Funny, The Telcos Weren't So Against Regulations When It Helped Them

from the hands-off-now? dept

It's getting somewhat annoying to see just how partisan the network neutrality debate has become, with both the telcos and the internet folks spinning the rhetoric in the debate well beyond the actual issues. Both sides are making statements that have little basis in reality, but it still seems like the claims from the telcos and their supporters that this is about "keeping regulatory hands off the internet" are the most silly. Remember, these are the telcos. They've benefited from billions of dollars in subsidies and regulations in their favor over the years -- regulations that granted them monopoly rights of way and helped them get rid of most of the competition. That, again, is the real issue. If there were true competition that would allow others to enter the market, then there wouldn't even be a debate about network neutrality, because no firm would realistically be able to break network neutrality without a serious backlash. So, the next time someone says this is all about keeping regulators away from the telcos, remind them that regulations built these telcos into the position they're in today -- and ask them if they're willing to trade in all the benefits they got from those other regulations?
Hide this

Thank you for reading this Techdirt post. With so many things competing for everyone’s attention these days, we really appreciate you giving us your time. We work hard every day to put quality content out there for our community.

Techdirt is one of the few remaining truly independent media outlets. We do not have a giant corporation behind us, and we rely heavily on our community to support us, in an age when advertisers are increasingly uninterested in sponsoring small, independent sites — especially a site like ours that is unwilling to pull punches in its reporting and analysis.

While other websites have resorted to paywalls, registration requirements, and increasingly annoying/intrusive advertising, we have always kept Techdirt open and available to anyone. But in order to continue doing so, we need your support. We offer a variety of ways for our readers to support us, from direct donations to special subscriptions and cool merchandise — and every little bit helps. Thank you.

–The Techdirt Team

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread

  1. icon
    Mike (profile), 25 May 2006 @ 2:23am

    Re: Government regulation

    Just a couple of facts to get in the way of your logic. Cable companies are responsible for 60% of the residential broadband internet connections versus the 40% provided by telcos. That network was not built with government subsidies. It was built with private investment and initiative.

    Well, that's one way to look at it... though it conveniently leaves out the franchise issue, and the fact that no one else can go out and lay wires these days if you're not a cable or telco. So, you mean "private investment and initiatives" teamed with gov't granted monopolies. That last part is important.

    If you're going to point to the technology stagnation that occurred under government regulation of the telcos as an example of successful regulations, you might think again.

    You are misunderstanding my point here. Nowhere was I saying that the past regulations were "successful." I was saying that the telcos are in the position they're in now, in large part, thanks to regulations. I don't consider that a success story. So for them to say "hands off" is ridiculous. They were perfectly happy with the hands for a while.

    All I'm saying here is that the situation isn't nearly as simple as either side is making it out to be. Claiming it's about hands off is ridiculous when the telcos have benefited greatly from the hands in the past -- often through promising specific things in return, which they're now trying to get out of providing.

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter

Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Make this the First Word or Last Word. No thanks. (get credits or sign in to see balance)    
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Discord

The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...

Recent Stories

This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.