- CNBC -
For almost two decades the U.S. government has kept its meddlesome mudhooks off the Internet, freeing it to spread its kudzu-like tendrils into the global economy. And it worked.
The FCC took a big step this week to end all of that. For the first time, the Federal Communications Commission proposes using a set of 75-year-old phone regulations to oversee the Net of the 21st century and have a say in the prices that companies like AT&T and Comcast can charge. And set rules for what traffic they must carry. (Comcast is acquiring a 51 percent stake in NBC Universal' CNBC's parent company. The deal is awaiting regulatory approval.)
Some telecom execs say the FCC’s agenda is downright radical. It could thwart high hopes for the wireless Internet, centerstage of the next digital revolution. The agency assault could restack the pecking order of winners and losers and reshape their stock prices, affecting the portfolios of millions of retirees and investors. It would impose new burdens on big carriers, while granting new power to content purveyors like Google [GOOG 491.76 -8.27 (-1.65%) ] and Yahoo [YHOO 15.32 -0.22 (-1.42%) ].