Fast Internet can help attract capital, talent

computerwomanBefore the Legislature holds another hearing on a bill to outlaw Kansas cities and counties from supplying Internet service, it should consider what’s happening in Chattanooga, Tenn. That city provides a low-cost, ultrahigh-speed fiber-optic connection that is 50 times the average speed for homes in the rest of the country, the New York Times reported. In addition to the quality-of-life benefits for its citizens – it takes 33 seconds to download a two-hour high-definition movie, compared with 25 minutes for those with an average high-speed broadband connection – Chattanooga is successfully using its Internet service to attract computer programmers, entrepreneurs and investors. Slow Internet service is also creating competitive disadvantages between the United States and other countries. Harvard Law School professor Susan Crawford, author of the book “Captive Audience: The Telecom Industry and Monopoly Power in the Gilded Age,” noted that some countries have Internet service that is “100 times faster than the very fastest connection available in the United States and for a 17th of the price.”