Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The next Elizabeth Warren

I've never heard of her before today, but it sure looks like Susan Crawford is to telecom reform as Elizabeth Warren is to banksters. She was briefly part of the Obama administration but quit out of disgust with the Beltway kabuki. She's now taking on the telecom industry as a private citizen.

The telecoms loathe and fear her, with good reason. She's armed with dangerous facts. Like this:
Last year, Americans paid Comcast a monthly average of $153 for television, telephone, and Internet. According to a New America Foundation study, Parisians paid as little as $34.47 a month for the same bundled services, with Internet speeds five to 20 times faster than Comcast.
She even has an solution to break their monopoly.
Instead, she believes the answer is for local communities to build their own fiber networks, as more than 250 have done already. The largest is probably Chattanooga, where homes and businesses can obtain Internet that is 200 times faster than the national average and is cheaper than cable. Meanwhile, Google is building a fiber system in Kansas City and planning others in Austin and Provo. Such networks, Crawford says, will help the public see the benefits of real regulations, just as they once did with electricity. “Until Americans understood how useful [electricity] was and Americans understood it didn’t have to be a luxury, it didn’t change,” she says. The drawback to this strategy is that the industry will fight these grassroots efforts as fiercely as it does FCC reforms. So far, it has gotten 19 states to effectively ban local alternative networks.
My own North Carolina is one of those states. When I first moved to my little city they had big plans to have a free wifi downtown system. Then the Republicans took over the state government. The little city locals don't talk about it anymore.

"Four huge corporations dominate telecommunications much like a handful of companies once controlled the railroads and the electricity industry." Once we had public servants in government who had the political will to break their vile stranglehold. Now we're overrun with politicians who can be bought off for a few thousand bucks in campaign donations. We need less of those and many more Susan Crawfords and Elizabeth Warrens.

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