Oct 23, 2011

Connected Nation and your human right to get the Travis McGee Reader free and fast.

Take a hundred Iowans.*

Ask them about their internet connections. You will be told -- or at least an outfit called Connect Iowa says you'll be told -- that 37 of them lack broadband. Round the numbers and call them the deprived third.

This amazes me because more than a year ago my president announced an end to the horror. Some  $7 billion in economic recovery money  was being printed --strike that  -- was being dispatched to ensure that very Montana line camp had instant  access to freakysheep.xxx.  (Okay, If you insist on quibbling, His Obamaness  took Charlie McBiden out of the suitcase and spoke through him. But you must admit you could see presidential lips moving.)

The underbuzz in the Connect Iowa report is a wail of anguish about our poor deprived rurals stuck with something between zero and 56k downloads. To be fair, however,  the group did ask the 37 "why?" and published the answers.

"(Shrieksperson Amy) Kuhler says the largest reason given for not having broadband access was they didn’t feel it was relevant and they didn’t need to have access. ...16% said they didn’t have a computer, 15% said security was an issue, and 10% said broadband was too complicated to figure out. "

That is,  they don't want it.

That leaves just seven bucolic souls out of a hundred who might want to get your blog megabytally but can't.

So, of course, "Kuhlers says they will use the survey results to address some of the connection issues."  Translation: We intend to soak you for the money to buy high speed for Gus Porcina, 85, who lives over on Hogpoo Creek.

I wonder if Connect Iowa has really pondered the  amazing free-market truth revealed in its own study:  "Kuhlers says the top reason Iowans gave for using broadband is they realized it was worth the cost." 


Why so many words on what might seem a minor topic?

Because Connect Iowa is a bucolic appendage to the national Connected Nation, which is coy about who's paying the propaganda bills. I mean, good shriekspeople like Amy don't come cheap.

In a profile prepared for journalists, Connected Nation poses as one of its "Frequently Asked Questions" "How is Connected Nation funded?" it cryptically responds that "Connected Nation is primarily funded through public-private partnerships." It provides no details of what exactly the partnerships are or who they are with.

I am winging it here,  based on some personal experience with these 501c(3) oufits who  "partner " their tax-free donations with your compulsory tax donations.  Often, a private firm or trade group  wants a nice income, but can't  actually sell products. They could, however, give them away if they could solve the cash-flow problem that creates. And they do, quite creatively. They lash together a "non-profit"  and hire Amy et al. to create the illusion of a pressing social need. And doesn't government exist solely to meet pressing social needs? 

Ergo,  government must buy the product and give it to the customer, making it free. What a good idea, especially if that  part about the seven billion dollars sort of slips your mind.

* Let me pick the hundred, and I mean the statement quite literally.

1 comment:

Joel said...

This is the sort of "public-private" bullshit I loathe.

I live off-grid in the desert, five mountainous miles from the nearest, most tenuous fringe of a power line. But I've got internet access, because I wanted it badly enough to pay for it. It's not broadband and it's not free, but it works pretty well. And it doesn't soak a single person who doesn't want to pay. If I can get it, anybody in the country can get it.

So where's this pressing social need we get to shell out for whether we want to or not? And what did that $7b actually buy?