We have it from reliable sources that spread around the walls of executives at AT&T, Verizon, and Comcast are pictures from Aesop’s fable about the tortoise and hare, the tortoise winning the hotly contested foot race. Under each is a title, Esperance, an old English and current French word for Hope. These companies are massive, and massively successful, but they are slow, and encumbered with watchful investors who need higher returns now. While their existing telephone and cable television wiring has made Internet access in America a possibility at the speed of the hare, they are not equipped to rush to the next stage of things, a stage they widely acknowledge, of new fiber optics wiring all the way to the home and small business. It is less a question of capacity—trucks and linemen and cabling—as it is a question of money. There is not enough incremental return for the expense in most areas. AT&T and Verizon crow in their public statements that they pass (in total between them) more then 30 million homes with fiber optic, but they have connected fewer than 10 million, leaving 118 million to go. The number they have connected in rural America is zero.