Saturday, June 14, 2014

For everyone or for no one

Google is working on what they believe will be the next generation of high speed data delivery, gigabit internet.  The problem?  Critics are claiming that it is discriminatory towards the poor that Google is only building where people can afford to pay for it?  Where did this idea come from that if everyone couldn't afford something then no one should have access to it?  Setting aside the arguments that improved service in some areas will ultimately result in improved service in all areas as the technology advances and competitors scramble to keep up, the argument for equality of access stems from the social justice movement, that everyone have equal access to the benefits of society. 

The problem as I see it is that high speed internet is not a benefit of society, it is a benefit of the people who invested their time and money coming up with a better mousetrap in order to advance themselves.  A consequence of their efforts is that we benefit from more access and better technology.  To claim that there is some injustice in providing advancements to a small segment of the population first ignores the fact that these advancements, if effective, inevitably spread to society as a whole.  Need examples, how about the automobile, electricity, refrigerators, and television.  Do these social justice warriors think that everyone had access to a refrigerator the day they were first made available?  Of course not, but you'd be hard pressed to find someone today who doesn't have one.

I don't know whether the objections these people raise are rooted in ignorance or enmity, but I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt.  Time to do a little thinking about your worldview and recognize that advances have to come gradually and be market tested.  They have to show the ability to survive the market, otherwise we end up with a single car "authorized" by the government and available to all.  And we know how the Lada worked out.

1 comment:

lelnet said...

The perfect is once again the enemy of the good.

After all, if you're rich enough, you can already buy gigabit-speed internet connectivity just about anywhere. It's just far, FAR too expensive for normal people to afford, because it's not available from the providers that routinely deploy to residential addresses. But if you pay a backbone carrier enough money to feed your house like it was a major data center, they'll do it.

So along comes Google (and a bunch of non-Google companies with more localized notions), selling service to ordinary people at ordinary-people prices, and all people can do is complain that they're not immediately doing it EVERYWHERE?

Gah! So much stupid...