Telecom mergers and scandals

Seems like news about telecommunications companies comes from one direction after another — the headlines are dizzying.

Why should we care about these titans clashing and marrying? Because their function, in part, is to deliver information. People use that information to make decisions, notably political decisions.

Here’s the future, if the big corporations have their way: the largest ISPs will continue to consolidate their near-monopoly market share. At the same time — through the repeal of Net Neutrality — they’ll use that market strength to either own or to demand payments from content companies, like HBO,  Netflix, or YouTube. Channels or websites who don’t pay won’t be easily available. That means smaller companies will be boxed out.

How can this be okay? The cover story for merging monopolies is that no company will invest in infrastructure unless they are freed from competition — which is odd, because every other business has to compete. And as for Net Neutrality, the non-Neutral model is cable TV, not the internet we’re familiar with.

Cruzio and other independent ISPs are competition. We’re not welcome in this paradigm. In the early days of the internet, companies like ours made Net Neutrality the lay of the land. Larger ventures like AOL and Genie couldn’t compete with an open internet. Their “closed garden” models had to give way. But as competitors are being driven out, will openness survive?