Sender: •••@••.••• (Glen Raphael)

>under the possibly mistaken impression that your government no longer
>prevents competition in the cable business.

Nope. The federal government still regulates prices and service levels in
various onerous ways and local governments generally license operators
under conditions which strongly discourage competition. It's a mess. Right
now if I buy a satellite dish for an apartment complex, contract with HBO
for a group license on a few premium channels, and resell access to those
channels to the tenants, I will be in violation of a law. Insanity it may
be, but there it is. *That* is the problem that needs fixing; all this
other stuff is just tweaking around the edges.

The irony is that it was the FCC's negative influence on the quality and
variety of *broadcast* television that drove everybody to go get cable. But
once cable became successful, the government started to mess with that as
well. "Price controls" that prop up prices by discouraging competition, and
content mandates ("must-carry" provisions) that force services to carry
local shopping networks and city council meetings instead of what the
customers are actually paying for. The next broadcast system that actually
provides decent value and service to the customer will probably be digital
satellite; I give that one at most 4 years before the government starts
trying to destroy it like it has all the others...

>>The cable industry has a strangle-hold on the distribution of
>>television, preventing thousands of new and small video producers and
>>animators from exhibiting their work.

"The fast-food industry has a strangle-hold on the distribution of
hamburgers, preventing thousands of new and small sandwich producers from
selling their product. The FBC (Federal Burger Commission) will therefore
require that McDonalds set aside and make available 10% of its counter
space at reasonable rates so that local community sandwich-makers have an
opportunity to sell their wares."

>I don't understand why Richard seems to be so vehemently opposed to
>anything that the people in charge of corporations like telcos and
>cable providers do, and so enamored of the strange notion that
>government regulation of same will set us free.

Richard still clings to the notion that if we just put the right people in
charge, people with the right *intentions*, somehow they would set
everything right. He is focused on people, not process. Unfortunately,
power corrupts. And government regulators invariably have more power to
destroy than to create, so that's what they tend to do. Even Mother Theresa
would probably manage to screw things up if she were put in charge of the
FCC. And she wouldn't even need to accept funding from the PFF to do it...

Glen Raphael


Sender: Charles Bell <•••@••.•••>

Martin Janzen mentioned something in passing which has aroused my
all-too-ignorant curiosity.

He said that aspiring video producers denied commercial outlet can exhibit
their wares on their Web pages.  Is this true?  Could someone put a
full-scale hourlong program on a home page?

If this is possible -- even theoretically possible, in the near to
mid-term future -- it opens rather awesome new vistas.

The economics may be cloudy (who provides the cash for a professional
production?  Where does the profit come from (advertising??)? -- but if
it is technically possible to do this, the `information superhighway' is
about to become something more akin to the `spaceways' of science fiction.

500 channels?  How about five million?

Charles Bell

 Posted by Andrew Oram  - •••@••.••• - Moderator: CYBER-RIGHTS (CPSR)
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