TechFreedom Hits the Airwaves

Sept 18 – The Sound of Ideas presents “Stuck in Low Gear?” featuring Susan Crawford as a guest. “The United States is falling behind the rest of the world in the choice, availability and cost of high speed Internet access, says law professor and author Susan Crawford. She’s pushing a government-led build-out of broadband infrastructure, akin to FDR’s push for rural electrification, and says monopolistic cable and phone companies worsen the digital divide. Critics disagree”. 

The Monopoly Telecom Industry

Check out Susan’s dialogue with Holistic Survival’s Jason Hartman about the Federal Communications Commission’s responsibility to the American people with respect to free Wifi. “Crawford believes the telecom industry now has a monopoly. American are paying much more for Internet access yet getting much less. Other countries are beating America in this space”.

Facts about US Internet access

If you ever want to understand just how powerful the cable distribution giants in America are, just listen to former TCI CEO John Malone. In 2011, he said “cable is basically a monopoly now.”  He said he was sorry that he had sold his TCI systems to AT&T. And he also said that the threat of wireless competition had been way overblown. We learned this summer that John Malone is re-entering the cable distribution marketplace in America. He’s bought a large stake in Charter, and Charter has tax losses that…

Digital Communications in the United States: Should Broadband Communications be a Public Utility Service?

The Division of Ratepayer Advocates (DRA) will host a thought provoking presentation and dialogue with Susan Crawford, who will speak on the current status of broadbandcommunications in the United States including the state of competition, affordability, availability of high speed internet, and whether cities should be allowed to build their own municipal fiber broadband networks. Questions for the Forum may be posted on Twitter using #DRAForum

A User’s Guide to the Video Wars

Over the next year or so, there will be skirmishes in Congress about video regulations.  On the surface, they may sound technical – men wearing ties will bandy about terms like “compulsory license” and “local-into-local” – and it will be very easy to ignore the whole thing. But there are giants moving on the face of the earth when it comes to video, and many dollars are at stake. Just add zeroes until you get interested. Here’s a quick user’s guide to the video wars: 1. The vehicle. The legislative…

How newspapers and broadcasters are different

The advent of the digital age has put both newspapers and television broadcasters — until not too long ago the arbiters of opinion and taste in America — under pressure. It’s hard for hardcopy newspapers to survive in a craigslist time, and they generally can’t force people to pay for their content online. It’s hard for broadcasters to differentiate their offerings, and so they are starting to release shows online. But newspapers (unlike broadcasters) seem to get the idea that they’re better off with an open internet than a closed,…

Why the digital transition

One of my students asked whether his television set, connected to a cable system but with no set-top box, would be able to receive digital television after February 17, 2009. So I decided to try the experiment of being a consumer with this question. I was happy to see the NCTA has this site with information about how this will work. And this: The good news for cable customers is that the digital transition should be easy. Thanks to a compromise adopted by the FCC in September 2007, cable companies…

Friday in the white spaces

Things are heating up in the white spaces proceeding. The Commission will soon have to decide what to do. How will it deal with the conflicting technical evidence on interference, particularly given the abject failure of the Microsoft device last month? Is there a way to slice up the issue so as not to cut off later decisions about unlicensed portable devices? What impact should the broadcasters’ claims about not wanting to delay the DTV transition have, particularly given that the broadcasters themselves will end up (inevitably) delaying the transition…