FCC Commissioner Michael Copps accused the agency of " playing "Russian roulette with broadband and Internet and more traditional media" at a speech to the YearlyKos convention Thursday. He sees a connection between restrictive broadband policy and media consolidation, Ars Technica reports.
In both cases, "a small number of corporate gatekeepers" now control the public's access to information, an arrangement that threatens to "invert the democratic genius of the Internet." When the Internet first exploded onto the scene, people hailed it as a revolutionary communications tool that would allow for the creation of a truly democratic media in which anyone with a message could get the word out to others. Now, Copps notes that most connections to the Internet are controlled by massive corporations who seem eager to prevent any neutrality safeguards from being placed on the networks they manage.
Copps lambasted the notion that a "light regulatory touch" is synomymous with the free marketplace. Copps said he would welcome a true free marketplace where customers could choose from competitive vendors. That doesn't exist, of course; broadband access is controlled by a duopoly.
In his speech, Copps said that broadband in the US is "so poor that every citizen in the country ought to be outraged."
So what's the solution? Copps believes that the US needs to study what other countries are doing. We don't need to mimic their plans, but could learn some valuable lessons about how to create a the conditions under which competition and entrepreneurial activity can prosper.