Tonight Live: The End Game, Have We Lost The War?May 27, 2003, 22:00 (4 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Jeff Gerhardt)
[ Thanks to Jeff Gerhardt for this link. ]
Tonight Live: On The Linux Show!!
At 6pm pt, 7pm mt, 8pm ct, and 9pm et.... Kevin Hill, Arne Flones, Doc Searls, Russ Pavlicek AND Jeff Gerhardt are all back live tonight. We have a what we consider another HISTORIC show lined up tonight on The Linux Show! This is another one for the "best of" file.
Segment One- The News. We will cover THE HOT NEWS of the week. Tonight on the news: Of course an update on SCO, and Microsoft's response to our "SMOKING GUN" story, And way way more.....
Segment Two- The End Game! Have we already lost the war?
Tonight we will have a conversation about a major failure of the combined technology communities. We have won a few minor battles, but on the very near horizon we face the end of what we now have. This is an important conversation for any American, especially those who identify with technology and the Internet.
In the last few years the FCC has changed the rules several times that allowed the consolidation of phone companies and cable companies. The present landscape dramatically favors MEGA consolidations over small American Business. The game has been rigged. there are now only a small handful of Regional bell companies and CATV companies. Recent new regulations that we have talked about here on TLS, have led to sweeping and fast moving changes in the telecommunications and internet business; that WILL bankrupt the ISP and CLEC industry groups. This is because the Telcos can now charge their competition wholesale rates that are higher than retail rates. The FCC handed the Phone Companies this new regulatory weapon as a reward for acting illegally during the late 90's, to allow them to consolidate their monopoly.
The telcos illegal acts during the late 1990s allowed them to stall the nation wide deployment of DSL broadband by DSl ISPs and CLECS. Billions were lost by investors because in large measure of the acts perpetuated by the phone companies. The phone companies ARE RESPONSIBLE for a significant amount of the blame for the DOT COM BUST.
These new FCC actions have handed the phone companies a new monopoly that can not be challenged. The actions by the phone companies and the regulatory cooperation of the FCC should be called what it is, Economic Treason. They are putting the welfare of a single industry group ahead of others, and ahead of our entire nations needs. They have cost the nation millions of jobs.
At the same time, SEC regulations loosened that allowed the consolidation of the entertainment industry group to be held by 5 extremely large Intellectual Property rights companies. Go into a music store or a video store and look around at the number of independant labels available. There are very few. Content is already being force fed to the American public. We may have hundreds of cable channels, but few real choices.
And now the end game. In one week is a vote at the FCC for sweeping new rules that govern the broadcasting industry. This rule change will remove all the barriers preventing a company from buying up all the newspaper, TV stations, cable outlets and radio stations in a given market. This new set of rules will allow a company to consolidate as much as they want, so we can anticipate that consolidation will follow soon and we will have 5 or 6 companies owning ALL the broadcast and news outlets, no independant local companies. These new rules will put into law, what exists already in the back rooms of Washington DC. Clear Channel corporation is in violation of present law and should be shut down for predatory practices. FCC chairman Michael Powell chooses to turn a blind eye because he knows the rules will change anyway.
Sound like doom and gloom, well folks its pretty bad. Its bad for open technology, its bad for an open internet, its bad for the American economy, its bad for any effort to hold American Jobs, its even bad for the freedoms given us in our constitution. We have moved so far, so fast that little hope is left for turning this around. even now at the FCC they are talking about the wonderful future of how these mega companies will eventually merge so that one firm can provide access, content development and content delivery. Its Cable TV Version TWO! The ultimate DRM network.
All of this is caused by ONE THING. The power of large groups and their lobbying in Washington DC. Large Business, large industry groups, large labor groups; all share this power because they are the only ones who get to the table. The simple fact is that over the last decade the Washington DC power brokers (both Democrats and Republicans) have turned their backs on the entrepreneurial foundation of America. They believe that you must be big to accomplish things, because that is what the lobby groups have been saying for ten years. The forget that most every inovation in our history came from an independant developer in some little lab.
If you do not listen to tonights program and then ACT, sooner than you know you will feel the impact. But hey at least you will be able to download Disney and Time Warner movies real fast.
It is in your hands, because you will get exactly the government you ask for. We have been telling you for over a year that the best way to battle this is to get organized. We still believe that is true, but most of you have failed to hear our warnings. GeekPAC has received over $50,000.00 in pledges over the last year to hire a lobbyist and yet less than $2,000.00 has been mailed in. The sad thing is we need $250,000 to have a chance of accomplishing anything. That sound like a lot, but if you look at the Slashdot community alone, its pennies per Slashdot regular user.
In the mean time, do not wait for organization. Act NOW and Act FAST. Call you congressman and your two Senators ON THE PHONE and ask to speak with your representative or their legislative aid. Tell them to stop the FCC and reverse this trend that is killing thousands of small businesses across the US. Threaten to change your party affiliation, do whatever it takes to get them to call the FCC and stop FCC Chairman Powell from screwing up our country any more than he has. We MUST stop this before we can expect them to start to turn and make change.
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