No one in America explains the importance of good network policy than Susan Crawford (previously), a one-woman good sense factory when it comes to Network Neutrality, municipal fiber, and reining in the excesses of the goddamned ISP industry. Her latest book is Fiber: The Coming Tech Revolution―and Why America Might Miss It, a timely and urgent look at how America is sacrificing its digital future, productivity, connectivity, social mobility, entrepreneurial growth, education, and every other public good, thanks to rapacious telcos, scumbag lobbyists, and negligent, cash-hungry politicians. — Read the rest
Susan Crawford (previously) is America's best commentator on network policy and network neutrality. In this interview with Ezra Klein, she makes the case for treating Internet access as a utility — not necessarily a right, but something that markets do a bad job of supplying on their own. — Read the rest
One year ago today
Susan Crawford should run the FCC!: She has just published an OpEd in the New York Times which could easily be titled 'If I were Chairwoman of the FCC' and she published a book called Captive Audience which details the way various incumbent broadband related companies have gamed the political process and behaved unfairly in protecting their turf. — Read the rest
Andrew Rasiej sez, "If you're disappointed in the speed, quality, and cost of broadband service in the US you should learn about Susan Crawford who is the greatest US expert on the state of broadband and how the Federal Communications Commission has failed to properly regulate and spur competition or innovation in the marketplace. — Read the rest
Susan Crawford (previously) identifies one of the great and deadly paradoxes of late-stage capitalism, where predatory oligarchs prowl for state assets that can be sold off to them on the cheap, and target vulnerable regulators that can be dismantled so that industry can run amok: the best-functioning, most vital, best-run state systems are invisible, because they do their jobs so well we never hear about them.
Why do 87% of Americans hold a favorable view of Net Neutrality? Not because the vast majority of the country has become wonkishly interested in the intersection of competition policy and telcoms regulation: it's because they care about the internet.
When it comes to killing Net Neutrality, Big Telco's major talking point is that "government regulation" has no place in telcoms; but the reality is that the nation's telecommunications providers are the recipients of regulatory gifts that run to $5B/year, and are expected to do very little in return for this corporate welfare.
A leaked White House Powerpoint deck published by Axios reveals that some elements in the Trump administration are trying to sell a plan for the US government to build the nation's "5g" wireless infrastructure, hardened against Chinese surveillance and attacks, and then lease access to the private telcoms sector; the network architecture could then be reproduced and given to US allies to help them defend themselves against Chinese attacks.
Kentuckywired is a project to run fiber between cities in Kentucky, creating a high speed network for the state's operations. It involves a lot of expensive public works — digging up streets and highways to lay down relatively cheap fiber and conduit (the digging is the expensive part).
We just bought a house here in Burbank and I was delighted to learn that my new home office — part of a business incorporated in the state of California — would be sitting directly on one of the scorching-fast fiber optic lines that the city of Burbank maintains to wire up Disney, Warners and the other major businesses in town. — Read the rest
Susan Crawford, one of America's leading scholars of monopolism, competition and the tech industry, has an outstanding article in Wired laying out the principled case for killing the AT&T/Time-Warner merger, which the Trump DoJ has just filed a lawsuit to block.
American cities have some of the slowest, most expensive internet access in the world, and the biggest, wealthiest cities are some of the worst-provisioned, including San Francisco, ground zero for the tech revolution and home to a cable/telco duopoly whose underperforming infrastructure is especially galling for the city's techie residents.
More than a quarter of New York City lives without broadband, thanks to the sweetheart deals the city has cut with Verizon and the other big telcos, which chargessome of the highest rates in America for some of the country's worst service.
Susan Crawford, one of the most articulate campaigners for Net Neutrality (previously) explains how FCC Chairman Ajit Pai's plan to kill Net Neutrality will leave small-town America behind in the 21st century's rear-view mirror, receding into the distance with poor-quality, slow, and inefficient network access at a moment when economic survival depends on reliable, high-speed and neutral nets.
Over at Backchannel, Susan Crawford reveals how the crap Internet speeds everyday people get from the likes of Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T isn't a tech issue but rather a terrible side effect of those companies trying to punish their competitors like Netflix into paying them for access to you.
Brian Knappenberger, who made the Internet's Own Boy Aaron Swartz documentary, has made an excellent, vital short film about network neutrality (or cable company fuckery).
Cable lobbyist-turned-FCC-Chairman Tom Wheeler can promise to override state laws prohibiting publicly owned ISPs, but it doesn't matter if all the big cities are locked into ten-year franchise agreements with cable and phone companies. As an Electronic Frontier Foundation editorial points out, US mayors can and should take steps to make municipal broadband a reality, putting competitive pressure on America's foot-dragging, worst-of-breed ISPs. — Read the rest
Robbo sez, "Cable lobbyists are trying to get Congress Critters to sign off on a letter from the industry exhorting FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler to NOT reclassify broadband Internet as a Title II common carrier service. It is, of course, complete horseshit and now (even after all the public outcry over Wheeler's patronizing positioning over his own proposed rules) the weasels of the
National Cable and Telecommunications Association are looking to
get their Congressional lackeys to block any reasonable response to
the public will. — Read the rest
Last month, I wrote about the announcement of the $25 Firefox OS smartphone, aimed at developing world users who have never owned a smartphone and can't afford a high-end mobile device. An editorial by Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry describes how such a device could find an audience of billions, and spur a new ecosystem of developing world developers who make software that's geared not just to the Firefox OS platform, but also to the unique needs of people in the developing world. — Read the rest
In John Wooley's hilarious 30-minute mockumentary The Internet Must Go, he plays a marketing shill hired by the big cable operators and phone companies to convince Americans to accept corrupt, non-neutral Internet connections where your ability to reach sites and services online is based on whether your ISP has a deal with the company offering it. — Read the rest