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My dead serious rebuttal to CNET Wood's last criticism, CNET thread #10

Below is my last rebuttal to the flaming by CNET Editor Molly Wood of my NPR Morning Edition commentary on NN. I take her to task for dismissing the reality of unintended consequences and for being uninformed and anti-business.

 

My dead serious straight-faced rebuttal to your last point.

 

Molly, your snide conclusion to your Cleland-bashing of my NPR Morning Edition commentary on Net Neutrality first exposes that you have very little appreciation of the unintended consequences of government intervention, and second that you either have little grasp of business and the sector or you are deeply anti-business.

 

First, unintended consequences: Let me quote your barrage: “Wow when your back is to the wall, there’s only one safe place to go: higher taxes and less privacy. I’ll cheerfully dismiss both of those claims not only as specious but outright balderdash. I can’t believe Scott Cleland could say them with a straight face.”

 

I say them with a dead serious straight-face.

 

If you regulate away all the business opportunity from broadband providers by mandating that all their services have to be the same, you kneecap their ability to differentiate and compete and you obliterate the opportunity for anyone to want to invest in a broadband company or broadband infrastructure. Infrastructure investment is a deadly serious matter. It is key to maintaining economic growth, job creation, productivity and international competitiveness. Maybe in pundit land you don’t have to understand that companies have to earn a return on investment and that their revenues must exceed their costs. If NN legislation eliminates the incentive for companies to invest tens in billions in dollars to upgrade the Internet to handle mainstream video -- everyone loses. That is where higher taxes come in. Do you think after the NN legislation stopped private investment the government would not consider stepping in? And the new regulators in chief would not look to fees and taxes to pursue their NN industrial policy? Or are you so naïve to think that the regulators would raise regulated rates?  

 

I also raise the issue of privacy with a dead serious face. How do you think the government would know if bits were being discriminated against? Would you take every accusation at face value and not check and investigate the facts? Investigating and proving bit discrimination would take a pretty deep dive into a lot of people’s bits. Why? Because if you are alleging bit discrimination you have to have benchmarked data of traffic that was not discriminated against to compare to what is alleged to be discriminated against. You have no clue what the implications of this type of regulatory inquiry can lead to and what the legal discovery process entails.

 

I’ll bet you were not a fan of the NSA’s surveillance of phone records. And you want the government to become the bit-equality police? Do you really want the government collecting or able to collect mountains of private data on private Americans because their traffic is unequal? Re-read Snowe Dorgan. If you are a “person” that has home WiFi, Snowe-Dorgan defines you as a broadband Service provider. (s.2917 section 12(g)(3)) Snowe-Dorgan, under the perverse title of “Internet Freedom Preservation” potentially regulates tens of millions of Americans, personally, like they regulate a local telco. Do you really mean to dismiss the concern of “less privacy” as balderdash? Again, you are out of your depth.    

 

Second, on your lack of business understanding or distrust of business: You conclude your uniformed barrage at my commentary, with a conclusion that illuminates your deep distrust of the marketplace’s ability to serve consumers. I quote you: “Because make no mistake, no matter who wins this fight, we’ll end up paying more.” This conclusion drips with contempt for business and the free market.

 

From CNET of all places, you have the audacity to say no matter who wins this fight, we’ll end up paying more”? Where have you been the last ten years? Do you even read CNET? Show me a tech or telecom market where the core price is going up. Not where people pay more because they have chosen to buy more quantity, add features or more content. Check out the price of a server, a PC, a laptop, a PDA, a phone, a switch, a router, a DSL modem, a cable modem, a DVR, a TV, a set-top box, -- all have been going down, down down! Check out the price for voice service, for wireless minutes, for long distance minutes, for bandwidth, for broadband, for video per channel, need I go on? Competition is working! Supply is exploding. Choices are increasing. Innovation is flourishing. Prices are falling. And you have the gall to strongly imply that no matter what happens, the consumer will get screwed, because in your mind the consumer always gets screwed. The last decade of an unregulated Internet has been a consumer benefit-fest!

 

Let me be frank CNET Executive Editor Wood. You are either relatively clueless about business and what’s happening in the techcom marketplace, or you have such a deep-seated distrust of business and the profit motive that no amount of facts or arguments matter.    

Q&A One Pager Debunking Net Neutrality Myths