Submitted by Scott Cleland on Mon, 2006-10-02 12:20
I am pleased that critics are reading my latest one-pager on why broadband competition will flourish but not surprised that some of the critics are unmoved. One of my critics at Democraticmedia.org, Jeff Chester, blogs that I have drunk too much cable-telco kool-aid.
Jeff, I have known you for many years and its fair to say that you and I approach the same set of facts from very different perspectives and world views. You have been a big proponent of heavy government restrictions on business in media and communications and a big skeptic on the value of competition policy. I have been a big proponent of the opposite. We have shared common ground in the past and could in the future over opposition to genuine monopoly power that is unaffected by competition; however that is not the broadband world we live in today.
Submitted by Scott Cleland on Fri, 2006-09-29 11:59
In reading the FCC's Press release on the state of competitiveness in the wireless industry, it is obvious that wireless is a competitive industry. Prices fell 22% during 2005 alone from 9 cents a minute to 7 cents. The number of subscribers increased from 185m to 213m. In addition, JD Power reported wireless service quality increased.
Submitted by Scott Cleland on Fri, 2006-09-29 11:25
The Chairman's summary paragraph is powerful evidence of why the push for net neutrality to be applied to wireless service is so misguided and oblivious to the facts of the marketplace:
"Competition among mobile carriers has lowered the price consumers pay pay for mobile telephone service, stimulating rapid subscriber growth and greater usage of mobile phones. Competition has also encouragd mobile telephone carriers to improve service quality and to begin deploying significantly faster broadband technologies on their networks. The results demonstrate how a competitive marketplace -- rather than economic regulation -- provides the greatest benefits to the American consumer."
Submitted by Scott Cleland on Fri, 2006-09-29 09:01
Unfounded pessimism and fear about the future of broadband competition is behind the call for net neutrality. I have released the third one-pager in my series: "Debunking the "Broadband Competition Can't Work" Myth. This analysis is an excellent companion piece to the previous piece in the series Debunking the "Broadband Market Failure" Myth.
Submitted by Scott Cleland on Wed, 2006-09-27 08:52
With all due respect to Craig Newmark of Craigs List, I had to challenge his one sided and twisted characterization of Net Neutrality "fairness" in his Philadelphia Inquirer Op Ed a couple of weeks ago.
Craig and I have debated through commentary on National Public Radio and I respect his sincerity but disagree wholeheartedly with his point of view.
Submitted by Scott Cleland on Mon, 2006-09-25 15:59
I wanted to highlight a new academic study that argues that net neutrality could be harmful to consumers, produced by none other than the University of California Berkley's Business School which is well-known for its close ties to Silicon Valley. I guess everyone in the Valley did not get the "memo" so some of its top academics are doing some free and open thinking about Net Neutrality and its potential impacts on consumers.
The academic study is entitled: The Economics of Product line Restrictions with and Application to the Net Neutrality Debate." I know and respect one of the study's authors, Micahel Katz from when he did this type of analyisis very ably in the real world of evaluating competition at the FCC as their Chief Economist and as a Senior official in the Department of Justice Antitrust Division. His analysis will carry weight with substantive folk that matter because of his outstanding and relevant experience and perspective.
Submitted by Scott Cleland on Fri, 2006-09-22 17:54
Industry proponents of Net neutrality come almost exclusively from the tech sector, where there is a well known "first mover advantage" that tends to create "highly concentrated markets" -- if one narrowly defines them like the neutr-elitists do for broadband.
Interestingly, the tech sector doesn't call for legislation to regulate their own highly concentrated tech markets. Let's review tech markets with their newfound and self-serving definition of market failure, as a market where most of the share is held by two players:
What about the software operating system market? We'll be kind and say Apple makes it a duopoly by tech's definition.
Submitted by Scott Cleland on Thu, 2006-09-21 17:46
I have to give National Journal's Tech daily and Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Ted Stevens (R-AK) the quote of the week award. In talking to reporters today after a brief visit to the PFF luncheon I attended today, Chairman Stevens had this to say about the Net neutrality supporters:
"There's no way you can appease the people" that support net neutrality, he said. "It's a fetish -- it's really something that doesn't exist. But they want to stop this bill because it might exist."
Submitted by Scott Cleland on Wed, 2006-09-20 14:15
The recent high tech letter to Senate leaders against net neutrality is very helpful because it shows that many Silicon Valley and high tech companies also oppose preemptive net neutrality legislation.
This letter had a simple clear message: that no Internet regulation has been key to the Internet's success; that "correcting a nebulous concern many have severe unintended consequences"; and that net neutrality legislation could discourage investment in broadband networks.
Submitted by Scott Cleland on Wed, 2006-09-20 11:33
My previous blog on how the "FCC auction seeds more competition," apparently rankled our opponents over at Public Knowledge who see a dark cloud on every competitive horizon. Harold Feld of Public Knowledge derisively spat all over the auction results in his blog because the new DBS consortium was outbid, it strengthened the existing four big telco wireless players and it let cable bid for spectrum.
This clash of views is instructive because it highlights the huge philosophical divide between netcompetition forces and net neutrality proponents. Netcompetition-ers believe market forces/competition produce superior consumer and economic benefit than regulation does.