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Why net neutrality would block cloud computing innovation; computers must prioritize/schedule apps

It's becoming increasingly obvious that net neutrality proponents have not thought through the logical and practical implications of their call for mandating net neutrality. 

  • Practically, net neutrality is about codifying Internet architecture design rules for the first time, which would have the real world effect of blocking, degrading and impairing innovation to allow the Internet to support "cloud computing" -- the future of computing according to Google, IBM and many others.

Why does net neutrality theory not work in practice?

First, net neutrality is really backward-looking, trying to take the Internet back to the dial-up/pre broadband days when there was monopoly telecom regulation and not inter-modal broadband competition like there is today.

Second, consider net neutrality's definition by its primary proponents:

CNET political article provides dose of reality for net neutrality supporters

CNET has a great article: New Hampshire voters: Net Neutrality? Huh? that exposes what we all know -- that net neutrality is a niche special interest issue that is not at all on the minds of average Americans.

It's not surprising because:

  • The term "net neutrality" was only coined in 2002 by Columbia law Professor Tim Wu, and no one outside the FCC community heard about the issue until early 2006 when Google funded a big effort to make net neutrality an issue; and
  • There is no real problem only largely manufactured incidents or admitted mistakes that the folks are trying to staple together into a broader pattern or problem.

Not only has every governmental body that has reviewed this issue rejected the call for net neutrality regulation/legisation, the American people aren't aware of the issue or the term. 

Kudos CNET for bringing another dose of the real world to this bogus issue.    

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.

To understand net neutrality's principal flaw -- imagine "neutral" health care...

If you want to test the validity, appropriateness or reasonableness of a so-called inviolate "principle" like net neutrality, it can be instructive to apply that principle in a different context to see if it makes sense.

What if we passed a law that all health care had to be neutral?

  • That all patient treatment always had to be just the same?  
  • That any prioritization of patient treatment would be deemed illegal discrimination?

What would be the nonsensical result of such a broad imposition of a "neutral" medical treatment mandate?

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. 

More guilty-until-proven-innocent regulation from Google's Poodles; new petition on texting regulation

The Washington Post reports that a consortium of Google's closest net neutrality allies: FreePress/, Public Knowledge, New America Foundation, Media Access Project, are poised to petition the FCC again, this time to mandate that wireless carriers deliver all text messages to their customers, even including text messages by wireless competitors trying to sell their competing wireless services.

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.

Verizon's any device/any apps initiative proves competition/market forces work! -- 3 takeaways

Verizon's announcement that it will allow customers to choose any app and/or any device on its entire network in 2008 is proof positive that competitive market forces best serve consumers, not rigid net neutrality regulation or legislation.

I see three big takeaways from the Verizon announcement: consumer protection/reliability; market discipline, and more diversity of consumer choice.

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

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.


Q&A One Pager Debunking Net Neutrality Myths