Net Neutrality Warning: The Digital Ernestine, Phone Operator

Lily Tomlin’s comedic, yet chilling portrayal of Ernestine, a phone company operator, from Rowan & Martin’s TV show, Laugh-In, 1965, makes it clear just how far we are about to fall. (I paraphrase some of the lines.)

Ernestine calls someone to collect money on three calls they claim they did not make.

When she asks when The Phone Company will get paid, she says: “I don’t know why you’re kicking up such a ruckus? Your current bank balance, stocks, securities and holdings amount to three hundred and…”

The customer says something.

Ernestine responds: “What? Privileged information? Oh, you’re so cute. Oh, no, you are dealing with The Phone Company.”

We argue that there are now two paths: (Previous article: Sue the FCC: Break Up Verizon & AT&T)

  • The time for simple solutions and leaving it up to the FCC is long past. Breaking up AT&T and Verizon solves Net Neutrality and privacy concerns, supplies funding for network upgrades, brings back competition and lower rates.
  • The FCC’s plan condemns a large part of America to a wireless smart phone with 10Mbps down, 1Mbps up – and allows the phone and cable companies to track you and even sell information about you, and charge you extra because there is no competition—They are The Phone (and Cable) Company.

We broke up AT&T in 1984 for its controls over America’s communications. Now we have a tight gang of companies that have taken over… again.

Repeat after me: It is time to: Sue the FCC: Break Up Verizon & AT&T)

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