History Repeating: 130 years later and still stuck in "Telephonmania"

Interestingly, Arstechnica points to questions that were raised 130 years ago regarding the telephone industry and its implementation of metered billing. Sound familiar? Like those who protested in 1886, the pro-Internet community is striving to encourage policy-makers to re-imagine the web. This article cleverly links the (once feared) universality of the telephone with our current concerns of advancing an open, accessible Internet. If we keep it up, we can be the history-makers of our time. Onward!

Article by Matthew Lasar for Ars Technica

Hopping mad about metered billing? Spluttering about tethering restrictions and early termination fees? Raging over data caps? You're not alone. Perhaps you can take some comfort from this editorial in The New York Times:

The greedy and extortionate nature of the telephone monopoly is notorious. Controlling a means of communication which has now become indispensable to the business and social life of the country, the company takes advantage of the public's need to force from it every year an extortionate tribute.

Yes, that's how The Times saw it—in 1886. And the newspaper's readers applauded these words. But reading Richard R. John's wonderful book, Network Nation: Inventing American Telecommunications, one is struck by the contrasts between then and now. The issues are often recognizable; the players a little less so. Read more »

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