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Net Neutrality

Grandfather of the Internet speaks against Net Neutrality

Dave Farber, the Grandfather of the Internet recently posted a net neutrality white paper that concludes net neutrality threatens to restrict a wide range of innovation services and does not meet consumer needs. The document is the work of computer science, economics and law scholars assembled by the Wharton School to provide unbiased analysis of network neutrality.  

Ironically, Vint Cerf, Chief Internet Evangelist for Google and outspoken network neutrality advocate was Faber’s student.

NN Presidential Politics?

I really enjoyed this New York sun article on Clinton, Other Hopefuls Reach For Netroots
URL: http://www.nysun.com/article/34792 .  It appears that NN is the politically expedient position for democratic political candidates who want and need to raise beaucoup bucks from the Internet. The old adage is true, if you want honey don't kick the beehive.

NN clearly is not a "New Democrat" position. Sad the Democratic Presidential candidates are going back to Old Democrat ways, but that is typical of the pre-primary cycle.

My NPR Morning Edition Commentary on Net Neutrality

This morning, NPR Morning Edition featured my commentary on Net Neutrality. In the segment, I reveal the special interests behind proposed net neutrality legislation and discuss how network neutrality is really a choice between a government controlled socialized Internet and a market driven system.

Tomorrow, NPR will feature a commentary from Craigslist founder, Craig Newmark.

You can listen to my commentary on NPR at:
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5504400

Important questions for Senator Clinton on NN

Senator Hilary Clinton is now lobbying her colleagues in the Senate to join in co-sponsoring the Clinton-Snowe-Dorgan Net Neutrality bill: http://www.hillaryclinton.com/email/20060620/

As the most likely Democratic nominee for President in 2008, it is relevant to ask:

  • Does Senator Clinton have a vision for a “Socialized-Internet” like the socialized-medicine vision she championed while being health-care-reform czar in her Husband’s Administration?

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."

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Q&A One Pager Debunking Net Neutrality Myths