Ajit Pai Coddles Big Telecom, Demonizes Silicon Valley

from the inconsistency-ahoy dept

To be very clear there's no shortage of legitimate criticism aimed at giants like Facebook and Google for their inconsistent policies, repeated privacy snafus, and incessantly-incompetent public relations skills.

That said, a large chunk of the push to "do something" about Google, Facebook and Twitter's supposed assault on free speech is also little more than wet nonsense driven by people who don't understand how the internet or First Amendment work. And a lot of the recent breathless hyperventilation in DC and vilification of "big tech" is being driven by the telecom sector, which has spent years demanding that their broken and uncompetitive monopoly market be mindlessly deregulated, while the healthier, more competitive online content and ad space face onerous new regulations.

We've discussed at length how the telecom industry has grown bored with the slow, steady profit made from upgrading and running broadband networks, and has shifted its focus toward the sexier realm of online advertising. Granted, when large ISPs try to directly compete in that space they tend to fall flat on their faces, since running government-pampered monopolies has dulled their innovative and competitive edge. As a result, the Comcast/AT&T/Verizon version of "competition" usually involves two things they're actually good at: cheating by distorting the playing field (aka net neutrality violations) and lobbying.

The motivation here (money) isn't really mysterious. Cable lobbyists routinely call for regulation of companies they're trying to compete with in the online ad space, and loyal policymakers and lawmakers are frequently happy to oblige to keep campaign contributions flowing. Telecom executives like to pretend this is just fair play, given Netflix and Google's (long since dead) support of net neutrality. The difference: ISPs really were trying to use their broadband monopolies to harm competitors, and Google and Netflix's arguments were largely being made in good faith.

There's no good faith ISP arguments occurring here. ISPs don't actually care about privacy, transparency, or your right to spread hate on Twitter. And ISP BFFs like Ajit Pai have long demonized Silicon Valley giants by using straight up nonsense in order to make their argument (like the time he tried to claim a run of the mill Netflix CDN was a network neutrality violation). All while turning a blind eye to ample problems in the telecom sector.

This inconsistency was again on proud display this week in a post by Pai over at Medium ahead of this week's Silicon Valley hearings. In it, Pai laments all manner of problems with Silicon Valley giants, from their disdain for privacy, to a lack of total transparency. You'll notice that most of the concerns Pai expresses were comically-absent as he dismantled popular net neutrality (and ISP transparency) protections last fall:

"Are these tech giants running impartial digital platforms over which they don’t exercise editorial judgment when it comes to content? Or do they in fact decide what speech is allowed and what is not and discriminate based on ideology and/or political affiliation? And again, going back to the first point: where is the transparency?"

Pai's sudden interest in transparency is downright adorable. But you'd have to be blind not to notice how the things Pai demonizes Silicon Valley for pale in comparison to many of the things we've seen in the telecom sector. You'd also have to be blind not to notice how Pai's arguments perfectly mirror the telecom industry lobbying talking points accidentally leaked to us last week by US Telecom. Surely that's only coincidental, right?

From ISPs efforts to charge customers more for privacy to using bullshit fees to jack up your bill, Pai never bats an eyelash when AT&T or Comcast engages in all manner of bad behavior. Yet watch how Pai hyperventilates when talking about Google, Facebook, and Twitter doing things notably less terrible or, as we saw with the recent bogus Twitter shadowbanning controversy, completely made up.

Pai spent the last five years insisting that ISPs shouldn't face "burdensome regulations," despite the fact ISPs like Comcast operate natural monopolies. Yet here he is, advocating for new regulatory restrictions to be foisted upon ISP competitors who actually do face competition:

"The public deserves to know more about how these companies operate. And we need to seriously think about whether the time has come for these companies to abide by new transparency obligations. After all, just as is the case with respect to broadband providers, consumers need accurate information in order to make educated choices about whether and how to use these tech giants’ platforms."

Part of the problem is that this conversation on what to do about Facebook, Google and Twitter has been infected by our idiotic need to apply partisanship to fucking everything, regardless of whether it makes intellectual sense. Net neutrality, for example, has long been played up as a "partisan" issue by ISPs to sow dissent and derail consensus, despite the fact that an overwhelming bipartisan majority of Americans support it.

Here too, ISPs are using baseless, inconsistent, and inflammatory rhetoric to enflame ideological divides and censorship fears with an eye on hampering competitors and encouraging partisan gridlock. In reality, telecom operators don't exclusively inhabit "the right," and Google, Facebook, and Twitter aren't the exclusive dominion of "the left." They're comprised of employees across vast swaths of the ideological spectrum, who, if you actually sit down and talk to them, tend to agree more than they disagree.

But viewing technology debates through a partisan lens is encouraged by those eager to keep the public bickering--instead of developing real solutions to real problems. When the partisan labels come out, the brain often turns off. And there's entire industries happily cashing in on that fact to thwart consensus and meaningful change. There's also an ocean of lawmakers and politicians like Pai more than happy to unabashedly-parrot those efforts on demand, knowing full well that loyalty now means either a lucrative lobbying job or posh think tank gig down the road.

There's absolutely a legitimate conversation to be had here in terms of what to do about privacy and speech in the Facebook and Twitter era. And that may or may not involve crafting new regulations. But it might be nice if people wised up to the fact that a huge swath of the conversation is being dictated not by parties acting in good faith with a genuine eye on valid solutions, but by telecom monopolies eager to pee in the discourse pool simply to fatten their wallets.


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  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 5 Sep 2018 @ 5:34am

    Nothing unexpected and all considering pay has his mouth full with telcos metaphoric penises but I just thought this partisan rhetoric may backfire badly for the telcos if Democrats win overwhelmingly next elections. It's kind of a double-edged sword at least in the telecommunications sector.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 5 Sep 2018 @ 9:44am

      Re:

      I'm sure you're smart enough that you could have made your point without resorting to homophobic imagery.

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      • icon
        nasch (profile), 5 Sep 2018 @ 11:19am

        Re: Re:

        I don't think it's homophobic. Pai is doing favors for the big ISPs. The metaphor is that he's doing them sexual favors, that's all.

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        • icon
          Ninja (profile), 6 Sep 2018 @ 6:29am

          Re: Re: Re:

          That's what came to mind yes. For all I care the telcos could be all ran by women and I'd still use the same metaphor because that's what Pai is. A mere sex toy in their hands.

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    identicon
    Techdirt Offends Reason, 5 Sep 2018 @ 6:30am

    Knee-jerk defense claiming telecoms are worse is contemptible.

    Pai's sudden interest in transparency is downright adorable.

    All you have here is more your repeating of your characteristic shrieking: "Telecoms are WORSE than Google!"

    You admit Google / Facebook bad, but never focus on it, only seek to deflect with what you claim is worse. Typical Techdirt.

    And then compound your partisan mendacity / corporatism by censoring to drive away anyone differing.


    Pro-tip. If you're serious and adult, don't patronize with catty little snipes like "adorable".

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 5 Sep 2018 @ 6:40am

      Re: Knee-jerk defense claiming telecoms are worse is contemptible.

      LOL. I know this must be sarcasm/humor because the literal interpretation is too stupid to contemplate

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    • icon
      Killercool (profile), 5 Sep 2018 @ 6:47am

      Re: Knee-jerk defense claiming telecoms are worse is contemptible.

      "don't patronize with catty little snipes like "adorable".

      "Pro-tip. If you're serious and adult"

      Your meds are off again.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 5 Sep 2018 @ 8:45am

        Re: Re: Knee-jerk defense claiming telecoms are worse is contemptible.

        He has a point. This article is dripping with sarcasm and bile. It could stand to be a bit less opinionated and focus more on the facts.

        Still, the claim that TD hasn't ever published articles demonizing FB and Google is blatantly false. Those articles have been numerous. Never has TD claimed that FB or Google were without fault, not even the present article.

        And anybody paying attention would agree with his quoted passage, "Pai's sudden interest in transparency is downright adorable." Pai is one of the most opaque assholes in DC, only "opening up" to sling accusations at internet-based platforms, never at the ISPs. Mr. TOR needs to start being a little more observant and gain the ability to reevaluate his own position rather than only looking for evidence that he is correct and ignoring that which refutes him.

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        • icon
          Killercool (profile), 5 Sep 2018 @ 8:48am

          Re: Re: Re: Knee-jerk defense claiming telecoms are worse is contemptible.

          I was referring to his "catty little snipe" about being 'serious and adult' while bitching about catty little snipes.

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        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 5 Sep 2018 @ 9:19am

          Re: Re: Re: Knee-jerk defense claiming telecoms are worse is contemptible.

          "It could stand to be a bit less opinionated and focus more on the facts."

          It's an opinion blog. If he doesn't agree with the opinion of the person who wrote it, he can either post a rebuttal, or find a venue with authors who do agree.

          Whining about the way an article is written without stating any reason why their wrong is just idiotic - especially in a venue such as a blog, where it's not only acceptable that the author might inject his own opinion, it's pretty much expected.

          These facts won't trouble the tiny head of this particular AC, of course, but it's always worth reminding everyone of how little his self-important ranting is actually worth.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 5 Sep 2018 @ 9:58am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Knee-jerk defense claiming telecoms are worse is contemptible.

            It's an opinion blog.

            I know, and I don't disagree with anything you posted. I'd prefer, though, that even an opinion piece be written with less... opinion :) It's this heavily-opinionated and sarcasm-rich approach that has led to the left/right divide we're all coping with in the US today. When trying to read a blog article to evaluate the facts, having to spend so much time mentally filtering out the unnecessary language only detracts from the article. IMO, of course.

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 5 Sep 2018 @ 10:06am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Knee-jerk defense claiming telecoms are worse is contemptible.

              He swore once.

              Can you give an example of a statement other than that where there was unnecessary language that detracted from the article?

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                identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 5 Sep 2018 @ 2:36pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Knee-jerk defense claiming telecoms are worse is contemptible.

                It's totally subjective so I understand why you might not see it as I do. It's not the swearing, nobody cares about that. It's the excessively heavy slant written into the article and no evidence of objective reporting. Fair, it's a blog/editorial after all. A more centrist view would be nice, that's all.

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                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 5 Sep 2018 @ 2:51pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Knee-jerk defense claiming telecoms are worse is contemptible.

                  I disagree. It's not subjective at all. He has provided and linked to facts that support the point he is making and you cannot reconcile those facts with any opposing viewpoint.

                  Truth is biased and objective. It's either true or it's not. Covering the opposing viewpoint just to be "fair" is not really reporting the truth then is it? Which I thought was the entire point of journalism.

                  A centrist view is fine in things that are truly subjective. This is not one of those things.

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 5 Sep 2018 @ 11:00am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Knee-jerk defense claiming telecoms are worse is contemptible.

              "It's this heavily-opinionated and sarcasm-rich approach that has led to the left/right divide we're all coping with in the US today."

              This is simply false. Not sure why anyone would think this is the case as the right/left divide as you call it has been going on since caveman days. Denying one's history is not a very good idea.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 5 Sep 2018 @ 2:34pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Knee-jerk defense claiming telecoms are worse is contemptible.

                Can you honestly say that the last couple years have not seen an increase in the left/right divide? Both sides have been fanning the flames with editorials and spite that is neither honest nor genuine. It has gotten far worse in the last couple years, to the point that friends have become enemies and family members won't speak to one another.

                Yes, the divide has been around forever but now it's a primary cause of division whereas people used to get along with one another despite their political beliefs.

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                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 5 Sep 2018 @ 3:03pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Knee-jerk defense claiming telecoms are worse is contemptible.

                  Yes there has been an increase in the last few years but correlation does not equal causation.

                  spite that is neither honest nor genuine

                  This is the true cause. You can be heavily opinionated and write extremely sarcastic articles without being spiteful and simultaneously being honest and genuine. You are absolutely correct that the lack of honesty and integrity, as well as spite for spite's sake is the cause of much of the widening gap we see.

                  But that has nothing to do with being sarcastic or opinionated. Everyone has an opinion and sarcasm is not bad. It is, in fact, quite humorous most of the time.

                  Yes, the divide has been around forever but now it's a primary cause of division whereas people used to get along with one another despite their political beliefs.

                  Then you don't know your history very well. Wars have been started over less. Indeed, wars have been started over political beliefs. i.e. the American War for Independence.

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                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 5 Sep 2018 @ 5:37pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Knee-jerk defense claiming telecoms are worse is contemptible.

                  The divide has not worsened as it has always been there and it has always been this bad. What has changed lately is the self imposed restraint has been removed and many feel free to express themselves. Some of it is rather benign and some of it is clearly criminal. The DNC convention in 68 I think .. was a bit violent - so that is nothing new either.

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            • icon
              PaulT (profile), 6 Sep 2018 @ 1:06am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Knee-jerk defense claiming telecoms are worse is contemptible.

              "When trying to read a blog article to evaluate the facts..."

              ...you're really doing it wrong, since a blog will never, ever be a primary source unless they broke the story themselves. For the majority of the time, they exist for commentary, so opinion and bias should be expected.

              Honest ones like this will at least link to the sources they're using to claim any knowledge, but if you're depending on blogs for the news, stop right now and start reading the sources they base their opinions upon.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 5 Sep 2018 @ 9:56am

          Re: Re: Re: Knee-jerk defense claiming telecoms are worse is contemptible.

          This article is dripping with sarcasm and bile

          I'll agree with the sarcasm but not the bile. He uses the f word once and most of what he is saying is accurate and he backs up with facts.

          If that counts as bile then I don't think any media organization, mainstream or not, is free from it.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 5 Sep 2018 @ 7:09am

      Re: Knee-jerk defense claiming telecoms are worse is contemptible.

      "And then compound your partisan mendacity / corporatism by censoring to drive away anyone differing."
      What does this mean? Seirously. I reread it like five times and it makes no sense. Explain?

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      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 5 Sep 2018 @ 7:37am

        Re: Re:

        It means that he's used to people telling him to shut up because he's an obnoxious asshole, and he's chosen to blame a grand conspiracy rather than his own actions.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 5 Sep 2018 @ 8:28am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Well, on the other hand if we took his word for it, the fact that he's still here means that it's not censoring!

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 5 Sep 2018 @ 10:05am

      Re: Knee-jerk defense claiming telecoms are worse is contemptible.

      All you have here is more your repeating of your characteristic shrieking: "Telecoms are WORSE than Google!"

      Do you have proof that they aren't? Yeah I didn't think so. I can surf the internet without ever interacting with Google, but I can't do so without interacting with my ISP, which regularly screws me over on speed, customer service, price, invasion of privacy and anything else you can think of.

      You admit Google / Facebook bad, but never focus on it, only seek to deflect with what you claim is worse. Typical Techdirt.

      Typical lying troll you mean, since this is blatantly false and easily shown as such with a simple search.

      And then compound your partisan mendacity / corporatism by censoring to drive away anyone differing.

      Um, that's actually us, the community, flagging you for being a troll and spreading lies. Stop trolling and spreading lies and we'll stop flagging. And it's still not censorship since anyone can just click "show" to unhide and read your drivel.

      Pro-tip. If you're serious and adult, don't patronize with catty little snipes like "adorable".

      Actual pro-tip. Serious and adult journalism outlets regularly patronize and use sarcasm (such as those "catty snipes") in their mainstream articles. Look at any outlet, CNN to Foxnews, to Breitbart, to the NYT, to WaPo, you name it, they all do it. Also, please look up the definition of satire, it should be educational to you.

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      • icon
        Ryunosuke (profile), 5 Sep 2018 @ 12:35pm

        Re: Re: Knee-jerk defense claiming telecoms are worse is contemptible.

        See also: almost every late night talk show host starting with Jon Stewart (I know he didn't START it, but he popularized it), To Jimmy Kimmel, John Oliver, Stephen Colbert, Conan O'Brien.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 5 Sep 2018 @ 12:02pm

      Re: Knee-jerk defense claiming telecoms are worse is contemptible.

      This from the numbnuts who calls everyone kids...

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Sep 2018 @ 6:49am

    Regulatory Capture

    Another example of how the telecoms are the ones calling the shots now.

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Sep 2018 @ 7:06am

    Two Evil Ho's

    Bitching at and about each other... it's glorious!

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  • icon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 5 Sep 2018 @ 7:11am

    Expanding the mandate much?

    What the hell does the FCC have to do with platforms? Are they gonna try and tell me I can't use the 'seven words you can't say on TV' on the Internets? Does Pai really think he can become censorship central?

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  • icon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 5 Sep 2018 @ 7:12am

    Expanding the mandate much?

    What the hell does the FCC have to do with platforms? Are they gonna try and tell me I can't use the 'seven words you can't say on TV' on the Internets? Does Pai really think he can become censorship central?

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    • icon
      Seegras (profile), 5 Sep 2018 @ 8:53am

      Re: Expanding the mandate much?

      > 'seven words you can't say on US TV'

      There, I corrected it. Because not all the world features these puritan pukes fucking with free speech.

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      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 5 Sep 2018 @ 9:21am

        Re: Re: Expanding the mandate much?

        Oh, they do, they're just better at having effective regulation that makes sense. Alternatively, they're at least admitting that there are restrictions on speech rather than trying to pretend there are no restrictions while simultaneously applying them.

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      • icon
        Thad (profile), 5 Sep 2018 @ 10:29am

        Re: Re: Expanding the mandate much?

        There, I corrected it.

        ...it's the name of a George Carlin routine from the 1970s.

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  • icon
    Ed (profile), 5 Sep 2018 @ 7:27am

    Pai continues to prove he has the most punchable face in the public sphere.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Sep 2018 @ 7:36am

    Our illegitimate government continues to entertain and amaze.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Sep 2018 @ 10:10am

    cant even call him a cunt! they're useful at least which is more than can be said for him!!

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  • icon
    nasch (profile), 5 Sep 2018 @ 11:24am

    Can't decide

    breathless hyperventilation

    I'm not sure if that's a redundancy or a contradiction in terms.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Sep 2018 @ 11:53am

    “Natural monopoly” vs “government induced monopoly”

    >> Pai spent the last five years insisting that ISPs shouldn't face "burdensome regulations," despite the fact ISPs like Comcast operate natural monopolies.

    I don’t believe there is anything natural about Comcast’s monopoly. When the government decides Comcast has a monopoly due to franchising then the government provides the monopoly, and thus it’s not natural. If I could go through a neighborhood and run my own cable, without jumping through the gates designed by Comcast and the government to prevent this or make it prohibitively expensive, their monopoly would evaporate. It’s not like their the only company with access to the copper necessary to create cables, which would create a “natural monopoly”.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 5 Sep 2018 @ 1:24pm

      Re: “Natural monopoly” vs “government induced monopoly”

      I don’t believe there is anything natural about Comcast’s monopoly

      So your position then is that anyone can start their own ISP, run cable/fiber, and purchase the necessary licenses/permits with very little work and cost? Please excuse me while I laugh in your general direction.

      When the government decides Comcast has a monopoly due to franchising

      And when did this happen? I don't remember the government declaring Comcast to have a monopoly.

      then the government provides the monopoly, and thus it’s not natural

      Oh I see, you think that somehow the government is the only one that can declare something a monopoly. Oh you poor little thing. If I discover some rare new mineral that is only found on my land, and I own it, what's that then? Must not be a natural monopoly since the government didn't declare it as such.

      If I could go through a neighborhood and run my own cable, without jumping through the gates designed by Comcast

      Hey! Now you're getting it!

      and the government to prevent this or make it prohibitively expensive, their monopoly would evaporate.

      And you lost it. Newsflash, even if the gates set up by Comcast (or the government but I'm not aware of any by them) were removed, it's still prohibitively expensive to start your own ISP. Try in the neighborhood of millions of dollars, just as a starting point. If you have access to that kind of cash, could you show me how to get access to it too? Because I work 40+ hours a week at two jobs and I still haven't cracked six figures.

      It’s not like their the only company with access to the copper necessary to create cables, which would create a “natural monopoly”.

      No, but they're some of the only ones who can afford it and still be profitable. Or are you saying you can purchase and lay all those lines for less than a $100k?

      Also, why copper? Copper is obsolete, anyone who tries to start an ISP with copper lines is going to go out of business real fast because it can't provide the same speed and stability of fiber.

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      • icon
        nasch (profile), 5 Sep 2018 @ 4:12pm

        Re: Re: “Natural monopoly” vs “government induced monopoly”

        He's referring to franchise agreements passed by local governments that grant an infrastructure monopoly to service providers. And there's no need to be so derisive - it's perfectly possible to disagree with someone civilly.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 6 Sep 2018 @ 6:36am

          Re: Re: Re: “Natural monopoly” vs “government induced monopoly”

          He's referring to franchise agreements passed by local governments that grant an infrastructure monopoly to service providers.

          I wasn't aware that operating a franchise automatically meant you were a government recognized monopoly, which is, I believe, what the OP was stating. I read his statement as that Comcast is a government blessed monopoly and that there are no real barriers to entry to starting your own ISP, other than the false ones created by Comcast and the government. This is obviously false for obvious reasons. Am I misunderstanding something?

          And there's no need to be so derisive - it's perfectly possible to disagree with someone civilly.

          I agree. And I feel that while I was somewhat derisive of his statements at times, I was quite civil. Especially considering some of the comments the trolls on here typically engage in.

          Instead I addressed each of his points and sarcastically explained why he was wrong. This isn't the first time he's spouted this nonsense, and he has had it previously explained to him, politely and non-derisively, why he is wrong, with links to supporting primary sources. He continues to reject reality and therefore I feel no need to hold back on my derision of his blatant and obviously false statements.

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          • icon
            nasch (profile), 6 Sep 2018 @ 11:54am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: “Natural monopoly” vs “government induced monopoly”

            I wasn't aware that operating a franchise automatically meant you were a government recognized monopoly

            Not automatically, but that is often the case (for a somewhat broad definition of monopoly - one cable provider and one DSL).

            there are no real barriers to entry to starting your own ISP, other than the false ones created by Comcast and the government

            That's where he went off the rails. There are both regulatory and market barriers to entry.

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 6 Sep 2018 @ 12:08pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: “Natural monopoly” vs “government induced monopoly”

              Not automatically, but that is often the case (for a somewhat broad definition of monopoly - one cable provider and one DSL).

              I'm still not convinced. As far as I'm aware, the government does not in any way recognize Comcast as a monopoly, natural or otherwise. If they did we would be having an entirely different conversation. Which is kind of the point, our point of view is that they SHOULD be considered a natural monopoly, and regulated more like a public utility but currently are not.

              Plus, I can think of a few dozen franchises off the top of my head that are in no way considered monopolies (McDonald's, Burger King, Wendy's, Hardee's, DairyQueen, Walmart, Best Buy, etc...). I've never heard of a franchise being considered a monopoly solely because they are a franchise.

              That's where he went off the rails. There are both regulatory and market barriers to entry.

              Agreed, but that is the starting premise for his entire comment. All of his reasoning stems from that "off the rails" assumption. Hence, his entire comment is nonsense.

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              • icon
                nasch (profile), 6 Sep 2018 @ 3:36pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: “Natural monopoly” vs “government induced monopoly”

                I'm not sure if they're enforced monopolies/duopolies, or if it's just so difficult to get in that it ends up that way.

                Plus, I can think of a few dozen franchises off the top of my head that are in no way considered monopolies

                Nobody is saying the word franchise means monopoly.

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                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 7 Sep 2018 @ 6:27am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: “Natural monopoly” vs “government induced monopoly”

                  I'm not sure if they're enforced monopolies/duopolies, or if it's just so difficult to get in that it ends up that way.

                  That is the definition of a "natural monopoly". The barrier to entry is so high that it is impossible to break into. This has absolutely jack squat to do with frachising or the government though. Electricity, water, sewage, and natural gas are all natural monopolies, not because the government says they are but because it would be nearly impossible to have competition in any of those market segments due to barriers to entry.

                  ISPs have much the same barriers to entry that all other utilites have and internet access has become a necessity for the majority of Americans, therefore it is often thought it should be declared a public utility (or natural monopoly if you will) and regulated as such. That's not what this guy is saying. He's saying the government turned it into an artificial monopoly by granting it a franchise, which is ridiculous. The two are not even closely related.

                  Nobody is saying the word franchise means monopoly.

                  Well, actually:

                  When the government decides Comcast has a monopoly due to franchising then the government provides the monopoly

                  And:

                  He's referring to franchise agreements passed by local governments that grant an infrastructure monopoly to service providers.

                  As well as:

                  Not automatically, but that is often the case

                  So, yeah, you both are saying that a franchise equals a monopoly. Though I will grant that you at least admit that it doesn't automatically mean a monopoly. Still, you seem to think that is the case more often than not. I see no evidence to support this at all.

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                  • icon
                    nasch (profile), 7 Sep 2018 @ 10:39am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: “Natural monopoly” vs “government induced monopoly”

                    That is the definition of a "natural monopoly". The barrier to entry is so high that it is impossible to break into.

                    Only if it's a natural barrier to entry. I was talking about government imposed barriers.

                    So, yeah, you both are saying that a franchise equals a monopoly.

                    No, I'm really not. I'm saying that for this particular type of franchise, it often ends up as a monopoly or duopoly. For other types of franchises, such as McDonald's, it doesn't go that way at all.

                    Still, you seem to think that is the case more often than not. I see no evidence to support this at all.

                    The reasons for the lack of competition are manifold. Both government regulation and natural barriers to entry play a part. I'm sorry you can't see the evidence.

                    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                    • identicon
                      Anonymous Coward, 7 Sep 2018 @ 12:33pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: “Natural monopoly” vs “government induced monopoly”

                      Only if it's a natural barrier to entry. I was talking about government imposed barriers.

                      Then we absolutely disagree. I see no evidence to support the claim that the high barriers to entry are solely the contrivance of government impositions, be they through franchise agreements or otherwise. If you have facts to support your claim, please state them and we can discuss.

                      No, I'm really not.

                      Yes, you are, as evidenced by your sentence right before this one and what you said earlier:

                      He's referring to franchise agreements passed by local governments that grant an infrastructure monopoly to service providers.

                      The wording you used means you think local government franchise agreements grant a monopoly to service providers. If that's not what you meant, please reword and clarify your statement.

                      I'm saying that for this particular type of franchise, it often ends up as a monopoly or duopoly.

                      That is because the natural barriers to entry for an ISP are so high. The government has nothing to do with it, and the fact that they are labelled as a franchise has nothing to do with it. All being a franchise is, is basically a permit to do business. It in no way, shape or form, has any bearing on whether a company is a monopoly. Neither has a company being granted a franchise license made them a government granted monopoly, ISP or otherwise.

                      The reasons for the lack of competition are manifold. Both government regulation and natural barriers to entry play a part. I'm sorry you can't see the evidence.

                      Now hold on here. My entire comment thread has been about the naturally high barriers to entry. Please show me where I stated otherwise. My argument is that ISPs are not a government blessed and granted monopoly, as the OP stated. But if you want to say that the government has put in place some regulations, at behest of incumbent ISPs, at the local and state levels to add to the already naturally high barriers to entry, then I can absolutely agree with you. That doesn't mean that without those regulations it would no longer be a monopoly.

                      I will thank you kindly to not put words in my mouth.

                      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                      • icon
                        nasch (profile), 8 Sep 2018 @ 2:30pm

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: “Natural monopoly” vs “government induced monopoly”

                        Well I'm tired of trying to explain myself. See you around.

                        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                        • identicon
                          Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2018 @ 6:31am

                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: “Natural monopoly” vs “government induced monopoly”

                          I'm sorry you feel that way.

                          Have a nice day.

                          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 5 Sep 2018 @ 1:39pm

      Re: “Natural monopoly” vs “government induced monopoly”

      How many times do you want the infrastructure to be duplicated in an area; noting of course that this this makes it more expensive for customers as they are paying for the unused infrastructure. Also, who manage things like duct routing, pole placement, and use of poles.

      The infrastructure is essentially a natural monopoly, just like water, sewage, gas,electricity and roads.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Ninja (profile), 6 Sep 2018 @ 6:37am

        Re: Re: “Natural monopoly” vs “government induced monopoly”

        I'm here imagining the world would be if the guy had his way. I mean, how we would accommodate dozens of water pipes, sewage pipes, electric wires, optic fibers from 80, 100 different companies while following basic physics and security measures (like sewage being always below water pipes and maintaining enough declivity not to wear the heck out of the system due to excessive flow speed).

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Ninja (profile), 6 Sep 2018 @ 6:40am

      Re: “Natural monopoly” vs “government induced monopoly”

      You also never read about and don't work with infrastructure. I do. And yes, it is a natural monopoly because the underground has limited space (as the upper portion in poles) and they are usually a nightmare to navigate for new deployment in crowded areas.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    ECA (profile), 5 Sep 2018 @ 1:20pm

    HULU..

    Anyone use HULU from the beginning??
    All the Different contracts and restrictions created for them, and Changed everytime they were doing GOOD??

    SciFi channel trying to create their OWN site, and giving then taking BACK all their programming..
    All the other services using HULU, then trying to create THEIR OWN services...
    Pick a name and you MAY find that they TRIED to create a service, Found out it WASNT easy(they only had to ask YT/Google)..then sent ALLOT of programs to Hulu, THEN removing it again when they wanted to TRY AGAIN to create a service..

    ALL of this Wrapped around 1 feature, ADVERTISEMENTS.. Who was getting the money, and WHO could figure out HOW they could get MORE money..

    Then HULU went to a Subscription PAID service...Do you think the Adverts went away?? NOPE.

    WHY pay MORE money, then you would with CABLE/SAT...to watch a channel that is AS BAD in adverts, as Cable/sat?? $5-10 per month(cable/sat pays PENNIES) and you get adverts During your program..(SOME, only give them at the beginning/end)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 5 Sep 2018 @ 2:41pm

      Re: HULU..

      $12/mo and you can skip the ads. It's well worth the extra few dollars. Cable, in my area at least, costs an order of magnitude more than that.

      The only shitty part is HULU recently introduced "Live TV", an extra-fee service that carries additional content. Not a fan.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Sep 2018 @ 5:17pm

    Wait til these ghastly giant telecoms crank up the watts on their weaponized cell towers. Pai must have reservations for underground. Why would he give two fucks about us who'll be above ground that day.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Richard Bennett, 6 Sep 2018 @ 11:06pm

    Pai! Pai! He's my man!

    If he wants a fast lane inside my ass, he can...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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