Having watched Wall Street again recently, I’m reminded of Gordon Gekko’s line about American wealth:
The richest one percent of this country owns half our country’s wealth, five trillion dollars. One third of that comes from hard work, two thirds comes from inheritance, interest on interest accumulating to widows and idiot sons and what I do, stock and real estate speculation. It’s bullshit. You got ninety percent of the American public out there with little or no net worth. I create nothing. I own. We make the rules, pal. The news, war, peace, famine, upheaval, the price per paper clip. We pick that rabbit out of the hat while everybody sits out there wondering how the hell we did it.
The real problem I see is Comcast being an ISP and content creator. It’s a clear conflict of interests. Providing internet service needs to be reclassified as a utility and the internet backbone needs to be opened up to competitors. The FCC’s incompetence at upholding Net Neutrality and Netflix’s acquiescence to pay off ISPs for better access to their customers is a big step backwards for consumers and creators alike. We deserve better.
Travis is absolutely correct. In fact, his stance has precedence: see the United States v. Paramount Pictures, Inc. case in 1948. In this landmark decision, the US Supreme Court said that studios could not own their own theaters and exclusivity show their own content.
There are some distinct differences here, but a telecom has been broken up before (AT&T) and it could happen again if Comcast purchases Time Warner and continues to produce and favor certain content.
Oh and yes, the internet needs to be legislated as a utility in the United States. It is as essential to modern life as electricity and gas.