ergophobe - 1:57 am on Feb 22, 2010 (gmt 0)
Zeus - no provocation taken. It's just the sad truth.
The US suffers from a problem with respect to electricity, internet and the mobile telephone system in terms of
1. being the first country to roll out those technologies on a broad basis, meaning that the infrastructure was built before a lot of problems were recognized, and therefore didn't benefit from next gen technologies
2. Low population densities, which makes infrastructure more expensive per capita than Europe or Japan. I think this is the biggest problem. Looking at our neighborhood, for example, in densely-populated California, they would need to run cable about 25 miles to provide reliable DSL here. That of course is farther than you can go from the CO, so they would also have to create a couple of COs along the way to boost the signal. For that, they would serve about 20 households and no businesses (aside from home-based businesses). So they would have to run over a mile of wire per household to bring our phone system up to snuff to be able to handle DSL via a ground-based system (the other option, I imagine, would be some high-bandwidth microwave system, but I've been told that they are afraid to build a system like that on the only reasonable spot because there are too many lightning strikes). Go to a place like Montana and it would be many times worse.
Couple this with incentives that incentivize service provision and service generation, but not distribution networks. I'm looking for generic terms - I mean for example that with respect to electricity, generation and provision to end users are where the profit is, but the incentives are poor for maintaining/upgrading the distribution network. So of course, there is a shortage of investment in the distribution networks.