Internet is now a necessity to our life, in addition to water, electricity or clean air. It’s wildly hard to imagine our life without the Internet. Yet, to some in rural areas in America, access to Internet is a luxury. Today’s episode on Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj shed light on the problem that seems unbelievable in this day and age in the country known for being a leader in technology. Apparently, millions of people in the US don’t have access to the Internet. It’s bonkers to think that some kids have to access Internet from parked buses at Coachella to do homework.
The cause of the issue lies in the monopoly and hence, lack of competition. The market is controlled by two companies only, both of which have more motivation to increase their bottom line than to deliver quality services. To make the matters worse, the authorities haven’t exactly come to the rescue of consumers. Have a listen to know more about this astonishing problem in the US
Meanwhile, Estonia is a little country in Europe with 1.3 million in population. Yet, it makes access to Internet a human right and creates a digital society that serves as an example for other countries. Things that are painstaking and time-consuming in the US are done in little time in Estonia. For instance, you can vote electronically in Estonia. You can get your medical records online. You can file taxes in no time as well. The Estonian government prepares all the tax documents so that all that is required of you is for you to verify the information. Have a listen to a mini documentary below
According to PBS, when Estonia left USSR in 1991, there were few computers in the country and 20% of the US population already had access to the Internet. Almost 30 years later, Estonia already surpassed the US in this regard.
Infrastructure in the US is notoriously in a shabby shape. However, when infrastructure is mentioned, we tend to think about roads, railway and highways. Not the Internet. But the story by Netflix above shows that the US has a serious problem at hand with one of the fundamental necessities, despite possessing some of the most advanced technologies in the world.
The longer I live in the US, the more I am convinced that inequality is ubiquitous in the US. Not just geographically, but also across domains. While being excellent at some specializations, the US underperforms in some fundamental foundations.