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Politics, Telco Style

from the change-the-rules-for-us,-repeatedly dept

It’s not surprising (or even wrong) for companies to lobby on behalf of what they believe is best for themselves and themselves alone — but it’s still amusing to point out some of the contradictory aspects of it. We’ve already seen how the telcos view muni-broadband laws, and now they’re pushing to change the laws for video in their favor, so they don’t have to get municipal level approval across the entire country to offer IPTV. At the same time, they’re pushing to get empty FCC slots filled as quickly as possible so they know who to put pressure on. To some extent, the telcos are right. Having to go through each municipality to get permission to offer video is a bad and inefficient policy — designed to keep out competition. However, given how these same telcos seem to react to competition normally, you know that they’re not looking to spread competition, but just get themselves into the fold, before blocking everyone else out from competing again as well. Meanwhile, Om Malik is taking this idea, along with the concept that the TV channel is dead and is wondering why the telcos don’t bother skipping “IPTV” altogether and offering real downloadable TV over fiber — where people get to create their own lineups, based on what they want to see. Of course, that would take (1) amazingly creative thinking from the telcos (stop laughing) and (2) the broadcast industry to agree to that as well. Given how broadcasters have reacted so far to such plans — it seems unlikely that they’d go anywhere near such a plan. These are both industries that still think in terms of “broadcast,” and that people need to be guided to the content they would like, rather than recognizing the ability for people to discover (and create) what they’d like to see themselves. Of course, the telcos also have a history of convincing the government to give them all sorts of incentives to do certain things, taking the money and not doing what they promised — which, at some point, would make you wonder why the government should be changing laws in their favor again?

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