Home > Politics, Technology, Trends > AT&T Acquisition Precedes Duopoly and Threatens Net Neutrality

AT&T Acquisition Precedes Duopoly and Threatens Net Neutrality

March 22, 2011

I have worked in the telecommunications business owning my own company for eleven years (Masterline Technologies). I have worked with all the carriers in the United States at one time or another. I was one of the first companies to sell Blackberry as a RIM reseller. When RIM decided to go with the carriers to sell their products — primarily with Cingular, now AT&T wireless — I was pushed out of the Blackberry market as the RIM reseller program was shutdown. I lost many thousands of dollars in potential sales to a giant corporation and not allowed to compete in that sector any longer.

I predicted years ago that we would see two platforms in the wireless space: CDMA and GPRS. CDMA will be Verizon and Sprint with a likely merger of the two; and AT&T and T-Mobile, pending merger now.

Net Neutrality Issues
I wrote about net neutrality issues back in December 2010 before the FCC voted on new rules regarding the Internet and access. The emerging duopoly is of great concern, BUT the larger concern is this: AT&T and Verizon (the latter who who spied on Americans for the Bush admin), are anti-Net Neutrality­. They want to control access of the Internet and be the gatekeeper­s. This fight is ongoing with the FCC.

A 2009 CNET article, Verizon, AT&T: Net neutrality not OK for wireless, shows exactly where these two companies stand:

The wireless industry is gearing up to fight new Net neutrality rules that the Federal Communications Commission is formulating to keep the Internet open. Broadband providers such as AT&T, Comcast, and Verizon Communications have opposed regulation or new laws that would dictate how they could run their networks. Up until this point, the Internet has been free of any regulation. And these companies would like to keep it that way.

Verizon and AT&T, which operate the nation’s largest and second-largest cell phone networks, respectively, say the rules should not apply to wireless Internet access.

Fast Forward December 21, 2011

On Dec. 21, 2010, the F.C.C. approved a compromise that would broadly create two classes of Internet access, one for fixed-line providers and the other for the wireless Net. The vote was 3 to 2, with the Democratic commissioners supporting it and the Republican commissioners against.

The rules, which address some of the principles of so-called network neutrality, will be tested in the courts in the months ahead, and Republicans said that they would challenge the rules in Congress as well.

The new rules are, at best, net semi-neutrality. They ban any outright blocking and any “unreasonable discrimination” of Web sites or applications by fixed-line broadband providers, but they afford more wiggle room to wireless providers like AT&T and Verizon. They require all providers to disclose what steps they take to manage their networks. In a philosophical break with open Internet advocates, the rules do not explicitly forbid “paid prioritization,” which would allow a company to pay for faster transmission of data.

Read entire article, click here

Related: A true duopoly is a specific type of oligopoly where only two producers exist in one market. In reality, this definition is generally used where only two firms have dominant control over a market. In the field of industrial organization, it is the most commonly studied form of oligopoly due to its simplicity. Source: Wikipedia

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