Iowa means that there are people who are happy to watch their television programs over their cable connections, rather than via internet streaming. Believe it or not, there are a lot of people in rural areas who just aren’t that worked up over their internet speeds. Policy-oriented technophiles ought to stop trying to turn the country’s boondocks into Tokyo.

If WiMax or Vios is so freakin’ important to consumers – and I mean consumers, not the network companies that stand to profit by using tax dollars to roll out heavily-subsidized networks that wouldn’t otherwise be supported in these locations – then move to an urban center already.

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Filed under: Economics, Tech Biz,

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