One of my MANY frustrations with the church is another in the series of adoptions of the “ways of the world” via the Mass Media Model. To stand idly by and say nothing as companies like Comcast and Time Warner monopolize the broadband market and work to prevent municipalities who have their own ideas about what would be good for their constituents from implementing those things which would lead to that good.
Broadband infrastructure is that good of which we are speaking here. We know, from the example of numerous foreign countries and some individual USA markets, that the broadband of the behemoth providers like Comcast is vastly overpriced and 50 to 100 times SLOWER than that “cheaper” broadband that can be had in these places where Comcast or Time Warner have not had their way. A mind blowing and infuriating history of these shenanigans is given by Susan Crawford in here book “Captive Audience”. It’s total bullshit, and we should be up in arms. Because it’s important. It’s important for education. It’s important for innovation because it connects us and enables a collaboration on a scale never before seen in history. It’s important for BUSINESS. For ALL businesses, even these BEHEMOTHS themselves! Their obvious problem here is that they are looking at and fighting for THE SHORT TERM. They are looking ahead exactly ZERO inches. And this is DUMB. STUPID. SHORT-SIGHTED. Self destructive.
Another danger in letting the behemoths consolidate is that they will be able to more firmly control what travels along their pipes, and how well it travels. They can give better quality of bandwidth to “privileged content” (aka “Content providers who pay a premium to the carriers. Those who don’t simply don’t get the quality or perhaps even the access. It is a turning back of the clock to the cost prohibitive days of television when only the huge production companies (NBC, CBS, ABC, and later, somewhat as a public service to provide a modicum of presence to a “public forum”, PBS).
The above is where the church needs to “be afraid, be very afraid”. If the pipes are to become sold to the highest bidder, then the opportunity that the church has had and continues to flounder in leveraging, is lost. We’ll see the “internet version” of media monopoly, which has already begun. As usual, the church looks at the Internet and sees a shovelware channel. It’s stuck in the world of print, and in some “cool” instances, in the world of old broadcast media with top-down , TV style video “streaming”. All of the innovation lies ahead in the convergence of video conferencing, social media, and mobile technology. Look ahead , folks.