Once upon a time Lisa Simpson’s faith in democracy was restored after a corrupt tool got arrested for agreeing to drill for oil in Teddy Roosevelt’s head. I’m undergoing a similar moment as much to my shock I have discovered that Comcast is not in fact running the American government.
Here is what Comcast could have done to an already constricted American market in which consumers pay three times as much per the global standard for less capable service:
From The Economist; eh, whatever, it’s not like 90% is considered a monopoly, right?
Well, that’s not happening anymore. Wait, what? No seriously, they didn’t get away with it.
Comcast has its claws so far into government it’s scary. Tom Wheeler (FCC goon) used to run the cable industry’s lobby group. Obama and Brian Roberts (Comcast overlord) have traded money and golf rounds for years. Comcast spent more raw cash lobbying for this deal than Mister Burns spends to lobby against nuclear regulations.
And they lost. How? I think two reasons.
1) Government regulators and politicians really, really understood how dangerous this was (see above graph). Nobody is this gullible or stupid, even in government. Everybody knew what was happening despite what Comcast claimed. All they needed to buck the payoffs and lobbying was a little push to follow their gut and that little twist in their brains called honor.
2) That little push came from America. Millions of individual citizens jumped into public campaigns, online discussion, official comments to FCC, etc. Local governments voted to scrutinize the deal, state governments came out against it, other politicians made it known they weren’t in on the scam, etc.
Money couldn’t buy institutional theft from the American consumer. At least in this case.
In other words, democracy worked. Hat tip democracy.
But, it’s still not finished. Here is what we’re left with today:
From The Economist again; note price we pay and average download speed; #fail
The market’s still got problems, because it’s still rigged. We’ve still got work to do. But for now, I’ve got faith.
currently accurate cartoon representation