oh boy, time warner and att merger :(
@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. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_spectrum
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.
@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.
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).
@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.
@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.