Sunday, June 05, 2011

If You Don't Have a Landline, You're Against High-Speed Rail

Americans are shedding their landlines. Why? Because they're an expensive redundancy.

If Bell's wired telephone had not yet been invented but the mobile phone existed, would anyone bother to implement a plan to build a landline infrastructure? Of course not.

And this is no merely theoretical construct. In countries where landline infrastructure has been underdeveloped, mobile phone service is expanding at breakneck pace. It's a lot easier and cheaper to put up a cell tower than to run cable everyplace.

Which is why high-speed rail is silly. You can fly with massively less infrastructure investment. Airplanes, like mobile phone signals, don't need physical connections between origin and destination.

Michael Barone notes today how completely silly is our Department of Transportation's determination to build HSR in California, beginning with a link in an underpopulated area and with the eventual goal of allowing businesspeople to travel from LA to SF quickly, something they already do on airplanes. Everyone who has thought about the economics of telecommunication should understand how deeply silly this idea is.


Anonymous said...

Asking for consistency is a little too exigent, isn't it?

Brendt said...

I'd use HSR if it meant no one would "touch my junk". ;-)