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Bill Moyers: Why U.S. Internet Access is Slow, Costly and Unfair

Americans are getting bilked for second class internet access.

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BILL MOYERS: About the time I was reading your book I also read a speech by the present chair of the F.C.C., Julius Genachowski. He said, "The United States is in a global bandwidth race. A nation's future economic security is tied to frictionless and speedy access to information." If you were chair of the F.C.C. what would you do to move us forward?

SUSAN CRAWFORD: I know that it's important to let these municipalities make decisions for themselves. That's going to take a bill in Congress preempting the terrible state laws like the one that happened in North Carolina. We need to make self-determination possible for cities. And the second one is making sure that there's low cost, low rate financing available to build these networks.

That's the stumbling block, making sure that you can actually build without needing to put up all the money yourself. Because it pays out over time, it pays out as a social investment for the country. And then finally, changing all those rules at the FCC that are getting in the way of progress.

BILL MOYERS: So briefly describe the need.

SUSAN CRAWFORD: All Americans need a fast, cheap connection to the internet.

BILL MOYERS: And the problem?

SUSAN CRAWFORD: A few companies control access in America and it's not in their interest to bring that fast, cheap access to us all.

BILL MOYERS: And the solution?

SUSAN CRAWFORD: The solution is for people to care about this issue, ask hard questions at every debate, make sure you elect people who will act and give your mayor air cover so that he or she can act to make sure that your city has this fast, competitive access.

BILL MOYERS: The book is “Captive Audience: The Telecom Industry and Monopoly Power in the Gilded Age.” Susan Crawford, I've enjoyed this conversation. Thank you for being with me.

SUSAN CRAWFORD: Thank you so much.

Bill Moyers is the host of “Moyers & Company,” airing weekly on public television. More at:

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