David Carr spoke with law professor Susan Crawford about her new book about the telecom industry:
In a recent conversation, she explained that wired and wireless connections, building blocks of modern life, are now essentially controlled by four companies. Comcast and Time Warner have a complete lock on broadband in the markets they control, covering some 50 million American homes, while Verizon and AT&T own 64 percent of cellphone service. Don’t get her started on the Comcast-NBCUniversal merger unless you have some time on your hands.
“They have acted in parallel to exclude competitors and used every lever they had to gain control over their markets. My whole book is essentially an argument to buy stock in cable companies,” she said with a laugh.
Her main argument is not that these giant companies are evil, but rather that they’ve perfected the art of dominating their industries, with the government doing little to stop it — which is ultimately going to hurt us all.
Susan Crawford for Bloomberg:
The Internet has taken the place of the telephone as the world’s basic, general-purpose, two-way communication medium. All Americans need high-speed access, just as they need clean water, clean air and electricity. But they have allowed a naive belief in the power and beneficence of the free market to cloud their vision. As things stand, the U.S. has the worst of both worlds: no competition and no regulation.
Such an important and easy-to-understand post. Essentially, the U.S. has fallen behind (and continues to fall farther behind) in high speed internet access because of deregulation gone-bad. It allowed greedy dickbags (the cable companies) to do what they do best (perfect being greedy dickbags).
Just read about how many millions of dollars each of them spend in lobbying to ensure that communities continue to have to pay them (many more) millions for sub-par service. Total. Fucking. Dickbags.
I hope Google (or someone) succeeds in their (insanely expensive) end-around approach. Because it’s pretty clear the government isn’t going to do shit at this point. I wrote this post almost three years ago — what has changed in the meantime? Absolutely nothing. It’s gotten worse. And it will keep getting worse.