Does the word “communications” or “telecommunications” mean anything anymore? Communications refers to the act of imparting or interchanging thoughts, opinions, or information by signs, writing, or speech. A communication may be a document or message imparting news, views, or information.
If I talk to my son, I’m communicating (or trying to. Kids are hard headed.). If I call him on his cell phone, we are still communicating since the only thing happening is that electrons are moving up and down a wire and the message isn’t being changed by the phone company (But as parents we know the message is being changed in our kids’ heads…).
The reason I’m pondering the definition is because I’d love to see Apple, Google, or Facebook make a play for a wireless or even a wireline company. I don’t want to see them get bogged down by 20th century notions of what communications is, however. The FCC and a bunch of state regulatory commissions would love to get their hands on a piece of Apple’s, Google’s or Facebook’s cash flow.
With people using their smart phones as miniature and mobile information access terminals (I avoid using the term computer or phone when I can), maybe some type of separations cost scheme is needed, much like the separations mechanism used by the FCC and the states to share access revenues. That would really give Apple, Google, or Facebook an advantage by reducing their cost of entry into the wireless market while giving AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile a run for their money.
I expect, given their truly nationwide network that AT&T and Verizon would do well. Deadweight companies like Sprint and T-Mobile would probably go the away like the wind, given their networks are not as large or as fast.
Let’s face it. Apple, Google, and Facebook are media companies. It’s only logical that they would want to secure the distributional channels for the information that they want to share, namely our information. It would be like AMC Studios owning movie theatres. They produce the flick, they sell the flick.
Can FCC follow policy that would keep them out of the way of a potential mega deal?