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Ten Wasted Years

Or how greedos and politicians systematically dismantled a country's IT infrastructure. By Rick Falkvinge.


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The year is now 2009. But already by 1999 the Internet was so well built in Sweden we were ten years ahead of everyone else.

Already by 1998 I had a 10 megabit connection in my home. Back in 1998 people in Europe and elsewhere had dial-up. With 56 kilobit connections. If they were lucky. And they paid by the minute.

We had a ten year jump start on the world. But our politicians have totally wasted it away. We could have had Google here. We could have had the next generation's knowledge industries. Cultural distribution. In addition to being the world's political epicentre for the current paradigm shift we could also have been the world's economic epicentre.

We had a ten year jump start!

To understand how much old world politicians such as Bodström and Ask have wasted by passing laws that castrate the advantages we already had and actively scare away the next generation's industries we can play a bit with what ten years means in other contexts.

  • By 1983 all Swedes would have had cellphones. People outside Sweden would still not understand what they were good for.

  • Small light netbooks would be seen on trains everywhere by 1999 whilst outside Sweden people would still be toting clumsy big laptops built to withstand nuclear attacks. Ordinary notebooks would have been quite common already by the early 1980s.

  • SAS would have been the world's first budget airline already by 1975 with flights to London for 45 cents.

This incredible jump start into the next economy, a jump start we already had, has been flushed down the head by such comprehensive ignorance as I cannot describe - and it continues! They continue to waste away the little we have left and they pass more and more ultra-repressive laws which scare away corporations in the swarm economy - and all this to support endangered species of dinosaurs!

This is 'The Shipbuilding Crisis of 2000' on steroids. Lean forward and pull down your pants so they can search you on your way to your cinema seat.

The politicians have to be replaced if we're to keep the small advantage we still have. Luckily we as voters can still do that.

Footnote: Already by 1994 Sweden had broadband Internet provider Bahnhof offering 10 megabit lines. The revolutionary Bredbandsbolaget and other companies today offer Swedes speeds of 300 megabit in their homes. Radsoft started in Cambridge in 1997. The first Internet connections - the only ones available - were over worn out BT landlines that disconnected nine times out of ten. Nine out of ten attempts to connect resulted in a disconnect BT still charged money for. Monthly bills of $5000 were not uncommon.

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