Imagine if Borders and Barnes & Noble, claiming it was killing their book sales, asked lawmakers to ban cities from building libraries. The legislators would laugh them out of the State House. Yet the same thing is happening right now with respect to Wi-Fi and other municipal broadband plans, and it is being taken all too seriously. In fact, although it is almost universally acknowledged that broadband access is essential to economic growth and education, phone and cable companies are lobbying furiously to prohibit municipalities from providing free or discounted broadband to their residents.
The Daily Show on FCC Commissioner's Comcastic Retirement
The Daily Show joined many others in being outraged at FCC Commissioner Baker leaving the FCC to work for Comcast-NBC a few months after approving the deal. That subject is toward the end of this four minute clip:
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c|
|Well, That Was Fast - Comcast/NBC Merger|
I would be seriously surprised if investigations turned up any quid pro quo in this situation. The real problem is the revolving door in Washington, DC. I doubt that Commissioner Baker knew she would go to work for Comcast specifically after leaving the FCC, but you can be damn sure she knew she would eventually make a lot of money working for one of the large corporate interests on whose behalf she tended to advocate while on the FCC.
There are very real reasons why many people have lost faith in the idea government. The actions of people like Commissioner Baker are a significant part of it. Free Press is drawing attention to this matter and has warned against the revolving door for years.
Whether people will be sufficiently outraged to force a real change in DC remains to be seen but seems unlikely. This is yet another reason we seek and promote ways for communities to build their own networks -- communities that own the networks on which they depend are less reliant on policymakers in DC "getting it right." Local governments are far more accountable to constituents.
So while we try to fix DC, let's remember why more decisions should be made locally.