That wasn't my experience when I used Speakeasy DSL up to eleven or twelve years ago. The phone was flat-rate and cheap, and Covad was the CLEC and passing through to Speakeasy.
The problem comes when something breaks. The ILEC has no incentive to fix it because you're not really their customer. My DSL was out for seven weeks while AT&T and Covad pointed the finger at each other and miss each other's appointments at the central office. The only time they actually fixed it is when AT&T started to mess with it and the voice on our phone also went out, then they realized that whatever hardware at the CO our line was plugged into had a problem and replaced the blade... and voila!
There's surely a Nest joke in here somewhere...
I'm in the US and I certainly use it. I'm not an academic or associated with an institution, but have an education in physics and computer science. I maintain a keen interest in several academic topics, and sometimes when I find a paper I want to read and can't find it on an author's website or arxiv.org then Sci-Hub is my go-to. It's ludicrous to want to charge someone $20+ to read a paper, especially when, often times, the research was government-funded. I certainly couldn't afford to do it.
I genuinely hope if this keeps up Sci-Hub goes nuclear and just publishes a few torrents of all the papers. It'd be very Swartzian.
Suppose I use some third-party encryption that is made available anonymously or from another country, so there's no company to compel to reverse it. (Think TrueCrypt, or something from Schneier's Applied Cryptography.) Now suppose I plead the fifth and refuse to decrypt it. What then? We start blocking any site that hosts such a thing? Burn books on cryptography? Ban people from running compilers? Code escrow of all source with the NSA on pain of death?
Sure, there's the obligatory XKCD wrench decryption, but otherwise... I'm not sure how this makes a lick of sense.
Fusion power, artificial general intelligence and unicode at Slashdot: three things that will always happen always twenty years in the future, no matter when asked.
(On the plus side it used to be four things, but "Duke Nukem Forever" was finally published so there is some real hope. On the downside, it was really disappointing when it finally came to be, so...)
Machines certainly can solve problems, store information, correlate, and play games -- but not with pleasure. -- Leo Rosten