Big news the other day, AT&T is about to acquire T-Mobile. Internet rage ensues. It was only a matter of time before someone started a petition, one of which made it to the front page on reddit.com:
Short history debrief: First AT&T was Ma Bell, then the Federal government broke that up into several companies which created fierce competition in the market. Many of those companies grouped together again under the same umbrella, in one legal way or another. Several years later and the Ma Bell antics are in full swing once again; in 2005 it was announced that Cingular Wireless, a joint venture between AT&T and BellSouth, would be sold under the AT&T name. And now AT&T is after T-Mobile.
If history taught us anything, wasn’t it that we can’t allow corporations to monopolize an entire industry?
“The local phone companies have all merged now to the point where there are only three left and they operate in areas where they are huge regional fiefdoms,” says Ben Scott, the policy director for Free Press. “We broke up a monopoly and it’s basically reconstructed itself without the regulations that used to apply.”
Source: Brad Reed, NetworkWorld
This news comes just days after it was announced that AT&T would be placing bandwidth caps on consumer broadband subscribers! Starting to see an evil pattern here?
What about the recent news that AT&T customers’ Facebook data got temporarily routed through networks in China and South Korea? Yeah, that means during this period of time when AT&T wasn’t routing network traffic properly, everything you did on Facebook went through the networks of some of the most malicious people on the planet.
This brings up a lot of questions:
- Should Facebook and or AT&T have notified their customers that their personal information was flowing over a network that they may not trust?
- Should Facebook enable SSL on all accounts by default?
- Was this actually a privacy breach or just the way the Internet functions?
- Does Facebook have an ethical responsibility to buy additional IP connectivity to major broadband and mobile networks to prevent routing mishaps?
- Is it time to focus on new options within BGP to prevent high profile sites from routing to non-authenticated networks?
Source: Barret Lyon, blyon.com
So can we stop AT&T from acquiring T-Mobile? Probably not, but signing the petition couldn’t hurt anyone, if anything it brings awareness to a younger generation who some day might have the chance to impose some real change.
Follow Up and Relevant News pertaining to this article
U.S. Government Files to Block Proposed AT&T/T-Mobile Merger – Engadget.com (August 31, 2011)
“It’s Time to Break Up AT&T, Verizon, Comcast, Time Warner, and the rest of the Telecoms” – Alternet (April 26, 2011)
Want to know what other people think? Check out the heated discussion on reddit.
- America is now 15th in the world in broadband. While Hong Kong and other countries are rolling out 1 gigabit speed services, America’s average is a mere 5 mbps (i.e., 1,000 mbps = 1 gigabit).
- Americans paid over $340 billion for broadband upgrades that never happened; by 2010, America should have been completely upgraded with fiber optic services to every home.
- The FCC approved Comcast’s acquisition of NBC-Universal, foreshadowing a likely wave of integration of transport or carriage and content.
- Together, AT&T and Verizon control 80 percent of all wireless services and AT&T is now attempting to close down one of the only remaining competitors, T-Mobile.