New Orleans Finally, the 1% of 1% out in Silicon Valley is coming out of its stupor and scarey-cat stance in dealing with the Federal Communications Commission to stand with the rest of us in the 99% to oppose former industry lobbyist and new chair Tom Wheeler’s efforts to gut net neutrality on the internet and maybe even stand up to Comcast monopoly proposals. Amazon, Facebook, Google, Twitter, Yahoo, and a mess of other high-techers came together in a coalition to write the chairman stating in no uncertain terms that the proposals he is advancing will end net neutrality no matter how smoothly he spins it.
According to New York Times media columnist, David Carr,
The signatories did not mince words, calling the proposal “a grave threat to the Internet.” The letter goes on: “The commission’s longstanding commitment and actions undertaken to protect the open Internet are a central reason why the Internet remains an engine of entrepreneurship and economic growth,” it reads, continuing, “This commission should take the necessary steps to ensure that the Internet remains an open platform for speech and commerce so that America continues to lead the world in technology markets.” Translation: You are about to break the Internet and you will be deeply sorry if you do.
Reportedly the chairmen is hurriedly trying to make some amendments and include some assurances that the FCC will look at each and every one of these deals to separate the internet into a high road and low road, a fast and slow lane, but given the continued cozy industry club, toothless way the FCC has regulated, no one buys this for a either a New York minute or a South Dakota stroll. Netflix has already cut deals with both Comcast and AT&T to make sure its streaming gets priority on the “last mile” even while voicing skepticism. A drumbeat of opposition from Silicon Valley matched with other almost universal calls to delay issuing these new rules and step back and do better may be enough for the tone deaf FCC to actually get the message.
In other reports with $150 billion of cash reserves in the bank Apple has more cash on hand than Britain and Israel combined. Adobe, Intel, and Google have another $80 billion in reserves as well. Needless to say those kinds of bank balances get a lot of attention in the no-campaign contribution limits Washington, DC, so when any of them even sniffle everyone from the White House on down says, “God Bless You!” Makes me wonder why there are reports that all of them are privately saying they also oppose the Comcast monopoly merger acquisition of Times-Warner cable, and only Netflix is willing to come out in public and oppose the merger so far.
Net neutrality could finally be the muscle flex from the Valley that we need to elbow Comcast back, rather than foolishly believing them and their faux regulator, the FCC, that their monopoly will work out OK for America. Even Tom Wheeler seems to be getting the message. In the wake of the building firestorm on his gutting net neutrality, he is offering to hold hearings on facing reality and finally making the internet a public utility, which most of America already believes it is and should be.
People get ready!