Giant Beasts Gently Swatting

gz.jpg Susan Crawford pithily describes the current Internet access market:
The duopoly is something like Shamu and Godzilla on hire for televised wrestling – giant beasts gently swatting at one another for the cameras. They aren’t competing, these giants. There is a clear failure in the market for highspeed internet access in this country.

Moving Slowly in the Fast Lane by Susan Crawford, Susan Crawford blog, Tue 19 Jun 2007 10:29 PM EDT

What is to be done?

She gets to that, too:

The FCC should instead be asking why we haven’t mandated competition for highspeed access by requiring that all providers sell unfettered transport services at wholesale rates into a competitive market for retail transport. Even better, Congress should take the reins and demand that the duopolies divest themselves of their transport services so that they aren’t tempted to try to monetize internet access in favor of their own movies and phone services.
And beyond that she calls for
a national economic policy that is tied to internet access
Many other countries have taken a hard look at their communications policy and have understood that communications and economic growth are tightly intertwined. Economic growth is driven by new ideas creating ever-newer goods and services and new ways of making a living. We have never had an interactive communications platform like the internet before – it’s capable of producing enormously diverse ideas (in the form of new niches, new roles, and new understandings of information) and allowing them to be disseminated on a large scale. Universal highspeed access to the internet could trigger crucial economic growth that would benefit U.S. society as a whole.

And this access has to be fast. We are beginning to see the video future of the internet, and that future requires that information flow far more quickly over the now-monopoly-controlled local bottlenecks in this country than it does now.

It becomes obvious why many people have suggested Susan as a future chair of the FCC. Vision and a grasp of the details; we could use that. Of course for that to happen, we need what she’s explicitly calling for at the end of her post: a presidential candidate who gets it that the Internet is central to ongoing innovation and economic development.

Sure wouldn’t hurt to have some more competitors, too.