October 20, 2007
Dump Comcast. The news that Comcast is already blocking certain Internet traffic based on its content confirms that the battle to prevent a corporate takeover of the Internet is now underway. The big issue is data and network neutrality. Without data neutrality there is no Internet. Instead, what’s left is just another system of mass communication controlled by a small oligopoly (hello again, 1972!). A lot of people will blame the Bush administration, the FCC or the Congress for allowing or enabling Comcast’s test-the-waters power grab. But the truth is this setback was the predictable result of a very bad policy decision made by the Clinton Administration to turn over the operation of key public Internet nodes to the big telcos without any real requirement those public resources would be used for the benefit of the public, most notably, by ensuring network neutrality. I predicted way back then that the powerful corporate beneficiaries of the Clinton Internet node giveaway would eventually create choke-points on the Internet.
“Turning the Information Superhighway over to a consortium of big companies,” I wrote, “would be like turning Route 66 over to the Teamsters, Amtrak and American Airlines.”
Comcast is now determining what types of software applications users can run on their network. Clinton for President? Satellite TV here we come.