Thursday, February 26, 2015

FCC "reclassifies" telecom providers, but it isn't over

Practically everyone has heard the “big news” today, that the FCC is using its legal authority to regulate cable providers by “reclassification” (as "utilities").  Verizon sarcastically wrote a press release on a 1934 typewriter (like one in my family for generations).  But, as Timothy B. Lee argues on Vox, conservatives are probably winning the broader broadband debate, link here.  The detail he gives, comparing today’s world to that around 2000 when DSL was new and 56K modem dialup was common and AOL was prominent, is interesting.
The libertarian Cato Institute still calls net neutrality as the FCC’s “nuclear option” here.  CNN has a balanced perspective that is more libertarian-conservative than usual for the news company, and recommends that Congress get to work – under GOP leadership – to balance small business and innovation against shareholders of large telecoms, that seem to enjoy quasi-monopoly. Regulation could have unintended consequences, like hindering upgrading 911 service discussed earlier this week. 
I don’t think I had cable Internet until early 2002, in Minneapolis, which I used at the time only on the Imac.  I got it from Time Warner and sometimes it went down.  But I kept my main Sony Vaio PC connected to a second phone line.  It was amazing how much I got done that way in those days, but that we the Web 1.0 world.

As for Verizon’s typewriter, I used to turn in my own typewriter for repair when I went on vacation, back in the 1970s.  In 1981, while living in Dallas, I actually took it with me on vacation (carryon) and worked on one of my book manuscripts in Utah motels.  

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