The Nation’s Jeff Chester writes a dire piece about plans by cable and telephone companies where
all of us–from content providers to individual users–would pay more to surf online, stream videos or even send e-mail. Industry planners are mulling new subscription plans that would further limit the online experience, establishing “platinum,” “gold” and “silver” levels of Internet access that would set limits on the number of downloads, media streams or even e-mail messages that could be sent or received.
Consider the following scenarios:
Imagine how the next presidential election would unfold if major political advertisers could make strategic payments to Comcast so that ads from Democratic and Republican candidates were more visible and user-friendly than ads of third-party candidates with less funds.
Consider what would happen if an online advertisement promoting nuclear power prominently popped up on a cable broadband page, while a competing message from an environmental group was relegated to the margins. It is possible that all forms of civic and noncommercial online programming would be pushed to the end of a commercial digital queue.
At the heart of this thing, is the further erosion of government regulation of phone and cable lines aka broadband. Big Tele is rabidly lobbying to “to operate their Internet services as fully “private” networks.”
I wonder if it can really get this bad? I don’t know. It’s a complex issue with many players and layers. I guess if there was ever a time when myriad disastrous elements would have to allign with precision to make it so, that would be now.
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