Fred Wilson did a post yesterday on The National Broadband Plan. As an American I’m embarrassed by the broadband situation in our country. Both TaskUs and Smarter Social Media have offices in a building that is owned by the City of Santa Monica, a city that is supposed to be known for its “progressive” attitude. For the first year in our offices we had one option for internet – Verizon that ran a whooping 3 mbps download speeds on its best days. Fortunately this changed when Verizon rolled FiOS out in our area. We are now on a more comfortable 50 mbps plan. But still, for the better part of 2009 I was running on speeds barely faster than those found on a good 3G connection. Pretty pathetic for the second largest city in the worlds leading economy.
Simply put boardband access is no longer a nice to have. It has become has become a daily essential for work and life. It has become a utility like water, power and electricity. Those running on 56K modems (or even Verizon 3 mbps connections) are lighting their homes with candles, in what should be a fully electrified grid. But its not. Millions don’t have access to truly high speed internet, and those that do find access is often unreliable.
Today I was sitting in our office in Manila and the internet went down. This is something you would expect to happen in a developing country. And it does happen. But no more frequently then our FiOS stops working in Santa Monica.