I was asked to summarize the current communications situation in light of the Net Neutrality decision (being refreshed until the next challenge), and the “ridiculously bad” AT&T-Time Warner merger going through — and what we should do about it.
(The next article will explain what all of these situations, terms and jargon mean, but I assume you get the gist.)
This current FCC has created over 20 inter-locking proceedings, each designed to give the phone and cable companies more power, screw-by-screw— literally reducing our democracy, our freedoms and worse — giving us no serious competition; just crap service at continually increasing prices, among other harms.
TO SUM UP: AT&T et al. maneuvered a bunch of patsies to be FCC Commissioners to do their bidding and follow their plans, which AT&T gave then-newly-appointed-Republican Commissioner, now Chairman (and former Verizon attorney) Ajit Pai, in 2012. Coincidentally, this same plan appears to have been developed at the American Legislative Exchange Council, “ALEC”, (AT&T and Verizon are paying members), and it has been used as “model legislation” in state-after-state and updated regularly — to help just a few companies.
How to maximize profits of the captured customers — made easy.
Let’s be frank. The companies just want to shake us all down for more money. The plan is to get rid of all regulations or obligations; no more requirements to fix what breaks, no more notifications that they are ‘shutting off’ a customer for a ‘migration’; nothing about upgrading rural areas, just lip service. The FCC is also giving large chunks of the remaining wireless spectrum to AT&T and Verizon, as best as possible. This is tied to dismantling the state wired utilities and handing over the publicly-funded networks to their wireless division for private use. Block all competition by denying access to the networks in multiple ways, is now underway. However, they also get to keep all the state utility benefits, including the rights-of-way and charging all wired customers, competitors, etc. for the wireless build out and the majority of all expenses. Verizon even has a deal with the cable companies to ‘collude’ by allowing them to rent the networks or bundle Verizon Wireless in areas Verizon never upgraded.
And let’s not forget getting rid of any pesky accounting rules, the state or city laws that might conflict with the plan, or blocking municipalities from upgrading in places the telcos should have been but never showed up.
And to smooth their takeover — gotta get rid of Net Neutrality so they can control the wires and give their own subsidiaries all of the advantages. With privacy gone as well, you sign away your rights to let them follow you, advertise to you, track you (and your friends) and then sell the data or give it to their own affiliate companies. And they took away your ability to take the companies to court — you must arbitrate, limiting their risk.
And — ALL OF THIS IS ABOUT INFRASTRUCTURE CONTROL — NOT CONTENT. Netflix, Hulu or Facebook are NOT ISPS or INFRASTRUCTURE COMPANIES — You go visit them over the ‘infrastructure’ via the wired or wireless broadband-internet service. If you don’t like them you have options. With only 1–2 fast broadband, internet service providers, there is not a lot of options in much of the US. And this infrastructure control controls the price of all services, including your wireless, broadband, internet, phone or cable TV service. And it controls who gets high speed and who gets a digital dirt road.
And 5G? It’s a con to get rid of regulation by promising a fantastic wireless future that won’t come. 5G has a range of a few city blocks and requires a fiber optic wire — that they’ll never put in, especially in rural areas.
Screw them. I don’t like bullies. This has gone far enough. It it time to expose their new dirty laundry, this time with the knowledge that more and more people are beginning to understand just how they are getting screwed.
People and the FCC seem to forget that the wires are part of existing state telecommunications utilities, like water or electricity. And they have been fooled by a rewriting of history. We paid for the wires to be upgraded multiple times. Might it be time to take back what we paid for before it’s too late?
It is said that the winners write the history. We got some work to do.