City Council Opposes Media Consolidation

Today, Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown introduced a resolution that asks the FCC to stand by its rules on cross-ownership, and to continue to limit the media outlets in any given market that one company can own. Here’s the story. Way to stand up Philly!!

Last night, Bill Moyers presented a report on PBS, “The Net at Risk”, concerning network neutrality and the possible fate of the internet if the big telecom companies and their allies have their way. Their view of the internet is as a poaching ground for future company profits, when in fact the internet provides a public space and should be protected as such, just as roads or telephone connections are.

In fact, the rules of network neutrality were in existence since the beginning of the internet. They account for the phenomenal innovation that has created the internet as we now know it, and were only jeapardized last August, when the FCC weakened them. Moyers points out that when President Clinton signed the Telecommunications Act of 1996, the idea was that the telecoms were going to deliver a state of the art fiber optics networks to replace their existing copper network. Well, they never did; they pocketed the money instead.

Now they’re back saying we need money to build out this new fiber optics system. Because of stiff opposition mounted against them at the federal level, they’ve now taken a state by state approach to the issue. Pennsylvania is dealing with this currently in the cable franchise legislation, that was recently shelved until Verizon could scare up more support (read my interview with PennPIRG about the issue). Meanwhile, cities across the country have been building their own systems, despite litigation against them filed by the telcom industry (check out Lafayette’s struggle). The way these cities see it, they have every right to prepare themselves so that they will be better able to take advantage of emerging technologies. They shouldn’t have to rely on the timetable and agenda of the telecom industry.

2006-10-19 15:04:02

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