[Paleopsych] NYT: A Broadband Beat-Down
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Sat Jun 25 14:41:57 UTC 2005
A Broadband Beat-Down
[The Foreign Affairs article coming in a moment.]
By DAN MITCHELL
IT looked for a while as if the United States was firmly entrenched as
the world's leader in Internet innovation. President Bill Clinton and
Al Gore, his vice president, did much to encourage development of the
country's technology infrastructure, writes Thomas Bleha in an article
accessible on the Foreign Affairs magazine Web site
From the 1960's until the day President Bush took office, he writes,
"The United States led the world in Internet development."
No longer. The Bush administration's policies, or lack thereof, have
since allowed Asia - Japan in particular - to not only catch up in the
development and expansion of broadband and mobile phone technology,
but to roundly pound us into the dirt. "The lag," he diplomatically
asserts, "is arguably the result of the Bush administration's failure
to make a priority of developing these networks."
Japan instituted what used to be called an industrial policy, which
provided incentives for expanding broadband and wireless technology to
the masses. The United States, meanwhile, has done essentially
nothing. Japan is now well ahead of us in the percentage of homes with
broadband. And their broadband on average is about half the price and
16 times the speed of ours.
Japan is even further ahead in mobile telephony. "U.S. mobile phone
service remains awful by European, let alone Japanese, standards,"
writes Mr. Bleha, who served as a Foreign Service officer in Japan for
eight years and has a forthcoming book on the subject.
Meanwhile, Japan, South Korea and other Asian countries are poised to
leap ahead of the United States in any number of areas:
teleconferencing, telecommuting, remote medical services, distance
education, multimedia entertainment.
The economy as a whole is at risk because of broadband shortcomings,
says Charles H. Ferguson of the Brookings Institution
(brookings.edu). Last year, he asserted in a book, "The Broadband
Problem," that the United States might lose up to $1 trillion because
of constraints on broadband deployment.
SWEET JUSTICE Clicking into Business Week's Brand New Day blog brings
up the striking photographic visage of a blogger, David Kiley. He
looks so curmudgeonly that you immediately assume he takes on branding
and marketing with a healthy dose of skepticism. He does not
disappoint. On cereal packages, General Mills features its cartoon
icons for Trix, Lucky Charms and Cocoa Puffs extolling the "health
benefits" of its products. Kraft is using the Nickelodeon characters
SpongeBob SquarePants and Dora the Explorer in much the same way.
"Let's cut to the chase," he writes. "This is all about creating cover
in the debate over childhood obesity and whether or not sugary, fatty
and otherwise heavily processed foods should be freely advertised
directly to kids under 12."
"Brand management should have credibility management at its center,"
he says. "That's where marketing, smart public relations and
reputation management converge when companies do it right."
PRIVATE WAR Frontline makes its documentaries available on its
World Wide Web site (frontline.org), usually adding complete
versions of interviews, source materials, transcripts and other
goodies. The Frontline people know the power of the medium, and the
site is far and away the best in all of public broadcasting. The
latest show, "Private Warriors," profiles the work of private
contractors in Iraq, and the Web treatment is up to the show's usual
STOP BUGGING ME If newspaper marketers think they are receiving
reliable user information via those annoying site registrations, they
should run their Web addresses through bugmenot.com, which offers
quick user names and passwords to people who click on a link only to
be confronted by a mandatory registration page. Some examples of
usernames: thisisannoying; iwantnews; thisisjustsilly; whydoyoudothis.
E-mail: whatsonline at nytimes.com.
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