Ma Bells Chess Game
Phone Companies Make Moves to Squash Competition
Nicholas McGill 1.24.2006
Over the past year, the large conglomerate phone companies have been coming up with more and more anti competitive strategies to regain profits lost to the information age and Internet Communications. As you may or not know, the phone companies are upgrading all wires from copper to fiber optic. Companies are dropping billions in upgrading their lines.
Why? To extend premium communication services to all of its customers? No! They are attempting to make a move for the VOIP market- to which they are losing an ever increasing amount of money for those smart enough to use its technology. With the new lines in place Ma Bell will be able to filter out VOIP and charge you on your phone bill to enable the service and the subsequent maintenance fees, activation fees, GOVT fees ETC.. CEO's of these companies have very boldly stated that they have to make a profit on consumers using their lines for these services. This cut throat scheme of digitizing all the lines to control what goes through the voice and data channels is aimed at stomping out the competition. Namely, they are aiming to stomp out Vonage, Skype and other VOIP services.
Although this is going to be very clearly an anti-competitive move and thus illegal , the phone companies are going to gamble that the 2-3 years it will probably take in legal pursuits to stop the phone companies from doing this-that the VOIP companies will go out of business-except for the services the phone companies will market (IE SBC VOIP LOOK FOR IT SOON). In other words they will block out the new communication technologies like VOIP until consumers get together and get a class action lawsuit against the companies and good luck going against a billion dollar industry backed by an even more corrupt government. I believe that they won't stop at VOIP and will reach into consumer's pockets further with the digital lines.
Once the lines are all digital they can better manage and record consumer activity and subsequently charge you for being an excessive media user, or rapid downloading fees etc. Policies are already in place with most of the large carriers. Not to mention that the phone companies are lobbying to tier the Internet and deny users fast access to servers and thus stifle traffic but that is another article for another blog!
The savior of this plot they did not account for is the rise of wide range free wireless networks. These next-gen wireless networks will go coast to coast and will circumvent the lines all together. If the phone companies block direct access to super nodes-in other words at the source or main servers of the Internet regardless of whose lines you are using they will be immediately counter sued by hundreds of businesses across the nation. Customers won't stand for it, and appeal to hackers cracking web status, and restraints placed on consumers on the web will begin a renaissance and re-education of the masses to continually adapt and adjust to greedy corporate market moves.