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July 2006

How about some "CNET neutrality"?! #5

Attached is my latest rebuttal to CNET, don't miss my analogy to "CNET netrality" near the bottom of this post.

Rebuttal of point two! Need "CNET neutrality"

Posted by Scott Cleland (See profile) - July 11, 2006 1:39 PM PDT

Molly,

At the beginning of your article, where you bashed my NPR commentary as “egregiously false, unbelievably cheap and manipulative, and insultingly void of truth or fact… you also appeared to represent yourself as reluctant to regulate: I quote: “regulation of the Internet in any form seems scary, a bit hasty and potentially dangerous.” However, given your commentary in point two, it appears as if you were not fully candid about your reluctance to regulate. Your commentary in part two shows you have an alarming “hair trigger’ for heavy regulation.

Kudos to USA Today's balanced NN article!

I was very pleased to see that USA Today produced an excellent and balanced summary of both sides of the net neutrality debate. It can be done! The article did an outstanding job of summarizing both sides of the argument in the terms that each side uses.

I highlight the USA Today treatment in contrast to the Washington Post's recent coverage which I was highly critical of becuase it did not frame the article in a balanced way. The link to the post article is in my blog commentary.

Online giants prefer NN free lunch to the costs of broadband competition

Investors Business Daily reported today www.investors.com that it appears that Google and Yahoo have decided to pass on bidding for the next big FCC auction of wireless airwaves on August 9th.

It is interesting to note that Google may have a back door interest in this wireless auction because they have an investment in Current Technologies, a broadband over powerlines provider owned by privately held Current Group, which does plan to bid on the auction. http://www.intellon.com/pdfs/googlethis.pdf

It is comical that the online giants: Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, eBay, and Amazon claim “market failure� and that broadband market is a dreaded “broadband duopoly� in need of regulation -- and yet when they are given a prime “free and open� competitive opportunity to buy spectrum to offer broadband themselves, they are declining. How can it be a duopoly when they are free and able to buy prime national broadband spectrum? When they can offer WiFi like Google plans in San Fran? When Google can invest in broadband over powerlines? When they could work with wireless broadband competitors? When they could work with Clearwire? (which Intel just invested $600m in, and whose CEO is on Google’s board.) Stop whining and start competing!

What this is really about is the online giants preferring a free lunch of government regulated bandwidth rather than having to spend money on broadband facilities like their broadband competitors must. Oh but that would lower these companies 80-90% gross profit margins! Can’t have that! It's much cheaper and self serving to regulate your competitors and shift most all your distribution costs to your competitors and the customer.

Highly likely lame duck session could provide more time for telecom legislation to pass

I have been surprised that none of the press I’ve seen covering the telecom legislation and net neutrality have discussed the likelihood of a lame duck congressional session after the mid term elections.

Any old Washington hand will tell you that all of the political conditions are ripe for a lame duck session -- that possibly could go up close to Christmas. First, the congressional leadership wants to recess in early October to allow members to campaign. Second, the annual appropriations process is bogging down meaning that there will likely be a need for a “continuing resolution” for some of 13 appropriations bills by September 30 -- that would then be dealt with after the election. The political likelihood of needing a continuing resolution is increasing, because Democrats see an opportunity to take back the House and maybe the Senate. It is probably not in their political interest to let legislation breeze through the Senate in September which would give the majority party campaign ammunition. Most importantly, in wartime it just doesn’t make any sense for the institution of Congress to adjourn early and take themself out of the game and off the stage. From my experience I would put the probability of a lame duck session at over 90%.

Check out the excellent NN analysis by PFF or attend their event

For those wanting a more indepth understanding of NN I highly recommend the following PFF book and event.  www.pff.org
  Press Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 12, 2006
CONTACT: Amy Smorodin
202-289-8928

Academics to Debate Network Neutrality Issues
PFF Network Neutrality Book Launch and Debate to be held Tuesday, July 18th
WASHINGTON D.C. – A book launch and debate on network neutrality issues, hosted by The Progress & Freedom Foundation, will be held this Tuesday, July 18th at the National Press Club. A distinguished group of academics and telecom policy experts will discuss issues raised in "Net Neutrality or Net Neutering: Should Broadband Internet Services be Regulated?," a recently published compilation of essays written by PFF Fellows and other respected communication industry scholars.
The panel discussion will be moderated by PFF Senior Fellow and Senior Vice President for Research, Thomas Lenard. Panelists at the event will include David Farber, Distinguished Career Professor of Computer Science and Public Policy at the University of Pennsylvania; Randolph May, President of the Free State Foundation, a Maryland think tank; and Adam Thierer, PFF Senior Fellow and Director of Center for Digital Media Freedom. Discussion topics will include: the advantages and disadvantages of network neutrality mandates, the effects of such regulation on innovation and economic growth, and suggestions for a regulatory or legal framework for dealing with complaints of application or content discrimination.
"Net Neutrality or Net Neutering: Should Broadband Internet Services be Regulated?" covers such network neutrality topics as vertical integration, competition and property rights in a collection of thought-provoking essays. The book is co-edited by Thomas Lenard and Randolph May. Order forms for purchasing "Net Neutrality or Net Neutering: Should Broadband Internet Services be Regulated?" will be made available at the event. The book is also available for purchase online through the publisher and Amazon.com.

The event will be held on Tuesday, July 18th at the National Press Club from 8:30am - 10:00am. A continental breakfast will be served. The National Press Club is located at 529 14th St., NW in Washington, DC. Those wishing to attend should register online. Questions should be addressed to Eileen Goulding at 202-289-8928 or egoulding@pff.org. Members of the media should direct questions to Amy Smorodin at 202-289-8928 or asmorodin@pff.org.

The Progress & Freedom Foundation is a market-oriented think tank that studies the digital revolution and its implications for public policy. It is a 501(c)(3) research & educational organization.

FCC Adelphia approval -- another key anti-NN milestone

Today is a big day for opponents of NN. The FCC is poised to finally approve the Adelphia transaction with Time Warner and Comcast – without requiring NN conditions -- according to my sources. While the FCC meeting has reportedly been delayed for a few hours to resolve a non-nn issue, it appears very likely that the Republican majority has resisted the minority’s push for NN conditions on this merger similar to those placed on AT&T-SBC and Verizon-MCI.

There are two very good reasons why the cable outcome is different than that of the big telecom mergers.

"Broadband duopoly" charge: "code" for not believing in competition

Neutrality-ites continue to misleadingly rail against the problem of a “Broadband Duopoly” and that consumers have no real choice. Saying it is a duopoly and then saying there is no real choice in the same sentence -- is oxymoronic. With all due respect, please see my friend Art’s Brodsky’s Public Knowledge’s commentary http://www.publicknowledge.org/node/518http://www.publicknowledge.org/node/518 as an example of this type of thinking -- that the current successful transition from monopoly markets to duopoly to competition is somehow not happening or is inherently bad. Competition is a process and a dynamic and every indication is that competition is increasing over any time period -- not decreasing -- or not happening as neutrality-ites imply with their somber duopoly rhetoric. (The fatal flaw in their superficial broadband duopoly analysis is that it is static and not dynamic or directional over time.)

Rebutting eBay which joined the CNET NN debate -- also Day 14: CNET Equal Time held hostage!

This is a reply to Chris Libertelli's comment on CNET trying to defend CNET Executive Editor Molly Woods blast of my commentary on NPR Morning Edition. I tease him for knowing better than he is letting on.

I am still waiting for a response from Molly to have the opportunity to do a guest column on CNET or have a podcast debate... but they don't seem to have the same jounalistic standard of fair play that NPR and most other news organizations do. Equal Time held hostage day 14.

Welcome to the debate

Posted by Scott Cleland (See profile) - July 13, 2006 9:15 AM PDT

Ah my friend Chris, you too are being literalist. You worked for FCC Chairman Mike Powell at the FCC and know that Reed Hundt crafted UNE-P out of statutory language that did not allow it. It took a decade of court challenges to clean up that mess!

Molly's regulatory "hair trigger" Rebutting CNET's Molly Wood #6

This is a reply to CNET's Molly Wood chiding her for her regulatory "hair trigger."

You ducked my question

Posted by Scott Cleland (See profile) - July 13, 2006 11:02 AM PDT

I asked you why you are supporting legislation that punishes everyone with preemptive regulation for the sins of an extremely limited few (if we accept your latest examples at face value)? Why support legislation that makes no distinction on whether or not a company, industry or technology has had any NN complaints, whether or not the company, industry or technology enjoys any market power or whether or not the company even has any cusomters yet? And why would you support legislation that has no sunset provision, if people eventually had the number of competitive choices you deem enough? Do you believe that competition can succeed or is it impossible warranting no sunset provision?

Agree with CNET's Molly on something... sort of...#7

Found that Molly and I agree that technology is the answer we just continue to disagree on what that means for policy...

This would be much easier if CNET would just agree to do a podcast.

Excellent train of thought to explore!

Posted by Scott Cleland (See profile) - July 13, 2006 11:35 AM PDT

Molly,
You may not be aware of it but you are making my point for me. If all the Internet needs is bandwidth, why don't the online giants just invest in the last mile? Intel is doing it with $600m in Clearwire. Google, Microsoft Yahoo and the others could easily afford to bid on the current FCC wireless broadband auction. Or they could co-invest with existing telcos of cable companies to build faster pipes? Oh I forgot. Co-investing, sharing the investment cost burden of upgrading the Internet -- among those that benefit the most -- oh, that wouldn't be neutral -- can't have that.

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Q&A One Pager Debunking Net Neutrality Myths