Munis in NN Crosshairs?

Today's WSJ had a very interesting article on how municipalities are seeking to offer free city-wide WiFi broandband servce to their residents paid for by advertising. Hello? It appears as if municipalities around the country have not connected-the-dots of the Snowe-Dorgan NN bill could effectively outlaw that business model in serving consumers becuase it would be discriminatory. Municipalities might consider weighing in on Snowe-Dorgan so the hand of BIG GOVERNMENT does not ban their nascent innovative efforts.

The Snowe-Dorgan bill is so breath-takingly indiscriminate and sweepingly hyper-regulatory that it regulates anything remotely broadband. First, in a fit of hubris, Snowe-Dorgan, even legally defines the word "user" for the first time, which even the hyper-regulatory House Markey Bill did not deem necessary! Why are they defining "users" unless they want to regulate them too? 

Eleven years of legal uncertainty!

One of the biggest reasons NN would be a disaster to implement is that no one can define it --meaning it would be left to the courts to do so -- which can take eleven years! Late last week the DC Court of Appeals finally upheld for the first time the FCC's unbundling rules stemming from the 1996 Telecom Act. It took the FCC four attempts over eleven years to craft rules implementing the 1996 Telecom Act's unbundling rules.

Why is this a big issue for NN? First the House Markey and Snowe-Dorgan bills were drafted very similarly to the section 251 of the Telecom Act, which created so much legal uncertainty.

New Senate NN Draft

I am encouraged Chairman Stevens new third draft has focused on a consumer-oriented net neutrality compromise more in line with the light touch in the House approach. The ecommerce giants have consistently pushed for a producer-oriented approach which is designed to protect themselves from more competition while doing little for the consumer. Chairman Stevens gets it.

My view continues to be that the legislation should not mention net nuetrality at all becuase any mention of it leaves future heavy handed regulators an opening for Big Govenment regulation and micromanagment of the Internet.

Knowledge and merits prevail

I organized netcompetition.org on the belief and premise that as people learned more about the merits of the net neutrality debate, people would become increasingly turned off to the pro-net neutrality position. The thoughtful and informed policymaker and American is our best friend.  

I have enjoyed seeing the steady back pedaling of net neutrality proponents as they have to abandon many of the more lame and false assertions they shouted from the rooftops earlier in the debate: for example they have had to concede: that the net isn't neutral now and never has been (i.e. Akami, spam and vrus filters, etc.); that networks must have the right to manage their networks (because arguing otherwise proved unreasonable and anti-quality of service); that the public Internet has always tiered both on the backbone and for access (with the slow lane of dial-up used by 35 million and the fast lane of broadband for used by another 37 million Americans); that net neutrality was in fact not universal in the U.S. as claimed (they since learned that NN hasn't applied to wireless since 1993, and never has applied to cable broadband or WiFi.); and that there are not lots of examples of problems (having to reach into Canada to find more than one example). 

Net Neutrality: What's at stake - for the Internet, Politics and Consumers

This morning I am speaking at a conference on Net Neutrality: What’s at stake – for the Internet, Politics and Consumers hosted by the Institute for Politics, Democracy & the Internet.

Other panelists include:

  • Michael Schooler, Deputy General council, NCTA,
  • Ben Scott, Policy Director, Free Press
  • Danny Weitzner, Principal Research scientist, MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab
  • Leslie Harris, executive Director, Center for Democracy and Technology will be moderating.

 

WCA Joins NETCompetition.org to Protect Innovation from 'Net Neutrality' Regulation

The Wireless Communications Association International (WCA) announced today that it has joined NetCompetition.org -- an e-forum to promote a debate on the merits of net neutrality regulation.
 
"With spectrum a scarce and expensive resource, it is imperative that wireless broadband providers remain free to manage their own networks" commented WCA President Andrew Kreig. "Net neutrality regulation would discourage innovation and investment in more competitive broadband choices to all Americans. Our member companies are investing heavily in WiMAX or other ‘4G’ types of next generation broadband competitive alternatives. Our companies are part of the competitive solution, not part of the regulatory problem."

e-Mob "Justice?"

The net neutrality movement has sadly lost its way. Well intentioned at the start, it has morphed into an angry e-mob with digital pitchforks bent on inflaming Internet users with unsubstantiated fearmongering and inciting fear-blinded e-mob "justice." The neutrality-ites have demonized broadband carriers without evidence, spread unsubstantiated rumors bordering on slander  itsournet.com savetheinternet.com and basically have appointed themselves the Internet's judge, jury and executioner.  

This is the opposition?

"I don't know anything" 
"These people are bad people"
"I like winning" 
"Vilifying Mike McCurry is really important"

These quotes are taken straight from Matt Stoller's speech on net neutrality at this past weekend's Yearly Kos convention in Vegas. Don't believe me? Check out the video.

So Matt's has been blogging nearly every day on an issue that he openly admits he doesn't understand all in the hopes of scoring political points and mobilizing the Democratic base. Why even bother with a debate focused on the issues, when the other side just wants to "vilify" and "win".

Google and a level playing field?

In Eric Schmidt's letter to Google's AdWords customers last week, he talked about the need for a level playing field for all online competitors, and looking out for small and medium sized businesses. Yeah right. As long as those businesses aren't competing with Google! 
 
Does Google really want a level playing field? Doesn't seem that way, especially when you read today's article in the New York Times.

The WSJ and A "Socialized Internet"

If you picked it up yet, check out today's B1 of the Wall Street Journal article, "Not So Neutral." 

Catch coverage of the debate, including a discussion of our net neutrality video in the article.  If you haven't seen the video, you can watch it on the home page of NETCompetition.org.

Tell your friends, everyone should see this video!

 

 

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Q&A One Pager Debunking Net Neutrality Myths