Monday News: Broadband, publishing innovation, World War I, and body image
How Net neutrality helped kill the Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger – A very interesting analysis on the death of the Comcast – Time Warner merger, particularly in regard to how regulators became more and more resistant to the deal in the wake of the net neutrality debates. Given the incredible size that a merged company would have, as well as the fears that broadband providers were going to create different access lanes, so to speak, if net neutrality failed, a deal that was not technically related to net neutrality ended up being killed because of the awareness and fears raised in the midst of that process.
Throughout the summer, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler also began looking more closely at competition in the broadband market. By September he determined that — as he put it in a speech at a tech incubator in Washington, DC — “meaningful competition for high-speed wired broadband is lacking, and Americans need more-competitive choices for faster and better Internet connections.”
He set the new bar for true broadband at 25 megabits per second. In January, he made that benchmark official when a divided FCC voted 3-2 to raise the standard for broadband downloads to 25 Mbps from 4 Mbps.
By redefining the broadband market, Wheeler gave the FCC and the Department of Justice more reason to reject the Comcast deal. Under the new threshold for broadband, Comcast and Time Warner Cable together would control 57 percent of the broadband market. In retrospect, the decision to raise the definition of broadband to 25 Mbps was a pretty clear sign that the FCC would oppose the merger. –CNET
What Publishers Can Learn from Louis C.K. – I really like this essay from Jeffrey Yamaguchi, who offers the entrepreneurial comedian Louis C.K. as an example to publishers and authors of how his diversified, customer/fan-centric experimentation is yielding benefits that could similarly strengthen traditional publishers and authors who are publishing and marketing their own work. In particular, Yamaguchi notes that Louis C.K. has not abandoned traditional media venues and outlets; he’s simply expanded his own brand beyond a single path, and his innovation is clearly paying off.
It’s important to call out one of the key aspects of Louis C.K.’s direct-to-fans offerings. He now has a commerce-based connection to his fans. He knows who they are, what they bought, how much they spent, and most importantly, he can communicate with them directly (if they’ve opted-in to that type of communication). This direct connection (and the data associated with it) is the single most valuable asset in the artist/fan relationship. It’s important to note that in book publishing, most authors do not have this level of a connection. Neither do publishers. Amazon, Apple, and BN do. –Publishing Perspectives
The officer who refused to lie about being black – Although accurate, the title of this piece, which is focused on a profile of David Louis Clemetson, is not complete. Clemetson was a Jamaican soldier who was ultimately awarded the rank of 2nd lieutenant against the British military’s regulation that non-white soldiers could not be awarded a rank higher than sergeant. The piece is a really interesting chronicle of the way race, class, colorism, nationalism, and other social and cultural forces affected the treatment of non-white soldiers and officers in the British military during World War I. Some soldiers passed as white, but Clemetson refused to say he was of “pure European descent,” a his “complexion” was recorded as “dusky,” an ambiguity that challenged the prevailing push for phenotypical categorization. Subsequently, there are several candidates for the position of first Black British officer during World War I, reflecting, once again, the complexity of real life against what is often represented as over-simplified (and often whitewashed) historical “truth.”
“Are you of pure European descent?” he was asked, in an interrogation intended to unmask officer candidates whose ethnicity was not obvious and who were perhaps light-skinned enough to pass for white. “No,” answered Clemetson, whose grandfather Robert had been a slave in Jamaica, he was not “of pure European descent”.
By telling the truth about his ancestry, Clemetson threatened to disrupt the military’s peculiar “Don’t ask, don’t tell” racial practices, which were conducted with a wink and a nod.
The recruiting officers would probably have preferred that Clemetson claim he was white and leave it at that. If others had followed Clemetson’s stance, the military establishment could no longer claim, if pressed, that it barred men who were “negroes or people of colour” from becoming officers and that it kept leadership roles in the military for men “of pure European descent”. –BBC News
Women Are Improving This “Beach Body” Advert With Their Own Body-Positive Messages – An ad for weight loss products that features a bikini-clad model made a number of appearances throughout the London Underground, and there has been some great backlash against the overt association between being “beach body ready” and a certain body type. Check out the grassroots protests in the pics Buzzfeed has collected. –Buzzfeed
The father of Alexandre Dumas (author of the Three Musketeers) was black and a general in revolutionary France. It’s a fascinating story, the book is Black Count, by Tom Reiss.
Given the number of blacks who passed as white and the fact that few whites were proud of African ancestry, I wonder what percent of African ancestry is in the average white of supposedly “pure European descent.”
Re. the death of the Comcast / Time Warner merger, I wonder what, if anything, this means for the AT&T / DirecTV deal.
@Janine: According to our Dish tech…it’s not going to happen, but who knows?
I really liked the Buzzfeed article…..just this morning as I was going to work I saw one of those American Apparel billboards with the provocatively posed “tween looking” model in bra and panties…..they make me so angry! I fantasized about defacing it…..go Londoners!