I was once an innovator at a large LOCAL ISP in New York. We covered downstate NY, CT and North and Central New Jersey via dialup, T1, T3 and DSL. We had over 200 dialup numbers. We had three OC12 lines and served up Covad and Rhythms DSL nationwide. I was a part of the creation of Sendmail as well.
Still, our connections were made by the phone companies. They charged a bundle to give us the right to serve you. It was tough, and eventually a losing battle.
As soon as the Internet looked like it would become profitable the phone and cable companies had a field day destroying the local ISP. The telecom act of 1996 slowed it down a bit but never really stopped "innovation" as Verizon words it.
Today we face a tough decision. Should we blast the companies that helped us then destroyed us? Should we accept it and watch the paywall build continue? Should we find another way to innovate and bring back the old Internet with the new features we have now?
I know there is no way to go back. Too much money controls it now. The only way to fix things now is to do another breakup like in 1996 and again, slow things down.
Perhaps some day we'll talk about the Internet like CB radio. Until then we need to fight for what we have left which by the way is more, but less at the same time.
I was there. Al Gore wasn't!
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