Back to the barn
It was only a matter of time anyway. The Federal government had to jump into the fray and play hall monitor. With the continued rapid convergence of communications brought about by evolving technology and consumer-use trends, the FCC has just proposed an ambitious plan to realign our media and technology priorities, establishing the Internet as our country’s dominant communications network. The plan is expected to take about a decade to complete and even longer to deploy, which begs the question, “why did it take so long and why will it take so long?” Ten years is an eternity in terms of technological evolution these days. In 10 years, the dominant network might be mental telepathy.
The reason it has taken so long to come to this realization is that our government is no better at predicting technology or consumer trends than they are economic downturns, bank crashes or even snowstorms, for that matter. In the old days down on the farm, the farmer got all of his pigs, chickens, cows, etc. into the barn at night for safe-keeping. If the barn door was left open and livestock escaped, there was a plan for tracking them down AND for putting a new lock on the door. Didn’t take long. In the case of convergent communications technology, the barn door has been open for decades with no plan to bring everyone back to the barn. Why? Because unlike pigs, chickens or cows, communications and telecommunications giants have wheel barrels of money to brandish in keeping them out of the barn in all but stormy weather. And they know that there is much more profit to be had and mischief to be made outside of the watchful eye of the FCC. Now the federal government is giving them notice that the barn door may be fixed but it will take a while (allowing more than ample time for them to figure out new ways out of the barn). By the time we see the blueprint, there may be no need for the barn at all.
– Mark Stacey