This crisis in Egypt and the larger climate of revolt in the Middle East could easily be one of the defining political moments of the decade. Al Jazeera English is the only reasonable live coverage of the current situation in Egypt. The only way I can watch Al Jazeera English is on the Internet. And I am sitting here trying to watch a stuttering stream of it on my goddamn phone because the stream via my phone’s 3G connection is still better than the unwatchable stream via AirWes.
This is unacceptable.
In every sector of the media Internet distribution is becoming more central as old technologies wither away. As people seeking to become engaged, active citizens of our world we are being put at a huge disadvantage by the persistent inability to access Internet media on this campus. Music has already gone online with the iTunes Music Store, and Pandora and other streaming services. Video is heading that way as well—I was just watching my friend’s thesis film on Vimeo, never-mind the huge popularity of Netflix streaming and the like. The coverage of the current situation in Egypt clearly speaks to news media’s total embrace of the web.
I know that bandwidth is expensive. But in the age we now live in, the bandwidth starvation of the Wesleyan campus is tantamount to censorship. We simply do not have the option to not spend the money. Last semester I watched a professor spend 15 minutes trying and ultimately failing to show us a documentary on YouTube. I am sitting here watching my phone’s four inch screen update a frame every two or three seconds, thankful that at least my phone can manage to keep the audio stream from stuttering. On AirWes, even the audio of the reporter cuts out.
Bernson is a member of the class of 2011.