Forget about the NSA and the phone networks. There's another secret network you should know about. I call it "special excess," though it's known in the telecom industry as "special access." You won't hear about these secret wires.
I just saw no reason for that cringe factor from purists whatsoever. There was also no jingoism. The Panama fans mixed comfortably among the crowd. Isn't it nice to see a collection of patriotically dressed people who are actually pleasant to foreigners?
The incumbent phone companies were supposed to compete with each other for wireline/broadband services as each merger to make these companies larger was based on commitments to compete out of region. Now it's all one, big, happy family.
AT&T, with the help of Verizon and the cable companies have 'captured' the FCC -- and have been able to get the federal agency to create and shape a working group designed specifically to remove all regulations and obligations.
For the last 20 years, the nation's major telecom companies have been playing the public and regulatory officials for fools. Now they're claiming they shouldn't be obliged to provide affordable landline service to everyone anymore, as they take the money and run to wireless.
With the vast majority of Americans greatly overpaying for slow and unreliable broadband compared to connections in Europe and Asia, hundreds of communities have started building their own networks. And the industry is fighting back.