Charter CEO Tom Rutledge joined the parade of CEOs pandering for favorable press and using the Presidency for corporate gain last week. Good for Tom; and good for Tom repatriating call centers to the U.S. and committing to increase broadband investments across its growing footprint (a while ago, and it must be noted as part of getting approval to acquire Time Warner Cable and Bright House). That's assuming he'll get to drop those nasty overbuild requirements aimed at ACA members. President Donald J. Trump, rightly recognizing -- but naturally and wrongly taking credit for -- recent exemplary decisions by Charter and CEO Rutledge to do so, simply swooned.
Later, after listening to the latest dispatches regarding Russian ties among his acolytes, then taking a fawning look at one trade journal's coverage of the Charter Oval Office meeting, Trump decided he liked the looks of the guy captioned as the CEO, resigned the Presidency and joined Charter as non-executive Chairman (at least he thought so) … for about an hour.
Turns out the President, thinking the caption was correct, then discovered to his immediate Twitter chagrin the caption wrongly named Rutledge as sitting next to Trump when in fact Rutledge was standing to Trump's left!
Trump, back on Twitter, immediately blamed his photographer and resigned from Charter -- because his son-in-law convinced him he hadn't ever resigned in the first place. So it didn't happen.
But … it is all on Twitter. Check it out for yourself.
Rutledge, quite amused at these long sentences a laThe New Yorker's style, congratulated the President for being President.
It is, of course, April Fool's Day ... though it has seriously been difficult since January 20 to make that distinction.
So former Federal Confusion Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler took to The New York Times (is anyone surprised?) to lament that Republican majorities are in the process of making ISPs equal to fringe (others call them edge) Internet companies in their ability to track what we all do online. Well, seems to me, if he'd been a little better Chair, he could have convinced the FTC to agree with him that a lot of privacy rules would be good for all of us except those who want to sell our data. He tried (sort of, I suppose) and failed. (I wonder if he really tried?) The (newly renamed) Federal Trump/Trade Commission rules for the fringe players (enabled to exist and grow by using all that expensive infrastructure more or less for free) are fairly loose. Now the same rules, if and when Trump signs the bill, will turn all ISPs loose. Seriously, it would have been better if the FTC's rules had mimicked the old FCC rules. Maybe safer for you and me; but better for all our businesses.
Might be time to do some serious navel gazing and thinking about what's right and wrong.
Its coming! (Or not.) Comcast OTT nationwide. They can do it! (Maybe.) In the meantime, Comcast is seriously smart to do a mini-OTT tier. After all, they've already got all of the local TV station deals. It's a no-brainer. Seriously, the biggest vertically integrated player is doing some seriously smart things. Pay close attention. I assure you, AT&T, Charter and Verizon are doing so.
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