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The Internet Government The Almighty Buck Politics

FCC Weighs Net Access Charge Decision 86

An anonymous reader writes "The FCC is considering a request from AT&T to lift restrictions on the types of charges they can level against competitors that use their infrastructure. The organization had previously allowed that for Verizon by virtue of a deadlock, and Ma Bell now hopes to see similar treatment. 'All the requests have been strongly opposed by smaller rivals such as Sprint Nextel, Time Warner Telecommunications and XO Communications. These competitors argue that they have few alternatives to get access to the high-speed lines they need, and are being charged more and more by the dominant carriers.'"
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FCC Weighs Net Access Charge Decision

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  • I'd hate to see it (Score:4, Insightful)

    by techpawn ( 969834 ) on Thursday October 11, 2007 @01:19PM (#20942243) Journal

    Analysts say the five-member FCC is split over the issue between Republicans and Democrats. One of the three Republicans, Robert McDowell, holds the swing vote.
    I know it's too much to ask but can this be decided on merit and not on partisanship?
    • by hellfire ( 86129 ) <> on Thursday October 11, 2007 @01:27PM (#20942339) Homepage
      I know it's too much to ask but can this be decided on merit and not on partisanship?

      You must be new to this country...
      • by Touvan ( 868256 )
        I actually think the partisanship is well divided. On one side you have free market anarchists, who believe that unregulated capitalism (which is laissez-faire, cleverly rebranded as the "free market" - which is anything but free for the majority of the people in it - they're only free if they can afford it) will somehow lead to more competition which will bring down prices (despite all evidence to the contrary - evidence including the rising prices from Verizon and AT&T, which can be quantified). I sup
        • You must have missed the part where the internet was created/built/etc with taxpayer money. Aka, it was built BY a monopoly (the government) and it was sold/maintained on contract by the big bells. AT&T, Verizon, etc, being their offspring. These companies, in reality were originally billed as "stewards" not necessarily owners of this infrastructure. If not, then perhaps they should give every tax payer an outright return on our investments, so to speak, since those days.

          We do not have a "free marke
          • Testify, Brother!
          • by Touvan ( 868256 )
            Do you really believe that telephone monopolies, electricity monopolies, etc. were handed out by the government? You need to check your facts my friend. These were monopolies first, and regulated second. I seem to have lost a whole point by point response to this (I could swear I hit the submit button..), but without government regulation (the solution you seem to be suggesting is to remove all government oversight, since they are the problem) what would prevent monopolies from forming, then abusing the pow
            • The government handed the fat contracts directly to the biggest player(s) and later pretended to break them down. Incorporating, and corporate personhood (complete with rights) is part of the reason that government is directly guilty of A) being and B) aiding the big corporation scam of today. It doesn't matter if its communists, capitalists or what have you. It is statism, that's the overall umbrella term that covers them all.

              Had the state not been so absolute in its power, and unquestioned in its judge
              • Had the state not been so absolute in its power, and unquestioned in its judgement, then these monopolies would've had a LOT of small players armed with both skill and arms (when skill in the market place fails) who could've cleaned house.

                "would have had to deal WITH"

                Made a mistake there typing fast.

                Laters, gotta run.
              • by Touvan ( 868256 )
                Wow. Just wow.
    • FCC: "If you raise your rates, why wouldn't your customers switch to a competing service?".

      Expected answer: We anticipate that our competitor's would have to raise their rates accordingly due to cost increases in providing the service.

      FCC: "Who is your competitor?"


      FCC: Thank you.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by gurps_npc ( 621217 )
      There are only a few things that governments are asked to rule on:

      1. Things that we don't know any answer to. Here, there is no merit, just partisanship arguing about which of several proposed hyopethical fixes we should attempt.

      2. Things that we know the answer, but it is too expensive to do without sacrificing other things of value (which could mean effort/privacy as well as simply expensive in cash). Here, partisanship again determines what we do, because while we know what to do, some are willing

  • Good (Score:3, Insightful)

    by BlowHole666 ( 1152399 ) on Thursday October 11, 2007 @01:20PM (#20942261)
    You may think this is a bad thing because the cost of internet service may go up. However if companies like Sprint/Nextel have to pay more for the use of AT&Ts' lines maybe this cost will either put them out of business (not the goal of my post) or give them the boost to design new technology and make the market more competitive.

    In essence Sprint is just a reseller of at&ts' product. Let them come out with their own product to compete.

    I am in no way picking on sprint. I am just saying a little competition in this area is a good thing. Maybe more fiber being laid, better service, higher speeds, and new technology will come of this. OR we could all get corn holed by higher prices.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mtp85 ( 1132905 )
      My prediction is that we all get cornholed. Laying out new infrastructure (especially in a country as large as the U.S.) is a massively expensive proposition, and that significantly tips the scales in favor of the behemoth companies like AT&T. This is just as true for the core 'net infrastructure as it is for last mile lines, where consumers have their choice of oligopoly to patronize. Designing new technology is not going to stop market forces from working against progress.
      • Normal radio sucks, and companies like XM and Sirus decided to change that and create something new. Radio with out commercials, yes it cost a little bit but you do not have to listen to dumb ass commercials. Well currently satellite internet sucks, but that does not mean a company can not invest money into improving satellite internet (increase speeds) like XM and Sirus did for radio. If internet prices go up big spenders like Microsoft, Google, Blizzard, HP, EA, Sun, Adobe, etc (companies that provide int
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by russotto ( 537200 )
          Satellite internet sucks because the speed of light is too low. I don't see anyone getting around that any time soon.
          • How is the fastest thing in the universe slow? Or are you referring to how fast you get off when you are having sex? If that is the case the speed of light is too low :)
            • by jejones ( 115979 )
              The problem is that that fastest thing in the universe has to travel an extra 44,000 miles between the earth and the satellite and then back to earth, compared with a terrestrial connection. That's a hair under 1/4th second added time, for transit just one way. Put it this way: it means the fastest possible ping is around 500 ms (because the ping goes there and back) if you're using satellite internet. Ask a gamer what he or she would think of an ISP with that kind of latency.
              • That's why I said Satellite internet sucks but maybe with some tech advances they can speed that up. I know they can not speed up the speed of light. They can compress the data. They could set up stuff like cell towers so the single does not have to travel an extra 44k miles. I was just giving an example of other directions a company could go.
                • by dgatwood ( 11270 )

                  If you mean traditional geostationary satellites, it would require completely redesigning TCP/IP and the protocols that run on top of it in order to make it remotely usable, IMHO. The Internet as it exists today simply was not designed for high latency satellite hops and cannot perform well under such conditions. It's not an issue of throughput; you can't make up for latency with compression.

                  In a high latency environment such as a satellite link, basic protocols like DNS fall down pretty badly. For exa

                  • There must be a provision for transmitting to a non-stationary satellite; Iridium still exists. That's extremely low bandwidth, though, and was horrificly expensive to deploy.
          • Speed of stupidity is even slower though :)
            • by Gregb05 ( 754217 )
              The speed of stupidity is actually faster than light, however there's no information being transmitted, so it doesn't break the laws of physics.
          • At what speed does electricity travel down wires and cables? Is it faster than light? From my old science classes I think I remember that those speeds may be the same. So - what's your point again?
            • Re:Good (Score:4, Informative)

              by mtp85 ( 1132905 ) on Thursday October 11, 2007 @02:34PM (#20943297)
              A satellite in geostationary orbit is far enough (35,786 km) from the surface of the Earth to introduce measurable latency, even when your signal is traveling at the speed of light. That is the GP's point.
              • i>A satellite in geostationary orbit is far enough 35,786 km from the surface of the Earth to introduce measurable latency, even when your signal is traveling at the speed of light. That is the GP s point.

                I have satellite and typically see ping times of 800-1200ms. Not great, but it beats dial-up for most of what I use it for. I can't wait for stratellites to happen.

            • Nope, it's a touch slower than the speed of light (this is just the energy, not the actual electrons, those move much much slower, as in 1mm in 4 seconds depending on the current and wire).
            • It depends on the wire, but I think it's around (2/3)c. So not as fast, but close. The problem with satellite is that the light has to travel very long distances to reach the satellite, for instance sats in GEO require a more than 100000km round trip, so you have at least 300ms latency from that. With wires the route is much more direct. Thus why satellite sucks.
            • Electrical signals in a wire typically travel at something like 1/3 the speed of light. Words that will steer you to the information on this subject in electrical engineering textbooks include "transmission line", and "characteristic impedance". The point I think from the start was, for companies to get their asses in gear and start developing faster internet :)
    • Poltical grabass (Score:3, Insightful)

      by evann ( 667628 )
      The cost of the internet services WILL go up. All these companies do is pass along the costs to consumers. Lay new fiber? Long term maybe, but why the hell should we keep having to pay more and more to monopolies. Why should new lines have to be run for every company trying to compete in the market? U.S. already pays too much for cable and internet services. The fact that the voting is split between Rep/Dems should tell you that the committee cannot think for themselves anyway.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by zerocool^ ( 112121 )

        And the simple answer is socialize bulk data transfer. Build a government telco-hut in every city in America with 30,000 or more people. Run huge-ass fiber pipes everywhere, in star topology radiating from all the major cities, bigger pipes in larger cities. Put hubs in NYC, Boston, Washington DC, Atlanta, Tampa, Dallas, Memphis, Chicago, Denver, Vegas, LA, and San Jose, with leafs out from there. Peer with MAE-East and MAE-West. Make it government-owned, and charge everyone the same rate, regardless o
    • Re:Good (Score:5, Informative)

      by Mr. Slippery ( 47854 ) <tms AT infamous DOT net> on Thursday October 11, 2007 @01:33PM (#20942441) Homepage

      In essence Sprint is just a reseller of at&ts' product. Let them come out with their own product to compete.

      AT&T got all kinds of subsidies [] and grants of right-of-way [] to build their infrastructure. The theory was that this was in exchange for access.

      • by $1uck ( 710826 )
        I've always felt that these lines shouldn't be owned by a corporation for exactly these reasons. Just like roads and natural resources they should be managed by "the people" (ie the government). Now I'm fairly distrustful of the government and would be a typical libertarian nut, but I feel certain resources need to be managed at a national level: radio frequencies, roads, power lines, the air we breath, waterways any sort of national resource (which includes things requiring eminent domain to construct).
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      I wonder though --

      As I watch roads being widened, the utilities are relocated, new and often better quality lines are strung, storms take out huge swaths of utility lines that are replaced under disaster area declarations, new developments are built that require service where there was none, and such; I ask -- how much taxpayer funding provided these upgrades? Upgrades that a private company profits from. Upgrades or additional subscribers that they would not have taken care of otherwise.

      Does anyone know

      • Your question reminds me of something I heard being discussed when I used to live in L.A. People were talking a lot about the continual expansions of the suburbs, how more and more people were moving out of the city to get away from the high rents, so they were building up more and more along the outer edges. However, all of those new buildings required new infrastructure - new roads, new water pipes, new electric lines. The concern was that in building all of that new infrastructure, it was cutting away
    • Re:Good (Score:5, Informative)

      by bevoblake ( 1106117 ) on Thursday October 11, 2007 @01:43PM (#20942547)
      Unfortunately, companies need money to finance technology research. Sprint has already "bet the farm" on WiMax, which, if it doesn't work out, will put them out of business. So, they've already put their money where their mouth is to try to use technology to solve their problems and don't have any additional financing to re-create a fiber grid.

      When you break it down, AT&T is suspiciously close to using monopolistic practices to defeat smaller competitors. As AT&T was once a government-created monopoly, the government should've done a better job policing their push back towards monopoly status. Unfortunately, our current administration uses a very light hand when it comes to enforcing anti-monopoly laws (I'd reference the way the Justice Dept backed off of Microsoft and the way they've let AT&T acquire everyone they want).

      Monopolies almost always result in less efficiency in a market.

      Of course, when I own both Park Place and Boardwalk and put up hotels, I'm not going to cut you any deals either.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Volante3192 ( 953645 )
      Maybe more fiber being laid,

      Therein lies the rub. FTTP is simpleish compared to tearing up streets like Wilshire in downtown L.A. and laying down new fiber.

      IMO, the best solution would be to strip AT&T of all services, leaving them with just the fiber, so they don't have conflict of interest carrying both the lines and the services on the lines. (Note: We could also strip the fiber from AT&T making a new company, the end result is one company manages the a utility.)
      • Re:Good (Score:4, Insightful)

        by p0tat03 ( 985078 ) on Thursday October 11, 2007 @02:00PM (#20942763)

        I've always wondered why the government can't own the fibre like they do the roads. Like road tolls, people must pay a certain fee to the government in order to use these pipes, which may be included into the price of their internet service. Providers can maintain and expand the network, and money spent doing so can be applied as a toll credit (i.e. if AT&T spends $2bn expanding the network, then they can get an equivalent break on gov't line tolls). This way companies are not penalized for building up the infrastructure, while maintaining competitiveness for smaller players.

        Here in Canada (Ontario only, actually), our DSL providers are forced to rent out their lines at government regulated wholesale rates. This has encouraged the growth of small ISPs that provide excellent service for less cost. I myself pay $20 CAD a month for service that Bell charges $50 a month for, and I get better phone support to boot.

        IMHO this should also apply to the wireless spectrum. Stop auctioning these things off and simply charge tolls for any provider to use your network. A per-device-per-month scheme would work well.

        • I've always wondered why the government can't own the fibre like they do the roads. Like road tolls, people must pay a certain fee to the government in order to use these pipes, which may be included into the price of their internet service. Providers can maintain and expand the network, and money spent doing so can be applied as a toll credit (i.e. if AT&T spends $2bn expanding the network, then they can get an equivalent break on gov't line tolls). This way companies are not penalized for building up
          • It is not that private companies are more efficient, it is that they have executives that have outrageous salaries who can contribute to said politicians' campaigns to keep their public trough jobs.

            My daddy told me once, "The only difference between a Democrat politician and a Republican politician is that a Democrat feels guilty for having a bunch of money he didn't have to work for, and a Republican does not."

    • Re:Good (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Kadin2048 ( 468275 ) * <slashdot.kadin@x[ ].net ['oxy' in gap]> on Thursday October 11, 2007 @01:52PM (#20942643) Homepage Journal
      You would have a point if this was an industry where the barriers to entry weren't so astronomically, prohibitively high.

      Telecommunications requires so much capital investment that it tends towards a natural monopoly, at least within regions, dominated by whoever can get there first and run the wires around. Once that first person is there, much of the impetus to repeat the investment is gone.

      Due more to some interesting historical/technological developments than any real forethought, some people happen to actually have two sources of telecommunications, one run by the phone company any one run by the cable TV company. This sort of parallel infrastructure buildout is unlikely to happen again; in fact I think it may actually decrease: one company or the other will decide to expend its resources in areas where the other company isn't, meaning that if you want really good, high speed service, there will be a clear choice even if you have two wires running into your house.

      And really, it doesn't benefit most consumers to have two halfassed networks coming into their house. You're probably only going to be able to easily use one of them (at least one of them, per service, but those services -- TV, phone, data -- are quickly becoming one "packet data" service anyway). Two companies forced to lay parallel infrastructure are always going to have higher costs and worse service than a single company, because of the extra overhead they carry, if (and this is a non-trivial 'if', granted) the single company is forced to offer service at cost, rather than being allowed to increase it.

      Even in minimalist conceptions of government (which I am generally a fan of), there is a legitimate function for the state when it comes to the regulation of natural monopolies. Although I'm not advocating for state-run telcos -- although they may look good on paper, history has shown that state-run industries generally suck terribly -- the way things worked in the U.S. from deregulation to a few years ago (thanks, George!) was that the first carrier to build-out in an area, in return for using the public rights-of-way, had to share the infrastructure with other firms basically at cost, or at low negotiated rates (e.g., "Local Loop Unbundling"). Since this system has been undercut by the telco drones at the FCC, connectivity costs have gone up far in excess of service offered, and competition has diminished.
      • In Texas they deregulated the power companies and it has worked out quite well []

        It has increased competition and lowered prices.
        • It worked out great in California [], too.
        • Telco and power deregulation are slightly different animals, though. Electric power in the deregulated market is treated basically as a fungible good; you buy watt-hours from one place, sell them to somebody else. It's basically a spot market. For the most part, you don't care where the 'power' that's running your lights came from (and there's really no way to tell, in any literal sense; we just play an accounting shell-game to determine who gets paid what).

          You can't really deal with packets that way. One p
          • Natural monopolies really don't occur very often compared to the myth perpetuated by greedy rent-seekers like AT&T and Comcast. Sure, in Econ 101, the argument is made that the duplicative effects of having multiple companies run wire to each home are so high that the marketplace can only sustain 1 profitable company. But the market is "dynamic and rivalrous," meaning that technological forces ensure no single company will maintain the lowest average cost curve for very long.

            Currently, the FCC prevent
    • I am just saying a little competition in this area is a good thing. Maybe more fiber being laid, better service, higher speeds, and new technology will come of this.

      It is difficult to argue that removing government regulation at this point would increase competition and be good for the consumer when AT&T built their entire infrastructure on subsidies. It's not Sprint/Nextel selling AT&T's product, it's Sprint/Nextel selling a government subsidized product. If the government provides the same servi

    • Huh? The fastest data transfers are still over wires, and unless you want every single company out there to run wires (which they'll still have to pay the telco to do, to use the existing poles), there's no way to make this fair. They'll go under, because running lines is expesive.

      The only real solution is for the state / cities to take ownership of the lines themselves and allow companies to offer services over those lines. This is similar to what my city is doing; rolling out their own fiber lines and
    • Actually, as the airways are public, controlled by the government, so should the broadband connections between cities be government owned. The AT&Ts would use the broadband, and be responsible only for the last mile. All companies would pay the same connection fees, perhaps based on terrabytes of transfer. The post office is a good example of who should own the pipes between cities.
  • If they stop regulating it, then the smaller companies will likely have to raise prices to cover the higher expenses.
  • by dave562 ( 969951 ) on Thursday October 11, 2007 @01:30PM (#20942387) Journal
    The small companies are the ones that are keeping the major carriers from gouging the end user. They are able to resell the product at a lower price which keeps the major carriers honest. It is true that they don't offer anything different than the major carriers. I don't see that as being a bad thing. By offering the same thing and doing it at a lower price, they keep the market competitive.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Communist Zonk. They should have no restrictions at all. Then again, according to Communist Zonk everything should be like Open-Sores and Communism. By the way go ahead and flame away, mod this comment down, or ignore this comment. By doing any of those you will prove just how right I am.
  • You Know It (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MightyMartian ( 840721 ) on Thursday October 11, 2007 @01:49PM (#20942591) Journal
    I have every confidence that the FCC will sell out the consumer. Their sole purpose, and the sole purpose of the US government, is to keep the money rolling in for big business.

    Let the FCC completely fuck over the communications industry. At some point someone will have to step in, cut AT&T into pieces again, rejig the process so that consumers aren't getting fucked due to the whores in Congress and the FCC taking it up the ass for Big Telco Inc.

    Of course, that too will change as a new generation of political whores get into Congress and again sell out the only people that they should actually even consider to Big Telco Inc.
    • by jez9999 ( 618189 )
      And what's the only way this process will ever be broken?

      I say by totally rearranging the US political system. Bribery(lobbying) needs to be BANNED, PR electing needs to be introduced, the electoral college needs to be abolished, and the constitution needs to be strongly upheld. Any president thought to have breached any part of it deserves to be quickly impeached with a vengeance.
  • Is this going to be Ma Bell 2.0?

  • Regulating prices may seem like a good idea at first glance - but forcing the telcos to let competitors share access reduces investment in upgrading facilities that need modernization.

    This op-ed in the Washington Times today does a great job explaining why regulating special access would be a bad idea. []

    The Progress & Freedom Foundation [] recently published an empirical examination finding a positive correlation between flexible pricing
    • by cdrguru ( 88047 )
      Your mistake is thinking that reselling the same services is competition. DSL is utterly dependent on the ILEC physical plant. Same with just about all wireless - what are the ground stations connected to, satellite? No, it all comes down to the same thing. Even the cable providers are connected to the telephone network using ILEC-leased infrastructure. Same thing with satellite ground stations.

      Sorry, there is but one network. There are no competitors, really.
    • Excuse me, but the Progress and Freedom Foundation is just a shill for big business interests. Of course any finding they have will side with deregulation. This is like asking the Tobacco Institute to objectively study the health effects of tobacco.
    • Pay your urban elitist fair "free market rates" share for your piped in water stolen from the owners in the rural areas, and for the transportation of the food grown in rural areas brought to you over the publicly funded roads and for the electricity that comes to you from powerlines over rural land, where not a single penny is given to the rightful owners of that property, and maybe the rural folks would have enough money to be "rich consumers who matter", and could afford to attract some "investors" to pu
  • Wholesale vs retail (Score:4, Interesting)

    by cdrguru ( 88047 ) on Thursday October 11, 2007 @02:15PM (#20942983) Homepage
    What the telecom infrastructure owners are currently faced with is delivering services to competitors at rates which allow their competitors to underbid them for identical retail services. This grew out of the 1984 breakup and was seen as a way to introduce competition into telecommunications.

    It has been somewhat successful in that goal, but it isn't any sort of solution. What it has forced has been the continual degradation of customer service from the ILECs because the only way they can compete price-wise is by cutting non-essentials. Customer service was the first to go. Installation and physical plant maintenance was next.

    It as if you had a car dealer that was required to sell cars in bulk at a substantial discount to other car dealers who could then turn around and sell these cars to the public for less than the original dealer could afford to. The original dealer would be forced to cut prices to match and cut services to continue to be able to afford to keep up. Mandating the bulk sales to introduce this artifical competition is absurd and just creates a race to the bottom where everyone is competing on price and everything else is sacrificed. This is exactly where we are today.

    Yes, I have the option of choosing telephone service from a variety of different retailers. All of these retailers are using the same infrastructure owned by the ILEC, in my case Qwest. Qwest has awful customer service and is doing a lousy job of maintaining their physical plant. But the structure of this deal ensures that no competing physical plant will ever be built. Why would it when you can lease access at a discounted rate that is far, far less than what it would cost to build it? Or, as Qwest is discovering, even maintain it?

    I used to be under Ameritech/SBC. Same problems. I could get a T1+phone+data from a "competitor" for for less than I could get the same number of phone lines from SBC. Why? Because SBC was required to lease out the infrastructure at below-cost levels.

    Where does this artifical nonsense of "competition" end up? Well, nobody is building, improving or replacing physical plant except in unusual circumstances. Verizon has apparently discovered that if you run fiber all the way that you no longer have to lease out the infrastructure. That apparent loophole is all the reason needed to replace the copper with fiber. I do not believe there are solid figures for maintenance cost but I would suspect that buried fiber is substantially more expensive to maintain than buried copper in the long run. So if Verizon has to lease out the fiber at less-than-cost levels as they have to do with the copper you can expect fiber to go unmaintained and to stop running fiber. I can't imagine the loophole lasting very long and I would not want to be orphaned with fiber that nobody wants to maintain.

    There is the usual sorts of comments about how the infrastructure should be publiclly owned. Sure, look at some other countries where this has been the case. The difference is that the original infrastructure was built by the government, not nationalized by the government. The US has never nationalized anything that I know of and it is highly doubtful they would start with the telephone network. I don't see that happening. Nor do I believe it would be in anyone's best interest.

    So where could competition come from? It is difficult to say. The current artificial competition is very destructive and has created no real competitors but a bunch of leeches. Just as with a leech, if the host (the ILEC) the parasite dies. The real solution to this would be to have competing infrastructure - the ILEC has the copper and someone new runs fiber. Unfortunately, anyone owning physical plant today has to be prepared to support the army of leeches that would come forth. So why would anyone build physical plant today if they have to share it and probably share it below cost?

    This isn't competition. It is a suicide pact. If an ILEC folds, everyone loses and we all get to discover there isn't any "competition" at all.
    • by enrevanche ( 953125 ) on Thursday October 11, 2007 @03:32PM (#20944339)

      The prices that ATT charges competitors is profitable to ATT. This is just a big smoke screen. They actually want to eliminate competition so that they can raise prices in a less competitive market. The fact is that ATT has an artificially created monopoly on the last mile. The fact is they manipulated the government in the 30s and 40s to create the monopoly. This is not a market that is easy to make competitive. It requires regulation because we have only two choices (at most) for physical connections to the end user.

      If they get what they want, they will eliminate all but the cable company. The US will have the worst (if it doesn't already) broadband of any developed country (including those with lower population density.)

      ATT only paid for a portion of the infrastructure that they own, most of it is paid for when new construction while it was put in and the government. It was paid for by high consumer prices made capable by their monopoly position. They government handed it to them. They bribe elected government officials with campaign and other donations. They manipulate, they misrepresent etc.

      The real reason they won't effectively compete is because they have dreams of re-realizing the near complete monopoly position they once had. How do you think they got the government to allow all of these mergers and re-mergers. This is not for competition. But they will call say it's for "competition".

  • by shelterpaw ( 959576 ) on Thursday October 11, 2007 @02:18PM (#20943029)
    do something about it. I wrote the FCC this morning pleading my case as why they should not relax regulations. I explained the lack of service and choices currently available. I went a step farther by asking them to reevaluate the ownership of tax payer funded lines and lines which reside on public/government property. Wether what I wrote makes a difference in their decision making or not, I at leased voiced my opinion.
  • How is this allowed? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by SonicSpike ( 242293 ) on Thursday October 11, 2007 @07:52PM (#20947813) Journal
    Where in the Constitution is Congress allowed to regulate communications?
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Scudsucker ( 17617 )
      Well, lets see. There's the venerable Commerce Clause, and these lines run across state lines. Then there's the fact that the lines are run across public land and private land through the use of eminent domain. If the telecos don't want regulation, first they can give back all the subsidies they were granted to build the infrastructure in the first place. Then they can start paying rent on the land they use. But somehow I doubt AT&T will start cutting me checks anytime soon.
      • The commerce clause is a fallacy. When that was written the phrase "to regulate" simply means "to make regular". So, all the Federal government is charged with is to "make commerce regular among the several States". If you think back to why the Constitution was written in the first place, trade wars, tariffs across State lines, and currency problems (inflation/debts) were the major issues of the day (as well as defense). The States didn't want the Federal government to regulate everything, but thy did want
        • Oh, I am perfectly aware that Congress is quite fond of stretching the Commerce Clause to absurd lengths, and the Supreme Court is quite fond of rubber-stamping those interpretations. This, however, is not one of those times. And the government isn't regulating "communications as in speech" but "communications as in infrastructure". And since much of said infrastructure was paid for using public dollars, the public has a reasonable expectation to have a say in how their tax dollars are used. So once aga
          • I agree in principle, but unconstitutional is unconstitutional. Funding and subsidies for the telcos should cease immediately, so should their government granted monopoly and regulation of the industry (at least at a federal level). Oh, and the FCC should be abolished. The FCC is nothing more than remnants of FDR's failed socialistic quagmire.

"Never give in. Never give in. Never. Never. Never." -- Winston Churchill