Archive for Friday, July 27, 2001

No monopoly

July 27, 2001


To the editor:

In last Saturday's Public Forum column, Mr. Jerry Talbert expressed the view that the owners of the Journal-World have or are creating a media monopoly in and around Lawrence. I beg to differ on two counts.

First, we have morning home delivery of papers from Topeka, Kansas City and New York City (The N.Y. Times and the Wall Street Journal). Pitch Weekly and couple of other alternative papers are also popular with some.

If one does not like Sunflower Cable/Broadband, it is easy to erect an antenna to get a dozen stations or install a satellite receiver from one of the local vendors and get over 100 stations. My FM radio picks up dozens of stations from Kansas City to Topeka. In terms of the true giant near-monolopies in the mass media field, like Time-Warner and Rupert Murdoch's empire, the Journal-World is a medium-sized family-owned business.

Second, it is the current local phone service provider, Southwestern Bell, that has the monolopy. That is why they can charge 12 cents per minute to call Olathe while my overseas provider (IDT) only charges 10 cents a minute to call London or 12 cents per minute to call Berlin. AT&T; and MCI have similar high charges.

I had nothing but trouble trying to use my phone line for my computer. Switching to Sunflower eliminated all my disconnect problems while increasing the speed of data transmission. Southwestern Bell has had months, if not years, to offer broadband service to consumers in Lawrence and elsewhere; but they have done nothing. They seem interested in additional acquisitions and mergers, not good service. I'm delighted that Sunflower will give them some much deserved competition. Given a chance I'll be the first one to sign up for their new phone service.

Incidentally, we can blame the regulators for the fact that in-state calls cost more per minute that out-of-state calls; and for the fact that AT&T;, MCI, Sprint and Southwestern Bell can raise rates without notice to customers, just as long as they have approval of federal authorities.

Graham Kreicker,


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