Sunday, February 17, 2013

Susan Crawford Says Revamp the Telecom Industry

"The rich are getting gouged, the poor are very often left out, and this means that we're creating, yet again, two Americas, and deepening inequality through this communications inequality." ~ Susan Crawford

Bill Moyers recently conducted an interview with law professor, author, and former Obama administration technology advisor Susan Crawford on the telecom industry in the United States, and I didn't like what she had to say. I won't summarize the interview in detail, but the gist of her message was that even though this nation pioneered much of the telecom industry, it lags behind many other countries in bang-for-the buck public internet and wireless access because certain companies such as Comcast, Time Warner, AT&T, and Verizon have been allowed to monopolize their domains and prevent competition that would spur development and lower prices that could benefit the nation as a whole and allow poorer people access to telecommunications resources vital for getting ahead in today's world.

Crawford recommends that the telecom industry be treated not like the provider of a luxury product or service but as a public utility and regulated by federal and local government so that it provides virtually everyone with excellent and affordable internet and wireless access. And she believes that because  telecommunications giants command enough wealth and power to influence government policy to preserve the status quo, the American people need to demand changes from their elected representatives or else this nation will fall further behind the rest of the world and the poor and shrinking middle class will become even more disadvantaged than they are now.

I think Susan Crawford has a compelling message, and she'd get my vote, if I had one, to be the next FCC chairperson. We need more like her and Elizabeth Warren looking out for the American people from powerful government positions.

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