By Bruce Kushnick | June 17, 2018 | Original article here.
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 (decision here) — and what we should do about it.
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.
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”, (the American Exchange Legislative Council, which is funded by both AT&T and Verizon), 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
Let’s be frank. The Telecom companies just want to shake us all down for more money. The plan is to get rid of all of their 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.
AT&T and Verizon: Aim to Keep the Benefits of a State Telecom Utility, But Shed Any of the Obligations
While AT&T and Verizon expand their Wireless footprints, they get to keep all the State Telecom Utility benefits, including access to the rights-of-way. They are charging all wired customers, and competitors for the Wireless build out and the majority of all Wireless expenses. The FCC’s plan to cede large chunks of the remaining wireless spectrum to AT&T and Verizon is tied to dismantling the State Telecom Utilities and handing over the publicly-funded Wireline copper and fiber-optic networks to their Wireless division for private use.
The Telecom companies plans to block all competition by denying access to the networks in multiple ways, is already underway. 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.
This is all made possible by the FCC and the State Telecom Utility Commissions erasing 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 upgraded years ago, but never did.
To smooth this takeover — they also had get rid of Net Neutrality so they can control the wires and give their own subsidiaries all of the advantages. With privacy gone, 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. Finally, they took away your ability to take them to court — you must arbitrate, which limits their risk.
All of This is About Infrastructure Control — Not Content
Netflix, Hulu or Facebook are NOT Internet Service Providers (ISPs) or Infrastructure Companies.One accesses their content by using the ‘infrastructure’: the wired or wireless broadband-internet service. If you don’t like these content services, you have options.
With only 1–2 fast broadband, ISPs, there are not a lot of options throughout much of the US. These few ISPs control the price of all services, including your Wireless, broadband, internet, phone and/or cable TV service. They control who gets a digital autobahn and who gets a digital dirt road.
5G is just a con to get rid of more 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 AT&T, Verizon and Comcast
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.
The people, the State Utility Commissions and the FCC are forgetting that that the Wireline copper and Fiber Optice networs are part of existing State Telecommunications Utilities, like water or electricity. They have been fooled by the rewriting of history by Telecom Lobbyists. The People paid for the Wirelines networks to be upgraded multiple times.
Isn’t it time to take back what we paid for before it’s too late? It has been said that the winners write the history. We have some work to do.