underreported stories for 2002-03. Slamming Shut Open Access, a Sept. 2002 report by Arthur Stamoulis in Dollars & Sense, claims that cable and phone companies are working to keep competitors out of the high-speed Internet business. This is a dramatic change from the dial-up Internet, where open access to the phone lines enables anyone to start an ISP, and it would give the broadband companies the ability to block or inhibit a wide range of Internet content:
The monopoly power being handed over to the cable and phone companies will also encourage them to sell different levels of Internet access, much like they do with cable television. For one price, you could access only certain pre-approved sites; for a higher price, you could access a wider selection of sites; and only for the highest price could you access the entire World Wide Web. This is already the way that many wireless Internet packages operate.
I've often thought that the free-wheeling nature of the Web, which enabled a nebbishy CBS gift shop employee to compete for clicks on equal footing with the New York Times, was a party that would eventually come to an end.
Here in St. Augustine, my choice for DSL has been either BellSouth or nothing at all. Service is comparably dismal to what I've received from the local cable monopoly and DirecTV's near monopoly.