Back To the Future of Telecom
After 22 years of grappling and merging, AT&T has announced plans to acquire BellSouth, and with that the 7 Baby Bells that were born in 1984 will be reduced to three mega-telecoms. Though no one is expecting the deal to be scuttled by regulators, at least not in this administration, we may want to step back and consider what this will mean for consumers.
After the merger there will be three giants but really only two that matter in terms of their reach and number of subscribers, Verizon and AT&T. Qwest is still around but at 1/5 the size of the new AT&T will probably be swallowed itself before long further reducing the competitive landscape.
William Smith, the soon-to-be-former CTO of BellSouth, and Edward Whitacre of AT&T/SBC are the two biggest proponents of the "pay-for-performance" Internet, and BellSouth has been implementing this for months. With the new lobbying strength of this telco behemoth, does anyone really believe that lawmakers will resist a move away from the "content neutral" Internet?
Who is the real competition for AT&T? Not Verizon and certainly not Qwest. It's the cable giants, Comcast and Time-Warner, and these companies should be alarmed because the mega-telcos have been pushing the government to support buildouts of "cable-like" services with little or no regulatory oversight.
So no matter how you slice it, this merger looks like just another attempt to fortify the big telcos against smaller more innovative players, and consumers will probably be the losers.
Reasons that will be given for control of the Internet
Convenience and Security
Reasons to think twice about it…
Anonymity outlawed and every penny accounted for
All transactions taxed
All of what you read, see, hear or communicate including where you are is known
Absolutely not. I don't ever touch comments, but I have noticed that sometimes when two comments are submitted within about 30 seconds of each other, one will get dropped. It's a database update problem with Blogger, I think.
What time did you submit it?
Sigh. Didn't the government take care of this in the early 80's?
Isn't a free market economy all about competition that is supposed to benefit the consumer?
Well...not if we partner with Google, Yahoo or whomever. What do you thing, Stephen? "Orwell's Groogle"? And I could have "Blognonyhoo". Or perhaps "Grognonymous"?
What it did was remove the limits on profit that was set by regulation. And now that we're getting back down to two or three, they will reap the benefits of that.
If there are only two or three participants, it is very easy to over the board collude on pricing. You don't even have to hold the secret meetings.
Neil, you're right, and I think I know what's going to happen. Rather than giving me more options from which to pick and choose, they'll just shove a bigger, more expensive package of crap in my direction.