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Nationalistic Net Neutrality Naiveté

The New York Times’ editorial, “Global Threats to Net Neutrality,” scolds the world for not following the FCC’s nationalistic concept of net neutrality.

They feign shock and indignation that Europe and India would dare think of politically doing what the FCC has done and impose their own national industrial policies -- under the convenient political cover of “net neutrality.”

America’s elites naively imagine that other countries’ authorities don’t “get the joke” of the FCC’s politically-contrived net neutrality policy.

Other countries’ authorities are not as gullible and pliant as American elites imagine them to be.  

They know “net neutrality” has become an increasingly vacuous political slogan, whose definition conveniently changes meaning like a chameleon changes colors.

They know the FCC is pressuring them to do as the FCC says and not as the FCC does on net neutrality.

They know that the FCC really is demanding that they do what’s best for Silicon Valley’s economic interests, not what’s best for their own nations’ economic interests.  

They know that the FCC’s latest incarnation of net neutrality, to ban Internet fast lanes and paid prioritization, is code for mandating a permanent zero-price for Internet downstream traffic, in order to effectively subsidize and protect Silicon Valley’s overwhelming digital distribution dominance.   

They know the FCC’s assertion of Title II authority February 26th, effectively regulates the Internet as “telecommunications,” which legally means under international agreement that the Internet is now on a slippery slope towards UN International Telecommunications Union (ITU) oversight and governance.

They know historically that countries long regulated “telecommunications,” under a “sending party pays” economic model where every country set its own per-minute price for calls coming into their country -- much like a trade tariff on imports, in stark contrast to Silicon Valley/net neutrality’s receiving-party-pays economic model that predominantly enriches Netflix, Google-YouTube, Amazon, Facebook, and Apple, which overwhelmingly dominate Internet downstream traffic usage worldwide.

They know President Obama’s public call for the FCC to regulate the Internet as a utility using the “strongest possible rules,” provides other countries’ leadership with both the political cover and the legal means to rapidly de-Americanize the Internet into a “Splinternet,” because existing ITU agreement: ITU-T D.50 recognizes the sovereign right of each State to regulate “telecommunications” as that State determines.

They know they can never hope to develop their own national digital sectors as long as they continue to massively subsidize Silicon Valley with a net-neutrality, receiving-party-pays economic model, rather than a highly-lucrative, “telecommunications,” sending-party-pays model that maximizes their own national economic interests and development.

Simply, they know what the New York Times Editorial Board obviously does not know.

 

 

Scott Cleland served as Deputy U.S. Coordinator for International Communications & Information Policy in the George H. W. Bush Administration. He is President of Precursor LLC, a research consultancy for Fortune 500 companies, and Chairman of NetCompetition, a pro-competition e-forum supported by broadband interests.

 

 

 

Q&A One Pager Debunking Net Neutrality Myths