Last Place in Airing Olympics? USA! USA!

Comcast rules with iron fist as rest of world streams for free: Susan Crawford
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 6, 2012 11:09 AM CDT
Last Place in Airing Olympics? USA! USA!
This July 15, 2012 file photo shows the Olympic rings displayed outside the basketball arena in the Olympic Park before the start of the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.   (AP Photo/Jae Hong, file)

The US may be a top medal earner, but it's among the last-place finishers when it comes to airing the Olympics. As Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee tweeted in the opening ceremony, "This is for everyone." Not Stateside, it seems: While residents of at least 64 territories across the globe can see all events streaming live for free via YouTube, Americans can only get such access if their paid TV plans offer MSNBC and CNBC, notes Susan Crawford at Bloomberg. It comes down to Comcast's control over the Games as majority owner of NBC.

The firm "has decided that Americans shouldn’t get access to these live streams without paying," Crawford writes. Rights issues aside, a third of Americans lack broadband access, and we're paying far too much for what we do have. For $35 a month in Hong Kong, you can get Internet at up to 20 times the speed you'd see for that money in New York City. Meanwhile, just 6% of Americans have FiOS; some 63% of Japanese broadband subscribers have fiber-optic connections, and Australia wants 93% of its population so equipped. Here, we're settling for "high-speed Internet access only for rich people," and that could spell economic disaster down the road. Click for Crawford's full column. (More 2012 London Olympics stories.)

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