Biz Columnist Changes His Mind, Now Says "Carriers Need Regulation"

You know telecoms are behaving badly when a business columnist who just a year ago argued for a hands-off government approach has reversed his opinion. “I’ve changed my mind,” he writes. “The behavior of the top telecommunications companies, especially Verizon Communications and AT&T, has convinced me that more government involvement is needed to keep communications free of corporate interference.”

His editorial is a laundry list of problems readers here are too familiar with. Verizon blocking politically charged text messages; AT&T slipping “we’ll terminate your account for speaking badly of us” language into its terms; carriers pushing for a tiered network so they can charge different amounts for different types of data; or, carriers being hostile to consumer-friendly peer-to-peer and file sharing technology because it can’t be controlled by the entertainment industry; the fact that the baby bells and their siblings are gradually reassembling like the Blob. He even drops in the fact that the U.S. lags behind far too many regulated countries in broadband capabilities, despite carrier claims that a hands-off approach will make us superior.

He closes with, “The hands-off approach hasn’t served consumers well. And the Web is far too important to entrust the free flow of information to the shifting whims of a few big companies. Government must step in and tell them to leave our content alone.” It’s like a giant momma bird ate up all the complaints and documented misbehavior posted in The Consumerist over the past 12 months and spat it into the mouths of Business Week’s print edition readers. Hooray.

“Get Your Hands Off the Web” [Business Week]
(Photo: Getty)

Comments

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  1. AdamthePugh says:

    Now we just have to get members of Congress to read and agree with Business Week.

  2. DrGirlfriend says:

    Kind of amazing to see what big corporations are capable of if allowed to run with relatively scant oversight.

  3. axiomatic says:

    @DrGirlfriend: Actually it’s not amazing at all. Out of touch CEO’s pushing draconian terms on its customers? All that is missing is the “Wall Street-esque” Gordon Gecko 80’s yellow power tie and what we have is a classic “business villain.”

    This is the way America rewards large businesses. Why would they change if this is what is expected and encouraged of them.

    It’s sickening actually. “Suits” ruin everything.

  4. mac-phisto says:

    queue the “free market fixes everything” laissez-faire capitalists in 3…2…1…

  5. lalala1949 says:

    It’s actually sweets that ruin everything. 1/3 of adults over age 50 will get type 2 diabetes due to an unhealthy lifestyle. So therefore it isn’t “suits ruin everything” but rather sweets!!!!

  6. Jaysyn was banned for: http://consumerist.com/5032912/the-subprime-meltdown-will-be-nothing-compared-to-the-prime-meltdown#c7042646 says:

    In related news, Congressperson Rich Boucher has told Comcast to keep their hands off Bittorent.

    [www.news.com]

  7. camille_javal says:

    @mac-phisto: Aw, I think it’s sweet that they still believe we have a free-market economy, you know, like kids believing in Santa or something…

  8. Uh oh... Cleveland says:

    When the Bell System was broken up, did we see a bunch of new (as in, not old Bell System-components) landline phone companies? No. We saw wireless explode because it was cheaper to install a few towers than to lay a bunch of cable.

    That’s where we need to go with internet. Wireless. Much cheaper than laying all that backbone all over again.

  9. tadowguy says:

    If only AT&T were gay and wanted to have a gay marriage with Verizon, then this issue would be important.

  10. pestie says:

    @camille_javal: Amen! The people screaming loudest against regulation don’t seem to get that a free-market economy requires a level playing field for all participants. When companies get to the point of influencing things like government and international treaties, they are manipulating the playing field itself.

  11. Trai_Dep says:

    Yup. Even a commodity like corn is so twisted around by gov’t intervention that the WTO has to sanction the US hundreds of millions of dollars a year since it’s so out of whack. Imagine how much intervention there is in less prosaic goods.

    The Free Market Uber Alles crowd can’t seem to see thru the smoke & mirrors, unfortunately. For them. And those that must wade thru their malarkey.