The FCC has been in a months-long wrestling match with big telecom companies, and now seems close to losing. (Catch up on Wire coverage of the complex "net neutrality" debate here, here, here, and here.) As tech pundits prepare for a Thursday ruling that could limit the FCC's authority, venture capitalist Fred Wilson poses a rhetorical question:
Would AT&T or Comcast have created Google? The answer to that question is no. They had their chances. In the early days of the Internet, when dial-up was king, the telco companies were in the driver's seat.Wilson urges his readers to "make their voices heard" in a debate that could decide "the architecture of the Internet." He's referring to the idea that if telecom companies are allowed to block or restrict users' access to certain content, it would "cripple" the Web that allowed Google and Facebook to thrive. Grand questions aside, is he right in doubting that telecom companies could be hotbeds of innovation?