When most people think about last year’s controversial repeal of net neutrality, they likely assume that the rules meant to protect an open internet were the only casualty. In the year since, the telecom sector and its defenders have tried to argue that because the internet didn’t immediately implode in a glorious fireball post-net neutrality, the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) repeal must not have been that big of a deal.
They couldn’t be more wrong.
The FCC’s Orwellian-named “Restoring Internet Freedom” order certainly did kill rules preventing internet service providers (ISPs) from abusing their broadband monopolies to harm competitors and…
American consumers have long been vocal about the terrible state of U.S. broadband, which redefines mediocrity in terms of price, availability, and speed. But that anger intensified over the past few years, thanks to the government’s attacks on net neutrality rules supported by the bipartisan majority of Americans.
Historically, broadband gets, at best, lip service during election season. You’ll often see politicians in both parties talk a lot about “fixing the digital divide,” rife with promises that everyone, regardless of where they live or how much they make, should have access to inexpensive, quality broadband.
Broadband is a subject that usually gets passing lip service during election season, only to be completely forgotten once the ballots are counted. But somebody forgot to tell Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren that.
In a Medium post, Warren this week outlined her plan to finally bring U.S. broadband out from under the thumb of mediocrity. The extensive plan proposes spending $85 billion (funded by a higher tax rate on the nation’s biggest corporations) to bring broadband to the 26% of rural Americans who are still left without high speed internet service.
Buried in Warren’s plan to fix the broken…
By any measure, Netflix is a smashing success. Launched in 1997 as a mail-based DVD rental outfit, the company now streams video on demand to 151 million users worldwide every month. Once just a small thorn in the side of traditional cable giants, Netflix now serves more paying video consumers each month than Comcast, DirecTV, and AT&T, combined.
But things are only going to get tougher on Netflix from here. One of the company’s biggest threats? A telecom sector quietly laying the groundwork for revenge.
Not so long ago, as the internet emerged from the dial-up era and corporations were just beginning to monetize it, many writers argued that broadband would usher us into a new digital “utopia.” In 1996, John Perry Barlow, the founder of the nonprofit Electronic Frontier Foundation, wrote a Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace about the new ethics of the internet.
According to Barlow, a brave new online world that “all may enter without privilege or prejudice accorded by race, economic power, military force, or station of birth” was on its way. …
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