In the ongoing argument about network neutrality, it's been pointed out that the telcos have abused the public benefits they've received, but Daniel Berninger, points out another public resource they've been given that they'd rather we all overlook: tremendous amounts of state-owned right-of-way across the country. The real meat of Berninger's argument, though, is that in many cases, the state laws giving telcos this right-of-way access require them to act as common carriers -- meaning that they can't discriminate against content, and that net neutrality may already be enshrined in local laws. What's interesting here is that this isn't just the blatherings of a net hippie up on their soapbox, but that common carrier status also offers benefits for the telcos, like being relieved of liability for the content that travels over their network. So once the telcos lose that common carrier statues, parents angry over MySpace could represent a real problem. Knowing the carriers, though, the solution would be just to eliminate access to anything but pre-approved (and pre-paid) content -- in short, doing away with the internet. One other note from the post: Berninger points out that cable companies don't get the same free right-of-way access, and are required to pay local franchise fees. For all the telco whining about a level playing field, that's a pretty big advantage. No wonder then, they don't want to play by the same rules, and do their best to get franchising requirements to disappear for their entry into the cable TV business.
If you liked this post, you may also be interested in...
- DailyDirt: Live Performances Get Attention, Sometimes For Being Kinda Bad...
- Redbox Follows Netflix's Lead, Delays Fox and Universal DVD Releases by 28 Days
- Post TSA's New Security Rules And Get A Visit And Subpoena From Homeland Security
- Getting People To Pay For Investigative Reporting Directly
- Not All Newspaper Chains Are Facing Doom And Gloom Scenarios