Matthew Yglesias is complaining about the quality of broadband in the U.S., especially in rural areas, and he recommends some kind of government program to bring broadband to rural areas.
My high speed DSL in Arlington, Virgina (across the Potomac from Washington, DC) works really well and only costs $29.95/month, so I don’t see why Matt is complaining about how bad our broadband is. From my perspective it works great.
I really don’t think we need an expensive government program to bring high speed internet access to rural areas. Our government already wastes enough money. If people don’t like living in rural areas, then they should move to the city.
My rent in Arlington is ridiculously overpriced, so with the money that people living in rural areas are saving on rent, they can certainly afford to pay a little extra for broadband.
Matt also points out that our government subsidizes rural living in various other ways, which is another policy I disagree with. I don’t see why our government needs to subsidize a rural way of life if it’s not economically practical. Unfortunately, because each state gets to send two senators to Congress no matter how big or small its population, less densely populated states have disproportionate political power and thus get a disproportionate share of pork barrel money thrown their way.