The same thing is happening today with web services. But what Google and other web giants are doing goes largely unnoticed, even by analysts, pundits and Presidential advisors. What they are able to do is use their scale, and clever and cynical politics to obscure how they’re solidifying their competitive advantage. In particular, they’re swearing allegiance to (and lobbying for) an idea which doesn’t apply to their operations, but which will keep smaller competitors out of the market. A Zoho, for example – or the next new YouTube.
To understand this, you have to keep in mind that there isn’t really such a thing as ‘The Internet’, which may sound strange. It might be even stranger to consider that the internet was never designed as a masterplan to be ‘The Internet’, thankfully, as it turned out.
Instead of one network, picture lots of private networks. The internetworking protocols (the clue’s in the name) provide guidelines for some lowest common denominators by which these private networks can cooperate.
Now what Google and Verizon are proposing to do however is not regulate the wireless “private” networks that actually use the publics radio frequencies. In short they wish to run their wireless over our airwaves. And that is the rub, not whether their “private” networks can be regulated, but whether their use of the public’s bandwidth for their “private” networks can be set aside as their own, without due consideration of the public good or the FCC having regulatory power over our airwaves. Once their signal leaves the transmitter, whether to or from the satellite, it crosses through our airwaves, just like the recently dead analog television signals did, and AM and FM radio still does.