Tuesday, June 28, 2005
Brand X Commentary
Catherine Yang, writing in Business Week, writes:
Good for Cable, Bad for AmericaThe Supreme Court's ruling that cable-modem networks[I was afraid of that, but it seems to be where the Martin FCC is going -- David I]
aren't "common carriers" will put the U.S. further behind
the leaders in broadband . . .
. . . what's good for Comcast (CMCSA ) and Verizon (VZ ), among other cable and phone companies, isn't necessarily good for the nation. Ranked No. 16 in the world in consumer broadband penetration -- down from No. 3 five years ago -- the U.S. has followed policies in direct contrast to higher-ranking countries, such as Japan, Korea, and Sweden. Instead of fostering stiff competition that leads to the low prices and innovation that lure consumers, the U.S. is allowing the huge cable and phone companies to shut out competitors that provide services -- Internet, phone, or TV -- delivered via those broadband networks.
"The U.S. puts incumbent business interests first," claims Martin Thunman, CEO of PacketFront, a fiber network company in Stockholm . . .
. . . "This decision provides...a framework for broadband that can be applied to all providers," says FCC Chairman Kevin J. Martin in a statement.
. . . Instead of the vibrant choice of offerings available to residents of Vasteras, Sweden, 50 kilometers from Stockholm -- who get 60 different Web access, phone, and TV services from 20 different providers over the local utility's high-speed network -- U.S. consumers may end up with only the menus offered by their local phone and cable companies.
And that's hardly the rich feast needed to catapult the U.S. back into the ranks of the world's broadband leaders.
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