Sunday, November 02, 2014

The view from South Korea: Incumbent protectionism hobbles U.S. Internet infrastructure

Now that the Internet is maturing to the point that it's the de facto global telecommunications system, the view of the United States -- the nation that innovated the Internet -- from the outside can be quite unflattering. Other developed nations watch as Americans struggle with high cost, low value service. Or no service at all as is the unfortunate circumstance for some 19 million U.S. homes, according to the U.S. Federal Communications Commission.

Why didn't the U.S. put in place policies and plans decades ago to ensure all American homes and businesses have fiber optic connections to the Internet? How did it lose its way? Sometimes when one is lost, they don't know it until someone else points out to them they're off course or wandering about.

A spokesman for South Korea's SK Broadband, which is preparing to introduce 10Gbps fiber service, provides an answer: protectionism of legacy telephone and cable companies that failed to put in place plans to transition to fiber infrastructure.
“In my travels to the United States, it is very plain they have lost their way in advancing broadband technology,” said Pyon Seo-Ju. “Internet access is terribly slow and expensive because American politicians have sacrificed Americas’s technology leadership to protect conglomerates and allow them to flourish. Although unfortunate for America, this has given Korea a chance to promote our own industry and enhance the success of companies like Samsung that are well-known in the United States today."

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