One suggestion I saw throughout was the call to treat the Internet like any other essential utility, and I couldn’t agree with you more. We don’t let profits dictate who has running water and whose lights are on in America. The same must hold true for Internet access. All Americans, all schools and all businesses should have access to high-speed Internet connections just like these other basic services.
I can't think of a better place to start the dialogue. In this next millennium, access to broadband internet is going to be like access to water and electricity. It will literally be America's source of information, cable, phones and who knows what else. Furthermore, the civic potentials are endless. Can we afford to treat access to Broadband differently? Sadly, right now we're treating it more like an HMO - scary stuff.
One important thing, though, is affordability - not just access. Currently, broadband in America is far more expensive than it is in Europe - mainly because of competition, shocker of all shockers. In France, people can bundle their cable, internet, land line phone and other services together for about $30 a month - all because that country created the type of bold strategy Senator Kerry is calling for now. How did France do it? They did something America is apparently unwilling to do: create a system where companies actually have to compete, driving prices down, instead of protecting a few companies from keeping their oligarchy over the 'net. America should strive for that type of universal access and affordability, borrowing the same ideas that made it possible elsewhere.