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tv   Real Money With Ali Velshi  Al Jazeera  April 16, 2015 3:30am-4:01am EDT

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and musk, have helped make america the country envied by the world. we're looking at why so many americans are slowly rolling down the break down lane of the information superhighway and why nearly everyone you know have an iphone in their pocket, some people still don't have affordable access to the internet. i'm ali velshi. my special report on the digital
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divide, the good bad and the future begins now. >> as much changes over the last ten to 15 years, will look small compared to what will happen in the next ten or 15 years. >> the digital divide. the nation that's home to silicon valley innovation and tech billionaires like mark zuckerberg is also home to low income people to those who don't have internet, an economic and social disaster, in a world that information and knowledge is a currency that buys prosperity and power. tonight i would like to talk about the good the bad and the future of connectivity around the globe. today we got a lock at where america stands in relation to fast internet and the u.s. ranks
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seventh among 143 countries. i'm going to talk to one of these key people, but one of the reasons the u.s. lags behind singapore finland and sweden. it's affordability. america rd when it comes the what you pay for cellular or broadband networks. what you pay for access, it might make you angry but you can't even afford to get online at home. it's true smartphones, can provide information to people but they have no internet access at home. 13% of all american adults with a household income of less than $30,000 a year are smartphone-dependent. turns up in places you might never have imagined. jake ward is back tonight with
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our report. >> seattle, washington, home of bill gates, paul allen and this guy, seth morabito, a software developer forced to sell the house he bought in december of 2014 because i couldn't get online, he lives in kitsap county. an upscale county near seattle. the story is hardly unique. roughly 1 in 10 households in pasadena california and cambridge massachusetts, home to computers. this is the digital divide. the internet is basically a great economic equalizer. it is a kind of superhighway that can carry almost anybody to a better life. knowing how to use it qualifies you to work in a professional setting like this but for those
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who can't get onto that superhighway they end up stuck in neutral. their chance to make money is simply less without broadband access at home. broadband is an income multiplier. a recent study by the consult be firm aksen accenture, the government doesn't probably the basic connectivity that makes that possible. internet access moatsly and sometimes exclusively -- mostly and sometimes exclusively relies on data companies, we're not talking about updating your facebook status, your economic status itself is often defined by whether you have access to the internet. today, nine in ten households
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with a bachelor degree or higher have some sort of internet access but only four in 10 households with a high school diploma can get online at home. even when you do have access are your internet is probably slower than any other developing economy on the planet. the united states rarvetion just ranks just 30s, behind place like russia. open technology institute assessed the cost and quality of internet broadband plans, and found many u.s. cities are at the bottom of the list. san francisco is the highest ranked u.s. city with a $30 plan for a pretty fast connection but for the same $30 a resident of seoul gets internet that's five times faster. and when it comes to internet on your phone u.s. consumers get 40 times less data than their
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intrrbled counterparts for same money. >> it's not as fast a cat video loads on your phone or how much you pay for that access. what's at issue is americans' ability to qualify for jobs like this and our potential in a global economy where competition is getting more stiff every day. basically at this point roughly half of low income families have no access to the internet and federal officials estimate that 30% of k-12 schools have appropriate broadband infrastructure, all of this leaves us at a terrible disadvantage. >> our students come to school and the playing field is not level. because not all of our kids have access to the devices. and if they don't have a connection, then they don't have access to the content. to the learning that's available to them when they're not in school. and so that's where access to the internet and technology becomes a civil rights
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issue. >> jacob ward, al jazeera, new york. >> jake ward joins us now. jake why is the phone not the great equalizer here? i would think that we mentioned that everybody's got a phone or lots more people have a phone than have an internet connection. why is that not a solution. >> iforts a greatit's a great question. the difference is phones are not built for the kind of learning or knowledge jobs that we would want people to have to get ahead. rest s on being able to do things like code and remote learning. all that rests with a laptop computer. your phone is for taking money away from you. whereas a laptop is for make you money. uber or square you can get money in a service economy but in a knowledge kind of economy that
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involves you need to be really good -- >> people are not inventing apps not getting their online degrees on a phone. >> that's right. >> there is a lot you can do but a point where you can't do it. who is trying to solve this problem in the united states? who does it benefit to solve? if you are the googles and the facebooks in the world, you have got this off the people you get money. >> making strides, google has project alone which is trying loon which is trying to get internet via high altitude balloons. the question of internet connectivity is a limiting factor, a thereto l throttle on their customers. to get fast nrnt to internet to your family involves cable company. google can only do its fiber
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project to bring high speed internet to towns, does it town by town. >> other countries are ahead of us because they have got greater saturation of broadband. south korea is a smaller company than america. >> that's right, to span the whole country with fiberoptic cable very, very expensive but the question how we delineate between the public and private responsibility. the government is trying to do it. president obama has the connect-ed initiative, trying to bring broadband access to schools but it's not as if there's huge multi-billion dollar budget to lay that to schools. but they're trying to partner with comcast and other providers. as a result we're really hamstrung about what those companies see about making money.
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comcast has internet essentials package, $9.95 to get online per month. but the speed is going up for the richest people paying the most for broadband access. the low income people -- >> paying, i might pay if i know, i'm subsidizing the fact that the someone else gets the best of internet too. >> unless you see serious competition here in the united states you don't really see it. with google's project of putting fiber into a couple of these small cities, the same cable providers that also serve those cities you're seeing them panic. suddenly for the exact same amount of money, those residents see their cable speed jump 100 times. if you want to see your speed go up bring google fiber into it. it's so expensive to lay that cable to the house. >> jake, great to see you here going to see you again in new
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york. >> yes. >> thank you for that. it's worse in other parts of the world where there is digital poverty. we'll look at the dlilt digital divide. the good, the bad and the future, back in two minutes. >> i think we're into something that's bigger than us... >> that's the pain that your mother feels when you disrespect her son... >> me being here is defying all odds... >> they were patriots they wanted there country back >> al jazeera america presents the passion... >> onward.. >> pain... >> it's too much... >> ..and triumph... inspirational real life stories >> all these labels the world throws at you, that's what drives me me
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that less advanced nations could be left behind if they don't act fast to get up to speed. daniel karimi, joins us now thank you for being with us. >> pleasure to be here. >> in terms of countries being most business friendly when it comes to the internet, singapore is at the top of the list. i'm wondering why, because there is more government speck, a lot of the spending doesn't come from government here. >> absolutely correct. let me take a step back and say, although we rank countries, ranking isn't what should matter here. the data itself, you can be doing all the right things and you can be improving your overall core is but still go to a lower ranking because somebody is doing it faster or better. particularly singapore there are
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a number of things they get right and consistently in the top 10. but at the same time, it is hard to be just that one element. the government drives that economy not only in that knowledge but overall. there the picture is different. they go up and down just based on some other factors. when it comes to this country particularly one thing i would like to say it's still the highest ranked g-7 country, u.k. coming eight and japan 10. there is a lot to be done. actually one thing we should be talking about is not the digital plural. there is international digital divide, rural divide. northern and southern and so on and then there's disadvantaged population that also in those device needs to be crossed in any way but they are growing around the world. >> you also rank the most affordable internet.
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yirnd yinld, then india, and mauritius, and disposable income is much less in india. >> metadata in income packets. one thing we should not forget around the world there are now as many mobile subscriptions as there are people but not equally distributed. approximately half the people have a mobile phone, equal parkts with packets over sms and data plans. >> jake and i were just talking about, a lot of us have data phones, it doesn't necessarily lead to the same prosperity that you can gain by a are broadband connection and a computer. >> absolutely i agree. but you have to start somewhere.
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again there are about a half a bill of the billion that lives outside of any reach whatsoever. there is a lot of piece to happen and some countries are faster to do that than others. >> jake was talking about, the technology can come from the fact that they can float a balloon to do that. is that going to help those on divide? >> there are teams to attempts to do that, any attempt is good as long as it moves united states up the ladder. -- ploofs us up the ladders even first behind. but it's not like a millenium development goal or a sustainable development goal. we don't think of the digital divide as a civil rights matter or a human rights matter. >> well a lot of countries are entering the debate.
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is it a human right? access to information perhaps is, is internet really a human right? >> well some places don't guarantee access to information >> exactly. therethere are a lot of cultural divides that need to be addressed but at the same time we see across did world that governments recognize this enabling power of this general purpose technology to enable their citizens so on. again at the end of the day you don't do that for us to rank you , you do that to necessary your productivity and enable your citizens. >> daniel, thank you for joining me. coming up digital divide aside, my next guess says america is still number 1 where it matters, billion dollar ideas born this somebody's garage, that's the american dream, but a
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>> as much change as we saw over the last ten or 15 years it will look small compared to what's going to happen in the next ten or 15 years. >> all right we're continuing our conversation about the good the bad and the future of connectivity in america and around the world. as i told you, a new world economic forum report ranks the u.s. seventh among 143 countries in network readiness. debra winn smith, heads up a d.c. based cooperative advocating for a more competitive america in the global marketplace through public policy changes.
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previously she was the assistant secretary of commerce for technology policy under president george w. bush and says the u.s. cities fosters the most creative environment despite lagging slightly on its digital infrastructure. debra thank you for joining us. >> thank you. >> all right let's talk about this for a second. the weird part of this, the country home to silicon valley cultivating the greatest culture of creativity, at least technological creativity on the face of the planet across the board, is not able to apportion its low income citizens so they can also participate and compete and benefit from the enormous wealth that's being generated by technology in this country. does it strike you as unusual? >> yes but i think one of those reasons is because the united states is such a huge vast country that we have not seen the state control of putting all the i.t. infrastructure into place, as some of the other
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nations have. but what's very exciting is that as i like to say, we're moving from a digital infrastructure into a ubiquitous world that's where the transformation is. as we navigate through these two worlds we do have some turbulence and some challenges to address including this digital divide that you have articulated ali. >> let me ask you debra, what we don't do and i discussed this a little earlier with my two prior guests. we don't have the same emphasis from government in the united states but we've got a remarkable emphasis in creating this digital world that we're in. however in these rankings like the one i just discussed with the world economic forum those countries that seem to do best in penetration across the board in getting the least amongst us great access to broadband tend to be those where the government
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spends more as opposed to the private sector, is that good or bad, that our infrastructure comes from the private sector more than the government? >> well i 30 it's a balance. let's remember -- i think it's a balance. the next generation internet those technologies were developed by the government for national security purposes, a defense communication vehicle so we really laid the foundation for that. we married it to the entrepreneurship of our companies our telecommunications firms. so we do have a blend. i think in the case of the united states, what's very exciting going forward is, that so many of the applications and the whole way that the digital world is being created are really being led by the companies that are envisioning digital health. digital energy, precision architect. smart grid and creativity. all of the smart grid -- i was
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just at a meeting yesterday out in seattle on the whole smart grid issue and we're talking about delivering energy by the electron. so this is really an incedeical time and so i think that while 00 we need to continue on the digital divide, we have to also move forward on ensuring that we don't have regulations, that restrict, that ration, and that don't permit this tremendous explosion of innovative that's occurring on top of this network. >> i almost want to go the other direction with you. let's just talk about when you and i were first involved with the internet it was optional and it was novel. now 90% of those who graduate with college from college with internet in their home. should we be like finland where broadband access is a right and
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it is the law? >> well one thing you're talking about is the connectivity in the home. and certainly in rural areas and other places this is a challenge. but the fact of it is, most of the applications and most of the values coming on the mobility, the mobility of wireless devices that are really moving fard beyond beyond atethered environment. we have a tremendous penetration of mobile devices. whether it's the iphone or samsung, whatever it is, young people are growing up with these from the time they are -- i mean almost a year old. so i think we need to be talking about -- >> i just discussed this in my last two segments, the danger of course is that you're absolutely right. there's remarkable power in the hands of young people both here in america and around the world as a result of mobile connectivity but these are not the people making billions making apps. not even taking online courses in that sense. there is a limit to what your phone can do in this world
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we're blurring the lines no question. do you not draw a distinction between mobile connectivity and broadband access on a computer in your home? >> yes, but i have to tell you i really use the mobile connectivity devices myself because i travel around the world and i find that far more effective. and i know that's true with my children and the friends of my children. they all say e-mail is passe. so i think we have two issues to look at the younger generation and the transitional generation and it's fascinating to see how more elderly people are moving into the mobile world. when you think of what's being delivered in our automobiles the whole car for instance now being a place where you're going to have your heart monitor where you're going to get you know every kind of service that heretofore you had to either go to a physical place or be tethered. i do think the mobility issue is huge and it's huge in the developing world where because they didn't have the legacy land
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