Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Debates About ‘Big Tech’ Often Overlook Telecom Conglomerates

Osita Nwanevu, the New Republic:

And yet the telecoms rarely enter our debates over “Big Tech” and corporate power in the internet age. Google, Microsoft, Amazon, and Apple have shaped the basic nuts and bolts of the internet. Facebook’s dominance over social media and its share of the online advertising market have made it another giant in the eyes of many. But the telecoms, which hold the keys to the internet itself for millions of Americans, have accrued more than enough power, online and off, to be just as worthy of concern and scrutiny as all of those Silicon Valley firms. The telecoms are tech companies, and they are big ones — so big that they’ve become much larger than tech itself.

This is U.S.-centric and, so, raises specific concerns about the conglomeration of big telecom providers. But many of its arguments can be echoed here in Canada as our competition bureau figures out whether Rogers can acquire Shaw. Like Comcast and AT&T, Rogers has media interests. Shaw sold its shares in then-sister company Corus Entertainment in 2019, but “sister company” remains true in its most literal sense: Heather Shaw is the executive chair at Corus, and is Shaw CEO Brad Shaw’s sister.

Anyway: different countries, same problems.