AT&T is going to force customers who already pay for voice and data to pay to connect devices to their iPhones which they were able to do using free software. AT&T is not providing any new service, they are just double charging already paying customers. They can do that because there really isn’t any competition. Verizon similarly abuses customers. The solution is to provide real competition to the government empowered oligopolies.
Several of the comments mention there is a social benefit to using technology and the greed of these corporations is holding back society. Recently I’ve been talking with Frithjof Bergmann, the founder of New Work, New Culture, about ways to provide low cost communication. And I’ve been working on a project to revitalize Detroit by establishing self-sufficient communities. If communication is a community value then it makes sense to have a community owned telecom.
Imagine a cellular co-op where all the users are also owners. The co-op model could potentially operate at much lower costs than the for-corporate model. Additionally, a co-op telecom could be crowd funded for the start-up. It also would not need to be one monolithic organization. It could equally well work as a coalition of regional co-op service providers. Electricity and insurance in rural USA were originally operated as co-operatives and some still are operated that way. This is obviously a big project but it is clearly possible.
For some ideas about how a co-op corporation could operate
Photos of a student driver who flipped the car are funny. What makes it weird and an example of Abundance is how I heard about it.
My friend, John, sends me a lot of links to funny or important news and just things he finds that might interest me. John sent me the link to the article about the student driver in England who flipped the car during her lesson.
When I read the article I was surprised to see that it happened in front of the home of one of my friends, Dermot. John does not know Dermot so that makes it more of an interesting coincidence, or is it?
I spend a lot of time online and John sends me over 20 links a day. Each of these are things he and I share a common interest. Dermot and I also share similar interests. A car flipping over is something that Dermot would be very interested to investigate, especially if it happened in front of his home. Further more Dermot and myself are the type who would be good for a reporter to speak with. The shared interest made it more likely he would be on the scene of a random event and more likely that I would read about it. This is part of the Long Tail Effect.
I am able to be friends with John and Dermot because of technology. Without all of us having access to this technology we never would have met or maintained our relationships. Also, this story was shared because of technology. The ease of finding and sharing stories of common interest made it more likely I would run across this story that mentions my friend from another country.
Finally, I sent the link to the email list which Dermot is a member. Dermot may have not known he was quoted in the article but in a matter of minutes the story circled the world back to him. This is all possible because of the innovation and Abundance it creates. Things that would have been impossible even a few years ago are now so easy and inexpensive they are common place.
Last weekend I experienced an amazing example of abundance. My friend in Thailand called me. She and her friends took a drive two hours out of Bangkok to a nature preserve. When she was there she used her GSM cell phone to connect her laptop to the Internet and show me live video of the waterfall she was visiting.
The examples and levels of abundance are staggering.
First consider who she is. She is a young missionary from the Philippines teaching English in Bangkok. Her monthly salary is 750 USD. She is the youngest of 6 children of a disabled fisherman. She sends money home to support her parents, helps her other siblings with loans plus tithes 10% to her church. That doesn’t leave a lot of disposable income. So keep that in mind.
This call was not for business, it was just for fun. This is one of the characteristics of Abundance. When things are so cheap you don’t pay attention to the price. Except for the GSM connection to the Internet, the call was free.
She has a laptop with a webcam. So do a billion other people. Just 15 years ago the idea of a laptop was an outrageous luxury item. Now a computer with more processing power than everything that ran WWII is casually taken to a park. And this laptop wasn’t provided by her work. It was a present.
Nearly everyone on the planet has access to the Internet. Most of it high speed and capable of video. Cafes, restaurants, and cheap hotels give access away for free. Some of the poorest people in the world have such cheap and easily available Internet service they can spend hours sending Nigerian SPAM email.
She had a GSM phone to access the Internet in the middle of the countryside. She wasn’t in a big city. She was out in the jungle looking at a waterfall. The GSM phone is three examples of abundance. She could afford to have the equipment. The service was there. It was cheap enough that she didn’t care about the cost. Just 20 years ago making any phone call between Thailand and the USA would require scheduling overseas operators to make connections and it would be so expensive only governments or large corporations would do it. Today a young lady on a day trip calls a friend half way around the world and thinks nothing of doing it.
She used Skype to do the video conference. The software and the service were totally free. Once she was online everything was free.
The fact we even met to become friends is another example of abundance. Global communication is free and easy. Two people out of 6.5 billion on the opposite sides of the world with no people in common were able to meet based on shared interests and values. It wasn’t long ago that was nearly impossible. Now today its common place.
Abundance is the design of the universe and we are seeing the accelerating effects every day.