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Unsolicited advice for Frontline Wireless' new Open Access Advisory council

Reed Hundt's Frontline Wireless,  is reportedly forming a high-profile "Open Access Advisory Council" for the 700 MHz spectrum auction, which includes "net neutrality" term-coiner and celebrity Columbia Law Professor Tim Wu.

I have two pieces of unsolicited advice for Frontline's new advisory council."

Google's "G-Phone" an alligator versus bear fight?

Google's long rumored Google phone
or GPhone project has attracted a lot of comment and chatter, but not a lot of
good analysis to date. One big exception is a very good article last week by
Miguel Helft of the New York Times: "For
Google, Advertising and phones go together
."

Challenging Google's unsubstantiated claims that its policy best serves consumers

The Google blog continues to essentially argue: what's good for Google is good for America and consumers. We have all heard that self-serving hubris and bunk before...  

  • Mr. Rick Whitt, in the latest post on the Google Public policy Blog  concluded:
    •  "We think the Internet offers the optimal model for what best serves the interests of all consumers. To that end, we hope the FCC sticks to its guns as it tries to introduce the open ethos of the 'Net to a small segment of the closed wireless world."

Let's unpack the hubris and deception behind these assertions.

  • Google is implying that anything that occurred in wireless in the past (B.G. -- "Before Google" entered the wireless world) did not serve consumers well -- and that we should scrap the existing competitive wireless model and adopt the Internet model that... surprise... most benefits Google.

Given Google's assault on the supposed failures of the current system, it is important to review the facts of what the existing competitive model actually has produced for American consumers.

The outrageous hypocrisy behind Net Neutality support of Free Speech

Someone needs to call the SaveTheInternet/FreePress/net neutrality crowd on their outrageous hypocrisy in politically claiming that being for "net neutrality" is being for more "free speech" protections.

When the SaveTheInternet organization and their net neutrality allies were offered very specific legislative language that would explicitly protect "free speech'' on the Internet -- they actively blocked it from passage in the Senate Commerce Committee in August of 2006 and from it passing into law last Congress. 

The legislative text below was in the HR5252 Amendment proposed by then Chairman Stevens in the telecom reform bill in June of 2006.

  • SaveTheInternet and the net neutrality movement opposed that protection of free speech language (Sec. 904. Application of the First Amendment) because what they really wanted was to make broadband subject to common carrier regulation.

 "SEC. 904. APPLICATION OF THE FIRST AMENDMENT.

Internet's creators call it outdated -- evidence why net neutrality is anti-innovation

The Wall Street Journal's article today: "It's creators call Internet outdated, offer remedies" offers some powerful insights for those following the net neutrality debate and who care about promoting innovation.

  •  "We can no longer rely on last-generation technology, which has essentially remained unchanged for 40 years, to power Internet performance," says Mr. Roberts..." (who is one of the pioneers who in 1969 oversaw the development of the ARPAnet which was the foundation of the Internet.)
  • "The Internet wasn't designed for people to watch television," he says. "I know because I designed it." Said Roberts.

Call for "National Broadband Strategy" is "code" for a Government Industrial Policy

Senator Kerry's recent echoing of the call for a "National Broadband Strategy" by House Telecom Chairman Markey and FCC Commissioner Copps -- is really a slick coordinated bicameral campaign to reverse current national communications competition policy and replace it with a Government industrial policy.  

Calling for a "National Broadband Strategy"  implies we don't have one when we do -- and it is the law  of the land -- the 1996 Telecom Act -- and it was supported by over 95% of Democrats and Republicans when it passed during the Clinton administration -- and by the way it is working.

  • The purpose of the law is our "national communcations policy/strategy": "To promote competition and reduce regulation in order to secure lower choices and higher quality services...and encourage the rapid deployment of new technologies."
  • The part covering the Internet: ""To preserve the vibrant and competitive free market that presently exists for the Internet..., unfettered by Federal or state regulation."
  • The part covering promoting new technologies, Section 706: "The Commission...shall encourage deployment on a reasonable and timely basis of advanced telecommunications capability to all Americans..."

What's wrong with that national broadband strategy?

  • Nothing.

What's wrong with the progress and achievement of that strategy to date?

  • Nothing.

Lets review the facts, not the spin that those promoting a new industrial policy cannot support with facts.

Frontline Wireless' shameless misdirection to pickpocket the American taxpayer

Reed Hundt's Frontline Wireless is proposing more changes to the FCC's 700 MHz auction rules upon reconsiderataion -- so watch your wallet!

Per today's Comm Daily: 

Cities learning there is no wireless "free lunch"

It seems the "pixie dust" of "free" municipal wifi isn't so "magical" after all.

To quote one of my conservative heroes, the late great Milton Friedman, "there is no free lunch."

  • The article chronicles the growing trend that cities around the country are finally learning that simple economic lesson -- which should have been obvious to them from the start.
  • But how could the cities forget the economic truism that "there is no free lunch" and let their expectations so far exceed reality?
    • The answer lies in how many companies, who routinely expect a "free lunch" from communications carriers (like net neutrality supporters: Google, eBay-Skype, Amazon, Intel et.al), whispered in these cities ears that they could easily have free or very low cost wireless broadband access.
      • The problem that these net neutrality/open access proponents brushed under the rug was that building and operating a wireless broadband network, even a lower cost WiFi or WiMax network, still costs a substantial amount of money, and requires substantial resources and expertise to pull off at a minimum quality level.

Bottomline:  What I hope cities take away from this painful lesson is what they were taught when they were young: "if it looks too good to be true, it is."

I am a panelist with Tim Wu at Future of Music Conference 9-17

I am on a Broadband Policy panel on Monday at 4:45 at the Future of Music Summit with a couple of the lead folks who champion net neutrality: Professor Tim Wu, who coined the term, and Ben Scott, of Free Press who has slickly popularized it in close coordination with Moveon.org.

  • Should be interesting, the panel appears to be fairly balanced: one against NN (me) and the rest of the panel avidly for it.
  • Wish me luck.

 Leveling the Playing Field: how does broadband policy affect musicians?

Congress and the FCC are currently working a series of initiatives designed to revise the telecommunications regulatory framework, with everything from spectrum reform, to broadband deployment, to network neutrality on the table. How will proposed revisions impact musicians, citizens and technologists? How does broadband policy intersect with concerns about protecting intellectual property? What would a pro-musician Telecom Act look like?

Charles Bissell Musician, The Wrens

Scott Cleland Chairman, NetCompetition.org

Peter Gordon President, Thirsty Ear

Jason Oxman Vice President, Communications, Consumer Electronics Association

Great perspective on net neutrality from Washington Post's Steve Pearlstein

 

If you missed The Washington Post's Steve Pearlstein's incisive and on point critique of how the campaign for net neutrality has morphed, it surely deserves a read -- its short.

See the header "Whiny Techies II" ("Whiny Techies I" is funny too.)  

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Q&A One Pager Debunking Net Neutrality Myths