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Submitted by Scott Cleland on Wed, 2007-01-10 17:50
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 yearâ€™s bill -- according to Senator Dorganâ€™s spokesperson and my review of the two bills.
Second, isnâ€™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?
Submitted by Scott Cleland on Wed, 2007-01-10 09:46
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.
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.
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.
Submitted by Scott Cleland on Wed, 2007-01-10 09:08
Both Seinfeld and net neutrality are shows about nothing.
Isn't America great that you can make something out of nothing?
Submitted by Scott Cleland on Mon, 2007-01-08 22:44
If one only listened to net neutrality proponents, one would conclude that American innovation was at deathâ€™s door, because there was no â€œnet neutralityâ€? in law.
Where is the evidence of the horrible discrimination problem the government must fix immediately? There is none!
Submitted by Scott Cleland on Fri, 2007-01-05 10:40
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.
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?"
Submitted by Scott Cleland on Fri, 2007-01-05 08:41
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 http://thewaldroncompany.com/index.html. Greg Waldron is founder of a company which is an online provider of water fountains. Precursorbog regrets the error.
Submitted by Scott Cleland on Thu, 2007-01-04 08:59
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?
Submitted by Scott Cleland on Wed, 2007-01-03 10:55
The New York Times obviously felt compelled to write a counter editorial to the Wall Street Journalâ€™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 â€œtwo tiered Internet.â€? 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 â€œthe next eBay or Google might never be born.â€? Hello? Is it the new policy of the NYT that the government should subsidize â€œgarageâ€? entrepreneurs Internet access bills? Does the NYT think really think any entrepreneur worth their salt canâ€™t afford or canâ€™t raise funding to pay $15-40 a month for broadband access?
Submitted by Scott Cleland on Tue, 2007-01-02 10:28
Net neutrality proponents are trying to claim that the net neutrality conditions that they extorted from AT&T represent a template for net neutrality legislation. Ridiculous!
First, these conditions were extorted because of a procedural and political anomoly, not because of any consensus for them. On the contrary, Chairman Martin said the net neutrality conditions were "unnecessary" and "discriminatory." And a majority of the FCC opposes broadening these conditions to the industry at large.
Second, the merger conditions only apply to one of several U.S. broadband competitors, and the conditions are company specific and are not useful or accurate in applying to other technologies or companies. Moreover, it does not apply to AT&T's business customers, to its unique IPTV video service or its wireless service. It supposedly applies to WiMax, but AT&T is being forced to divest WiMax spectrum that the condition will not apply to. And is WiMax WiFi? Which alphabet version of WiMax does this condition supposedly apply to? There is no useful definition here. This is the blogilantes' "frankenstein definition" which is of no use to any fair legislative or judicial process.
Third, the supreme irony here is that these conditions were alleged to promote non-discrimination but were applied in a highly discriminatory way to only one company in a perversion of the normal democratic process.
Finally, those proponents that expect other companies to abide by the conditions that their competitor had to abide to because of an anomolous merger situation, are in dreamland. This is still a free country, there is still rule of law, it still takes a majority of the House, 60 votes in the Senate and the President's signature to change the law. The net neutrality blogilantes "will run into the buzzsaw" of the American constitutional process.
Submitted by Scott Cleland on Fri, 2006-12-29 20:18
The FCC conditions imposed on the AT&T-Bell-South merger are among the most regulatory government micro-management that I have observed in my fifteen years covering the industry. The FCC minority leveraged a procedural and political anomolous circumstance to extort merger concessions that never would have survived an open democratic process. This was the functional equivalent of a back alley shake-down, where the companies had to give into unconscionable extortion in order to secure their commercial freedom.
That being said, it is clear that AT&T had to give up a lot of regulatory concessions in the areas of special access and divestiture of 2.5 MHz spectrum in order to fend off the worst of the net neutrality extortion.
I fully expect that net neutrality will remain the biggest regulatory issue going forward. The online giants will continue to manipulate the political process for competitive advantage, seeking to prevent non-neutral behavior from their biggest potential competitors when they are not neutral themselves and when they have more gatekeeper influence over the Internet than any broadband company.