The Internet is fucked but we can fix it, by Niley Patel | The Verge
Adam Rifkin stashed this in Teh Internets
Americans pay more money for slower speeds than anyone else in the world:
In a perfect storm of corporate greed and broken government, the internet has gone from vibrant center of the new economy to burgeoning tool of economic control. Where America once had Rockefeller and Carnegie, it now has Comcast’s Brian Roberts, AT&T’s Randall Stephenson, and Verizon’s Lowell McAdam, robber barons for a new age of infrastructure monopoly built on fiber optics and kitty GIFs.
The whole article is worth reading but here's the main point:
70 percent of American households have but one or two choices for high-speed internet access: cable broadband from a cable provider or DSL from a telephone provider. And since DSL isn’t nearly as fast as cable, and the cable companies are aggressive in bundling TV and internet packages together, it’s really only one choice. And that means the level of innovation from these providers has almost completely stagnated, even as prices have gone up.
Why are cellphones so much cooler now than they were in 2000? Because Apple and Google and Samsung all had to fight it out and make better products in order to survive. They’re competing. Comcast hasn’t had to fight anything, at any time. It is fat and lazy and wants nothing more than to get fatter and lazier. That’s why Comcast is spending $45 billion on Time Warner Cable instead of integrating Netflix into its cable boxes and working with Apple and Google and Microsoft on the real next generation of TV: when you’re the only real choice in 19 of America’s 20 biggest markets, you get to move real slow and still make a lot of money. It's not clear Comcast even knows what real competition looks like.
Google Fiber will roll out some true competition but that will take years.
Meanwhile, this shit is insane:
Mobile carriers like AT&T and Verizon love to pretend they are special flowers, the magicians who managed to fill our thin, empty air with the magic of wireless broadband. Mobile is so difficult, they argue, and spectrum so scarce, that any sort of check or oversight on their behavior would crater their delicate business and derail the entire industry.
This is nonsense, of course. If anything, we need to keep a sharper eye on the endless shenanigans of mobile carriers, because they pose a constant and growing threat to the overall health and innovative potential of the internet. The bad behavior is real, and it’s been happening for years: AT&T blocking FaceTime and Hangouts and Verizon knifing Google Wallet is just the tip of the iceberg. These industry behemoths also wield the wireless spectrum they lease from the public like a weapon, denying both competitors and potential competitors the most fundamental tool they need to get into the game.
Wireless executives will tell you they need to own as much wireless airspace as they possibly can, going on about a so-called "spectrum crunch" that has never really materialized: networks haven’t been brought to their knees by an apocalyptic wave of iPads with a voracious appetite for streaming video. In fact, cable companies bought a wide swath of prime spectrum in 2006, only to let it sit unused for years before flipping it to Verizon years later. Even the inventor of the cellphone denies that the crunch is a real phenomenon.
This shit is insane. It is unacceptable. The smartphone revolution was about putting a powerful computer and an internet connection in everyone’s pocket; it was not about creating a new class of economic gatekeepers with the unchecked power to control and destroy markets with zero oversight and little true competition. Famed venture capitalist Fred Wilson at Union Square Ventures has called the net neutrality situation a "nightmare" for startups trying to get funded, saying that he expects telecom companies to "pick their preferred partners, subsidize the data costs for those apps, and make it much harder for new entrants to compete with the incumbents."
The rest of the article talks about what we can do about it:
Here's what we can do: CALL THE FCC.
So there’s the entire problem, expressed in four simple ideas: the internet is a utility, there is zero meaningful competition to provide that utility to Americans, all internet providers should be treated equally, and the FCC is doing a miserably ineffective job. The United States should lead the world in broadband deployment and speeds: we should have the lowest prices, the best service, and the most competition. We should have the freest speech and the loudest voices, the best debate and the soundest policy. We are home to the most innovative technology companies in the world, and we should have the broadband networks to match.
We should stop fucking it up.
It's really quite simple: email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-888-225-5322:
Internet, Phone, TV as bundle is the funniest part. It's THE SAME product, which they are trying to sell me three times in a bundle:)