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BILL MOYERS: Welcome. You’ve heard me before quote one of my mentors who told his students that “news is what people want to keep hidden; everything else is publicity.” That’s why two books are rattling the cages of powerful people who would rather you not read them. Here’s the first one. Captive Audience: The Telecom Industry and Monopoly Power in the New Gilded Age by Susan Crawford. Read it and you’ll understand why we Americans are paying much more for internet access than people in many other countries and getting much less in return. That, despite the fact that our very own academics and engineers, working with our very own Defense Department, invented the internet in the first place.

Back then, the U.S. was in the catbird seat – poised to lead the world down this astonishing new superhighway of information and innovation. Now many other countries offer their citizens faster and cheaper access than we do. The faster high-speed access comes through fiber optic lines that transmit data in bursts of laser light, but many of us are still hooked up to broadband connections that squeeze digital information through copper wire. We’re stuck with this old-fashioned technology because, as Susan Crawford explains, our government has allowed a few giant conglomerates to rig the rules, raise prices, and stifle competition. Just like standard oil in the first Gilded Age a century ago.

In those days, it was muckrakers like Ida Tarbell and Lincoln Steffens rattling the cages and calling for fair play. Today it’s independent thinkers like Susan Crawford. The big telecom industry wishes she would go away, but she’s got a lot of people on her side. In fact, if you go to the White House citizen’s petition site, you’ll see how fans of Captive Audience are calling on the President to name Susan Crawford as the next chair of the Federal Communications Commission. “Prospect” magazine named her one of the “top ten brains of the digital future,” and Susan Crawford served for a time as a special assistant to President Obama for science, technology and innovation. Right now she teaches communications law at the Benjamin Cardozo School of Law here in New York City and is a fellow at the Roosevelt Institute. Susan Crawford, welcome.

SUSAN CRAWFORD: Thank you so much.

BILL MOYERS: “Captive Audience?” Who's the captive?

SUSAN CRAWFORD: Us, all of us. What's happened is that these enormous telecommunications companies, Comcast and Time Warner on the wired side, Verizon and AT&T on the wireless side, have divided up markets, put themselves in the position where they're subject to no competition and no oversight from any regulatory authority. And they're charging us a lot for internet access and giving us second class access. This is a lot like the electrification story from the beginning of the 20th century. Initially electricity was viewed as a luxury. So when F.D.R. came in, 90 percent of farms didn't have electricity in America at the same time that kids in New York City were playing with electric toys. And F.D.R. understood how important it was for people all over America to have the dignity and self-respect and sort of cultural and social and economic connection of an electrical outlet in their home. So he made sure to take on the special interests that were controlling electricity then who had divided up markets and consolidated just the way internet guys have today, he made sure that we made this something that every American had.

BILL MOYERS: But we are a long way from F.D.R., the New Deal and those early attitudes toward industry. What makes you think that's relevant now when you come to the internet?

SUSAN CRAWFORD: You know, this is an issue about which people have a lot of passion because it touches them in their daily lives. “The Wall Street Journal” on the front page had an article about kids needing to go to McDonald's to do their homework because they don't have an internet connection at home. Parents around the country know that their kids can't get an adequate education without internet access. You can't apply for a job these days without going online. You can't get access to government benefits adequately, you can't start a business. This feels to 300 million Americans like a utility, like something that's just essential for life. And the issue of how it's controlled and how expensive it is and how few Americans actually sign up for it is not really on the radar screen.

BILL MOYERS: You describe this frankly as a crisis in communication with similarity, you say, to the banking crisis and global warming. What makes it a crisis?

SUSAN CRAWFORD: It's a crisis for us because we're not quite aware of the rest of the world. Americans tend to think of themselves as just exceptional. And we're—

BILL MOYERS: Well, we did invent the internet, didn't we?

SUSAN CRAWFORD: We did, but that was generation one. Generation two, we're being left far behind. And so all the new things that are going on in the world, America won't be part of that unless we are able to communicate. So there's a darkness descending because of this expensive and relatively slow internet access in America. We're also leaving behind a third of Americans. A third of us.

BILL MOYERS: In here you call it the digital divide. Describe that to me.

SUSAN CRAWFORD: Well, here's the problem. For 19 million Americans, many in rural areas, you can't get access to a high speed connection at any price, it's just not there. For a third of Americans, they don't subscribe often because it's too expensive. So the rich are getting gouged, the poor are very often left out. And this means that we're creating yet again two Americas and deepening inequality through this communications inequality.

BILL MOYERS: So is this why, according to numbers released by the Department of Commerce, only four out of ten households with annual household incomes below $25,000 reported having wired internet access at home compared with 93 percent of households with incomes exceeding $100,000? These companies are not providing cheap enough access to the poor folks in this country?

SUSAN CRAWFORD: These are good American companies. Their profit motives though don't line up with our social needs to make sure that everybody gets access. They're not in the business of making sure that everybody has reasonably priced internet access. That's how a utility functions. That's the way we need to treat this commodity. They're in the business right now of finding rich neighborhoods and harvesting, just making more and more money from the same number of people. They're doing really well at that. Comcast is now a $100 billion company. They're bigger than McDonald's, they're bigger than Home Depot. But they're not providing this deep social need of connection that every other country is taking seriously.

BILL MOYERS: And you make the point that the United States itself is beginning to experience this digital divide in the world.

SUSAN CRAWFORD: It's fair to say that the U.S. at the best is in the middle of the pack when it comes to both the speed and cost of high speed internet access connections. So in Hong Kong right now you can get a 500 megabit symmetric connection that's unimaginably fast from our standpoint for about 25 bucks a month. In Seoul, for $30 you get three choices of different providers of fiber in your apartment. And they come in and install in a day because competition's so fierce. In New York City there's only one choice, and it's 200 bucks a month for a similar service. And you can't get that kind of fiber connection outside of New York City in many parts of the country. Verizon's only serving about 10 percent of Americans. So let's talk about the wireless side for a moment, you know, the separate marketplace that people use for mobility. In Europe you can get unlimited texting and voice calls and data for about $30 a month, similar service from Verizon costs $90 a month. That's a huge difference.

BILL MOYERS: Why is there such a disparity there?

SUSAN CRAWFORD: The difference in all of these areas is competition and government policy. It's not magical. Without the intervention of the government there's no reason for these guys to charge us anything reasonable or to make sure that everybody has services.

BILL MOYERS: How do you explain that in the course of one generation, from the invention of the internet in this country to falling way behind as you say the rest of the world in our access to internet? How did that happen?

SUSAN CRAWFORD: Beginning in the early 2000’s we believed that the magic of the market would provide internet access to all Americans. That the cable guys would compete with the phone guys who would compete with wireless and that somehow all of this ferment would make sure that we kept up with the rest of the world. Those assumptions turned out not to be true. It's much cheaper to upgrade a cable connection than it is to dig up a copper phone line and replace it with fiber. So the cable guys who had these franchises in many, most American cities, they are in place with a status quo network that 94 percent of new subscriptions are going to. Everybody's signing up with their local cable incumbent. There is not competition for 80 percent of Americans. They don't have a choice for a truly high speed connection. It's just the local cable guy. Competition has just vanished.

BILL MOYERS: Well, the 1996 Telecommunications Act was supposed to promote competition and therefore protect the consumer by bringing prices down. That didn't happen?

SUSAN CRAWFORD: That didn't happen because it's so much cheaper to upgrade the cable line than it is to dig up the copper and replace it with fiber. The competition evaporated because Wall Street said to the phone companies, "Don't do this, don't be in this business." So you may think of Verizon and AT&T as wired phone companies, they're not. They've gone into an entirely separate market which is wireless.

They're the monsters on the wireless side that control two thirds of that market. So there's been a division. Cable takes wired, Verizon/AT&T take wireless. They're actually cooperating. There's a federally blessed non-compete in the form of a joint marketing agreement between Comcast and Verizon. And so the world is perfect for them, not so great for consumers who are paying more than other people in the rest of the world for slower service.

BILL MOYERS: Since the 1996 Telecommunications Act which I thought was going to lower the price of our monthly cable bill, it's almost doubled.

SUSAN CRAWFORD: Well, that's because Time Warner controls Manhattan. There's no competition. The cable guys, long ago, something they call “the summer of love,” divided up—

BILL MOYERS: “The summer of love?”

SUSAN CRAWFORD: Yeah. They clustered their operations. It makes sense from their standpoint. “You take San Francisco, I'll take Sacramento. You take Chicago, I'll take Boston.” And so Comcast and Time Warner are these giants that never enter each other's territories.

BILL MOYERS: You talk to certain people and they say, "Look, I don't know what this is about. I have all the gizmos I want. I have a smart phone, I have a tablet,” And they say, "What's the crisis? Because I have more access than I can use."

SUSAN CRAWFORD: There are a lot of bright shiny objects that are confusing people about the underlying market dynamics here. What people don't realize is that for this wireless access you're paying too much and the coverage is too spotty. On the wired side, that's where we're really being left behind. And here's the important tie to understand. A wireless connection is just the last 50 feet of a wire. So fiber policy is really wireless policy. These two things fit together. And if the whole country did an upgrade to cheap fiber everywhere we'd get better connection for everybody. Right now though if a mayor wants to do this for himself he'll be pummeled by the incumbents. In almost 20 states in America it's either illegal or very difficult for municipalities to make this decision for themselves.

BILL MOYERS: In North Carolina a couple of years ago lobbyists for Time Warner persuaded the state legislature to make it almost impossible, virtually impossible for municipalities to get their own utility, right?

SUSAN CRAWFORD: That's exactly right. And so now North Carolina, after being beaten up by the incumbents is at the near the bottom of broadband rankings for the United States.

BILL MOYERS: And what's the practical consequence of that?

SUSAN CRAWFORD: All those students in North Carolina, all those businesses that otherwise would be forming, they don't have adequate connections in their towns to allow this to happen. They've got-- they're subject to higher and higher pricing. They're being gouged.

BILL MOYERS: Your book did underscore for me why this is so important to democracy, to the functioning of our political system, to our role as a self-governing free people. Talk about that a moment. Why do you see this so urgently in terms of our practically dysfunctional democracy today?

SUSAN CRAWFORD: We need to be able to speak to each other effectively and effectively to government. We need to empower our citizens to feel dignified and ready to cope in the 21st century. Having a communications system that knits the country together is not just about economic growth. It's about the social fabric of the country. And a country that feels as if it can move together and trust each other is one that is more democratic. As a matter of national policy we have forced other countries to talk about the importance of internet access, foreign policy we're great at saying, "Make sure internet is everywhere." Domestically, for some reason, we haven't done so well. So I see internet access as the heart of a democratic society.

BILL MOYERS: You use that merger of Comcast and NBCUniversal as the window in your book into what this power can do to the aspirations of a democratic internet.

BRIAN WILLIAMS on NBCNightlyNews: Federal regulators today approved the purchase by Comcast of a majority stake in NBCUniversal from General Electric […] This merger will create a $30 billion media company with cable, broadcast, internet, motion picture and theme park components. The deal is expected to close by the end of the month.

BILL MOYERS: You say that the merger between Comcast and NBCUniversal represented a new frightening moment in U.S. regulatory history. How so?

SUSAN CRAWFORD: Comcast is not only the nation's largest broadband distributor with tens of millions of customers, it also now owns and controls one of the four media conglomerates in America, NBCUniversal. That means that it has a built-in interest in making sure that it shapes discourse, controls programming all in the service of its own profit-making machine. As both the distributor and a content provider, it's in its interest to make sure that it can always charge more for discourse we would think isn't controlled by anybody. So it's a tremendous risk to the country that we have this one actor who has no interest in the free flow of information controlling so much of high speed internet access.

BILL MOYERS: You say the merger created the largest vertically integrated distributor of information in the country. So what's the practical consequence of Comcast having this control over its content?

SUSAN CRAWFORD: Here's the consequence. Comcast with the control over its programming, and also because it works to closely with the very concentrated programming industry, can raise the costs of any rival coming in to provide let's say competitive fiber access. So Google in Kansas City is having real trouble getting access to sports content because Time Warner Cable, the local monopoly player there, controls that sports content. So Google or any other competitive fiber provider has to enter two markets at once. One market to provide the transport, the fiber, and then also the programming market. And making programming more expensive is yet another barrier to entry. And Comcast can carry that out now.

BILL MOYERS: So what should the F.C.C. do about that?

SUSAN CRAWFORD: This is a moment when we have to separate out content from conduit. It should not be possible for a local cable actor or any distributor to withhold programming based on volume. That's what's going on. The programmers say, "We'll sell to Comcast cheaply 'cause they're big. But if you're an upstart we're going to charge you three to four times what Comcast is paying for the same programming." That should not be legal. Everybody should get access to the same stuff at the same price and they should be announced prices.

BILL MOYERS: What about the argument that in this modern world there are certain industries, certain markets, that require an economy of scale. Critics have said that you're ignoring the sophisticated economics that govern these industries.

SUSAN CRAWFORD: The economics of these networks did not change when we added a little bit of digital pixie dust to them. It's still very expensive to build these networks. Private actors still don't have an interest in covering everybody because that's too much of an economic risk for them. The better route is sensible oversight. We can learn from our mistakes in the past when it came to regulatory regimes that didn't work. But a regulatory regime is needed without question to make this work for all Americans.

BILL MOYERS: I have to say this is pretty strong stuff. Listen to yourself. "Instead of ensuring that everyone in America can compete in a global economy, instead of narrowing the divide between rich and poor, instead of supporting competitive free markets for American inventions that use information, instead that is of ensuring that America will lead the world in the U.S. in the information age, U.S. politicians have chosen to keep Comcast and its fellow giants happy."

SUSAN CRAWFORD: For the last 30 years the rhetoric of the market being the thing we all aspire to has in a sense become the collective vision in America. Our politicians aren't separate from that kind of understanding. I think they believe that it's better to have government stay out of industry. In this particular place no government intervention is actually disaster for the country because we leave so many people behind, we subject ourselves to the informational control of just a few giants. The problem for the politicians is that there's no upside right now to fighting back. If they do they'll lose their campaign contributions. We need to get the public interested in this so that politicians will understand that they're not acting alone.

BILL MOYERS: In your last chapter you describe what happened in Lafayette, Louisiana when the city decided it wanted the very kind of internet access you're talking about. And a few years ago my colleagues and I did a documentary called “Net @ Risk” in which we looked at the threat to internet access. And we went to Lafayette and lo and behold they're doing exactly what you're describing in your book.

JOEY DUREL in Net @ Risk: We have an out-migration problem with our young people from Louisiana, and I felt it was time for politicians to quit talking and do something.

RICK KARR in Net @ Risk: Something like building every home and business in town its own fiber optic connection to the information superhighway.

DON BERTRAND in Net @ Risk: We see telecommunications in the way of Internet, in the way of fiber connectivity as something that should be available to everyone.

STEPHEN HANDWERK in Net @ Risk: Just like water, sewer, electricity, telephone. I mean it all falls into that same lump.

JOEY DUREL in Net @ Risk: I think this is a tremendous opportunity for small business and to attract business here.

RICK KARR in Net @ Risk: So what the city decided to do was build its own fiber network through its municipal power and water company, Lafayette Utility Systems or L.U.S.

BILL MOYERS: How did they get away with it in Lafayette when as you say they didn't in North Carolina?

SUSAN CRAWFORD: Persistence of a mayor who very much focused on this and said, "We're going to get this done." And there wasn't a statute at that point at the state level making it illegal. Municipalities have a lot of assets at their disposal. They control the rights of way, the access to their streets and their poles that people need in order to build these networks. They can condition access to those rights of way on a particular network being built. Stockholm did this. They say, "Look, you can come in and build a fiber network as long as it's a wholesale, nondiscriminatory really fast fiber network connecting our hospitals and schools and police departments. And then you have to let anybody else connect to it." Not that hard, you just draft an R.F.P., request for proposals, and the city can do that using its control over its rights of way.

Cities often also have access to this long term low rate financing. They can put their good name behind a bond issue and make sure that it gets paid back by the subscriptions to the network over time. It's a great investment for the city, and that's what Lafayette found out.

BILL MOYERS: So how is the consumer in Lafayette situated differently from me here in Manhattan with one cable service?

SUSAN CRAWFORD: In comparison to where you are in Manhattan where there's no government intervention at all, in Lafayette the municipality is acting as a steward, standing up for you. It is in fact government's role to stand up against the ethic that might makes right. In most of America there is no government factor keeping these bullies from charging us whatever they want.

BILL MOYERS: You describe something in your book that we've talked about often at this table. Quote, "The constant easy, friendly flow between government and industry in the communications world centered around Washington D.C." Describe that world.

SUSAN CRAWFORD: It's a warm pond of familiarity. Everybody knows everybody else. They're all very nice people, you'd like to have a drink with them. They go from a job inside the regulator to a job in industry to a job on the hill, one easy flow, nice people. Outsiders have no impact on this particular world.

And it would be-- I talked to a cable representative not long ago about the need to change this regulatory state of affairs. And she looked at me and said, "But that would be so disruptive." And she's right, it would be disruptive.

BILL MOYERS: Well, you know, the F.C.C. was supposed to be the cop on the beat of the communications world. But for example Michael Powell, who served as F.C.C. chairman for four years in the mid-2000s, is now the cable and telecom industry's top D.C. lobbyist.

Meredith Attwell Baker who was one of the F.C.C. commissioners who approved Comcast's merger with NBCUniversal, left the agency four months later to join Comcast as a highly paid lobbyist. That move infuriated media groups.

SUSAN CRAWFORD: But that warm pond of familiarity in Washington sees this as absolutely normal behavior. Just yesterday the former chief of staff of the F.C.C. left to be the general counsel of a regulated company. It happens all the time. And so in order to change this you'd have to make regulation of this area not be carried out by such a focused agency. Right now, the F.C.C.'s asymmetry of information is striking. They only talk to the industry. The community is all so close. In order to break that up you'd have to make sure you had a broad based agency seeing lots of different industries.

BILL MOYERS: About the time I was reading your book I also read a speech by the present chair of the F.C.C., Julius Genachowski. He said, "The United States is in a global bandwidth race. A nation's future economic security is tied to frictionless and speedy access to information." If you were chair of the F.C.C. what would you do to move us forward?

SUSAN CRAWFORD: I know that it's important to let these municipalities make decisions for themselves. That's going to take a bill in Congress preempting the terrible state laws like the one that happened in North Carolina. We need to make self-determination possible for cities. And the second one is making sure that there's low cost, low rate financing available to build these networks.

That's the stumbling block, making sure that you can actually build without needing to put up all the money yourself. Because it pays out over time, it pays out as a social investment for the country. And then finally, changing all those rules at the FCC that are getting in the way of progress.

BILL MOYERS: So briefly describe the need.

SUSAN CRAWFORD: All Americans need a fast, cheap connection to the internet.

BILL MOYERS: And the problem?

SUSAN CRAWFORD: A few companies control access in America and it's not in their interest to bring that fast, cheap access to us all.

BILL MOYERS: And the solution?

SUSAN CRAWFORD: The solution is for people to care about this issue, ask hard questions at every debate, make sure you elect people who will act and give your mayor air cover so that he or she can act to make sure that your city has this fast, competitive access.

BILL MOYERS: The book is “Captive Audience: The Telecom Industry and Monopoly Power in the Gilded Age.” Susan Crawford, I've enjoyed this conversation. Thank you for being with me.

SUSAN CRAWFORD: Thank you so much.

Susan Crawford on Why Our Internet Access Is Slow, Costly and Unfair

Susan Crawford, former special assistant to President Obama for science, technology and innovation, and author of Captive Audience: The Telecom Industry and Monopoly Power in the New Gilded Age, joins Bill to discuss how our government has allowed a few powerful media conglomerates to put profit ahead of the public interest — rigging the rules, raising prices, and stifling competition. As a result, Crawford says, all of us are at the mercy of the biggest business monopoly since Standard Oil in the first Gilded Age a hundred years ago.

“The rich are getting gouged, the poor are very often left out, and this means that we’re creating, yet again, two Americas, and deepening inequality through this communications inequality,” Crawford tells Bill.

Producer: Jessica Wang. Editor: Sikay Tang. Associate Producer: Lena Shemel.

 

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  • MBrecker

    I’ve been lucky enough to live in the U.K., Japan and travel as well. In Japan at that time, 100MB downloading was normal. Then, imagine coming back to the States and going down to 20MB. This was roughly ten years ago. In Australia, the Coalition govt. wants to build a national network to give every citizen the same connection. The Conservatives say, why not use the current copper cable network?

  • MBrecker

    How come not every person here has a connection? Because the govt.’s afraid of that power. That’s not some Alex Jones conspiracy theory. If you’re Obama and all 310 million citizens have the same Net connection, how do you control that? Do you make people pay a licensing fee? Considering all the current laws (Patriot Act, NADA and others), if Obama could turn off the Net, would anyone protest?

  • ibeet

    2 words: COMCAST SUCKS

  • Jim Lovejoy,

    Bill,

    WE are working to change this in Western Massachusetts. Massbroadband123 will have fiber connections to community anchor institutions by July 2013, This has been because of the work of local people for the last 10 years. We are now working to bring this fiber access to the home. I huge endeavor to counter the influence of big telecom.

    Love to talk more about this for your listeners.

  • http://www.myspace.com/btdsloveshack blazintommyd

    FCC+ The GOPstapo= censorship. The solution is for the US Government to manufacture and create fibre optic cable lay it themselves and then allow private industry to connect individual homes – just like localities do with sewage

  • http://www.myspace.com/btdsloveshack blazintommyd

    Community standards under Miller would allow the CSA to censor content by their assertion of States Rights. It’s much more like the interstate highway system

  • Michele

    Ah deregulation…isn’t it great?! NOT! People who support deregulation are the same ones who are “harvesting” the rest of us. Now who said competition lowers prices? LOL Rightttt…obviously it would work if the bigger companies allowed it. This is what behind-the-door deals gets us.

  • susanpub

    It seems like every (or nearly so) issue comes back to campaign funding. No one will take a stand for the American people b/c it might cost them big contributions. I don’t know how it could happen, but we need to stop the corporate funding of elections & the revolving doors in Washington. Trouble is, the people who need to make the laws regarding this are the beneficiaries of the status quo.

  • susanpub

    It’s hardly just Obama… this is bi-partisan.

  • http://twitter.com/PhillyDissent PhillyDissent

    So..what was the second book?

  • Claude Arfaras aka claudy arts

    The only man with enough guts to take to take on the playground bullies is a woman! Susan Crawford for FCC Chairman now!

  • MSaami

    I just checked my congressman’s list of donors. Yup, Comcast, Verizon, Cox.

  • Anonymous

    Oh please, what a load of bunk.

  • Anonymous

    Everything thru a single conduit. This has been my fear since the eighties. People are charging into a trap. Sad.

  • the justifier

    finally someone who is not afraid to speak against the world wide web!

  • Steve

    Bullcrap…facts? Oh yeah a right winger with facts?

  • webworld

    I wonder that it could be two divisions such as one is for private network for very high speed and another one is for public that is limited amount of speed in some ways. Like public and government systems.

    FCC is a problem for too many sub-fees from the companies. We will quit paying the unnecessary fees on cables no matter what.

    http://www.npr.org/2012/09/20/161477162/a-close-look-at-your-bills-fine-print

  • http://www.facebook.com/mikemmccallum Mike McCallum

    We have No Cable access – its too far out of town, Verizon wireless twice the bucks and 100 x slower – we are being ripped off. So much for competing on the global market

  • http://twitter.com/davetroy Dave Troy
  • GetAClue

    Seriously how do you equate countries the size of one states infrastructure to the entire United States?
    America is a democracy, most of the countries she compares us to are not fully democratic.
    So let’s put someone in charge of the FCC who talks like a politician, I’ll only talk about what I know will get you motivated but leave out a true comparison that dispels my key points!

  • Anonymous

    Before 1984 and the deregulation of the communications industry in this country, these problems didn’t exist and the government established system of rates for communications services, established in 1948, had a prime directive of keeping rates for individual telephone services at a reasonable cost for individual families. The typical rate for local telephone service in this country was $14 a month, a rate that was typically quadrupled after 1984. This was triggered by the complete separation of Local and Long Distance telephone services, the latter having always been the most profitable sector of the network while the former always depended on subsidies from the long distance segment to keep local telephone service operating. The first of many giveaways to the private sector over the last thirty years that left average Americans paying an ever larger portion of their budgets for services that insure private entities enormous profits not to mention the staggering array of taxes attached to all of these services to pay for future improvements to privately held networks. P.T. Barnum’s long ago statement concerning the consistent birth rate of a naive class of citizens is more applicable today than ever !

  • koska

    What a same that our next generation will be behind the other nation just because the lack of internet access.

  • Chuck

    You are so right. I watched this piece last night and was pleased to see someone is addressing the issue. Will she succeed? How can we help her? As a former Bell System employee I have been telling people this story for years. It has been obvious to me and others I worked with that we who can pay are being ripped off for telephone and internet service and others excluded.

    The Bell System was a collection of great companies with the greatest research company in the world at its heart. They were companies run by decent people who came up through the ranks, knew the business, and cared about people, customers and employees. Many of us took less money than we could have made elsewhere in exchange for security, fair treatment, intellectual opportunities, and the privilege to serve. We all were, top to bottom of the corporate ladder, people dedicated to excellent service for everyone.

    We had no health benefits problems. The management was not filling their own pockets with the money allocated for health care. There was plenty of money in the coffers for retirement. They company was self insured and took care of everyone. This was not at the expense of the customer. The customer had a good deal too. After deregulation there was a parade of outsiders who were suppose top bring “new blood”, “competitive spirit”, and “lean and mean operations”. Well they succeeded. The “new blood” was that of the long term employees. The new “competitive spirit” was kept alive by the huge salaries and bonuses these “new inspiring leaders” walked away with to retirement within a year or two to never be seen or hard from again. Lean and mean – please. The wiz kid outsiders built personal airports, country clubs, started their own companies, and were as mean as necessary to be sure they fill their pockets.

    They destroyed a national treasure. I spent 28 years there with the hope of a pension and benefits. I now have nothing from that 28 year investment of my heart and soul. Nothing but a $138 quarterly Medicare B payment. No I do not want to hear it is a “new game”. And “Long term benefits are a thing of the past”. That is complete BS! It is the wrong game for America. The government power brokers and IV MBA crowd took the Bell System for a test ride and realized they could get away with it and have now applied the new found game to most long term employers. Long term employers who kept the middle class alive and provided generations the ability plan for, care for, and educate families. The name of the new game is greed.
    Good luck to you Susan Crawford.

  • Trey

    What she doesn’t really communicate very well here is WHY it’s important to have high speed internet, and why high speed internet is so important if most people already have some kind of access to the internet. The point is that when high speed internet is made available to people, it changes they way they consume the internet. They watch more videos, stream more songs, and read more articles, and as a result take in a far greater amount of information. You can’t underestimate the impact of seamlessness when it comes to technology and information-sharing. Just look at Apple’s success over the past 10 years.

  • Guest

    High speed internet is important to enable the kind silent third party data collection used by billmoyers.com (facebook, twitter, addthis.com, google-analytics.com, quantserve.com and scorecardresearch.com). Hitting all those trackers just isn’t feasible over slow or high latency links.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=604741203 Jawaid Bazyar

    I own a telecommunications company, and not a single one of the commenters knows what they’re talking about.

  • MuirBeach

    Dear Elizabeth You are brilliant…But you look like my Grandma in 1954…..go talk to Michelle and get a new hair stylist and and update your outfit from 1913 to 2013! Sorry but for women it is attention to detail and perception on all levels intellectual and societal that are respected and move forward.

  • hourglass1

    check here for fiber availability –>

  • Anonymous

    There is a book that was written in the 1980s
    that goes into great detail discussing exactly what you have said, “The Rape of Ma Bell: The Criminal
    Wrecking of the Best Telephone System in the World”. It is still available
    through Amazon.Com and should be read by all Americans, not just those in the
    Telecommunications industry. This was the seminal event that provided a model
    for the massive corruption of our system of government and the complete takeover
    of this economic system by private corporate interests over the
    last thirty years ! Privatization of government at the national, state, and
    local levels is the final stage rapidly ushering in the end of our insanely
    expensive electoral system that evolved after the Supreme Court’s Citizen’s
    United decision that opened the flood gates to private money that can
    now buy the government that is supportive of their private economic agenda
    !

  • Devendra in New Jersey

    It is so true, that competition is Non-existent in Internet Service. I have been internet Service customer of Cablevision (Optimum) since company started providing Service and the price has been going up. Yesterday I got my February bill with a $5 increase (total now $54.95). When I asked the reason for increase I was told it’s comparable to the competition. The only other alternative Verizon bundles internet with Phone, so there is NO internet only provider in our area.

  • Anonymous

    Words you’d never utter to a man.

  • Anonymous

    And yet those countries are way ahead of us.

  • Mark

    Chuck, please post picture of self for the rest of us to critique. Also, why no comment on Moyer’s outrageous comb over? Holding women to your personal fashion standards, smart?

  • Bud

    I recommend anyone to read “Rich Media, Poor Democracy” by Robert McChesney to get some historical perspective on this. It was published in 1999 and warned us about many of these issues.

    Kudos to Ms. Crawford for writing this book and pursuing this issue. And kudos to Mr. Moyers and PBS for giving her the platform to present it.

    Regardless of what their hair looks like…

  • Anonymous

    What an incredibly stupid and sexist comment.

  • Anonymous

    So glad that this site exists and still PO’d that WGBH has moved the show to 12:30am so that almost no one will ever actually see it! So than you, Mr. Moyers (and anyone else with a hand in it!), for putting your show up. It is much appreciated!

    (and back to your regularly-scheduled comments that have to do with the actual contents of the episode since I have nothing to contribute to that :P)

  • http://www.thealders.net/blogs Doug Alder

    The FCC needs to free up the spectrum that was made available with the switch over to digital TV. Open that to municipalities and state governments etc to set up open access high speed low coat wifi . They need to keep that spectrum out of the current wireless providers hands.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ender.consumerist Ender Consumerist

    Everyone wants it, no one wants to pay for it. Any of you that say the government should pay for it, where do you think they get their money?

    I’ve been taxed enough. Money doesn’t grow on trees. Stop comparing the U.S. to countries who would fit inside most of our STATES. That isn’t apples to apples people. Nor do I want to live in a communist country so that I can get cheaper internet.

  • John and Dagny Galt

    it isn’t deregulation that hurts the average person… it is REGULATORY CAPTURE of crony fascism that keeps others from competing and providing EVERYONE with inexpensive connectivity!

  • jcaimbridge

    This is why we need a large grassroots movement that says “pass the following legislation exactly ‘as is’, or else…”. I’ve mentioned it many times before on this blog, but the movement I support is the American Anti-Corruption Act ( http://www.anticorruptionact.org and/or http://www.represent.us ).

    If you’re looking for a place to start in addressing this very issue, I recommend you check out the AACA.

    If you want to understand the issue in more depth, I highly recommend Lawrence Lessig’s “Republic, Lost: How Money Corrupts Congress and a Plan to Stop It’

  • Franklin Marshall

    movetoamend.org

  • MBrecker

    Comcast buys out the rest of NBC/Universal. Meanwhile, Google wants you to put your real name on as much of your content as possible (You Tube channel, comments, email). Which would make complying with a govt. subpoena that much easier.

  • bobby blueeyes

    just another marxist socialist wanting to give services away and make someone else pay for it. no thanks…

  • DMcG

    One of Obama’s biggest campaign contributors (nearly $1 million total) is a broadband internet company called Lightspeed. They have been allowed to run roughshod over the FCC licensing process as a result. She’s dissing the other internet companies because Lightspeed is supporting King Barack.

  • atlmainiac

    Still have dial-up connection where I live, as the $5,000.00 cost the cable company wants to run cable down my driveway is out of my budget, by miles. Can’t do much on the internet with dial-up and what can be done takes such a long time, most is not worth the effort.
    As for cable “service”, why is it that one can’t choose the channels one would like and pay for those only? If someone wants to watch, say, sports programming why should she/he not pay the premium to do so and others not be forced to subsidize the enormous cost of that programming?

  • http://www.facebook.com/leo.pesavento.1 Leo Pesavento

    very true i agree

  • Thomas Resz

    Look, I have heard so many times that the problem is that corporations can donate. Campaign finance isn’t the problem. The problem is that people make their decision on their preferred candidate based on a thirty second commercial. As long as people don’t take the time to research their decisions, the people with the most money will have the most influence. Our founders believed that our form of government worked best with an informed electorate.

  • http://www.facebook.com/eric.grunewald Eric Grunewald

    Nominate Susan Crawford to head the FCC NOW! We NEED her on our side.

  • Dr. Sapphire Mann Ahmed

    The elderly, who are often on
    fixed income, are among those who would benefit from the internet but who are also
    being priced out of the internet world. Internet prices often double after the introductory
    6 to 12 months rates. These changing
    rates for the same service are a nuisance and make no sense. Once the elderly
    realize that they cannot pay the new rates, they are haunted with threats of
    cancellation fees or threatened with end of life bad credit. Why can’t there be
    some real democratic competition in the USA pseudo-capitalist economic communication
    dictatorships. Thanks to no competition and high internet rates, my 85 year
    mother will end her internet service this week and be added to the bad credit
    list because we pay for services not for divorcing a company!

  • earthma

    and interstates…

  • CarlK

    Ms. Crawford is a wise woman from whom citizens, regulators, politicians as well as investors should take heed to her message. Considering her involvement with ICANN, I was surprised that she didn’t reference Google’s Kansas City, Kansas, and Kansas City, Missouri efforts which remain the “tip of the iceberg” according to their fiber engineer’s recent presentation.

    http://www.eetimes.com/General/PrintView/4407099

    I can assure you that the Monopolists and Oligopolists representing telecom and cable companies in America, are intent on keeping the majority of American in the Dark Ages, so they may keep dumbing them down with bundled garbage they call content, which in the case of Comcast and Time Warner, is under their control as part of their “assets.”

  • CarlK

    CarlK says: Appoint Susan Crawford to be Chairwoman of the FCC.

    Level 3 Communications needs access at the last mile to deliver content – America open up the Internet to the backbone of Level 3. We need throughput.

  • http://www.myspace.com/btdsloveshack blazintommyd

    The reason this happened is because the people that voted for it believe in it.

  • jjlongiii

    In England, politicians are only allowed to spend a maximum of 100,000 dollars during a campaign. This country needs to adopt similar rules and also to curb the power of the lobbyists. I am going to contact Ms. Crawford to see how I can contribute to the cause here in Spokane WA.

  • http://twitter.com/Bellearitz K Bright

    What she is saying sounds nice, but does NOT represent the facts.

    We already have the laws against monopoly, but the head of the FCC, and the previous heads of the FCC all were, ARE corrupt. They are committing a criminal actions (which in her position(s) she should have been aware of). She knows monopolization is against the law. She knows that a cartel is also against our laws. She explained what is going on within the federal government well enough, but did not bother to mention that those actions by those occupying positions within our fed gov are ALSO unlawful and prosecutable. Notice that no where did she say “arrest and prosecute”.

    We are the ones who have to require this to stop! But most do not even know that we already have laws that make all this monopolization and cartels unlawful here in the USA. But those in our government do, and they are backing the cartels.

    What we have is corporations owning our representatives and they carry out their (corporations) unlawful bidding.

    Supreme Court, Red Lion v. FCC.1969: “It is the purpose of the First Amendment to preserve an UNINHIBITED MARKETPLACE OF IDEAS IN WHICH TRUTH WILL ULTIMATELY PREVAIL, RATHER THAN TO COUNTENANCE MONOPOLIZATION OF THAT MARKET, WHETHER IT BE BY THE GOVERNMENT ITSELF OR A PRIVATE LICENSEE. It is the RIGHT of the public to receive suitable access to social, political, esthetic, moral, and other ideas and experiences which is crucial here. That RIGHT MAY NOT CONSTITUTIONALLY BE ABRIDGED EITHER BY CONGRESS OR BY THE FCC.” (caps are mine for emphasis)

    We also have laws against a cartel! Almost 100% of the mainstream media is owned by seven companies: Disney, NewsCorp, TimeWarner, CBS, Viacom, NBCUniversal, and Sony. They control everything: movies, television, all the major newspapers and
    news, and even music record labels.
    When one company dominates an industry, it is a monopoly. When a handful of companies cooperatively dominate an industry, it is a “Cartel.” This is what we have with our mainstream media – an elite group that is cooperatively and covertly controlling everything that comes through our television, radio, newspaper, and theater.

  • http://twitter.com/Bellearitz K Bright

    It is easy, we hold them accountable. Did you realize that the lawfully required oath is legally binding? That it is both a criminal and civil offense to not keep it? Also that since it is a REQUIREMENT of the position to take it and that it does not expire; to not keep that oath means they – all who are required to take an oath to get into the position or office they occupy – no longer meet the requirements of that office or position.

  • http://twitter.com/Bellearitz K Bright

    They did not support derugulation. What they did was come at monopolization and cartel from a different angle. The laws still are there. What they are doing is NOT lawful here in the USA. But they bought and pay for “our” representatives and they not only look the other way – they get a lucrative position with those companies when they finally leave office. None of this is lawful, but WE let it go on, accepting that it is allowed.

  • http://twitter.com/Bellearitz K Bright

    She is NOT taking on anything, she actually talked much like politicians do. She left out that many actions going on are NOT lawful here. She also talked about bringing in more government as if the problem was competition instead of government backed monopolization and cartels. She lied. IF not she would have been going on and educating everyone about the laws being broken. About why “our” representatives are not being arrested and prosecuted for their criminal (yes, criminal) actions. She brought up just enough to be “believeable”, but she countenanced more government control of everything. She did not bring up that comeptition has been disallowed in the communications arena for decades because it was not in the interest of the federal government to have an informed populace.

  • http://twitter.com/Bellearitz K Bright

    But they harvest YOUR information and it immediately goes to government agencies – so they will stay UNLESS we demand accountability. IT is a criminal action to monopolize here in the USA. It is also a criminal action to have a cartel.

  • http://twitter.com/Bellearitz K Bright

    Hold your representative accountable. Did you realize that the Oath of office is a lawful requirement of the office or position they are occupying? Did you realize that it is both a criminal and a civil offense to NOT keep the oath? Did you also realize that taking and KEEPING the Oath is a lawful requirement of office – that NOT keeping it means that the person serving NO LONGER MEETS the lawful requirements of that position or office?

    Federal law regulating oath of office by
    government officials is divided into four parts along with an executive order that further defines the law for purposes of enforcement.

    5 U.S.C. 3331, provides the text of the actual oath of office members of Congress are required
    to take before assuming office.

    5 U.S.C. 3333 requires members of Congress sign an affidavit that they have taken the oath of office required by 5 U.S.C. 3331 and have not or will not violate that oath of office during their tenure of office as defined by the third part of the law,

    18 U.S.C. 1918 provides penalties for violation of oath of office described in 5 U.S.C. 7311 which include: (1) REMOVAL FROM OFFICE AND; (2) confinement or a fine.

    The definition of “advocate” is further specified in Executive Order 10450 which for the purposes
    of enforcement supplements 5 U.S.C. 7311.

    Executive Order 10450 provision specifies it is a violation of 5 U.S.C. 7311 for any person taking the oath of office to advocate “the alteration … of the form of the government of the United States by unconstitutional means.”

    Our form of government is defined by the Constitution of the United States.

    Thus, according to Executive Order 10450, plus 5 U.S. 7311 any act taken by government officials who have taken the oath of office prescribed by 5 U.S.C. 3331 which alters the form of government other then by amendment, is a criminal violation of the 5 U.S.C. 7311.

    (CIVIL Law) Article VI, Clause 2 of the US Constitution: “This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.”

    The Constitution of the United States of America IS the Supreme Law of this land, NOT those who serve within the federal government.

    The first law statute of the United States of America, enacted in the first session of the First Congress on 1 June 1789, was Statute
    1, Chapter 1: an act to regulate the time and manner of administering certain oaths, which established the oath required by civil and military
    officials to support the Constitution.

    The wording of the Presidential Oath was established in the Constitution in Article II,
    Section 1, Clause 8.

    ‘Before he enter on the Execution of his Office, he shall take the following Oath or Affirmation: “I
    do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”’

    The requirement for all Federal and State Civil officers to give their solemn and binding Oath
    is established in Article VI, Section 1, Clause 4.

    They are bound by their Oath to support the US Constitution, and should they abrogate their Oath by their acts or inaction, are subject to charges of impeachment and censure – political remedy for a political offense; civil and criminal charges.

    “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic;
    that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion;
    and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.”

    Once given, the Oath is binding for life, unless renounced, refused, and abjured. It does not cease upon the occasions of leaving office or of discharge.

    SOLEMN: “LEGALLY BINDING, Common legal phrase indicating that an agreement has been consciously made, and certain actions are now either required or prohibited. The other requirement for an agreement or contract to be considered legally binding is consideration
    – both parties must knowingly understand what they are agreeing to”.

    BOUND: “BEING UNDER LEGAL or moral OBLIGATION; to constitute the boundary or limit of; to set a limit to; confine”

    Legally Binding: Common legal phrase. Lawful action, such as an agreement consciously agreed to by two or more entities, establishing
    lawful accountability. An illegal action, such as forcing, tricking, orcoercing a person into an agreement, is not legally binding. Both parties
    knowingly understand what they are agreeing to is the other requirement tolegally establish an agreement or contract.

    CONSIDERATION: “Consideration in a contract is a bargained forexchange of acts or forbearance of an act.”

    REQUIRE, Requirement, Required: MANDATED UNDER A LAW OR BY AN AUTHORITATIVE ENTITY. “To claim or ask for by right and authority; That which is required; a thing demanded or obligatory; something demanded or imposed as an obligation.”

    Contract: “An agreement between two or more parties creating obligations that are enforceable
    or otherwise recognizable at law.”

    The Framers placed the requirement for “Oaths of Office” in the Constitution. These Oaths are to function as “checks” on the powers of the federal
    government and protect us from usurpations.

    Each Branch of the federal government has “the check of the Oath” on the other two branches. The States, whose officials also take the Oath of Office, have the same check on all three branches of the federal government. And “We the People”, the “original fountain of all legitimate authority” (Federalist 22), have the Right to overrule violations of the Constitution by elected and appointed officials.
    If any Branch fails to obey the “supreme Law” (US Constitution and any laws, treaties, bills, etc made in ‘pursuance thereof”), then, in order to preserve the Rule of Law, the other Branches, or failing that, the States or the people, must overrule them”.

  • http://twitter.com/Bellearitz K Bright

    That is because they were MISINFORMED in order to get what was wanted by the federal government. This control of the media – all parts of it – was put into place decades ago. But it is STILL unlawful, a criminal act. A monopoly is unlawful. A cartel is not lawful here in the USA. Control the media and the schools is how to control thought and action. That is why the First Amendment is there in the Bill of Rights, to stop exactly that type of action. Almost 100% of the mainstream media is owned by
    seven companies: Disney, NewsCorp, TimeWarner, CBS, Viacom, NBCUniversal, and Sony. They control everything: movies, television, all the major newspapers and news, and even music record labels.

    When one company dominates an industry, it is a monopoly. When a handful of companies cooperatively dominate an industry, it is a “Cartel.” This is what we have with our mainstream media – an elite group that is cooperatively and covertly controlling everything that comes through our television, radio, newspaper, and theater. One of the court cases showing the laws still applies but is NOT being enforced because the media could no longer be used to manipulate information, hence thought.

    Supreme Court, Red Lion v. FCC in 1969: “It is the purpose of the First Amendment to preserve an uninhibited marketplace of ideas in which truth will ultimately prevail, rather than to countenance monopolization of that market, whether it be by the Government itself or a private licensee. It is the
    right of the public to receive suitable access to social, political, esthetic,
    moral, and other ideas and experiences which is crucial here. That right may not constitutionally be abridged either by Congress or by the FCC.” The Head of the FCC and about 4 layers immediately below all need to be arrested for their criminal actions and held for prosecution.

  • http://www.myspace.com/btdsloveshack blazintommyd
  • kwk50

    We are getting screwed by a giant company again! I am sick of this and we need to fight back! AT&T makes like 18 mbs is great…..it sucks! We need to stand up to these crooks!

  • http://www.facebook.com/susan.campoccio Susan Campoccio

    lovely woman..

  • http://www.facebook.com/susan.campoccio Susan Campoccio

    our plutocracy….disgusting..

  • http://www.facebook.com/susan.campoccio Susan Campoccio

    hmm.. has anyone been brought to task for not abiding by the oath? I think not, but no one thought about it… thanks for posting

  • http://www.facebook.com/susan.campoccio Susan Campoccio

    :(

  • Bob Cannell

    Yes, the big bad companies. This is a free market, invest millions and bring fiber to your own neighborhood.

  • Moneybags

    There is a company interested in the free flow of information: Google. And they’re trying something out in Kansas City.

  • Anonymous

    actually, the US could eliminate much of its budget imbalance by cutting the costs of warmaking which presently takes almost 60% of all tax revenue!

    Other countries that use tax revenue for the benefit of their own citizens, rather than to wage war on citizens of other nations, have better standards of living.

  • SC

    This is so true for Comcast in Atlanta . We all need more choice for cable?

  • http://www.maravedis.com Robert Syputa

    Susan Crawford has been consistently correct in her assessment of how the converged environment is structured and how it should be opened to assure a more competitive, democratic industry and society.

    Keys to opening up the infrastructure:

    1) FTTN: Fiber to the node should be made a nationally orchestrated utility rather than private licensed monopolies. As Susan describes, the gap is between wireless connectivity and the high capacity of fiber optic that is controlled by local cable and fiber optic giants. FTTN can be built to industry standard termination cabinets and to street lamp posts and other convenient locations.

    2) Public and private ‘first/last mile’ wireless connection. Wireless broadband technology has evolved and spectrum made more available, although threatened with lock-up by the same structured-monopolies, to deliver up to 1Gbps wireless access. FTTN as a utility, can be leased to public and private wireless, GigE (gigabit ethernet), FTTH/FTTO, fiber to the home/office. Wireless is growing as a preferred choice of consumers. This should be an open choice. New ‘Super Wi-Fi’ IEEE 80211ac, LTE-Advanced 4G mobile, and upstart technologies including White Spaces should compete for the final connection to users. Incumbent cable and wireless companies who would retain spectrum, capital, and marketshare advantages should have little grounds for complaints: if they are competitive as they claim, then the opening up of connectivity that utility restructuring of FTTN would enable should benefit them to reduce costs and further enable their own competitive operations.

    3) The FCC should license spectrum in the way common practice has proven is most feasible rather than the current schema, which is based on monopolistic profiteering.
    Public access spectrum used by WiFi and backhaul is called ‘license-exempt’. WiFi has been allocated spectrum the wireless industry did not view as viable, ‘junk spectrum’ at higher frequencies and with interfering uses of wireless home phones, nearby microwave oven leakage, and co-interference caused by large numbers of users who are squeezed into use of a relatively small amount of spectrum that is supposedly owned in the public trust and metered out for best use by the government, ie, the FCC.
    The new open 4G policy should require that new spectrum be licensed as co-use: by setting requirements for auctions of popular bands, such as upcoming 600MHz incentive auction, for one third to 1/2 of the spectrum to be open access similar to Wi-Fi and for devices that will be offered for use on the spectrum to operate on both the license-exempt (unlicensed) and licensed to mobile operator portion, wireless chip and device suppliers would be commercially compelled to produce the now technically feasible ‘dual MAC’ devices. The operation would be similar to current WiFi equipped mobile phones which combines two less well coordinated sets of wireless standards than could not be accomplished. Use of the same/nearby spectrum channels would lower the technical and commercial hurdles through use of common RFICs and tuned antennas. ‘Dual MAC’ mode of operation that can make use of unlicensed and licensed spectrum in a seamless way is now a proven approach.

    If the above were pursued as a national priority, competition would, I believe, do the rest. Some of that competition might be in the form of municipal or community Wi-Fi type volunteer and local to regionally sponsored organizations, however, the nature of the final connection should be left open.. and it is unlikely cable, wireless, etc. could be made a public utility altogether. The above describes a model that both echoes what has worked in dual use of unlicensed-licensed spectrum and examples in countries that have provided fiber optic with final connections left for vibrant commercial competition (Hong Kong for example).

    The USA has an opportunity to adopt ‘what works’ and the new wireless technologies to set in place a new structure that pits the ‘best of class’ approaches to speed deployments and innovation across a large and yet unfulfilled national landscape.

  • Anonymous

    Try to remember that the #1 provider of money to congress is the healthcare industry. The #2 provider is telecom and they’re trying to be #1.

  • lostinbago

    Campaign financing IS the problem. Laws in every area of our society are passed by congressmen who must spend over half their time raising funds. If I give a 100k and you give 100 dollars, which one of us is going to get through on the phone to push his views. Remember a couple of years ago the DJ who got Gov. Walker on the phone for 20 minutes by pretending to be one of the Kochs. Would the Gov have spent even 5 minutes with Sue from Osh Kosh if she wasn’t contributor?
    Monopolization control of the FCC, Oil and Gas prices, Global climate change, banking etc. will not be corrected until their influence is no more powerful than the citizens.

  • lostinbago

    I think I would prefer to live in a country that ensured everyone could have access to the basics like food, shelter, medical and now in the electronic age, broadband for communication. If not allow a few billionaires to control the rest of us means socialism, so be it. It beats capitalism that is no longer restrained by a sense of community and lets greed outweigh citizenship. I thought I was I responsible capitalist, but if you want to call me a socialist, so be it; I am an American and do not care for myself so much that I will ignore my less privileged neighbors.

  • lostinbago

    Please enlighten us instead of just stating our ignorance.

  • lostinbago

    It took a while after dereg, but now we can get VOIP for 20 or less and 14 in 48 with inflation would be about 60 today. Still need regulation of broadband and access but just saying….

  • Mikeguru

    As I watched the FCC ruling to consolidate media that eliminated 18,000 investigative reporters jobs and in our town, NBC, ABC, AND FOX come out of the same studios owned by ONE Corporation. We get the same news from all 3 stations and triple the advertisements going to ONE company that determines who gets air time. No Competition. Of course the cost to advertise is higher. The Time Warner and Comcast will eliminate Competitive pricing. DUHHH, is anyone at the FCC paying attention or are they being bribed to rule in favor of the Corporations like the US Supreme Court FIVE of.Citizens United?

  • Red Polygon

    The same Google that worked to undermine net neutrality? They’re out for themselves.

  • Guest

    Until you get billions then use your influence to prevent others from starting their own competing services.

  • phrank

    To be fair, google is only interested in the free flow of individuals information to whom ever buys it from them for any purpose. They are one of the very ones our government is forced to have a law to ensure that steady flow of unedited and cherry picked information through(they want to show you only what pays them to show you and hide results that compete). Google is NOT your friend, they’re your predator.

  • phrank

    Do some research on unfettered free market capitolism. In every situation it has ever been employed the people that have the money don’t just work to earn as much as possible, they work to deprive others of it, until they take over the government and eliminate theast vestiges of democracy and freedom. America is at that brink, with a half dozen industries that have no competition, competing companies colluding to fix pricing, and and those sam entities having massive unconstituional and illegal influence on our government. Regulation and legally maintained competition are mandatory to maintain and semblance of freedom, in markets and in life in general.

  • phrank

    You can’t arrest a company, you can only fine it a small portion of the profits from its illegal operations. This is america after all, by, for, and of the money. One dollar may as well equal one vote.

  • Mary Johanna

    Correct, and it should be regulated/controlled by government just like other utilities. Then again, power is not regulated. The CEO of HECO in Hawaii makes 5.1 million dollars per year and that is in Hawaii where power is already very costly. Thing is, South Korea for example has free broadband high speed internet. America gave the internet to the world…. now right along with banks the cable/internet industry is becoming too big to fail. The lion does not concern himself with what the sheep thinks… that is something we need to change.

  • Mary Johanna

    These old men in suits that have the money to control our policy maker don’t have a clue of the speed and progress that technology holds. They are about making money and care a hoot about anything else. In the meantime countries like Finnland, South Korea etc. are expanding and spending money on education to have the engineers and technicians to meet the future. We are worried about voting districts and how to keep many of us ignorant and poor. The Finnish use some of their revenue from oil to finance technology and a retirement/health care system for the citizenry. Now America is oil independent and the big oils are raking unprecedented profits, loving that “liberal” president who will not stand for environmental issues. The fat cats are allowing him some little progress with health care but who is really winning here? Some of that oil should go into funds for all of us Americans to cover health, communities, education and retirements…. We are just not seeing the whole picture and allowing some to drive the divide of liberal/conservative to destroy any chance of working towards a common goal.

  • Mary Johanna

    Fiber should be installed to preserve a infrastructure. If you were to travel abroad you would see how other countries are constantly upgrading and the internet speed in America is really slow and our infrastructure is dated. Yes we were the first to have it, but in true American fashion of not telling taxpayers the truth of why we need to collect taxes G.W. lowered taxes and said “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it”. So in the meantime even China “fixed” their internet. We are just not investing in infrastructure because politicians are not honestly telling folks why we need to have taxes and what they plan to do with them, and no they also won’t dare to collect taxes from the fat cats…

  • Jeanne Brooks

    So true, Mary Johanna. America’s airports are pathetic compared to those abroad – Dulles especially. Going from Shanghai airport or Beijing airport to Dulles is mindboggling. Taxes are needed for infrastructure, education – all as mentioned above.

  • SK Rob

    Oh give it a rest already.

  • SK Rob

    Oh shut up.

  • Joe Ratley

    This must be a typo in Crawford’s quote “The rich are getting gouged …”. Makes no sense compared with her dominant theme.

  • Betty D

    Eliz Warren for Prez, Susan Crawford for VP. Hillary Not !!!

  • Terence

    They want you to sign up for TV because they are terrified. They know what most people will eventually realize that cable/satellite is DEAD. If you know how, you can receive far, far, more bu ‘streaming’ via broadband. If you have a ‘Smart TV’ as your ‘main’ tv you can get everything streaming thru that as well. Game over, cable & satellite. You owe it to yourself to get on this. The kids are already onto this…

  • Red Cabbage

    It’s nice you have passion for this and I agree with your sentiments about who should be arrested, but throwing powerful advocates like Crawford under the bus isn’t helpful. Just because she didn’t engage in a rant doesn’t make her criticisms any less valid.

  • Reiner Wilhelms

    prove it.

  • Bill Freidline

    It is NOT a free market. The big companies make sure nothing like a free market exists.

  • Anonymous

    “The need for central control” ” more government invention” . . . .these freaking communists have no idea what they are talking about. Miss Crawford is as Red as communists come. Government is the problem!!! Get out of the way!! “Effective Government” is an oxymoron .. . you foolish useful idiots.

  • BIGPoJo

    Looking good.

  • soldout_in_sf

    One way the comparisons to Europe fall short is that the US is a huge country, with lots of open space.

    What we need is a “universal” fiber mandate, like we once had a “universal” dial tone mandate, which put phones in every home.

  • Walter Jeffries

    I would love to have faster internet however people comparing the USA to Europe and other places tend to forget that the USA has a lot more land area for the number of people. The population density in Europe is more than 2x greater and the people are more concentrated in urban areas. This makes it a LOT easier to deliver services like telecommunications because each kilometer of cable gets used by more people distributing the costs.

    For comparison, it’s a half mile to my nearest neighbor and a mile in the other direction to my other neighbor. It takes a lot more money to connect people in rural areas than it does in urban areas. That’s simple reality. It is not about fairness.

  • TheTruthRises

    This is what Comcast did to me. After paying less than $40 per month for internet for over a year they decided I needed to have TV service as well with an additional cost or pay the $75 for just internet. I dumped them and got Verizon DSL. It is slower than cable, but completely doable.

  • Maruge

    I live about half an hour away from atlanta in a large group of wealthy suburbs, I live in a lower middle class neighborhood in the bunch. The internet in my area has a data cap unless you pay over 100$ every month, and if you don’t, the internet is slow, you can expect under 4 MB/s download rate if nobody else is using it. I only have 4 computers in my house, and 3 people. The nearest house is about 8 feet away.

  • Joel Weihe

    Money

  • T. Greenwood

    Even in the parts of the US that are as densely populated as the more populated parts of Europe the speeds here in the US are still much slower and the cost much higher. The service providers are just not willing to spend the money that it would take for us to have service on a par with the Netherlands, France, or Germany, even though they already charge much, much more.