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Dick Armey's clarity of thought and perspective on net neutrality

Be sure to read Dick Armey's succinct analysis and perspective on net neutrality in his op ed: "Spare the Net."

  • I am a big fan of Former House Majority Leader Dick Armey -- he is one of the true free-marketeer giants of our era.

My letter to Senate Committee on Net Neutrality asking: Why now? Why worsen recession?

Below is the full text of the letter I sent to all members of the Senate Commerce Committee and the Senate leadership questioning why of all times -- now -- for pushing net neutrality?

April 22, 2008

The Honorable Daniel K. Inouye

722 Hart Senate Office Building

Washington, DC 20510-1102

ATTN: Telecom Legislative Assistant

Dear Chairman Inouye:

Hance Haney finds more Orwellian doublespeak in Lessig's FCC Lecture on net neutrality

Kudos to Hance Haney of the Discovery Institute, who in his Tech Liberation Front blog post: "What did he say?, found another big misrepresentation whopper in Professor Lessig's lecture to the FCC on net neutrality last week.

  • Hance pointed out in elegant detail, that Professor Lessig took the extensive quotes about the important value of end-to-end arrchitecture from former FCC Chief Economist Gerald Foulhaber in 2000 -- completely out-of-context.
    • Hance: "Normally when you quote someone extensively but selectively and you’re making a different (arguably opposite) point, you acknowledge that."

  • Like I explained in my previous post "Bringing sunlight to Professor Lessig's Orwellian Doublespeak lecture at the FCC" I identified three clear instances of Professor Lessig misreprenting the views of others or weaknesses in his net neutrality argument.  

    • Hance's keen memory and ear identified a big fourth example.

    • I'll bet others heard additional misrepresentations or half-truths in Professor Lessig's FCC lecture -- as four misrepresentation examples clearly represent a pattern of not shooting straight to the public on net neutrality.

Bringing sunlight to Professor Lessig's Orwellian Doublespeak lecture to the FCC

Not only was I stunned that the FCC allowed Professor Larry Lessig to lecture for a half an hour at the FCC's en banc hearing at Stanford, I was even more stunned no one challenged his blatant misrepresentation and Orwellian "doublespeak" in support of net neutrality.

  • Remember in George Orwell's "1984," how "Big Brother" communicated that: "war is peace, freedom is slavery, ignorance  is strength" -- creating an upside-down-world where if an idea is repeated enough times... it somehow becomes true?

Here are three of the Orwellian "doublespeak" gems from Lessig's lecture at the FCC en banc hearing:

  1. "Adam Smith" would have favored net neutrality regulation because all companies aspire to be "monopolists."
  2. The "burden of proof" is on those who don't want to change the law to mandate net neutrality.
  3. Being "conservative" means supporting FCC regulation of the Internet.

First, I literally could not believe my ears when Professor Lessig had the unmitigated gall to blatantly misrepresent in his lecture that if Adam Smith were to talk to the FCC that day, that Adam Smith would find a quote from his laissez-faire, free-market tome "Wealth of Nations" -- to somehow defend Professor Lessig's call for preemptive FCC regulation of the Internet. 

Don't miss -- FCC's McDowell: why engineering problems should be solved by engineers not bureaucrats

The wisdom and clarity of thought prize at the FCC's enbanc hearing at Stanford goes to --- FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell!

I urge you to take a few moments and read the following excerpt from Commissioner McDowell's statement yesterday -- it really gets to the heart of the matter of what the appropriate role is for the FCC in broadband network management issues.

"...In their joint press announcement, Comcast and BitTorrent expressed the view that “these technical issues can be worked out through private business discussions without the need for government intervention.”

FreePress' tantrum over Comcast-Pando agreement progress shows its not constructive/reasonable

FreePress' antagonistic and borderline hysterical response to the legitimate consumer-friendly progress made in the Comcast-Pando agreement to lead a "P2P Bill of Rights and Responsibilities" shows FreePress' and the net neutrality movement's true colors and suggests that they are not interested in really advancing their stated goals, but in scoring political points and advancing their broader political agenda. They don't seem interested in solutions, because it appears that they are in the business creating and grandstanding about problems. 

Amazing that FreePress and SaveTheInternet had nothing good to say about this breakthrough agreement that finds common ground to start working towards what FreePress et al say they care about. Any reasonable person can see their are positive developments here and progress being made. See my post on this agreement highlighting its significance.

  • If Net neutrality proponents were genuinely interested in achieving or making progress towards their stated goals, they would have found something ositive to say about the clear progress the agreement made towards their stated goals and not had a knee jerk ad hominem attack that impugned the integrity of Comcast and Pando Networks.

As I said in my post, no good deed goes unpunished.

Seems like another observer agrees with this take:

Comcast-Pando Networks' "P2P Bill of Rights and Responsibilities" solves multiple problems

In a breakthrough agreement and announcement (see copy below), Comcast and Pando Networks, (the leading managed p-2-p content delivery service) agreed to:

  • Lead creation of a "P2P Bill of Rights and Responsibilities" for P2p users and ISPs; and
  • Create a process to better "share test methodologies and results" among all P2P providers and ISPs so everyone can:
    • Learn how P2P providers can optimize their applications for all types of networks; and
    • "More efficiently deliver legal content."

This is a profoundly significant development because it solves multiple thorny problems:

First, it breaks through and resolves the polarized net neutrality discussion where proponents only talk about ones own Internet "rights" but don't acknowledge the "responsibilities" that accompany any "rights" or acknowledge the effect those "rights" can have on the "rights" of others.

WSJ on Comcast's Network Management: “Markets Work” -- Internet regulation wouldn't

Kudos to the Wall Street Journal for a very wise editorial, “An alternative to net neutrality,” and for its clear conclusion and advice to the FCC: “that markets work.”

 

The Journal understands the facts and the real dynamic here -- that there is no longer much for the FCC to do now that market forces have solved the alleged problems raised against Comcast.

 

Simply, Comcast wisely, responsibly, and reasonably managed their network to favor quality-of-service for the vast majority of their customers, at the miniscule, intermittent expense of the biggest bandwidth hogs, who were hogging bandwidth on auto-pilot while not even attending their computers.

U.S. Not falling behind world on broadband/Internet -- must read New York Times on new study

Kudos to John Markoff of the New York Times for a excellent, informative, and balanced article about the ongoing debate over where the U.S. really ranks in the world on Internet/broadband infrastructure.   

  • The article, "Study Gives High Marks to U.S. Internet," does a good job of letting both sides of this fierce and ongoing debate get in their best points.

First, the article shares the news of the seventh annual World Economic Forum report produced by a French Business School which shows that the U.S. ranks 4th up from 7th last year and which contrasts with the more narrow OECD study that focuses on broadband penetration and shows the U.S. ranking lower and falling.

Second, what I most appreciated was that the article candidly explored that there are two opposing world views at work trying to use statistics and studies to promote their world views.

Of course the FCC will deny the Skype-Carterfone petition for open access regulation of wireless

It was very welcome, but not surprising news, that FCC Chairman Martin and a majority of the FCC plan to deny eBay-Skype's petition to apply 1960's "Carterfone" monopoly regulations on today's wireless competitors.

This was not a close call. Carterfone regulations were appropriate forty years ago with a monopoly and no competition. However, dusting off ancient regulations for a bygone monopoly era have no business or relevance today. 

The facts are that Americans enjoy more wireless competition than most any country in the world, enjoy the lowest or near lowest wireless prices in the world, and use about four times more wireless minutes than our european counterparts, because of the dramatically lower prices -- all per the American Consumer Institute

  • The market is serving consumers excellently, and vastly better than regulators could ever hope to.

The Skype petition is an excellent evidence that the net neutrality movement does not believe in competition policy or a free market Internet, but believe in a government managed Internet.

  • The FCC majority rightfully understands that government control and regulation of the Internet would be an unmitigated disaster for all concerned.  

    

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Q&A One Pager Debunking Net Neutrality Myths