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FCC Is Already Chilling Smart Network Innovation

The most basic smart network innovation and obviously reasonable network management is already being chilled by the FCC's expected absolute ban on any Internet traffic prioritization.

  • Light Reading reports: "Cox shuts down Net Congestion Tests"
    • "Cox launched the trials in February, testing out a system developed internally that puts traffic into "time-sensitive" (e.g., Web pages, voice calls, streaming video), and "non-time-sensitive" (e.g., file uploads, peer-to-peer, and Usenet) buckets. As designed, the congestion management system temporarily delays upstream, non-time-sensitive traffic whenever network congestion is detected. Cox, which limited the test to residential high-speed Internet subs, insisted that any delays were on the order of seconds or subseconds -- not enough for customers to really notice."  
  • Multichannel News reports: "Cox Wraps Internet Congestion Management Test -- Operator Plans to Submit findings to FCC as Part of Network Neutrality Rulemaking Process"
    • "...the operator is no longer managing traffic based on application type in Kansas/Arkansas and has no plans to deploy the congestion-management system right now."

Who thinks it is not "smart" or "reasonable" to prioritize time-sensitive traffic over non-time-sensitive traffic? 

10 questions for those questioning if competition policy works

Both the FCC and FTC Chairmen appear to be suggesting that the current fifteen-year competition policy experiment in law to promote competition and reduce regulation in communications will ultimately fail -- requiring new preemptive common-carrier-like nondiscrimination regulation of ISPs to preserve a free and open Internet.     

  • In his September 21st speech, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski's first reason justifying the need for preemptive new FCC net neutrality regulations was limited ISP competition:
    • "One reason has to do with limited competition among service providers. As American consumers make the shift from dial-up to broadband, their choice of providers has narrowed substantially. I don’t intend that remark as a policy conclusion or criticism -- it is simply a fact about today’s marketplace that we must acknowledge and incorporate into our policymaking." 
  • FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz, in a 10-4-09 letter to the editor of the Washington Post in response to the Post's editorial, "The FCC's Heavy Hand," said:

Read Swanson's great WSJ op-ed: "Google and the problem with net neutrality"

Bret Swanson of Entropy Economics penned another great op-ed on net neutrality today entitled: "Google and the problem with net neutrality: Broadband has been a rare bright spot in the economy. Why discourage investment?" 

My favorite point Bret made was pointing out all of the investment, innovation and competitive benefits that have occured since net neutrality supporters have said there was a problem requiring regulation circa 2004. 

  • Not only have net neutrality supporters not been able to find credible evidence of an industry pattern of anti-competitive problems over the last five years, they also are ignoring all the competitive gains and benefits that have occurred over the last five years as well. 

Facts matter and facts are not the friends of net neutrality proponents.    

Great pearls of wisdom from the Internet's "grandfather" -- Farber-Faulhaber paper on wireless innovation

If you are interested in learning great "pearls of wisdom" based on expansive experience and clarity-of-thought on the question of wireless innovation, and proposed Internet regulation of wireless innovation, please read the Farber-Faulhaber white paper; at a minimum, please read the many wonderful highlights that I have pulled out of the paper for you below.

Professor Dave Farber, a widely respected Internet pioneer who has been called the "grandfather of the Internet" for his contributions to computer science, and a former Chief Technologist for the FCC, co-authored an important white paper with Professor Faulhaber for the FCC's Wireless innovation Notice of Inquiry.

Highlights from this outstanding paper:

Broadband competition is not "limited"

The leading justification offered by FCC Chairman Genachowski in his "Open Internet" speech announcing his intention to pursue formal net neutrality regulations was that "limited competition" was "simply a fact."

A fair review of the facts shows that broadband competition is anything but limited, it is actually robust, dynamic, and increasing in intensity.

  • The problem comes from a choice to assume a static and pessimistic view the competition glass as half empty, because it is not perfect.
  • This is not a fair representation of the broadband competitive situation because the core markets involved were originally price regulated monopolies but now are increasingly-dynamic, fiercely competitive markets where literally many tens of millions of Americans have taken advantage of available competitive choices.

I would like to highlight some important and illuminating competitive facts presented in an outstanding post by Link Hoewing over at Verizon's Policyblog:  

The Many Vulnerabilities of an Open Internet

What an "Open Internet" does not mean is as important as what it does mean.

  • Surely an "Open Internet" is not intended to mean what it certainly can mean: un-protected, unguarded, or vulnerable to attack. 

  • Thus, it is essential for the FCC to be explicit in defining what the terms -- "Open Internet," "net neutrality," and Internet non-discrimination -- don't mean, as well as what they do mean.

The word "open" has 88 different definitions per and the word "open" has even more different connotations depending on the context. While the term "open" generally has a positive connotation to mean un-restricted, accessible and available, it can also have a negative or problematic connotation if it means unprotected, unguarded or vulnerable to attack.  

    Kudos to an Insightful Post on Innovation/Internet's Evolution

    Kudos to Link Hoewing's insightful post on "The Internet's Evolution and Network Management" on Verizon's Policy Blog.  

    • Its an important analysis and perspective for anyone wanting to understand how FCC regulation of the Internet and network management could negatively and seriously harm innovation and the Internet's natural evolution.

    Taking one's business elsewhere -- what a concept! TechCrunch's Arrington proves competition works

    Sometimes the simplest solution can somehow elude people for a period of time.

    • After long pushing hard for net neutrality legislation and wireless net neutrality regulation, TechCrunch's Michael Arrington, finally had an epiphany and figured out that he could become a fully satisfied consumer by simply choosing to take his business elsewhere -- from the AT&T Apple iPhone to the T-Mobile Google Android mytouch 3G phone. 

    Competitive differentiated choice -- what a concept -- why didn't anyone think of this before?

    • Consumers that value and want different things... can shop around and find what they want from different providers.
    • Amazing. People don't have to lobby Congress, petition the FCC, or instigate an antitrust review -- they can simply vote with their feet and take their business to a provider that sells what they want.
    • And even better with this competitive choice thingy going on, if a consumer decides they want something new or different in the future they can get it without having to wait for the government to figure out whether or not  they should force all providers to provide it.

    Mr. Arrington's epiphany -- that robust wireless and broadband competition not only exists, but actually works very well -- is a powerful reminder that the first and best solution for consumers is not regulation, but to simply to choose to take their business elsewhere. 


    Q&A One Pager Debunking Net Neutrality Myths