Tagged: monopoly

Uncle Sugar continues to fall behind in affordable broadband

30up-broadband-master675

America’s slow and expensive Internet is more than just an annoyance for people trying to watch “Happy Gilmore” on Netflix. Largely a consequence of monopoly providers, the sluggish service could have long-term economic consequences for American competitiveness.

Downloading a high-definition movie takes about seven seconds in Seoul, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Zurich, Bucharest and Paris, and people pay as little as $30 a month for that connection. In Los Angeles, New York and Washington, downloading the same movie takes 1.4 minutes for people with the fastest Internet available, and they pay $300 a month for the privilege, according to The Cost of Connectivity, a report published Thursday by the New America Foundation’s Open Technology Institute.

The report compares Internet access in big American cities with access in Europe and Asia. Some surprising smaller American cities — Chattanooga, Tenn.; Kansas City (in both Kansas and Missouri); Lafayette, La.; and Bristol, Va. — tied for speed with the biggest cities abroad. In each, the high-speed Internet provider is not one of the big cable or phone companies that provide Internet to most of the United States, but a city-run network or start-up service.

The reason the United States lags many countries in both speed and affordability, according to people who study the issue, has nothing to do with technology. Instead, it is an economic policy problem — the lack of competition in the broadband industry…

For relatively high-speed Internet at 25 megabits per second, 75 percent of homes have one option at most, according to the Federal Communications Commission — usually Comcast, Time Warner, AT&T or Verizon. It’s an issue anyone who has shopped for Internet knows well, and it is even worse for people who live in rural areas. It matters not just for entertainment; an Internet connection is necessary for people to find and perform jobs, and to do new things in areas like medicine and education.

In many parts of Europe, the government tries to foster competition by requiring that the companies that own the pipes carrying broadband to people’s homes lease space in their pipes to rival companies. (That policy is based on the work of Jean Tirole, who won the Nobel Prize in economics this month in part for his work on regulation and communications networks.)

In the United States, the Federal Communications Commission in 2002 reclassified high-speed Internet access as an information service, which is unregulated, rather than as telecommunications, which is regulated. Its hope was that Internet providers would compete with one another to provide the best networks. That didn’t happen. The result has been that they have mostly stayed out of one another’s markets.

Unforeseen consequences is often the excuse offered by the corporate pimps in government. Whether getting direct kickbacks – “campaign donations” – or being obedient little trolls while awaiting the promised job opening in private industry, ain’t much to be gained by working on behalf of us ordinary working folks.

New America’s ranking of cities by average speed for broadband priced between $35 and $50 a month, the top three cities, Seoul, Hong Kong and Paris, offered speeds 10 times faster than the United States cities. In my neck of the prairie I have the choice of two of the national ISP’s. One gets me 26mbps download max for $75 all in. Their “competitor” charges about half that amount – for 7mbps.

Competition American style.

Thanks, Mike

Do not pass GO. Do not collect $200. Go straight to jail!

Laura Chavez did not pass go. She did not collect $200.

Instead, Santa Fe County Sheriff’s deputies took the 60-year-old directly to jail after they say she repeatedly stabbed her boyfriend Wednesday after arguing during a game of Monopoly.

Police responded to a stabbing call at 1:21 a.m. Wednesday in the Casa Villita Apartments…Deputy Kurt Whyte arrived at the apartment where he says he found the 48-year-old male stabbing victim, “bleeding heavily from his head and right wrist area.”

Chavez, who police say admitted stabbing the man with a kitchen knife, was arrested and charged with aggravated battery on a household member with a deadly weapon, battery upon a peace officer, assault upon a peace officer and resisting or evading a police officer…Her boyfriend, meanwhile, remained hospitalized late Wednesday but was in stable condition, according to Lt. Adan Mendoza.

Police say both Chavez and her boyfriend appeared to be intoxicated.

According to the statement of probable cause filed for Chavez’s arrest drafted by Detective Andrew Quintana, Chavez and her boyfriend were playing a late Tuesday night game of Monopoly with her 10-year-old grandson. The young boy told police the couple began fighting because his grandma thought her boyfriend was cheating at the classic Parker Brothers game…

Investigators say they were not aware of past domestic violence calls regarding the couple, but jail records show Chavez has been booked into the Santa Fe County jail nine times since June 2006, many of which were related to violations of probation and the conditions of her release from a 2009 felony drug possession case in which she eventually received a conditional discharge.

Every aspect of life in a banana republic culture can be exciting. Even a board game can turn into an assault.

Here’s our latest mission-critical trademark fight

Rival wine sellers targeting overworked mothers are fighting over use of the word “Mommy” on their wine labels, according to a lawsuit filed in San Francisco federal court.

In the suit, filed on Monday, California-based winery Clos Lachance Wines asked the court to declare that its “Mommyjuice” does not violate the trademark of “Mommy’s Time Out,” which is marketed by a New Jersey distributor.

“Mommy is a generic word that they don’t have a monopoly on,” said KC Branch, an attorney who represents Clos Lachance.

The owner of “Mommy’s Time Out” declined to comment on the lawsuit.

To succeed in a trademark violation case, a brand owner must show it is likely that a rival’s mark will create confusion in the minds of consumers.

The front label of Mommyjuice features a drawing of a woman juggling a house, teddy bear and computer. The back label advises moms to “tuck your kids into bed, sit down and have a glass of Mommyjuice. Because you deserve it.” The wine is available in a white Chardonnay and a red mixed blend.

The front label of “Mommy’s Time Out,” an Italian wine sold in red and white, shows an empty chair facing a corner. A wine bottle and glass sit on a table next to the chair…

Mendelson also noted that wines with “fanciful” names have proliferated as marketers try to reach new categories of customers. In recent years, vintners have launched wines like “Fat bastard,” “Cleavage Creek” and a red wine featuring a rooster called “Big Red Pecker.”

Within the confines of market battles, one business competing in dead earnest against another – restricting yourself to the ground rules of lawyers and other idiots is a game for automatons, pedants and mutant religions.

Judge dismisses crap monopoly lawsuit against Apple

A federal judge on Tuesday dismissed charges from a small computer maker that Apple is a monopolist because it tightly controls which computer makers build machines using its Macintosh operating system software.

With his ruling, U.S. District Judge William Alsup has handed Apple its latest victory against cloners that create and sell machines based on Apple’s software.

Psystar…was challenging Apple’s requirement that only Apple-branded devices use its software, which Psystar contends illegally ties the sale of one product to another. That’s not the case with operating system software from Microsoft or the open source Linux, which can be installed on devices from any number of manufacturers, Psystar said.

In his 16-page decision Tuesday, Alsup ruled Apple’s products don’t constitute a market to dominate. As a consequence, Apple then can’t be considered a monopolist, Alsup wrote.

Psystar is a dipshit little outfit that some people think was cobbled together by lawyers and opportunists just to sue Apple. The result was logical and pretty much expected. That still doesn’t mean that Psystar and their supporters won’t appeal and try to drag this out in an attempt to make money from the American lawsuit farm.