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digital robber barons


An excellent op-ed piece by Paul Krugman in the New York Times. This is exactly what is happening. To see where the US is going, look, of all places, to Dublin, Ireland, the "tech capital of Europe". Here phone access is charged by the minute, and the typical modem connect speed is 33.6 Kbps. An ISDN line (also charged by the minute, except that the speed is "guaranteed" to be 64 Kbps) is Euro 40 a month ($40) on top of the regular phone line "rental". I live 20 blocks from the center of the city and I called Eircom (the stupid monopoly) the other day to see how to get DSL (Installation cost: Euro 400, plus Euro 110 per month, not surprisingly, in the Dublin and greater Dublin, where one million people live, there are only two thousand DSL installation, mostly businesses). They said that I can never, ever get DSL in my apartment (which by the way, was new when I moved in last year). They cited "unknown technical problems". I think they looked at my internet charges and decided it was a better deal to keep me using the phone. Meanwhile, there are no other options, no cable modem, no wireless (except for a Satellite ISP that charges Euro 1500 for the equipment and then Euro 130 per month), nothing. Mobile phones (and mobile phone service) is much more expensive than in the rest of Europe.

This is the result of the utter stupidity (if not corruption) of politicians and the combined greed of companies too cozy with their insanely high profits to care about their customers.

The US should take note, before it's too late...

Categories: technology
Posted by diego on December 7 2002 at 1:05 PM

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