While a kind gesture, the episode is fairly representative of our relationship to the digital divide and America's patchy, expensive broadband networks. As in, we've let telecom giants dictate state and federal policy for 30 years, resulting in geographic monopolies where the primary objective is maintaining the status quo (high prices, little competition, zero real accountability for market failure). Then, in the rare instance where the problem can hold our attention for more than thirty seconds, we throw a band aid on the byproduct of this corruption and pat ourselves on the back for a job well done.
American broadband doesn't suck because America is big, or because we haven't thrown enough money at the problem (giants like AT&T have received countless billions in tax breaks, subsidies, and regulatory favors, usually in exchange for bupkis). American broadband sucks because giant monopolies literally write state and federal telecom law, and have completely corrupted the legislative process from the town level on up.
This is why we're likely going to talk about this a decade from now since I feel nothing is going to change even with a new administration until the US can face this hard on.Karl Bode with a great piece on why the US will never going to fix their broken broadband sector until they recognize state and federal corruption is at the heart of the problem.