Uncle Walt bends FCC chairman over his knee
Walt Mossberg, the world’s most powerful technology product reviewer, opened the final session of the D: All Things Digital conference with an angry tirade against the s-s-s-low state of broadband in the United States.
“WE ARE VERY SLOW,” Mossberg complained of U.S. Internet access speeds.
The target of 61-year-old Uncle Walt’s wrath was Kevin Martin, 42, the boyish-looking chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, who was punished on-stage before an audience of high-tech industry insiders.
Mossberg: “You are the head of the FCC. How have you allowed this to happen? I AM DEAD SERIOUS. HOW HAVE YOU ALLOWED THIS TO HAPPEN?
Martin: “I am not sure I am solely responsible. I am also not sure the charts capture the whole story. I think you do have to put in the context some of the demographics of the United States and some of the countries we are competing against.
Mossberg: Does that explain why we pay $12.50 per megabit in the United States as opposed to $3.09 in Japan and $3.70 in France? Why are we paying four times as much?
Martin: Yes it does. Because it costs a lot more to build out in more rural areas and people who live further apart… We have a history of averaging some of the cost to make it affordable for people in Montana.
Martin should have seen it coming. Mossberg has been on a crusade over slow broadband speeds for some time, including a call to stop calling slower-speed DSL “broadband.” It’s just one of the many things that annoy him about how computer and consumer electronics industries treat their consumers. Other pet peeves include junk programs pre-installed by PC makers Mossberg calls craplets and any device that doesn’t aspire to Apple-scale product design genius.
Here are the stats that Mossberg and Martin were debating: