I've been thinking of running for high office on a one-issue platform: I promise, if elected, that within four years America will have cellphone service as good as Ghana's. If re-elected, I promise that in eight years America will have cellphone service as good as Japan's, provided Japan agrees not to forge ahead on wireless technology. My campaign bumper sticker: "Can You Hear Me Now?"This is hilarious, but I'm not sure it's enough of a platform on which to build a mayoral campaign. I don't know, that's just me. This is a free market issue, not a government policy issue.
I began thinking about this after watching the Japanese use cellphones and laptops to get on the Internet from speeding ullet trains and subways deep underground. But the last straw was when I couldn't get cellphone service while visiting I.B.M.'s headquarters in Armonk, N.Y.
But don't worry - Congress is on the case. It dropped everything last week to pass a bill to protect gun makers from shooting victims' lawsuits. The fact that the U.S. has fallen to 16th in the world in broadband connectivity aroused no interest. Look, I don't even like cellphones, but this is not about gadgets. The world is moving to an Internet-based platform for commerce, education, innovation and entertainment. Wealth and roductivity will go to those countries or companies that get more of their innovators, educators, students, workers and suppliers connected to this platform via computers, phones and P.D.A.'s.
Tom Friedman, of the New York Times, posts a hilarious but debatable singularly focused column on the topic of wireless connectivity.