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Lawsuit against Comcast network management unlikely to go anywhere; court likely to defer to FCC

A San Francisco Bay subscriber of Comcast, Jon Hart, has filed a lawsuit against Comcast, for interfering with his file sharing, prompted by the AP story that alleged "Comcast Blocks some traffic."

  • Given that the AP was the first to file this story on its own story, (how convenient) it will be interesting to learn what ties, if any, Mr. Hart has to the AP reporter, or to the pressure groups behind the FCC petition, like Moveon.org's FreePress, Public Knowledge et al.

I doubt the court will waste much time on this lawsuit given that the normal avenue of recourse, in the appropriate governmental venue, is already being pursued by the petitioners at the FCC.

  • Usually courts are more than busy enough -- than to look for time-consuming, complex, minutia-laden cases, when normal established procedure and process (and Supreme Court doctrine) provide the court an easy way to defer to the expert government agency empowered by Congress specifically to deal with this type of issue.
  • Going immediately to court, and not waiting for FCC action, undermines Mr. Hart's case tremendously.  

I guess that Mr. Hart and his lawyer are aware that this case will likely go nowhere, but viewed it as helpful to the "cause" -- since net neutrality pressure groups are in constant search of "news hooks" to push their net neutrality crusade.

More evidence the US is not falling behind on broadband, but leading the world

The Big Government advocates who try to paint the U.S. as falling behind in broadband so they can justify an activist National Broadband Policy -- have a huge and embarassing hole in their argument -- the U.S. lead in wireless/mobile broadband, including U.S. leadership in transitioning prime analog TV spectrum to mainstream digital broadband use.

  • The World Radio Conference of the UN, which is wrapping up this week in Berlin, indirectly showcases this U.S. lead in mobile broadband.
    • Per the International Herald Tribune, the U.S. is way ahead of the rest of the world in transitioning analog broadcasters to digital and reallocating this best-available spectrum for mobile-broadband use --
      • IHT: "The world is in varying stages in going digital, with U.S. broadcasters switching by 2009, Asian broadcasters by 2015, and most European countries somewhere in between." 
    • So how does being 2-6 years ahead of our international competitors in bringing the best available spectrum for mobile broadband to consumers -- constitute "falling behind" or "a failure of no national broadband policy?"

This U.S. world leadership in transitioning prime spectrum to optimal consumer use is powerful evidence of the superiority of our broadband policy approach, which embraces market forces more than just about any other major country in the world.

The unreasonable extremes of the FreePress Comcast petition

The FreePress Comcast petition alleging that Comcast's network management has violated the FCC's net neutality policy is based on at least four extreme and unreasonable positions by the petitioners.

First, the "pro-neutrality" petitioners are asking the FCC to actively discriminate in favor of the few p2p users at the expense of the vast majority's quality of service. 

  • It is extreme and unreasonable to petition that p2p traffic cannot be managed because p2p applications, by design, "efficiency shift."
    • They make downloading more efficient for the few who use the p2p application, by taking away the efficiency of the many by hogging other's bandwidth! 
    • There is nothing neutal at all about p2p!
    • p2p users reach out and consume bandwidth designed for the use of others.  
  • In other words, the petitioners have taken the extreme and unreasonable position that p2p users have the unlimited right to consume everyone else's bandwidth even when that usage harms the rights of everyone else. 
    • How is that responsible or rational?

The second extreme and unreasonable position is that the petitioners have proposed fines for Comcast that could total $2.3 trillion! Yes that is a "tr" with that illion.

The Mother of net neutrality calls for spanking of Democratic Chairman for not paying attention

If Professor Tim Wu is the "Father" of net neutrality, since he named the issue in 2002, I guess Gigi Sohn can be called the "Mother" of net neutrality because in 2002 her organization, Public Knowledge, birthed the original political manifesto on this type of thinking: "Saving the Information Commons."   

Yesterday Ms. Sohn, the Mother of net neutrality, participated in a conference call for left-leaning bloggers to indoctrinate them into the right and wrong way to blog about FreePress/Public Knowledge's petition to the FCC on Comcast's network management.

  • Well when Mom's not happy, nobody's happy.  
  • In response to questions about what bloggers could do, Mother neutrality effectively called on bloggers to spank Senate Chairman Innouye for not listening to Mom.
    • The impertinence of those 83 year-old, seven-term U.S. Senators who won't listen and do as their told!
    • Where is the respect anymore?   

Ted Hearn of MultiChannel News had a great story on this: "Sohn to bloggers: target Inouye

Kudos to Ou/Bennett for slam dunking the bogus FreePress Comcast petition!

I most highly commend George Ou and Richard Bennett for bringing some much-needed adult supervision and technical excellence to the issue of Comcast's network management. Please read George's latest blogpost.

  • FreePress...read it and weep -- you have laid another high profile net neutrality egg.

George has produced the must read piece on this issue. In "A rational debate on Comcast's Traffic management" George explains, with the assistance of Richard Bennett's exceptional expertise, what is really going on with Comcast's traffic management. 

  • In a nutshell, they explain the real world design limitations of a shared cable network, especially on the upstream path, and how those limitations practically require network managers to limit how much traffic goes through a particular network point, just like traffic lights must do on highway ramps during rush hour to ensure that the highway does not degrade into a parking lot. 

The already low credibility of net neutrality proponents will fall even further as the FCC investigates this allegation and determines Comcast's network management to be well within the bounds of "reasonable." 

  • While net neutrality proponents and their activist reporter friends may like to play engineers on TV, noone would want to entrust them with operating anything more complicated than a mouse.   

The reason we have due process in this country is precisely to protect against this type of spurious allegation.

Why FreePress' Comcast Petition unreasonably defines "reasonable network management"

The FreePress Comcast petition has an unreasonable view of what "reasonable" network management is in the FCC's net neutrality policy.

First, the petitioners ignore the reason the FCC exists in the first place -- the absolute necessity for some network management in order for communications systems to function as needed.

  • The predecessor to the FCC, the Federal Radio Commission was created in 1927 because of the chaos of an completely unmanaged network (like the petitioners currently are advocating for) --
    • too many stations were broadcasting on too few frequencies making the airwaves a garbled and unworkable "tragedy of the commons."
  • The Government brought order to this chaos by granting the FRC/FCC the authority to make spectrum licensed property, grant licenses, and assign frequencies and power levels for each license.  

Second, the petitioners ignore that "reasonable network management" of communications is directly analogous to reasonable traffic management of our roadways.

Father of net neutrality admits "the whole net neutrality issue is really about a power struggle"

Tim Wu, the "father of net neutrality" because he made up the term a few years back, was surprisingly candid in a CNET article that: "the whole net neutrality issue is really about a power struggle."

  • Well we now know net neutrality is not about:
    • A supposedly longstanding non-discrimination "principle" of the Internet;
    • all bits being equal; or
    • freedom of speech.
  • It's about "power."
    • We knew it all along. 
      • It's really about the "power struggle" over corporate welfare for the dotcom billionaires at Google and eBay who want the consumer to subsidize their piggish bandwith demands in order to maintain their 90% gross profit margins.  

I also found another candid quote by the Moveon.org/FreePress folks that also tells us what they are up to:

Bogus petition against Comcast's reasonable network management is a back door ploy to reinstate common carriage for broadband

The Moveon.org/FreePress petition to the FCC to declare Comcast's reasonable network management illegal, is a deceptive back-door scheme to reverse FCC deregulation of broadband as an information service and to (de facto) reinstate common carriage for broadband.

  • The petition will be found to be a bogus and manufactured scheme to deceive the FCC and the public that necessary, responsible, and "reasonable network management" -- that serves consumers and the Internet public by delivering quality of service and protecting consumers from the harm of viruses, spam etc. -- should be declared illegal "degrading" of an Internet application.
  • Upon full FCC airing of this issue, it will be clear that the offending P2P application traffic is the culprit that is in fact harming the overwhelming majority of Internet consumers by "degrading and imparing" the responsiveness and utility of the Internet for the many because of the irresponsible bandwidth hogging of the few.

First, if managing out-of-control p2p traffic that is degrading and impairing the responsiveness and utility of the Internet for the many by the few is not "reasonable network management" then no network management is reasonable.

Net neutrality is NOT Green!

The American Consumer Institute did some more great work on the importance and impact of broadband. Kudos!

  • I recommend you take a look at their eye-opening new study: "Broadband Services: Economic and Environmental benefits." 
  • The premise is that promoting broadband is smart national policy because of the tremendous cumulative productivity and energy savings that more broadband use enables.

The summary table on page 48 encapsulates the study's findings well.

Why is net neutrality not Green?

  • The current free market broadband policy is succeeding greatly in rapidly deploying broadband to all Americans and in promoting facilities-based broadband competition.
  • Even the serious prospect of net neutrality legislation becoming law would chill investment and discourage continuation of the broadband success that the current free market policy has generated.
    • Net neutrality is not Green because it would slow the extremely environmentally beneficial trend of increased broadband use, which creates massive national energy savings as the American Consumer institute study attests.  

 

 

More evidence U.S. competitiveness is NOT falling behind & OECD broadband report is bunk

I guess the World Economic Forum folks did not "get the memo" from net neutality proponents that the U.S. is supposed to be falling behind competitively because of broadband. 

The Wall Street Journal reported today that: "U.S. tops Report on Competitiveness By World Economic Forum.

The OECD's questionable methodology  ranks the U.S. 15th in the world on broadband; however, FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell gave a great speech that systematically debunked the OECD's agenda-driven methodology and rankings.   

  • Neutrality proponents often cite the OECD rankings as "proof" that net neutrality regulation is needed in order to improve American competitiveness in the world.

However, both the World Economic Forum and the Economist Intelligence Unit rank the US at or near the top of the world in competitiveness.

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Q&A One Pager Debunking Net Neutrality Myths