In 1993, hip-hop group the Wu-Tang Clan released the song C.R.E.A.M., an acronym for Cash Rules Everything Around Me. How does the Wu-Tang Clan and their song about greed relate to the Internet? Clearly, you’ve never met the major telecom companies.
As we’ve talked about before, the FCC and Comcast are in a heated battle over a merger between Comcast and Time Warner that could affect net neutrality—essentially bringing about fast lanes that Comcast could charge more for to get better, faster service and connections.
Throughout this entire ordeal, the FCC—the agency that could easily put a kibosh on this—has listened to the opinions of people, then done the exact opposite. Why? “Cash Rules Everything Around Me”. The FCC doesn’t want to see any less than the millions they currently receive from telecoms like Comcast and Time Warner, so they’re trying to not hurt Comcast’s obviously sensitive feelings. The recent developments in the Battle for Net Neutrality has boiled down to FCC asking Comcast nicely not to ruin net neutrality if they approve their merger with Time Warner. Yep, we’ve resorted to asking nicely instead of just saying no.
I’ve set up the following hypothetical scenario to illustrate my point:
A Man walks into a gun store.
Clerk: “How can I help you?”
Man: “I need a gun.”
Clerk: “Ok, can I ask what for?”
Man: “To shoot people.”
Clerk: “I don’t know if I can do that.”
Man: “I’ll pay $1 billion for a pistol.”
Clerk: “Ok, if I give you this gun, do you promise not to shoot anyone?”
Man: “I can’t guarantee anything.”
Yeah, it is. Telecom companies want to be the gatekeepers to innovation and growth. Look no further than their desire to stifle laws that would allow cities to build out their own gigabit connections; connections that would bring valuable businesses into cities, as well as improve their economic, health, and education programs.
A group of mayors from 32 cities around the US got together in nearby Santa Monica, CA, and decided, “Hey, we should be able to control our own Internet, especially if we have the opportunity to do so.” And they created a group known as the Next Century Cities that aims to remove the blockades that would allow them to expand their broadband connections.
The only problem? “Cash Rules Everything Around Me”. The telecom companies don’t want this to happen unless THEY are the ones expanding the connections and making the profits. God forbid someone else take a little piece of your obviously giant pie. The telecoms are spending exorbitant amounts of money to stop these cities from building their own connections all because of greed. And they’ve succeeded in some areas too, limiting some cities’ broadband connections to under 5 megabits per second.
The Next Century Cities coalition simply wants options—options to build out their connections and help their cities.
Unfortunately for them, the telecoms like Comcast are huge fans of the Wu-Tang Clan.
For more information contact Chris L.