Benjamin N. Cardozo School Professor Susan Crawford's new book Captive Audience
has been pissing off all the right people in DC and at major carriers the last few weeks by highlighting the industry's lack of competition. Crawford's making the book promotion rounds, and as a result she has spent the last few weeks being attacked by the usual suspects, paid by carriers to spin yarns, blow smoke and maintain the status quo (Scott Cleland
, Steve Largent
, Brett Swanson
, Richard Bennett
to name just a few).
I just finished the book and recommend it whole heartedly; the majority of it will be well-tread ground for regular Broadband Reports readers over the last decade. Namely, a few large companies have lobbied the U.S. government to create geographic monopolies and crush competition, resulting in indisputably mediocre (or worse) broadband across all measurable metrics: availability, speed, price, and coverage
Government regulators from both parties have been complicit in these problems, and nobody wants to fix it because there's too much money being made by gouging the American consumer. As a cherry on top an ocean of paid fauxcademics, astroturfers, lobbyists, hired flacks and consultants (see above) are paid millions annually to try and convince the press and public that nothing is wrong using bogus science and bullhorns.
Crawford's cage rattling the last month has resulted in a grass roots effort to try and nominate her for FCC boss
, and her complaints about the U.S. broadband market are making a lot of people usually bored by telecom policy take notice. That nomination will likely never happen (our current FCC can't be bothered to acknowledge competitive issues exist
, much less bring in someone to do something about it), but she's worth listening to all the same, and the exposure she's bringing to the sector's problems is invaluable.
A new interview with Bill Moyers is embedded below. It's worth watching and begins in earnest around 2:07.