dslreports logo
site
spacer

spacer
 
   
spc
story category
U.S. Broadband Cannot Be Fixed Until You Tackle Corruption
Editorial: broadband cheerleading and Ivy League round tables aren't enough...
by Karl Bode 02:43PM Thursday Jun 26 2008
An eclectic and disjointed mix of businesses, consumer advocacy organizations, politicians and technologists this week banded together under the "Internet For Everyone" banner to promote, well, Internet for everyone. The group's long list of strange bedfellows includes the ACLU, Google, Consumer's Union, Internet2, OpenDNS, Free Press, the Writers Guild of America, the Nancy Drew fan fiction club and many more -- though I think they fail to directly tackle this industry's most pressing problem. According to the group's website, the organization has four primary principles:
quote:
To make sure every American can benefit from the new economy and guarantee all citizens play an active role in our democracy, our nation must embark on a national campaign to connect every American to a fast, affordable and open Internet.
Internet For Everyone Coalition
Access: Every home and business in America must have access to a high-speed, world class communications infrastructure.
Choice: Every consumer must enjoy real competition in online content as well as among high-speed Internet providers to achieve lower prices and higher speeds.
Openness: Every Internet user should have the right to freedom of speech and commerce online in an open market without gatekeepers or discrimination.
Innovation: The Internet should continue to create good jobs, foster entrepreneurship, spread new ideas and serve as a leading engine of economic growth.
I've seen enough of these types of groups come and go in my nearly a decade of covering the industry to begin to wonder what the actual point is. A group that wants a fast, fair Internet is about as pertinent as a group that demands tasty strudel for everyone.

The problem is that while these groups field yet another feel-good event where Internet Ivy League celebrities like Tim Wu and Larry Lessig wax poetic on the limitless potential of the Intertubes, AT&T lobbyists are purchasing your State's entire legislative body in order to pass the "Anti-competitive consumer sodomy act of 2008" or some variant thereof. It's kind of like cheering for more wind on the deck of a rotting sailboat.

I'd be more impressed if these groups dropped the banal, vague principles (seriously, who exactly opposes "innovation?") and took a strong stance on the real reasons broadband competition in this country is stagnant: government corruption, an un-skeptical media, the incumbent stranglehold on policymakers, the massive web of disinformation created by lobbyists, and the complete bi-partisan failure in government leadership.

Click for full size
Don't get me wrong; I do think these groups can help institute change, but I think this particular group's mission statement is in dire need of clarity. With George Carlin's passing -- and his streamlining of the Ten Commandments fresh in my mind -- I'd like to replace the group's fairly mundane four principles with just one. I think my singular principle would be immensely more beneficial to this industry:

Tackle corruption: The FCC should be stocked with technologists and visionaries, not bleating political partisans whose primary loyalties lie with the nation's largest corporations. Every effort should be made to purge the incumbent lobbyist stranglehold on this nation's policy makers. Until you do this, you will fix nothing.

We have no competition without leadership. What leadership we do have acts primarily as an extension of the nation's broadband duopoly. With the FCC and FTC all but under the direct control of telecom operators, this duopoly has ensured that competition remains stagnant. They're spending billions to ensure that pro-consumer national broadband plans never come to pass -- while you're crying in your strudel.

Tackle corruption if you truly want to create competition. Create competition and you organically solve this industry's biggest problems (network neutrality, anti-competitive monopoly behavior, ISP marketing department use of the term "eXtreme"). If you're not placing the elimination of incumbent control over lawmakers as the primary cornerstone of your broadband improvement plan, you might as well be holding a Tupperware party.


51 comments .. click to read

Recommended comments




pnh102
Reptiles Are Cuddly And Pretty
Premium
join:2002-05-02
Mount Airy, MD

3 recommendations

Wrong Conclusion

quote:
U.S. Broadband Cannot Be Fixed Until You Tackle Corruption Get Off Your Asses, Raise Some Private Capital, And Build It Yourself!
If more people who whined about broadband were willing to do this, then there would be more choices.
--
This isn't fair! I was only supposed to hate just ONE presidential candidate!

Mr Matt

join:2008-01-29
Eustis, FL
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Millenicom
·Embarq Now Centu..
·Comcast
·CenturyLink

2 recommendations

When in Rome

SEE We are in Ancient Rome's Situation and are doing as the Ancient Romans did. Going backward. The Space Shuttle is being taken out of service and there is no replacement. The Concord was taken out of service and there was no replacement. The world is running out of Petroleum. Our politicians are two busy kissing big businesses butts and are taking no action to correct the situation. Our infrastructure is crumbling. Resources are being diverted to earmarks and good old boy contracts. Is there any hope for our future?



Nightfall
My Goal Is To Deny Yours
Premium,MVM
join:2001-08-03
Grand Rapids, MI
Reviews:
·ooma
·Comcast
·Callcentric
·Site5.com

3 recommendations

The problems can't be blamed on one group here

Ok, so I am reading over this list and am ready to make my analysis.

quote:
Access: Every home and business in America must have access to a high-speed, world class communications infrastructure.
Choice: Every consumer must enjoy real competition in online content as well as among high-speed Internet providers to achieve lower prices and higher speeds.

Problem: Capitalism. Corporations won't run cable down some roads right now without knowing they will make a profit on it. ISPs won't provide service to an area unless they know they will get a number of subscribers. Telling companies to take a loss and to spend billions more to give everyone high speed internet isn't the solution. My bet is a wireless ISP of some kind will spring up to fix this problem.
quote:
Openness: Every Internet user should have the right to freedom of speech and commerce online in an open market without gatekeepers or discrimination.
Innovation: The Internet should continue to create good jobs, foster entrepreneurship, spread new ideas and serve as a leading engine of economic growth.

Problem: People. I know, its hard to blame society as a whole here, but there are people out there today that believe in certain things. Whats worse, those people who feel so strongly about their beliefs that they believe that certain things should be censored. Language, pornography, violent video games, religion, and so on. Internet sites cave into these demands at times. Whats the solution? More tolerant people or more hard assed site owners.

IMHO, corruption doesn't even factor into the problems that were described.
--
My domain - Nightfall.net