Abstract: the fastest way to ensure that high-speed wireless Internet connectivity is deployed to every possible inhabited place in the United States is to chase it into the shadows through the power of US law. The author draws parallels between the the War on Drugs, the War on Guns, and alcohol Prohibition on the one hand, and the availability of high-speed wireless Internet connections on the other.
Making alcohol, abuse drugs, and certain types of firearms illegal encouraged criminal entrepreneurs to ramp up supply to meet suppressed demand. In fact, milieus presumably under total control by government, such as prisons, are incapable of eradicating such "contraband."
A comparable approach, resulting from heavy lobbying by industries who perceive threats to their business model from digital reproducibility of their content, would incentivize a cottage industry of hackers and geeks to circumvent these legal controls, thereby making bandwidth more available, more reliable, more anonymous, and more resilient to malicious code attacks.
The fundamental problem facing developers an underground ubiquitous IP infrastructure are political and economic, not technical. To date there has been no incentive to develop or deploy such an infrastructure because there has been no pressure to do so.
However, if the entertainment industry succeeds in enacting laws that will mandate the inclusion of digital rights management in the existing IP network, for example, there will be ample incentive for industries or activities to move their IP-dependent applications to a network that does not obey those laws. The technology exists, or the precursors to that technology exist, and only await the incentive to be assembled and applied. The demand, today legitimate and above board, will be forced underground. An active community of politicized engineers and technologists already exists to serve them.
The greatest technological obstacle would be replacement of the long-haul high-speed connections provided by such carriers as Level3, Qwest, and Worldcom.
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