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.