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How convenient! AP reporter resucitates his manufactured story on Comcast network management

It is telling that the AP reporter who originally manufactured the story on Comcast's network managment practices, (through his own unscientific test) is the only mainstream reporter resuscitating this non-story.

Peter Svensson's AP story: "FCC to probe Comcast data discrimination" isn't news but an advocacy piece cloaked as a news story (see earlier post).

  • At a minimum, the article should have been labeled a "news analysis" or an opinion piece.

It isn't "news" that the FCC investigates petitions.

Comcast's downloading innovation proves why FreePress Comcast petition is unreasonable

Comcast's announcement at CES to offer a quicker system for downloading movies and shows as reported by the New York Times is strong proof of why the FreePress petition asking the FCC to not allow Comcast to manage the p2p traffic on its network -- is unreasonable

Comcast is innovating to enable its network to offer what it calls "wideband," which will enable Comcast customers to download HD movies on demand -- that previously took up to six hours to download -- to less than 4 minutes.

  • This innovative Comcast service will begin to be available to some Comcast customers in 2008 and is planned to offer ~6,000 video on demand titles to the broader Comcast base after that.

The point I am making here is that any network has relative bandwidth chokepoints where traffic must be managed in order to deliver expected quality of service to all customers.

FCC Commissioner McDowell Skeptical of FreePress Comcast petition on p2p network management

Washington Internet Daily reported that FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell told reporters yesterday:

  • that "...he wants ISPs and P2P networks to come to terms on dealing with bandwidth-hogging downloads. Comcast’s approach drew a complaint to the FCC, but McDowell hopes companies can work things out without government intervention..."
  • “We’ll just mess it up,” he said. “I strongly encourage private sector resolution.”
  • It’s not necessarily anticompetitive for network operators to act to keep P2P traffic from slowing networks, he said. “That's good for consumers, because you don't want your network to shut down.”"

Well said.

Super ZDNet piece opposing net neutrality -- "Save Internet Freedom -- from Regulation"

Larry Downes produced an outstanding analysis for ZDNet today which he entitled "Save Internet Freedom -- From Regulation."

I strongly recommend it as it is one of the most cogent and persuasive pieces I have read in a long time on the subject.

He does a great service by putting the issue into much clearer context -- vis-a-vis other industries and past attempts to regulate where the government shouldn't have. 

Engineers: P2P is not "fair" usage; Reverse Robin Hood: Bandwidth rich steal from bandwidth poor

Three times a year the Internet Engineering Task Force meets to discuss and work through major Internet issues.

  • To my delight, one of the technical issues they recently discussed has great import to net neutrality and the FreePress petition on Comcast's reasonable network management.
  • Kudos to Iljitsch van Beijnum who wrote "Growth of P2P leads IETF to debate "fair" bandwidth use" in ars technica.
    • His excellent article explains a new paper being debated by the IETF that raises the core question, if the voracious bandwidth appetite of P2P is "fair" to non P2P users.

The paper and the article point out that users of "unattended" P2P applications use dramatically more bandwidth than users of "interactive" applications like web browsing -- and then poses the question of whether this excess usage is fair. 

Van Beijnum points out that the paper's authors suggest that P2P users are using 500 times the bandwidth as average interactive users. Moreover, he points out that this assymetric bandwidth dynamic disincents an ISP from upgrading their network because the assymetry would make them even less competitive. 

The fundamental point here is a question of fairness.

It's unreasonable for 1 "bandwidth hippo" out of every 10,000 users to gobble up everyone's bandwidth!

Another reason why the FreePress petition to block Comcast's reasonable network managment is so unreasonable is that it puts the bandwidth gluttony of a very few ahead of the needs of everyone else on the network.

The core premise and expectation behind the FreePress petition is outrageous and unreasonable.

  • The Moveon.org/FreePress people are essentially asking for radical net neutrality, which refuses to recognize Comcast's responsibility to reasonably manage network bandwidth scarcities to ensure that the few excessive abusers of bandwidth do not ruin the usability and responsiveness for the overwhelming majority of its Internet users.

Let's put Comcast's network management problem in perspective.

Great new analogy why Net neutrality is an irrational policy in a new The Hill editorial

I always enjoy learning about a new fresh take on an old issue.

Kudos to Dr. Daniel Ballon who wrote a great editorial on net neutrality for The Hill newspaper: "Net neutrality punishes everyone for Comcast's actions."  

He recounts a great analogy about how "neutral" networks on Black Monday, the stock market crash of October 19, 1987, was made worse by a traffic jam of orders that couuld not be managed in an orderly fashion to keep the stock market functioning and open.

  • "After Black Monday, exchanges recognized the need to create “express lanes” and prioritize traffic to ensure orderly market function. The chairman of the House Telecommunications and Finance Subcommittee, Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass), also understood the benefits of placing “sensible speed limits on our market participants so that individual investors and our biggest market players can happily co-exist.” Markey recognized that neutral markets fail as predictably “as if we turned off all the nation’s stoplights,” and “made all speed limits voluntary.”

At its core, the policy of net neutrality, that all traffic is always treated equally no matter what is -- unreasonable, unwise, and irrational.

EFF desperately trying to taint Comcast's network management as "packet forgery"

It appears that AP/Moveon.org/FreePress are panicking and have called for reinforcements to try and shore up their unreasonable characterization of Comcast's reasonable network managment of P2P traffic -- as somehow a net neutrality violation. 

  • The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has a new white paper ominously entitled: "Packet forgery by ISPs: A report on the Comcast affair."
  • Seems like they are desperate to try and add some "cyber-detective-story-drama" and new "buzzword blackmail" to get someone, anyone, to pay attention. 
    • This latest attempt by the "guilty-until-proven-innocent" net neutrality crowd, is obviously more focused on getting media attention than it is a serious attempt to influence the FCC.
      • News flash folks -- most all of the responsible press have caught on to your media and regulatory manipulation and tricks -- and are increasingly ignoring your desperate tantrums.  

One of the EFF's main claims in their report is supremely ironic and very telling:

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.

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Q&A One Pager Debunking Net Neutrality Myths