Monday, July 04, 2005

Dial-up: retarded badge of honor

The same day the Supremes, considering Grokster, ignored P2P and looked instead at business models, they looked at the Internet in the BrandX case and decided that the manifold Net is not a telecom medium, but an "information service." (Someone fingered Judge Thomas as the analyst who dislocated this bit of reality.)

All the open access rules went out the window. And while this decision was specific to cable, folks like Mark Cooper at the Consumer Fed assure us it will shortly be used to give the Baby Bells the same privileged status. Restriction of open access was unprecedented until last week in the US, according to Cooper, and now, with regard to broadband, it will be the norm.

This is different from Media Concentration, though related. The owners of infrastructure will enjoy monopoly over access to their lines, and their customers have acquired the status of sitting ducks.

Of course bloggers could play a role here. We could renounce the monopolism of broadband. Tell the big cables and Bells that until open access is restored, we'll be fine with dial-up. (Easy for me to say, since I've been on dial up for three months - but that's because I basically refuse to consume cable in any way, shape, or form*). But you know, if nothing else, it could prove (as in, test) the mettle of the sphere.

(*and because I am choosy about my provider, it may be quite some time before I'm on anything faster than 44kbps. But you know what? It's not that bad. I read more, get more done, see more films -- I highly recommend Alex de la Iglesia's 800 Bullets, Commonwealth, Perdita Durango...)

So what does the Blogosphere say? Who'll declare independence from broadband for this worthy cause?


Blogger Deleted said...

Most of what I do on the net requires broadband :-( My writing, such as it is, is the least of it. All the dial up providers, even the good ones, have to do business with a tier one at some point; most of them are pretty evil too.

7/05/2005 5:06 PM  
Blogger Tom Matrullo said...

Well, years ago some of us began making the argument that Net access and broadband as well are necessities. Like sanitation. As such, the emphasis should be on openness, not the sort of private ownership found in intellectual property models. Whatever your needs are for high speed, I doubt they have anything in common with the market optionalities involved in choosing "information services."

7/05/2005 10:50 PM  
Blogger Deleted said...

You're right about that. They don't.

I never understood, until I started reading, why internet access wasn't treated just like rural electrification, sanitation and so forth. All that high capacity sitting around rotting while aging enfants terribles had public hissy fits, while cutting deals that eventually required bailouts.

The last place I rented for work was about 1/2 mile from a lot that had huge spools, possibly 10 feet in diameter, of fiber optic cable sitting outside. The guy who owned them was going to become an internets entrepreneur. This was back in 2000. He offered me a commission if I could sell any of them two years later.

Small hope for the future.

7/06/2005 1:54 AM  
Blogger Tom Matrullo said...

I share the wan hope. How the very perception of the problem is bent and disfigured can be glimpsed here and here.

7/06/2005 8:32 AM  
Blogger Jon Husband said...

Well, that's the USA.

There's always u-Japan, which stands for Ubiquitously-Networked Japan ... inexpensive high-speed broadband for everyone, a determined public policy movement begun by the Japanese government in 2003 and nearing reality today (I believe).

It seems so clear (to me) that universal high-speed access should be a public service ... isn't this one of the purposes of government, as opposed to creating new markets and business opportunities for arms makers ?

7/06/2005 10:46 AM  
Blogger Tom Matrullo said...

Thanks Jon - interesting pointer - I'll put it here again, since blogger comments seem to always screw up links:

The difference between them and US is, they have enough respect for themselves to know that they in general will have the wits to make hay out of something that is not necessarily designed to profit anyone in particular. Where USians (today - it used to be otherwise) only can visualize policy in which in advance it is understood that emoluments will accrue to certain interests regardless of the ultimate success or failure of the stated aims of said policy.

7/06/2005 12:38 PM  
Blogger Deleted said...

The lack of self-repsect is reinforced, perhaps even caused, by the futility of finding accurate information uopn which to base a judgement. The old joke -- "Earth Round, Claim Scientists. Nonsense! Say The Skeptics. We can only conlcude that the truth lies somewhere in between" -- might just as well have been designed to demoralize anyone with enough brain cells to understand what a farce "news" like that is.

I think that's done deliberately at this point. The merger of psy ops disinformation, advertising and the regular television perception management is too useful for our corporate culture political class not to exploit

7/06/2005 2:48 PM  
Blogger Tom Matrullo said...

That is one symptom. The whole aura of radical indeterminacy is itself overdetermined, don't you think? It's the sort of cloud of unknowing that fosters big whooping spasms of belief, crowd lunacy, a propensity to make a religion of anything at hand, along with enabling strategic dysinfo. But that's a two-way street. In this environment, were I a news organization, I'd begin with acknowledgement that just about everything we say is a load of gerbil manure. People don't look at what is alleged to be news, but they might attend to someone who admits they haven't a clue what the news is.

7/06/2005 6:01 PM  
Blogger Jon Husband said...

they might attend to someone who admits they haven't a clue what the news is.

I for one (seriously) would pay more attention if someone actually said that .. as opposed to their rigid insistence on being accepted as the authorities that matter, coupled with the active denigration of everything else that proffers any alternative.

Unfortunately, i've seen this same story more than one time too many .. just another big corporate entity being driven by a few people, everyone else hanging either for the bi-weekly insulation (against uncertainty) drip, or because they think that if they play their cards right they might get to drive.

Never underestimate ego and hubris.

7/06/2005 11:44 PM  
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