Tag Archives: Susan Crawford

U.S. broadband among most expensive worldwide: why?

We don’t have to continue letting the duopoly gouge us for slow and expensive Internet access. We don’t have to wait for Washington or Atlanta, either. We do need our local leaders to stop defining away the issue and get on with doing something about.

Tom Geoghegan wrote for BBC News 27 October 2013, Why is broadband more expensive in the US?

Home broadband in the US costs twice as much as it does in Europe and three times as much as it does in South Korea, according to a new report. Why?

Because we let the duopoly get away with it, as Susan Crawford has been reminding us for a while now. Continue reading

How to get fast Internet service —Susan Crawford

Susan Crawford has a plan for getting us fast Internet access for jobs, community, education, and health care.

Susan Crawford wrote for Wired 2 October 2012, We Can’t All Be in Google’s Kansas: A Plan for Winning the Bandwidth Race, about how the incumbent telephone and cable companies that provide our Internet access aren’t going to help:

They have no incentive to do so. Because they never enter one another’s territories, they don’t face the competition that might spur such expansion.

Instead, incumbent internet access providers such as Comcast and Time Warner (for wired access) and AT&T and Verizon (for complementary wireless access) are in “harvesting” mode. They’re raising average revenue per user through special pricing for planned “specialized services” and usage-based billing, which allows the incumbents to constrain demand. The ecosystem these companies have built is never under stress, because consumers do their best to avoid heavy charges for using more data than they’re supposed to. Where users have no expectation of abundance, there’s no need to build fiber on the wired side of the business or build small cells fed by fiber on the wireless side.

If the current internet access providers that dominate the American telecommunications landscape could get away with it, they’d sell nothing but specialized services and turn internet access into a dirt road.

So what is her plan?

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Captive cable audience —Susan Crawford

Affordable high-speed Internet access would bring us jobs, community, “online commerce and services, the ability to reach world markets, to invent and innovate, to learn and communicate” and “a wealth of economic activity and information” writes Susan Crawford, a very savvy and experienced communications law professor who has been recommended by many as a potential chair of the FCC, who also explains why we aren’t currently getting it.

The Diane Rehm Show 10 January 2013, Susan Crawford: “Captive Audience”, and that’s the title of her book, Captive Audience: The Telecom Industry and Monopoly Power in the New Gilded Age, excerpted here:

The sea change in policy that led to the current situation has been coordinated over the past twenty years by legions of lobbyists, hired-guneconomists, and credulous regulators. The cable companies have no incentive to upgrade their core network hardware to ensure that advanced fiberconnections are available to every home throughout the country. Communications companies describe globally competitive high-speed access as aluxury, just as the private electricity companies did a century ago.

Yet communications services are now as important as electricity. Today if you asked American mayors what technology they most want for their city, the majority would say, “affordable high-speed Internet access.” And they want these networks not simply for the jobs created to construct them but because the Internet brings the world to their community. High-speed Internet access gives towns and cities online commerce and services, the ability to reach world markets, to invent and innovate, to learn and communicate. It brings a wealth of economic activity and information. But despite these manifold benefits, Americans continue to treat such services as the exclusive domain of private monopolies and as luxuries obtainable only by the wealthy.

Not coincidentally, the United States has fallen from the forefront

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