Seeing through SaveTheInternet's slick new manifesto

I just read SaveTheInternet’s new manifesto – “The Internet Freedom Declaration of 2007� and I'm sure it's going to be the main topic of conversation in Memphis this weekend at the NCMR.

On the surface it, I must commend the improved choice of language and the tone, it is a much more thoughtful and less strident policy statement than this group has produced before. It’s certainly easier on the ears, even if it isn’t to the trained eye.

  • I also welcome their obviously reluctant and pragmatic embrace of some conservative and free market language to try and smooth some of the “Big Governmentâ€? rough edges that were out of step with mainstream America.
  • What will be interesting to learn over time, is if this is just pragmatic spin and positioning, or have these traditional anti-business groups actually seen the light that freedom and market choices aren’t such horrible ideas after all? Hope springs eternal.

That said, lets get down to brass tacks.

NN demoted to second amendment status!

The most interesting part of the new manifesto is that when this group had to rank “net neutrality� relative to its other Internet priorities or “Internet rights�, net neutrality was not first, but was effectively demoted to “second� amendment status. (Forget last years rhetoric.. as just rhetoric.)

What's the problem? 1516 days without a net neutrality mandate

To commemorate the "Seinfeld-ian" aspect of "net neutrality being a show about nothing," has introduced a prominent, "What's the Problem?" daily ticker on the site.

  • It displays how many days it has been since net neutrality supporters claimed that there was a problem and that there has been no net neutrality mandate.*
  • The point is clear: there is no problem here. The Internet isn't broken and it doesn't need fixing.
    • There is no consumer harm.
      • Prices are falling.
      • Consumer choice and speeds are increasing.
      • Adoption, investment and deployment are healthy.
      • There is an explosion of new products/services and innovation.

It has been 1,516 days or over four years, since the term "net neutrality" was first used publicly and that there has been no net neutrality mandate.

  • In other words, for a long time, net neutrality proponents have been running around like "Chicken Little" screaming the "Internet sky is falling, the Internet sky is falling" and they can't point to a problem or provide any substantive evidence of it.
  • Let me quote FTC Chairman Deborah Majoras:
    • "...thus far proponents of net neutrality have not come to us to explain where the market is failing or what anti-competitive conduct we should challenge; we are open to hearing from them."

*Professor Lawrence Lessig is credited with making up the term "net neutrality". Its a clever, but vacuous term that has caught on.

Why Dorgan-Snowe is all about politics and not real Internet Policy

There are several telling indications that net neutrality remains a political and partisan issue and is not a serious legislative/policy issue or industry problem.


First, the only change in the Senate net neutrality bill just introduced, was to change its name from Snowe-Dorgan to Dorgan-Snowe to reflect the new Democratic changeover of Congress. Other than that, the actual bill language is identical to last year’s bill -- according to Senator Dorgan’s spokesperson and my review of the two bills.

Second, isn’t it very telling that the sponsors have learned nothing, let me repeat nothing, since they introduced their bill eight months ago that might have made their bill better or attracted more consensus?

Is Bill Gates distancing Microsoft further from ItsOurNet's Net neutrality position?

Listening to Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates, in a podcast interview with Richard Scoble at the CES show, Microsoft clearly is no longer singing from the ItsOurNet hymnal on net neutrality.

  • This has to be disconcerting to the ItsOurNet coalition coming on the heels of Microsoft leaving the ItsOurNet coalition during the FCCs’ review of the AT&T-Bell South merger.

When Microsoft withdrew its support and funding from ItsOurNet in the late fall, it indicated that it intended to rejoin ItsOurNet after the merger review was complete.

  • Well it’s been 12 days since the FCC approved the merger… and Microsoft has yet to rejoin ItsOurNet…
  • It may turn out to be wishful thinking on my part that Microsoft has indeed reconsidered its position on net neutrality.

Whether or not Microsoft stays out of ItsOurNet or not, it is clear from this podcast interview that the head of Microsoft does not agree with the standard ItsOurNet line on NN

What do Seinfeld and Net Neutrality have in common?

Both Seinfeld and net neutrality are shows about nothing.

No problem.

No harm.


Isn't America great that you can make something out of nothing?

CES proves innovation is flourishing WITHOUT any NN legislation

If one only listened to net neutrality proponents, one would conclude that American innovation was at death’s door, because there was no “net neutrality� in law.


  • The reality, which is obvious to anyone with functioning eyes or ears at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week, is that innovation in the American market is exceptionally vibrant!
  • As a result of the consumer electronics show this week, you can’t go to a web news service or look at any major newspaper or magazine and not see stories on the new innovations leveraging connectivity.
  • Innovation and competition are obviously extremely healthy without net neutrality legislation.   

Where is the evidence of the horrible discrimination problem the government must fix immediately? There is none!

Push for wireless net neutrality shows how hyper-regulatory NN proponents are

Net neutrality proponents are trying to make hay and promote net neutrality by saying that the application of NN to WiMax fixed wireless in one of the FCC's AT&T merger conditions amounts to breaking the wireless barrier.

A little fact check and history lesson is in order to douse this silliness.

Wireless is obviously competitive; everyone who turns on a TV or reads a newspaper and sees the blizzard of ads knows it is very competitive. The lame "duopoly" argument is a joke when applied to wireless, noone will take it seriously.

  • It is also important to note that since Congress passed a wireless competition law in 1993, wireless has not been subject to any net-nutrality-like regulation. Let me restate the import of this: the 210 million Americans with cell phones have never had net neutrality and have done just fine. No problem here, just hyper-regulatory over-reaching based on ideology and not facts, logic, good policy or common sense.

Wifi is free and has never been subject to net neutrality. The U.S. has more  WiFi hotspots than any other country. What is the problem here that needs to be fixed?

The FCC condition extending NN to WiMax, a nascent technology with miniscule market share to date, is not a big deal, becuase it is no "principle." AT&T is also forced to divest WiMax spectrum and that WiMax spectrum won't be subject to NN.  Some principle!

The attempt to lasso wireless into NN would be laughable if its dire unintended consequences were not so serious. Has anyone heard the phrase: "if it ain't broke don't fix it?"

Correction: Wrong first name transcribed in WSJ quote on Microsoft explorer post

In my recent blog post, "Why Microsoft's new Internet 7 explorer browser discriminates against small business" I mistakenly used the incorrect first name in my transcription of a Wall Street Journal quote. The quote should have been attributed to "Greg" Waldron (not "Gerry"), of the Waldron company  Greg Waldron is founder of a company which is an online provider of water fountains. Precursorbog regrets the error.

Corporate welfare for dotcom billionaires continues in SEC fee proposal issue

Google, Yahoo, and IAC, big pushers of net neutrality corporate welfare, have expanded their effort to eat at the public trough again. See the Wall Street Journal article of today "SEC reviewing Its Data Fee Ruling". 

The super profitable online giants actually have the gall of claiming that paying fees for real-time stock exchange quotes is "beyond the economic reach of an advertising medium like the Internet." Unbelievable! Google is basically printing money with the advertising medium on the Internet! Shouldn't we all throw some coins in Google's platinum "tin cup" to show our concern?

They continue their poor man charade by whining that: "many millions of public investors who access their web sites daily will be injured by the unreasonable fees permitted by the staff's approval of the rule change." Please. These dotcom billionaires can afford to pay normal cost of doinh interstate commerce without passing on the cost to consumers. If they had more competition they wouldn't even consider trying to claim they can pass this on to consumers. But like net neutrality, anytime there is a chance of the online giants costs going up and reducing the online giants huge profits, they run to Washington and ask for corporate welfare. Doesn't everyone understand, its Google's inalienable right for the government to protect Google's extraordinary profitability!

In due time, people will see through the online giants self-serving Washington behavior and have no sympathy for this outrageous behavior. What's really funny is that these people are so clueless to be lobbying for this corporate welfare just when the Democrats are taking over the House and making lobbying reform and ethics a top agenda priority. Doesn't anyone else see the irony?

NYT net neutrality editorial is devoid of any rigor or intellectual balance

The New York Times obviously felt compelled to write a counter editorial to the Wall Street Journal’s three recent blistering editorials against net neutrality.

The NYT apparently just dusted off their simplistic editorial of last year and updated it with a phone call to a person or two.

They are still rehashing the ignorant claim that broadband companies are trying to create a “two tiered Internet.� If the NYT had any awareness of this issue at all, they would know that argument is factually wrong and that informed NN proponents no longer try to make that silly and ignorant argument. The facts are that the Internet has long been multi-tiered. There is dial up Internet access tier and multiple speed/price tiers of broadband Internet access. The Internet backbone since its commercial inception has had three different tiers based on the reach of the peering network.

The editorial also trots out the nonsense that without net neutrality innovation would be threatened and small companies could not afford the fees and “the next eBay or Google might never be born.� Hello? Is it the new policy of the NYT that the government should subsidize “garage� entrepreneurs Internet access bills? Does the NYT think really think any entrepreneur worth their salt can’t afford or can’t raise funding to pay $15-40 a month for broadband access?


Q&A One Pager Debunking Net Neutrality Myths