This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
TheStreet Open House

Where Is the Debate Over the Internet?

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- We're all familiar with the incredible changes that have taken place in society over the last two decades as a result of the Internet and digital communications.

Google (GOOG), Apple (AAPL), Facebook (FB), Amazon.com (AMZN) and others have emerged as great American brands, and this burst of innovation has made all our lives easier in a myriad of ways.

Still, we're only at the beginning of the digital revolution. For everything the Internet has done, it still has yet to really replace other important media, like our telephony, broadcast and cable networks, all of which remain central to the way most Americans live.

That will change. It's only a matter of time before people start using the Internet as their sole medium of communication and source of information and entertainment.

That transition means many more profound changes to our way of life are on the way, but there's very little discussion of how we should be reacting to that from a public policy standpoint.

This concerns me because a small handful of private companies -- cable and telecommunications companies includinge AT&T (T), Verizon (VZ) and Comcast (CMCSA) -- control the pipes over which most people get access to the Web, giving them inordinate power over how the medium evolves.

The companies can be counted on to pursue an agenda that will further their business interests, which may or may not align with the public interest in terms of the future of the Internet. The situation demands better journalism and a more vigorous and informed debate over this crucial aspect of our society.

It's no coincidence the concept of free speech is enshrined in the very first amendment to the Constitution within the Bill of Rights. Speech -- communication -- is fundamental to the health of democracy, and I think the woeful state of the content on mass media in the U.S. is largely responsible for the woeful state of American democracy.

The rise of the Internet, meanwhile, offers the prospect of a communications overhaul in our society that could right this wrong and revive democracy and enrich our culture.

1 of 2

Select the service that is right for you!

COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!
DOW 17,279.74 +13.75 0.08%
S&P 500 2,010.40 -0.96 -0.05%
NASDAQ 4,579.7890 -13.6380 -0.30%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from Bankrate.com

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs