Sunday, April 02, 2006

One Decaf Latte And A Political Life Please

What if you walked into your favorite cafe (I'm loving the new Caffe Bar Centrale on Howell Mill right now. Tres Italiano), ordered your double shot of espresso, sat down to power up the laptop with the free Wi-Fi you always take for granted, but alas, your precious free Wi-Fi was... poof... gone forever.

Alas again, that day is moreorless here, in the South at least. In case you've been living under a mighty big rock, the big telcos are fighting free broadband access tooth and nail. Winning too, thanks to their inherent corporate mission (they'd call it "ethics") of greed, ludicrously deep pockets and enough lobbying manpower to give Jack Abramoff an eternal hard-on.

Yep, it's a pay-to-play culture and nobody is throwing down harder than the major telcos. A pay-to-regulate culture is thriving (again) in the world of politics, kiddies, because that's where it all goes down. Not in the street, not in the cafe, not in the nightclub, the neighborhood bar, the workplace or the blogosphere. Nope, it all goes down in state capitol buildings every legislative session.

Consider this one chilling statement: (And if you're reading this over the Internet, which you are, it should register something in even the most apathetic pulse.)

"State laws ban municipalities from giving away broadband services."

Now who do you think got "The State" (that's us, folks) to ban "municipalities" (us again) from giving away broadband if they need to, or even just feel like doing so that day? Answer is: lobbyists and legislators working for BellSouth. And what do we the people, by allowing such legislation to originally be passed, get for our efforts in the hardest of times? A big fat NOTHING from BellSouth.

You think it doesn't matter? BellSouth laid the original lines, right? So why should they allow anyone to just give the Internet away? But what if a municipality (remember, "the people" again) wanted to lay some of their own lines? Ha! Dream on people, dream on. You are not in control. They are.

One place you can go for temporary shelter from this storm is to Earthlink instead of BellSouth. Earthlink, bless their little ATL-based hearts, has risen to the occasion and stepped in to help the City of New Orleans in their time of need. Go Earthlink go!

One other cool note about Earthlink, it was the second company to advertise on Rocketboom, demonstrating that those Earthlink hep cats are hip to the scene. But Lordy Mercy, that gal cain't dance worth a toot!

Enjoying Amanda Congdon's boobs is one thing. No doubt all you techno-minded types are just as capable of staying, uh, abreast of the broadband issues going down in your state -- and doing something about it with your head, your plastic, your blogs and... your votes.

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rusty said...

I used to work for a Bellsouth subcontractor providing their DSL tech support when I was in college. At the time, they tried to tell customers they couldn't even share their internet connection in their own house. If the customer told us they were piping the connection through a router, we either made them unhook it or refused to support them until they would. If customers wanted Internets on more than one computer, they had to get a phone line for each computer and a modem for each computer.

Fast forward a few years later, and Bellsouth's competitors don't engage in such nonsense, forcing Bellsouth to soften its stance and allow people to share their connection on a home network.

So, yeah, I don't trust Bellsouth, especially when it doesn't have competition, which will effectively happen because of SB120.

Grayson said...

Un-freakin'-believable! Then again, it's BellSouth. Why would we expect them to behave differently?

"At BellSouth, we don't care. We don't have to care. At BellSouth, we ARE the problem."

And where was Rep. Vincent Fort (D - Atlanta) and his amazing filibuster techique when we needed him in regards to SB120?

See Peach Pundit today for more on Rep. Fort: