A generation ago, it became clear that telecommunications was shifting to the Internet. However, as a nation, the United States failed to build the infrastructure to reliably support and deliver it to all Americans.
Today, the nation is paying the price for its lack of an orderly transition plan to move from legacy metal cable systems designed to support the analog voice telephone and cable television service of decades past to fiber optic-based infrastructure optimized for the Internet in the 21st century.
According to a new eBook, Service Unavailable: America’s Telecommunications Infrastructure Crisis, the United States – the nation that innovated the Internet – now stands at least two decades behind where it should be and requires a crash federal infrastructure initiative to catch up.
In much of the nation, many locations have no Internet service options due to inadequate infrastructure -- and have little prospect of obtaining service in the foreseeable future. According to the U.S Federal Communications Commission, as of 2015 approximately 55 million Americans – about 17 percent of the population -- live in areas unserved for basic Internet service capable of supporting high-quality voice, data, graphics and video. Meanwhile, demand for Internet bandwidth is growing exponentially as U.S. residential and business premises use multiple Internet-connected devices, straining the capacity of legacy landline infrastructure and wireless services.
Consequently, the nation now faces a telecommunications infrastructure crisis. As time passes, the crisis deepens as Americans grow increasingly reliant upon robust and reliable Internet connectivity that only fiber can accommodate now and into the future.
Just as the interstate highway system supported commerce in the twentieth century, the United States needs an information highway bringing fiber connections to all Americans no matter where they live in the information-based economy of the new century.
Authored by longtime telecommunications blogger Frederick L. Pilot, Service Unavailable drew praise from Michael Copps, who served on the U.S. Federal Communications Commission from 2001 through 2011:
“Pilot digs deep in the facts and emerges with a spot-on, realistic assessment of America's stultifying broadband shortfall,” Copps wrote in a foreword to the book. “He shows how two decades of federal inaction permitted huge telecom incumbents to ration scarcity rather than build bandwidth abundance. And he demonstrates beyond a shadow of doubt that without a true national mission to build this essential infrastructure, we will continue to stifle economic opportunity for millions of citizens and shackle America's global economic performance, too.”
Service Unavailable is offered through Amazon.com and iBooks.