03 February 2007

Video on Net Neutrality

Readers might find this video on net neutrality very useful.

Here are the posts I've made on internet neutrality. I confess mine make for fairly dry reading. This appended video, I trust, isn't.

Special thinks to Superdogdoo (his choice of moniker, not mine).

AFTERTHOUGHT: A ridiculous quibble, but not as trivial as it might seem: AT&T is repeatedly attacked in this video as the once and future monopolist. Technically, the firm once known as AT&T is no longer with us; the company now known as AT&T is the former Cingular Wireless. Cingular Wireless, in turn, is a product of some former Baby Bells which were broken off from AT&T in 1984. So we could argue that the new AT&T is essentially a Texas-based clone of the former NYC-based dinosaur. There's definitely merit to that argument, especially since the "new" AT&T has been named as the primary defendant in Heptings vs. AT&T, allegedly violating US law on behalf of the NSA. But is AT&T really the most plausible villain in the battle for control over the world wide web?

In one sense, absolutely. AT&T is now, not merely a despised monopoly in an insular American market for telephone services; it's a national champion in what could be described as the global cold war between Europe and US industry. American industrial giants have not been shy about appealing to national solidarity to the point of bathos. Surely, as the last employers in the nation lose ground to behemoths from the EU, our elected representatives will scurry to placate the survivors.

However, it seems more plausible that AT&T will be quietly integrated in a de facto cartel of European and Northeast Asian telecom operators, based on access to the UTMS telecom standard. AT&T would thus be just a North American office for a European telecom monopoly, and utterly irrelevant. The real focus will be on "content" vendors, like iTunes, Viacom, Disney, Time-Warner, or some future combination of these. The monopoly model involves a very thin layer of business integration, with ephemeral joint operations with other specialized monopolies. I could be wrong, though.

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At 5:21 PM, February 04, 2007, Blogger Harry Greene said...

Ah yes. Net Neutrality comes to us neatly manufactured by Google and its various consultants such as Qorvis Communications. Until “Big Ed” Whitacre’s unfortunate remarks in the December 2005 issue of Business Week, it really didn’t exist. By March 2006, when AT&T announced it would merge with BellSouth, Google, Amazon, E-Bay and the other big content providers were ready to trot it out as negotiating bait. It’s too bad really. The nation deserves a better discussion on broadband policy than it’s getting from a lot of the schlockmeisters on both side of the issue.

You have a great website. Thanks for the opportunity to vent.

At 10:20 AM, February 05, 2007, Blogger jrm said...

Thanks for stopping by, Mr. Greene. Do you have any reading recommendations for RSNL&A?


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