Little Rock I’m crossing my fingers that now that President Obama doesn’t have to raise money for another campaign, he’s finally getting the fact that his buddies at Comcast and the rest of the telecoms have been playing him and almost every other governmental body and politician in the country for patsies while they shakedown the American people on a monthly basis while giving us slow internet and shlock. We may have lost some battles with these boys, but suddenly we seem to have an ally and a chance at winning the war.
First, the President declared fully he was against a fast and slow lane on the internet. And then, hallelujah, he finally weighed in on pushing the FCC to regulate the internet as a public utility giving us hope of real protection over time. He even seems to have whispered to Tom Wheeler, the FCC head, behind the woodshed, and Wheeler seems to have converted to the Obama position. There’s no word on blocking the Comcast and Times-Warner merger, but now there’s real hope.
There was more evidence in Cedar Rapids recently where the President not only trumpeted the local municipal utility there for creating a superfast fiber optic system for internet but said he was willing to do whatever it took, even though it is late in the game, to preempt the ability of big cable telecoms to stop other cities and states from building higher speed lines and breaking their monopolies. As quoted in the Des Moines Register, he seemed like one of us:
“In too many place across America, some big companies are doing everything they can to keep out competitors,” he said. “In some states, it is virtually impossible to create a community network like the one that you’ve got here in Cedar Falls. So … I’m saying we’re going to change that.”
Some “big companies.” You hear that Comcast, AT&T, Cox, and the like? He’s naming and shaming you!
Susan Crawford from Harvard whose book, Captive Audience, a couple of years ago was the definitive indictment of the cable company monopolies and their almost criminal stranglehold on the internet that was holding us down with low speeds and exorbitant pricing blocking more than a quarter of our population, in the wake of these latest statements started calling Obama, the “FDR of the internet.” Whoa, baby, hold on!
She’s clear what has to happen though is many more of these fiber optic systems:
The FCC has suggested that 25Mbps is a good potential threshold for high speed Internet access in America, but 90 percent of 25Mbps subscriptions in the US go to local cable monopolies that can charge whatever they want. DSL just can’t compete for these higher speeds: Where local cable monopolies face competition only from copper, they get 98-99 percent of subscriptions for 25Mbps. This landscape is radically transformed by the presence of a fiber competitor. Where fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) exists, cable gets just 56 percent of subscriptions for 25 Mbps. But there is very little FTTH in the US: FTTH makes up just 9.5 percent of overall US subscriptions.
There’s real hope now.
And, for just a bit more good news, it turns out the internet isn’t bad for you after all.
“…new study by researchers at Pew Research Center and Rutgers University found the opposite: Frequent Internet and social media users do not have higher stress levels than those who use technology less often. And for women, using certain digital tools decreases stress.”
The President is telling all of us, “Relax, get happy, go on-line!”