32 Years of the Digest ... founded August 21, 1981
The Telecom Digest for October 21, 2013
====== 32 years of TELECOM Digest -- Founded August 21, 1981 ======
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Date: Sat, 19 Oct 2013 20:55:31 -0700 (PDT) From: HAncock4 <email@example.com> To: firstname.lastname@example.org. Subject: Re: Canada to propose forcing a la carte programming Message-ID: <email@example.com> On Saturday, October 19, 2013 12:03:40 PM UTC-4, Bill Horne wrote: > The government's job is not to protect us from our own folly. The > government's job is to protect us from our neighbor's folly. We > have, and need to exercise, the option of turning the set off and > going to talk to our neighbors: about politics, the deficit, how > schools are failing at every level, our kids, the "ancient political > fish-like smell", or whatever the topic of the day is. Government regulating business affairs is nothing new. About 100 years ago some corporations became so large that the traditional model of marketplace competition no longer applied. These companies had concentrated enough economic power to themselves to treat their employees, customers, and suppliers as they dictated. This was determined to be harmful to the country and anti-trust laws were born. Recall that about 60 years ago the US government felt that the Bell System was an improper monopoly, despite it being tigtly regulated. A consent decree was obtained restricting the Bell System to mostly communications and defense and requiring it to license out its patents. Government involvment in the entertainment industry isn't new either. In the entertainment industry, a few years earlier, the motion picture studios were forced to divest the studios they owned so that independent studios could get a fair shot at renting movies. This marked the separation of film production and exhibition. Because broadcast television had an oligopoly using very limited TV airwaves, the government imposed strict regulation on broadcasters (both networks and individual stations) in exchange for being allowed to utilize those airwaves. In recent years, however, things have changed dramatically. We're back to extensively vertically integrated entertainment empires. We have Comcast, which provides telephone service, ISP, cable TV, as well as owning Universal pictures and NBC. We have telephone companies providing telephone, ISP, and cable TV service (e.g. Verizon FIOS). We have seen cable rates go up significantly year after year. Given that, as well as the history of business, it is certainly reasonable to take a fresh look at restoring government regulation that once existed in the past. FWIW, Comcast is very profitable. (In other words, years ago many people complained that the old Bell System was fleecing the public by buying its suplies from its own Western Electric--passing on inflated high prices to the customer. Today we have Comcast reselling its own content just like Western Electric.)
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