How To Get Faster Municipal Service from Incumbents:
“Lompoc, Calif., may have three options for broadband, accidentally: The city is at the center of this long and fair look at why municipal wireless is becoming a widespread phenomenon, and the reporter covers the warts and fair skin equally. But there’s a gem in this article, because it explains how any smaller town could get its service upgraded by incumbents at no expense. First, the mayor or city manager along with the council announces a surprise plan to offer subsidized or free wireless throughout the town with a private contractor handling cost and risk. Second, they fight back attacks by the incumbents to scotch the plan in the media or through special elections. Third, the incumbents commit upgrade resources to serve the town. Fourth, the town decides not to build, and enjoys its 21st-century broadband upgrades. Now, Lompoc can’t be accused of this strategy, but the incumbents should have egg on their face when they describe the expensive upgrades to cable and DSL installed in the city–only after the city’s plan to put in wireless first and fiber later was well underway. The head of the town’s wireless project said Comcast promised service upgrades for 10 years–probably from analog to digital cable for starters–and that the work to upgrade the network (which was finished this year) was done only in response to Lompoc’s plans. Likewise, Verizon admitted in this article that Lompoc was low on its list for improving DSL service and performance. This is interesting when you contrast it with the complaint of incumbents that those who ‘regulate’ them will compete against them. Regulation is a funny animal. Most telecom regulation is at a national level; franchise regulation is local. The ‘regulation’ they’re talking about is not whether a company has the right to provide service, but rather the rules and fees by which a company can use city facilities, such as light poles, conduits, and so forth. This form of regulation is really another aspect of a city’s right to self-determination. It can be used as a blunt instrument. In fact, Philadelphia reportedly prevented the entrance of a competitive cable company for years, restricting customer choice and favoring an incumbent franchise holder. But should the converse be true–should towns and cities be required to offer free or regulated (that word again) access on a non-discriminatory basis to everyone? We’ve seen that: that’s the trenching regulation. If you lived in, say, Palo Alto, Calif., during the dotcom boom, you have already seen trucks open up your street, put in cable, close it up, and then another set of trucks come in the next week. It may be that local bodies ‘regulate’ the incumbent cable and telecom providers, but they apparently have no leverage over them, otherwise Lompoc would have no reason (and no citizen support) for their fiber and wireless buildout…
Now compare that baseline with the world according to the Sony-BMG EULA, which applies to any digital copies you make of the music on the CD:
- If your house gets burgled, you have to delete all your music from your laptop when you get home. That’s because the EULA says that your rights to any copies terminate as soon as you no longer possess the original CD.
- You can’t keep your music on any computers at work. The EULA only gives you the right to put copies on a “personal home computer system owned by you.”
- If you move out of the country, you have to delete all your music. The EULA specifically forbids “export” outside the country where you reside.
- You must install any and all updates, or else lose the music on your computer. The EULA immediately terminates if you fail to install any update. No more holding out on those hobble-ware downgrades masquerading as updates
- Sony-BMG can install and use backdoors in the copy protection software or media player to “enforce their rights” against you, at any time, without notice. And Sony-BMG disclaims any liability if this “self help” crashes your computer, exposes you to security risks, or any other harm.
- The EULA says Sony-BMG will never be liable to you for more than $5.00. That’s right, no matter what happens, you can’t even get back what you paid for the CD.
- If you file for bankruptcy, you have to delete all the music on your computer. Seriously.
- You have no right to transfer the music on your computer, even along with the original CD.
- Forget about using the music as a soundtrack for your latest family photo slideshow, or mash-ups, or sampling. The EULA forbids changing, altering, or make derivative works from the music on your computer.
Amazing… Bruce Schneier has more.