Big media has already got a lock on what we watch and what we read. A cursory look at a who’s who of big media reveals that the vast majority of Print, Radio, and TV (both Off-air and cable) are owned by very few, and incredibly large corporations.

For years the FCC has skillfully avoided being the watchdog for the man in the street, and has instead merely provided the ‘rubber stamp’ for whatever nonsense big media has whined about. Jeff Chester’s excellent book, details many of the crimes very well in Digital Destiny. The FCC has made so many pro big media and anti consumer decisions, most of which are laughable, one of my favorites was the curtailing of small rural area setting up a communal cable, radio and internet hub, I believe this was deemed ‘uncompetitive’. Of course the only people it was uncompetitive to was the likes of Time Warner.

Today’s debacle involves the 700 MHz bandwidth that TV stations are relinquishing due to the move to digital technology. Bandwidth is gold dust to big media, own that piece of the pipe, you control the content. And control is all.

The nickname for this part of the spectrum is being called the ‘Google Block’, not because Google wants to do nefarious things with it, on the contrary, they would like to see it as a publicly available resource that communities could use. This flies in the face of profitability for big media.

Testifying today before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet, Steve Zipperstein, vice president and general counsel of Verizon Wireless, urged Congress to refuse calls for open access regulation, and to ensure a fair an open auction of the 700 MHz spectrum.

 “The wireless industry has produced a steady stream of innovations — from devices, to applications, to features — that have given American consumers myriad choices about how they use their wireless service,” said Zipperstein. “Consumer choice would be the casualty of policies that mandate that all companies do the same thing the same way.”

Oh, you have to love the spin! I have no idea how these people can keep a straight face while talking. I can only imagine that as children they were abused. Open Access does give the consumer choice, selling it to the highest bidder just means that the consumer has even fewer choices than they already have.

Simon Barrett

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