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Support Your Local ISP

Aug 17, 2007
10 years ago there were lots of local ISP's providing local toll free dial-up internet access in their respective communities. Over the years the number has steadily gone down. The sad thing about it is what has come up to take their place.

In the beginning the phone companies hated the internet. The reason was that their phone lines were actually being used. I mean used for hours at a time. The phone companies service had actually relied on you not using it. So when you wanted to make that little call there was capacity to do so. With all those people using dial-up internet for hours at a time they had to make sure they had enough capacity for that one call that might be an emergency.

I also think the stupidity of the telco execs allowed them to think that since internet surfers were getting info from some web server across the country the user was somehow making a long distance call and the telco was not getting their share of what they believed they were entitled to. But, things began to change when the internet started to take off. Now the telco's are falling all over each other to get your internet service in their revenue stream.

So why support your local ISP when you can get a better deal with a telco? Well, first of all, you had better understand what the telco deal is really going to cost you before you sign up. Secondly, when you have a problem who are you gonna call? And thirdly, who was one of the first to hand over their phone records to the Bush Administration? Verizon was one of the first to do so.

What we are seeing are a bunch of big companies lining up to become the mega ISP for millions of people. Over time the whole industry will shake out to just a few companies who will then merge or buy each other out. With just a handful of companies handling the whole thing then they can begin to squeeze the customer for more revenue.

We saw the first attempt at squeezing internet traffic for more money just recently when Verizon claimed it should be able to charge companies for expediting their data over others who don't pay. In other words if a company paid Verizon to prioritize a companies web site then the web site would be accessible quicker than another company who did not pay.

So, really you can see these companies do not care about whether you have access to the internet or not. They are only interested in how much money they can make. And, while your local internet provider is in business to make money, they also are probably internet users who know what a customer wants in their internet experience. Really the more companies who provide internet access the better it is for everybody.
About the Author
Michael Dappert is a co-founder of Winco, Inc., a provider of wireless internet access to small communities in West Central Illinois. He also administers the web site Musicgig.us and discusses a wide range of topics at Flyoverfolks.com .
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