|| Author: Steven Hodson|Tags: , , , ,

If we want our new media world to have real innovation we have to break the carrier stranglehold.

I love optimism. Really I do, but with every press release from spanking new start-up promising all kinds of innovation I look no further than my last months bills for internet access and wireless mobile service to see how laughable all those promises are.

It’s humorous to read posts from all these mobile evangelists as they talk about living in the cloud and never needing anything more than a browser for their everyday needs. It sounds so idyllic and wonderful, and it is if you have a job that affords you the disposable income for things like a data plan for your smartphone, a data plan for your web only laptop, a data plan for you fancy new tablet. Then there’s the cost of the voice plan for one, or two, or three smartphones. Of course you could always rely on free WiFi, that is if you live in an area where such a thing is persuasive.

Not everyone has those luxuries. Some people don’t have ubiquitous access to WiFi. Others have to decide whether to pay the electric bill instead of their internet bill. As for smartphones well having even one with a bare necessity plan is probably the best they’ll get.

Don’t get me wrong. I want ubiquitous Internet. I want to be able to access it and use it regardless of where I am in the world. I would like to be able to use a web based tablet for all my consumption need  and for light work if possible. However at the root of all this is one simple thing – affordable access; which we don’t have.

A perfect example of this is all these *cough* wonderful bundling package for your Internet, TV and phone. The carriers make it sound so wonderful that they are giving you all three services for a special single price. Well it is special if you consider that separately you pay through the nose but not so special when you realize that everything is digital, and I mean everything.

Your phone signal is now digital, your TV signal is now digital (especially if you are on cable), and your Internet is digital. All one’s and zero’s, all coming through the same pipe. There is in fact no difference between your phone signal and you TV signal or your Internet signal when it comes to the digital pipe. So these companies are in effect charging you three times for the same dumb pipe.

As bad as those prices are they are nothing compared to the wallet raping that the wireless carriers are getting away with. At every turn they are raising prices and limiting services. Just as with broadband providers data caps are the rule of the day and in a world that is pushing the boundaries of what data can be carried these caps are nothing more than choke holds meant to prop up networks that a proving to be inadequate for the job.

Yet these are companies that are reporting billions of dollars in profits every year so it isn’t in their interest to foster technology that will bring the ideas of a new media world to fruition. For every innovation the carriers are forced to improve their networks and that eats into their profit margins, which are already obscene.

If we really want to see true technological innovation the carriers and their profit before anything else model of doing business needs to be seriously revamped. As long as the carriers hold the keys to affordable and ubiquitous access then any dream that start ups in this new media world might have stand a snowballs chance in hell of being truly successful.