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Christopher Lemmer Webber @cwebber

oh boy, time warner and att merger :(

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@cwebber yeah... I've been trying to encrypt my dns traffic. Also i keep wondering if i set up a public network in my condo would anyone connect? And could it turn into a mesh?

@cwebber eh, seemed inevitable. With Netflix and Amazon getting into content the bigger players had to as well in order to compete.

Unless you were willing to break up those two with anti-trust actions this was the most fair.

@ted Erosion of net neutrality + ISPs also being content producers is pretty much a path to disaster

@cwebber @ted At one point the most valuable thing to deliver over the wires was phone calls, so the wires were owned by The Phone Company. Now the most valuable thing to deliver over the wires is media, so the wires are ending up being owned by The Media Company.

@ted @cwebber I think that as long as the United States relies on a model where the distribution infrastructure, even the airwaves themselves, must be "owned", this is unavoidable. The only viable alternative I can see is a model where the physical infrastructure is owned by the government and operated under an open access model. There has been a movement since at least the early '00s to do this for wireless spectrum.

@freakazoid @cwebber I agree with you that the last-mile needs to be owned by the local gov't.

I'd make a different case in that I think that it is a critical resource that should be managed like water/sewer/electrical etc.

I'd be willing to trade wireless ownership to get the wires owned by the public. I still view wireless as a bit of a luxury.

@ted @freakazoid There's no reason if the internet was a public utility that you couldn't set up home wireless routers anyway.

@cwebber @ted I think wireless is far easier to do politically, because nobody built the air. If by "managed like" you mean "grant a monopoly to a private company that will then only barely be accountable" then I strongly disagree. That's how we got into this mess in the first place. For-profits need to be kept out of the operation entirely.

@ted @cwebber I live in a city with two different water systems, one operated by a private company with a regional monopoly, and the other directly by the government. The one operated by the government is *far* better.

@cwebber @ted There are also a few cities that have their own power systems, and they are both cheaper and more reliable than the one operated by PG&E.

@freakazoid @cwebber no, I mean "managed like" it is a department of the local city like Parks & Rec or the Fire department. Sure, they could hire private contractors to do work as needed but the leadership would be city employees.

@ted @cwebber Ah, ok. As long as ownership remains with the government and the government doesn't enter into long term contracts they can't back out of as has happened with private prisons, I'm fine with that.

@cwebber @ted In general I guess that means don't ever expect/allow private companies to make a big up-front investment because they will always expect to recoup it.

@freakazoid @cwebber I'm interested, and curious how a highway project in DFW is going to go with regards to that.

Basically they like a company to make the big upfront investment, and get money for tolls for 30 years, but then they have to give the highway back to the state. The contract also has requirements on the maintenance and quality over that time.

It makes me nervous, but it seems like the gov't did all the right stuff.

@ted @cwebber Seems like it could be, but it seems like it depends a lot on what happens in 30 years. If the state is struggling to maintain roads by that time, they may decide to let the company keep the road. But who knows, that may still be better than having it revert to the state and get poorly maintained. California's road situation is fairly abysmal despite the roads' almost exclusively being owned by the government.

@cwebber @ted In fact, California's highway system seems like it's in the process of separating into two tiers, one for the wealthy in the form of carpool and "expresss" lanes. You can even pay to use many of the carpool lanes, and even where there's no toll you just pay up front by buying a car that qualifies for an "access OK" sticker (this is why I drive an EV, not because I think it's better for the environment).

@freakazoid @cwebber I think two tiers is a definite risk.

The other way to look at it though is an additional tax on the rich to fund roads. Which works along as they are all maintained to the same level.

@ted @cwebber Except that the primary benefit of the tolls isn't paying for maintenance of the roads; it's the reduction in traffic on the roads with the tolls. And the money people spend on sticker-qualified cars goes to car makers and dealers, not to road maintenance. In fact they end up paying *lower* taxes because there's typically also a rebate and those cars use less if any taxed fuel, and most of the money for roads comes from fuel taxes.

@freakazoid @cwebber in Texas it is going toward maintenance. A state that cares more about road maintenance than its citizenry.

@cwebber that's one way to look at it, another would be that it provides more transparency and public battles. They're of course going to buoy their own brands, so we can see how that works with everyone else.

Reality is the worst case is when the large corporations get along and are advantaged to work together. Which is what happened when the cable companies and content providers were separate.

When we setup conditions where they fight among themselves we're better off.

@ted @cwebber It was apparently common for politicians in the British Empire to refer to it as a "commercial empire". I think today one could accurately refer to the United States as a "media empire".