I wasn't expecting the good folks at RedState to endorse open networks. But RedState's Neil Stevens threw me for a loop with this one:
[Open network regulations are bad because] [w]ealth will be redistributed, as cash-rich, massive market valued Internet firms will bully and get a free ride on capital-intensive, smaller market valued telecommunications firms.
Ah yes, let's hope gritty upstart AT&T can survive this. Anyway, I was brave enough to click the link, which led me to his previous post explaining why AT&T is actually David fighting Goliath:
“Amazon.com, EBay, Google, Intel, Microsoft, Facebook, Skype, and Yahoo” are all on their side. Some of those are small companies, but . . . Microsoft’s market capitalization stands at over 220 billion dollars today, and Intel’s at half that, $106 billion. The big, bad AT&T itself is only worth $1.2 billion, or about half of one percent of Microsoft.
I'm not exactly an expert, but I do have Google. And Google tells me you measure market capitalization (i.e., value of equity) by multiplying the number of outstanding shares by share price. For AT&T, that gets you $153 billion (or $146 billion after you subtract their cash).
As you probably recognize, $146 billion is bigger than $1.2 billion. He was close though -- just off by a factor of 121.
And if you really want to determine the value of AT&T, you should also factor in its $76 billion of debt. That brings you to around $222 billion.
The point is that AT&T is an enormously large and powerful company under any metric you choose (revenues, market cap, etc.). Stevens, however, is treating it like a new startup company.
More broadly, his argument that a bunch of rich Internet companies are fighting for open networks isn't really true. Internet companies aren't exactly doing the heavy lifting anyway. Public interest organizations like Free Press are.
And with the exception of Google, most of the companies actually doing some real work aren't that big. Microsoft, by contrast, has been virtually useless in this fight. You'll notice that it's not on the CEO letter that went out earlier this week supporting open networks.
In any event, essentially nothing is correct in either of Stevens' posts. They are entertaining though. "Single Payer Internet" is a keeper.