A snag in Trump’s fabric
Though it’s been clear from the start of his campaign for presidency that Donald Trump’s focus is to bring jobs and grow small America’s wealth, one snag in the fabric of his stout business-first beliefs is that of net neutrality.
The administration is currently fighting against a “big cable” merger while simultaneously preparing to stuff their pockets by dismantling net neutrality.
The contradiction makes it impossible to tell if they’re in favor of the mega brands or not.
Fighting the potential monopoly
Referred to by his fans and biggest supporters as the “champion for the forgotten millions” and being for the “little man” (referring to small business in America), he has repeatedly spoken out against the potential AT&T/Time Warner Cable merger.
It would, indeed, be a huge monopoly. The biggest service provider merged with a company that owns HBO, Warner Bros (that means Harry Potter, folks), and the NBA (I mean – name a network, TWC likely owns it. Yep, that’s one of them. That one too. And that one).
Though mildly surprising, it doesn’t quite reach shock-level when noted that CNN is also owned by Time Warner Cable. The network with which Trump potentially has the biggest beef. It makes sense that the man who casts a side eye at the media would not want to deepen their pockets or their reach.
So – that’s easy, right? Done. Figured it out.
Not so fast.
Limiting Americans’ access to info
Trump’s hand-selected FCC Chairman pick, Ajit Pai, is slashing through net neutrality safeguards. Pai is a former Verizon attorney, and not to say he can’t do his job at the FCC without bias, but these unpopular moves are a clear win for his former employer.
The Trump administration has been loud and clear on their intentions for the nation. All except for this – the one issue where two things are being said at once. Loudly.
The freedom of access to information, AKA net neutrality, allows all Americans to have the same information available to them as any other American. Whether you’re in Brooklyn or a small town in Nebraska, running a startup in SF, or a mom ‘n’ pop shop in Louisiana, the pipeline is open and equal.
Once regulations that sustain this flow are removed, broadband and cable providers have the opportunity to cash in by segmenting information or even diverting it away.
Want to stream video games? That’ll cost extra. Want to use Facebook? Sure, but our company made a deal with Google+ and that means Zuck’s stuff will just move… very… slowly. Want to watch Fox News, CNN, or MSNBC? No, you don’t. You can’t afford that package. But Cartoon Network is free!
The same regulations that keep access to information free from bundling and extra fees, when removed, would deepen the pockets and reach of companies like AT&T and TWC. In the same way that the proposed merger would. Scratching your head? Us too.
This conflict will likely inflame Trump’s relationship with the Libertarian arm of the Republican party, and could spell disaster for the Trump movement, not to mention the fact that no party is openly in favor of nixing net neutrality. The American people who can see through the poorly marketed concept of net neutrality are universally in favor of keeping information free.
So what now?
So, where will it go from here? If the merger reaches the SEC (possible, but not an absolute), will there be a clash between departments in a Trump administration?
Does Trump really stand behind Pai’s decisions, and if so, will he back down from his formerly harsh stance on the merger? Is the Trump administration aligned with cable companies or not? It’s impossible to tell.
Most importantly, can the market really be free if access to information is controlled by the few?