A Free Internet Splits Labor

With the announcement that the US has fallen to 14th in broadband penetration in the world, and that India is going to offer free broadband access to all residents by 2009, it's time to get our house in order.  The reason we don't have an effective path towards a universal open internet, and why net neutrality is not in Speaker Pelosi's Innovation Agenda, is at least part because of the strategic choices of the Communications Workers of America.  The more I delve into their politics, the less sense it makes, because CWA has a campaign that sounds like it's exactly what we want: SpeedMatters.org.  

This is ostensibly a campaign pushing for universal broadband and an open internet.  What's bizarre here is that CWA is pretty viciously opposed to net neutrality.  They argue that Google, Amazon, and all of us are getting a free ride on infrastructure paid for by Verizon, AT&T, and the like.  This is not true, and it's causing political problems.  If India is planning to provide universal broadband for free, and America is fourteenth in the world in broadband access, we have a serious problem with our telecommunications infrastructure that has nothing to do with Amazon.com. And on a local level, when the rubber hits the road, the union is inconsistent on the issue of access, great in some states and terrible in others.  Perhaps CWA's schizophrenia on openness comes from longstanding bitterness between them and the consumer movement.  I'm not sure, but that's what I was told.  I really hate these old fights that all of us had nothing to do with.

Anyway, this is coming up because last week, I blogged about CWA President Larry Cohen's strategic weakness in fighting against net neutrality. After a few prodding emails, he had Debbie Goldman of their Speed Matters campaign get back to me with an email I've published below.  She's very polite and civil in the letter, and it's hard to disagree with what she wrote.  The gist of it is that CWA believes strongly in an open internet and works against Verizon's viciously anti-labor and anti-consumer behavior; Verizon's Seidenberg is in fact the target for the AFL-CIO's shareholder activism campaign.  

And this is true in certain areas.  In New York State, Assemblyman Richard Brodsky is putting forward a very important bill, Assembly Bill 3980, that establishes net neutrality and goes far in establishing universal access.  The bill is supported by CWA, media reform groups, and is opposed by Time Warner, Cablevision, and Verizon.  Those are the right enemies to have, because those are the groups that want to redline, which means servicing only wealthy customers, and the groups that want to cut out PEG (educational) programming.  This is a great fight because it can bridge the divide between most of the progressive movement on one side and CWA on the other in terms of net neutrality.

Hopefully New York can be a bridge, where we work with CWA on universal build-out and they work with us on net neutrality.  Still, based on what I've seen and Goldman's letter, my read on CWA is that there's a bit of incoherence within the institution.  If you read Goldman's letter, you'll notice that she didn't mention net neutrality even though that was the focus of the post.  And while CWA is always pointing to their Speed Matters campaign, which ostensibly seeks to have states publish statistics on broadband penetration and an open internet that doesn't discriminate against content, it's not clear that the organization is fully aligned with the campaign.  For instance, in Maryland, CWA representatives lied to legislators to defeat a bill that would have required publication of broadband penetration and had as a non-binding legislative finding net neutrality.  The net neutrality language had no legal authority behind it, but that didn't stop CWA representatives from going after it anyway with the idea that it would put good paying jobs at risk.  This was not true.  And as Art Brodsky wrote, "CWA's witnesses somehow didn't get around to testifying that they endorsed the part of the bill calling for reporting of broadband deployment." 

The bill in Maryland was consistent with Speed Matters and did not in fact threaten investment or jobs in the area, yet CWA representatives sought to crush it with disinformation.  This points to something of a disconnect within the Communications Workers of America.  I have heard that there are locals that do not understand why the union is opposed to net neutrality.  In Goldman's letter below, she doesn't mention the issue, and hasn't dealt with this important statement from President Larry Cohen.

We need to provide incentives for build-out and not throw up legislative roadblocks. "Net neutrality" supporters want these companies to spend billions building the connection to households across the United States and then let other companies use the networks for free.

Pushing "net neutrality" are companies like Google, Amazon, E-Bay and others that aren't investing in infrastructure but are looking for ways to profit from the investments of others, by offering video streaming but supplying minimal if any investment.

What Cohen says here is simply not true.  These companies pay for access, millions or even hundreds of millions of dollars in fact.  But it's a lie spread by opponents of net neutrality, and frankly, I'm not sure why.  What I hear from CWA local President Laura Unger in the comments is a deep-seated bitterness at internet company executives getting some sort of free ride.  The problem is that the tens of millions of people who use the internet for our lives are in Google's boat.  We pay hosting.  We know that what Unger and Cohen isn't true.  I can show them my bill if they want to see it for hosting.

Anyway, this internal division within CWA is quite confusing.  CWA is making the case that their Speed Matters campaign is an organizational priority while avoiding the issue of net neutrality, and in some states, that seems to be the case. On the other hand, though they brag about going after Verizon, this is undercut in states like Maryland where their representatives are willing to misrepresent their positions and undercut their union's very own Speed Matters campaign for the benefit of Verizon's management.

I am going to send this to Larry Cohen and Debbie Goldman, because I think it's important that they understand that they are reducing their own credibility with their inconsistent approach to Speed Matters.  They are also creating friction with every single American that pays for hosting by lying about us, and there are millions of us organizing for shared progressive values.  There is no need for this distance or friction, that is a strategic choice by President Cohen.

The other problem here is that telecommunications industry management is becoming much more aligned with the right-wing that seeks to crush unions.  That's no longer just a Verizon problem, but increasingly, an AT&T problem as well.  AT&T CEO Ed Whiteacre is retiring, and while he is egregiously overpaid and gives a lot to Republicans, he was actually fairly good on labor issues and did contribute to a few pro-labor Democrats.  Furthermore, Cingular is the only unionized wireless company, and AT&T works with their union.  The new CEO of AT&T, Randall Stephenson, is a different kind of animal - he's given no money to Democrats, and a bunch to the most right-wing of the bunch, like Sam Brownback.  Here's how he sees the internet.

We're going to control the video on our network. The content guys will have to make a deal with us.

Oh really?  So the person who made the the Macaca video would have to go through a guy who gave to George Allen?  That's a serious problem for both free speech and union organizing, and Larry Cohen is too smart not to see that.  

Anyway, here's Debbie Goldman's letter.  Read it and make your own judgments.  I'm going to ask Goldman why CWA thinks that Google pays no hosting fees, and why I pay no hosting fees when in fact I do.

Thanks for your note. Larry Cohen asked that I reply. Apologies on the delayed response; Larry was out of the country.

CWA agrees that we must maintain an open Internet so that people can go where they want and upload what they want on the Internet with no blocking or degrading of content. Companies that build and maintain the network should not interfere in any way with free speech on the Internet. We make this very clear in our Speed Matters policy paper. http://www.speedmatters.org/

You mention Cuomo's filing at the NY Public Service Commission blasting Verizon's service quality. CWA has been in this fight in NY for over 10 years, including blistering testimony submitted in the same proceeding.  http://files.cwa-union.org/National/Comm unicationsPolicy/Comments/070418.pdf

Verizon's strategy abuses workers, consumers, and shareholders. That's why progressives have joined together to make Verizon the poster child of corporate greed and an example of what's wrong with labor laws in our country. That's why the AFL-CIO has made Verizon the main target for shareholder activism this year. And that's why labor and community groups have joined together to urge customers to switch from anti-union Verizon Wireless to union AT&T Wireless. Learn more at http://www.freechoiceatverizon.com/.
We've also led the charge in Virginia against Verizon's radical deregulation proposal. http://files.cwa-union.org/National/Comm unicationsPolicy/Comments/070418.pdf

If you know Larry's history, he's been building labor/community progressive coalitions his entire life, from Citizen Action in New Jersey to Jobs with Justice. You can be sure he'll continue to do so.

In Solidarity,
Debbie  Goldman
CWA Speed Matters Campaign Coordinator

Tags: Democrats, net neutrality (all tags)

Comments

19 Comments

Re: A Free Internet Splits Labor

Nice post, Matt.  Good work.

by DrFrankLives 2007-04-28 09:21AM | 0 recs
dialup to FTTH

I spent some time in Africa recently, and had to go back to 19200 baud dialup, where phone lines were metered by the hour (about $3/hr).  After getting used to 3M/3M service at home, it was just painful.

As you know, though, in many rural areas of the US, dialup is still the rule.  You don't have to go to Africa to find poor Internet access, or poverty, for that matter - visit an indian reservation to see Africa-like poverty in the US.

On the other side, FTTP (fiber to the premisis) is being rolled out as FIOS by Verizon, to the tune of $18B over about 5 years (2005-2010)... high class service for the wealthy, surprise surprise.  

by aip 2007-04-28 10:26AM | 0 recs
Re: A Free Internet Splits Labor

Matt,
It's important to get out the word about how you pay for hosting. Even important economists at places like Brookings have put out confused messages on this point. If we can destroy the free rider argument we will be halfway home.

Reframing the debate: the telecom companies want people to pay twice for broadband.

by sunlight7 2007-04-28 10:28AM | 0 recs
Re: A Free Internet Splits Labor

To be honest, I have no idea how much or to whom a company like Google pays for net access, and for 'infrastructure'. I guess the 'to whom' is at least as important as the 'how much,' too.

I think your reframing is probably v. smart ... but you're also right that it's important to get out work about the very basic basics, too. Hell, I don't even know who develops and maintains the infrastructure--at least after the gov't with ARPANET or ARAPNET or whatever that was called.

by BingoL 2007-04-28 10:48AM | 0 recs
And a Question

From the SpeedMatters link, CWA says:

...users need to be ensured of an open internet once online - where equal consideration is given to websites with high bandwidth or low bandwidth.  Preserving an open internet means that nothing should be done to degrade or block access to any website.

From the CWA link Matt provided:

CWA has outlined four principles to ensure an open Internet which includes allowing providers to reserve a portion of bandwidth for their video service so that telecom companies can pay for the huge investments they are making.

So, nothing should be done to degrade or block access ... but a portion of the bandwidth is set aside for those who can pay special fees? Is that the heart of the disagreement, or am I off on my own tangent, here?

by BingoL 2007-04-28 10:59AM | 0 recs
Re: Hosting Costs, Internet Culture, and Confusion

Wow, this post has me just livid with frustration.

My hosting costs -- so far in 2007 (and it's only April) -- are at this point running around $1,200 (so anticipcate around $4,000 for 2007).  Monthly power bill runs around $110 (and that does not include the surge supressors and other add-ons that I use to try and protect my machines from power spikes.)

Monthly DSL and phone line are running $100.  Monthly cell running around $50.

Google isn't getting a single dime of that money. Neither is Amazon.  Neither is Yahoo.  Neither is Microsoft, Adobe, or any other software company.

So monthly, I pay in the realm of $360 dollars NOT A DIME OF WHICH goes to Google or Amazon. Explain again how that makes me a 'freeloader'?!

So first, the people making these decisions need to LOOK at thos e numbers.  Because they are certainly very 'real' to me!

------------

Next topic, there is in my view a cultural break between softies and CWA types (who I assume are people who climb poles in the rain, work with the wires, and 'lay the pipe').

Softies in my experience tend to think of themselves as 'white collar professionals' who fall into the labor category with doctors, lawyers, dentists... people who don't think of themselves as part of a union.  People who consider themselves small biz, who look  at  their costs and who have to WORK to get paid. We don't just automatically get medical, dental, or nice monthly paychecks.  So there's not a whole lot of sympathy for people who expect to get 'taken care of' with a monthly paycheck.

Whether that is right or wrong is beside the point.
The point is that you have two mindsets at work.

The CWA needs to get its head around the entreprenurial mindset of some of the software industry types who make the apps that attract people, make lives better, and expand economic opportunity.

Speaking for myself, I see the unions as wanting something for nothing.

Pardon me, but I bust my ass dreaming up new stuff, learning new code languages, learning new software programs -- ALL while paying a minimum of $350 /month overhead to people who know quite well that their medical will be covered through retirement.  And they think of someone like myself as some kind of 'freeloader'?!!!

How in hell am I a 'freeloader' when I'm paying hundreds of dollars every single month, when I'm busting my ass to figure out what clients need, figure out how to create or invent that, and then waiting for them to pay in full??!

How on earth does that make me any kind of 'freeloader' who just wants to 'ride the Net for  free'?!!

Here's what I would love to say to those CWA types:  
Learn JavaScript.  Then learn at least one other programming language.   And while you're at it, go ahead and make sure that you fully grasp the implications of TCP/IP, HTTP, FTP, and every other necessary protocol. On top of all that, please find time to figure out new software upgrades -- and pay for them!  And also be sure that you pay those power and phone bills promptly while you're learning, finding business, writing contracts, and -- if something goes awry! -- coming in over budget.

Please let me know, dear CWA managers, the last time that YOUR paycheck was tight because some moron wrote incorrect documentation and YOU had to cover the cost.  And then tell me all about what a bloody 'freeloader' I am.

This certainly hits my 'hot button'.
Just because some of us ARE entreprenurial, ARE trying to solve problems, ARE trying to find solutions, and ARE willing to risk our financial security to develop ideas that help people does NOT make us 'freeloaders'.  

It makes us gutsy.  
It also makes us very, very averse to anyone who is not honest -- because we know who's going to pay for problems. We will.  

WE ADD VALUE TO YOUR NETWORK!!  Take away our software layer and see what it's actually worth.  Not much.

The CWA can lay cable, wire, lines, and whatever they bloody well want from here to Pluto.  But if there's nothing on there worth watching, reading, hearing, or responding to, then who gives a damn?!

Writing software, or web apps, is extremely risky financially.  It is a huge INVESTMENT of intellectual capital, time, engineering, and marketing.  Just because someone writes software doesn't mean they will ever turn a  profit.

I have spent untold hours contributing my time to forums and user groups. HOURS for which I was not paid, nor did I bill. I do it because I believe in it.

The CWA needs to get its head around the "Open Source" movement, which is collaborative, and it is inherently a meritocracy.  You have a good idea? You can solve a problem? Go for it.  

You don't have to wait for 4 layers of managers to hold meetings on whether or not you can try your solution.  You try it.  You suggest it.  If it works, cool.  If not, try something else.  But you don't get paid for any of it -- not in money, at least.  You might get paid in new contacts, new friendships, some really bad jokes, or a better functioning system.  Please explain to me, all you CWA people who think I'm such a bloody freeloader, the last time that YOU put  out time to solve problems without expecting to be paid for it.

The Open Source movement builds 'social capital', but I don't know anyone who's getting rich from it.  Are we the people who the CWA and the CEOs of the telecoms view as 'freeloaders"!!?

Man, these people need a huge wakeup call.

They take absolutely no financial risks.  They know where a new building, or a new housing development is going in and they lay pipes to it.  Nothing in that financial model is risky.  

Especially when I'm paying a minimum of $360 PER MONTH to people who think it's okay to call me a 'freeloader'?!!

Next time a telecom CEO, or a CWA exec uses Mapquest or Google Maps, I'd sure like to know why they're doing that.   If they are using it -- for FREE! -- then they must see value in Google mapping?  Yet they don't pay to use a Google Map.  So aren't they 'freeloading' off my hard work?!

This yammering on -- in complete ignorance -- about 'freeloading' is a CLASSIC CASE of the pot calling the kettle black.  

I pay for software. I pay for software manuals. I donate time to better software development.  I listen to people who have problems, and at sometimes considerable financial risk I attempt to develop and deliver reasonable solutions.  Those solutions in turn make more money circulate.  Not all that much of it comes into my bank account, but if there's more activity in the system then I figure it's all good.

I do NOT freeload.
I work my ass off, and I pay what I view as ridiculous sums of money each and every month to people who then call ME a 'freeloader' at the very time they are using things that I have helped work on or develop?!!

These people  need to get a clue about what motivates some of us working on the software layer, about what we do contribute, and about how we add value to the networks they lay.

I'm incensed.

by readerOfTeaLeaves 2007-04-28 12:20PM | 0 recs
Re: Hosting Costs, Internet Culture, and Confusion

I agree with your differentiation of two types of workers today. I'm reminded of all those people who have regular salaries, medical, vision, and dental insurance, paid vacations and holidays, 401K matches, early retirement, and no doubt benefits I've never heard of, and they pontificate on free markets as the way to solve health care access. They have no clue.

by joyful alternative 2007-04-28 02:55PM | 0 recs
Re: Hosting Costs, Internet Culture, and Confusion

The "freeload" accusation is a tactical move to get out of a defensive posture into an offensive posture. If anyone is a freeloader, it is the telecoms who feed at the public trough by too cheaply licensing the publicly-owned bandwidth that is the core component of their services.

What they appear to have forgotten is that we consumers own the bandwidth they have been licensed to use and we can and will take back these licenses if they abuse them.

It would be an insult to our intelligence to suggest that we American consumers are "freeloading" by using bandwidth that we American citizens own in perpetuity while their licenses are of limited duration.

What we need to do is to hold our elected representatives' and candidates' feet to the fire and make sure that they understand that they will not be able to win elections if they do not take action to assure us universal access to affordable telecommunications services that efficiently and effectively use the bandwidth that we, their constituents, own.

When I say affordable I mean that the prices we pay must be fairly close to the cost of producing and distributing the services plus a reasonable profit margin.

If the prices that we are charged are unreasonable with respect to the cost of producing and distributing the services, then we should establish public agencies to provide them. We must closely monitor the finances of the telecoms. If we find that they are using their licenses to use publicly-owned bandwidth to reap excess profits, then we should rescind these licenses and either give them to other providers who provide the same services at a lower price or create public agencies to provide them.

I am all for the free enterprise system provided it operates on a level playing field. But I am not in favor of for-profit U.S. corporations using public assets to inflate their profit margins while fleecing their consumers. They are sadly mistaken if they do not understand that in the long run, once we rid ourselves of single-party Republican rule, the American people will call the shots.

by Nancy Bordier 2007-04-28 05:40PM | 0 recs
Re: A Free Internet Splits Labor

   Thanks for remaining so dogged and hard-hitting on this issue, Matt.
by sb 2007-04-28 10:41AM | 0 recs
Re: A Free Internet Splits Labor

Excellent post, Matt. It reminds of a previous post you wrote about the telephone network "digital plantation." In this situation, however, the telco industry giants want to turn the public internet into a private internet plantation, where they can erect discriminatory barriers to access, and control the levels of service and content.

Perhaps CWA President Larry Cohen should stop worrying about who shares the network and consider how Japanese government policy and competition "in the ISP space" ensures that companies "maintain a level playing field," while providing higher broadband performance at a lower cost than in the US. ("Japanese customers pay about US $0.70 per megabit of bandwidth, compared to $4.90 per megabit on average in the US.")

The Internet infrastructure, like terrestrial airwaves for radio and television broadcast, are not corporate assets; they belong to the public commons.

The Internet works for everyone when it remains content, class, and client neutral.

by fafnir 2007-04-28 11:00AM | 0 recs
Re: A Free Internet Splits Labor

CWA is one of the sponsors of YearlyKos this August. There is an opportunity to have some upfront dialogue in the forums AND some of the old-fashioned backroom dealings make the CWA see the light. The US, for lack of a better word, is getting stupid when it comes to technology. The cheap bandwith that most of the world  enjoys isn't for videos of piano-playing cats - it's for education, medicine, citizenship. These civic benefits SHOULD trump the propaganda spewed by big telecoms with CWA and with the Democratic leadership but so far it ain't working. We're in danger of having a telecom policy that's every bit as functional and efficient as our healthcare policy and that's not a good thing.

by joejoejoe 2007-04-28 11:34AM | 0 recs
Re: A Free Internet Splits Labor

"... With the announcement that the US has fallen to 14th in broadband penetration in the world..."

I think that's not quite correct.

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) currently ranks the USA in 15th place for broadband penetration just among the OECD member countries. But if we're talking about the world as a whole, we are apparently in 25th place wordwide. That's down from 23rd place last year.

http://www.websiteoptimization.com/bw/07 04/

by CalD 2007-04-28 12:23PM | 0 recs
Re: A Free Internet: Another Rip-Off in the Works?

When the telecoms start talking like they own the Internet, it is wise to keep in mind the following:

1. They did not invent the Internet. In fact, it took them years to understand that the Internet was going to wreck their landline telephony businesses.

2. The only reason they are in the game at all is because of the regulated monopoly position they enjoyed before divestiture. They installed the telephone lines that run into our homes and connect us to the switched networks that route our calls to their destination. In many areas, these lines are being used for "dial up" access and DSL access to the Internet. Many of the largest of these telecoms have now gone into the business of connecting their customers to the Internet through networks that bypass their telephone networks.

3. Now they are claiming that they can use these connections to put toll booths on our access to the Internet to add extra charges to the fees we already pay to our Internet Services Providers (who do the heavy lifting when it comes to routing our packets of information over the Internet) using bogus rationales to slap differential rates on different types of transmissions. Yet all they control here is the immediate connection to our homes, just an itty bitty piece of the chain of relays that comprise the Internet. They want to put toll booths everywhere there is an uplink or downlink to an actual person or corporation sending or receiving packets of information. This is, literally, highway robbery, especially since it was the U.S. government using taxpayers money that originally created the Internet.

4. These voracious telecoms are now claiming that they need to charge us more money so they can they "build out" the Internet so that it can accommodate future growth in the bandwidth we consumers need. They want to control the onramps, the provision of Internet services when they function as ISPs, and - get this - control the content once they get their hands on everything else.

5. The fact is that we do not need or want them to build out anything, and they certainly do not need more revenues to do anything. This is where we have to be particularly pro-active.

6. What we lack in this country is a telecommunications backbone that assures everyone Internet access, telephone access and wireless access regardless of income or place of residence (such as in underserved rural areas or redlined urban areas).

7. The reason the U.S. is behind the other industrialized countries in bandwidth penetration is because we do not have such a backbone and because the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is on the side of the telecoms, not the consumers. Governments in other countries either provide and own this backbone themselves or regulate private sector providers who furnish them.

8. The reason the FCC doesn't protect us consumers but is beholden to the industry it is supposed to regulate is that the big corporate players in the telecommunications industry are huge campaign contributors to candidates on both sides of the aisle and run gigantic lobbying operations in Washington, D.C. and state capitals. In a highly politicized process, the members of the FCC are nominated by the president and approved by the Senate.

9. This is why the corporate telecom giants have gotten too big for their britches and think they can bamboozle us and our elected representatives into falling for their lies and distortions about the dominant role they think they ought to play in the Internet.

10. We consumers need to force them to butt out of the monopoly game they are trying to conjure up for themselves. What we need are EITHER alternative providers of the connections we use to get from our homes to the Internet OR government regulation of monopoly access providers. The telecoms should not be allowed to own the connections to our homes and require us to use the services of the telecoms that have traditionally been providing us telephone service or who have now gotten their heads under the tent of Internet Services Providers and are trying to turn their Internet roles into the monopoly they once enjoyed over the telephone business.

11. What we need to do is elect representatives at state and federal levels who will re-regulate the telecom industry to make sure we have a state-of-the-art telecommunications backbone in this country that makes the U.S. competitive internationally. They must take action to enable us to recoup the ground we have lost over the past decade and a half due to excessive deregulation of the industry. We need universal high-speed access to the Internet and mobile telecom services at affordable prices, just like health care.

12. The matter of prices is key here. The electromagnetic spectrum (bandwidth) belongs to the public. It is a national asset that should be regulated in the public interest. Private corporations should not be permitted to monopolize the provision of the bandwidth owned by the American people and charge them exorbitant prices to use what they already own.

13. Good solid research into the business operations and legal position of these telecom giants will show that the last thing they should be allowed to do is to get a stranglehold over the Internet by being the sole proprietor of our access lines. They must not be permitted to charge us differentiated fees for accessing the Internet on the phony rationale they only they can build it out.

Let's not get ripped off again and end up paying the same exorbitant prices for our Internet access that we used to pay for our telephone services in the bad old days before divestitute! That would be deja vu all over again.

by Nancy Bordier 2007-04-28 12:45PM | 0 recs
Re: A Free Internet: Another Rip-Off in the Works?

This is brilliant on every, single point.   I hope that Matt asks for this to become a front page post all on its own.

It's educational, it's accurate with my own understanding on every, single point (and I've put hours into researching this issue!).

Thank you so much.  

by readerOfTeaLeaves 2007-04-28 12:49PM | 0 recs
Re: A Free Internet: Another Rip-Off in the Works?

I would bump this if it went into a diary.

by Matt Stoller 2007-04-28 12:55PM | 0 recs
Re: A Free Internet: Another Rip-Off in the Works?

I hope that she will consider it.  I have never encountered her or her organization before, but this is exactly what people need to understand about the issues involved.

Matt, thanks for another great post on a very important topic.

by readerOfTeaLeaves 2007-04-28 01:04PM | 0 recs
Re: A Free Internet Splits Labor

AT&T wants to own the video, huh? How is this entire topic not as preposterous as ConEd wanting a cut of Prada's revenues because the fancy lighting shows off the product well? If I plug in to any utility, whether to make a thing or finish it in some way am I free-riding? What we have here is a complete loss of relevance or worthy corporate differentiation, and their (lazy, as per usual) answer is to reintroduce monopoly again.

by fouro 2007-04-30 12:44PM | 0 recs
Re: A Free Internet Splits Labor

India is going to offer free broadband access to all residents by 2009.

I would take these sort of projections with a ton of salt. A large percentage of Indians live in make-shift homes, slums, etc where the meaning of "resident" is nebulous. Unless India is planning to send food through these broadband "pipes", this is mere grandstanding.

Also, a minor point: Internet is spelled with a capital I, as in the Internet. As in the title of this post.

by ravi 2007-04-30 01:46PM | 0 recs
Re: A Free Internet Splits Labor

Matt,

We can't be #1 in everything, therefore, we invest in the rest and retain our capital. I think its safe to say we can invest safely in India's growing market, especially the internet. I found this article that really opened my eyes to this potential.

Investing In India: A Special Report

Enjoy...Cheers!

by dan cap 2007-06-12 08:05AM | 0 recs

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