Remember the “Fun to read” TELECOMMUNICATIONS ACT OF 1996, I posted on the last page? Well let’s just look at one of the most important bits:
When it pertains to [[Page 110 STAT. 62]]
(2) Interconnection: it states,
“(3) Unbundled access.–The duty to provide, to any
requesting telecommunications carrier for the provision of a
telecommunications service, nondiscriminatory access to network
elements on an unbundled basis at any technically feasible point
on rates, terms, and conditions that are just, reasonable, and
nondiscriminatory in accordance with the terms and conditions of
the agreement and the requirements of this section and section
252. An incumbent local exchange carrier shall
(4) Resale.–The duty–
“(A) to offer for resale at wholesale rates any
telecommunications service that the carrier provides at
retail to subscribers who are not telecommunications
“(B) not to prohibit, and not to impose
unreasonable or discriminatory conditions or limitations
on, the resale of such telecommunications service
This is repeated on different sections, what it means is that everyone paying for the services on their infrastructure (copper wires, most recently fiber optic) must be treated equally. So why should you at home care if Comcast charges more to Netflix? Time to do a rewind.
Before TELECOMMUNICATIONS ACT OF 1996, I like many of you was locked in the infernal dial-up loop, slow download speeds for text and forget about images or video. A computer was a status symbol more than anything but I had vision, I knew that lump of plastic and circuitry would one day bring me all the albino midget porn I desired—sorry I meant I would be able to help people in war torn countries. But for any of that to happen things needed to change- FAST!
Meanwhile; other countries in Asia and Europe were delivering a fiber optics infrastructure that today provides them with cheaper and faster broadband than anything we have. Not so you say? There’s FIOS all we have to do is pay for it right? Well the Government made a deal with telecom companies around ’92 to make the US infrastructure fiber optic; in return they would get lower taxes and subsidies.
“The public subsidies for infrastructure were pocketed. The phone companies collected over $200 billion in higher phone rates and tax perks, about $2000 per household.” http://www.teletruth.org/docs/broadbandscandalfree.pdf
Yes! Those Cads took the money and gave us nothing in return, worse this was not a one time deal we are still paying for something we never got AND in the few places you can get access to a fiber optic network you will have to pay for it…AGAIN!
Now for the Comcast/Netflix deal. Netflix experienced a growth explosion they raked in billions and like true nouveau riche decided to act in favor of making more fast money. So when Comcast illegally grifted them they were all to eager to toss cash at them lest risk their bonanza come to a sudden stop. Here is the thing had this happened a few years earlier Netflix would have fought Comcast and painted it-self as a David VS Goliath in the public eye and vie for our support. Must be nice to have more money that G-d.
Well like most Americans you are probably used to being shafted, hell the talk around the net is that a few bloggers are crying, “the sky is falling, the sky is falling” that the FCC has no hand in this and that it’s unfair to cast suspicion on Tom Wheeler just because he’s a former telecom lobbyist (check out this idiot http://www.pcworld.com/article/2148900/fccs-new-net-neutrality-proposal-what-do-we-really-know.html) well if Mike McCurry is any indication I rather not trust the FCC especially wheeler. Mike McCurry, who was the Clinton Admin press secretary became a lobbyist for telecom companies and represented them to stop net neutrality. I wonder to what industry Wheeler will return to after his tenure on the FCC is over?
The modern world we enjoy is a product of innovation and a capitalist market. I have mentioned many times on this and other blogs that capitalism in my book is not a dirty word. What I have also said is that if Capitalism is left unchecked it becomes the worst form of slavery.
Net neutrality is under attack by telecom corporations that want not to just charge more for less but to own the Internet. The question becomes do we let them?