Competing in the technology field is never easy. Just ask Microsoft, after rising to dominate the desktop market though ingenious contract agreements they eventually moved in to the browser market only to be slapped with an anti-trust lawsuit from the Department of Justice and several states. Now I am not saying Microsoft was unfairly charged, they were using dominance in one market to leverage another in their favor. This is a classic example of monopoly abuse and they lost that case rightfully so.
I mention this little snippet of history because recent events in the technology industry have made me consider that some corporations have not considered these lessons and that by applying leverage to protect their monopoly they risk being targeted by the governments that originally fostered their development.
As a corporation grows it endeavors to find and implement new sources of revenue, but the embattled technology industry has become increasingly cut throat and even exclusionary. While I see no problem with a company being inventive, innovative and productive I do take exception when a company takes part in fear mongering, anti-competitive practices, and of all things out right lies!
I make these comments in regards to recent moves by AT&T to stop the development of municipal Wi-Fi networks. They are attempting this though pressuring Senators to pass legislation preventing municipal governments the ability to develop such networks. This is seen as a move to protect their data network products, since “free” (and I say this loosely since it is being paid for with collected taxes) Wi-Fi would threaten the baby Bell’s monopoly. I personally see no problems with a company installing its own infrastructure to provide a service to its citizens, since the baby Bell’s seem to be unwilling to provide users with the services they are quite able to provide.
When compared to most European Union states, North America lags significantly behind in bandwidth and cost to end users. If these kinds of issues are not address then local companies or municipal governments should be allowed to fill the gap where the Bell’s fail to deliver.