2. Double whammy: net neutrality + AT&T-Time Warner
The court's thumbs up for the AT&T-Time Warner deal, combined with the end of net neutrality rules, has the potential to reshape the internet media landscape.
Why it matters: Together, these events of the last 48 hours could open a path to a network that's very different from the freewheeling one you grew up with or first got to know in the 1990s or 2000s.
Worst case: In this scenario, the giant companies that supply your internet access (like AT&T, Verizon and Comcast) try to outflank the giant companies that provide most of your online content and services (like Google, Facebook and Apple) — and consumers lose out.
Who owns what: Here's how much will be in the hands of just three companies:
- AT&T will own its own cellular, home broadband and telecommunications services, along with Time Warner and DirecTV.
- Comcast owns its own cable TV, broadband and fledgling cell service along with NBC Universal.
- Verizon owns its own wired and wireless broadband, Fios TV service as well as AOL, Yahoo, HuffPo and other online brands.
Between the lines: The service providers all say they don't want to limit choice, and that they have no intention of blocking or prioritizing content.
- But the concern is that once companies have vertical control over home internet and cable TV service, mobile data service, and multiple content sources, the temptation to pursue such strategies (in the past dubbed “synergies”) could be irresistible.
But, but, but: The tech industry regularly experiences waves of mergers, and much of the time they flop. (See: Time Warner’s last world-changing hookup, with America Online in 2000.)
Go deeper: Read the full post here.