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Ask.com is calling Google an "online information monopoly" in UK

It seems there is more trouble brewing in the eerily quiet ItsOurNet coalition of online giants who are promoting net neutrality legislation.

  • One of ItsOurNets' primary funders, IAC's Ask.com, is calling the lead member, Google, an "online information monopoly" in the UK. Ouch!  

Today's WSJ article "Ask.com's Revolt Risks costly clicks" highlights a guerilla ad campaign that Ask.com is running in "London subway cars exhorting commuters to "stop the online information monopoly."" 

Watch out for the EU net neutrality trap!

A great editorial in the European WSJ, "Net Loss" by analyst Alec Van Gelder, alerts us to the potential for regulatory creep to occur in the European Union (EU) and how it relates to the U.S. net neutrality movement.

  • The EU has never met an economic regulation they did not like; that's because the very nature of the EU systematically subordinates individual country's economics to the EU's over-arching imperative of the socialization politics of unity.
  • The EU is a political union that forces economic standardization through regulation.

This fine WSJ piece alerts us to some potentially troublesome developments in the EU: draft laws are due this July on the EU's "standardization policy for the information and technology sector."

  • The EU mantra of standardization, socialization, and politicization of economics is exactly why the EU is routinely hostile to U.S.-style capitalism and competition that has made our economy the envy of the world for decades.
  • In the EU, socialization politics are supreme not economics, freedom, competition or innovation.
  • This Government-solution orientation gives the EU a natural and scary bias toward net neutrality.

Now it will become more clear why I wrote the commentary "America's Unique Internet Success" in the Washington Times last month.

700 MHz auction: Latest la la land attempt to impose net neutrality

SaveTheInternet's Free Press arm and other liberal advocacy groups are going to ask the FCC to impose net neutrality on the winners of the upcoming 700 MHz wireless auction, according to Tech Daily on 3-30-07.

  • While I guess I have to give these groups credit for their persistence, they are basically spitting into the wind on this one.

Less than two weeks ago, the FCC unanimously voted to classify wireless broadband as an unregulated information service which pratically means that net neutrality does not apply to wireless broadband.

Great new flash video on Exaflood -- net nuetrality misses forest for trees

The Fiber to the Home Council has produced a great new flash video highlighting the "Exaflood" of data that is literally flooding the Internet requiring it to be upgraded.

  • Don't miss this four-minute, very-informative flash video.
  • It helps the average person to make sense of all the changes on the Internet and how they all add up to one big thing:
    • that Internet capacity needs to increase BIG TIME and fast!

Its a great problem to have.

  • The need to constantly upgrade, build-up and build-out the Internet is a great testament to the Internet's ever-increasing value and dynamism in everyone's lives; and it is also a testament to the competitiveness of everything Internet.
  • Anything good deserves investment to protect it and improve it.

Why I like the flash video so much is that it persuasively spotlights how vibrant and healthy the Internet is today.

  • Net neutrality proponents are really missing the boat here.
  • They are hysterical that the only big Internet issue is net neutrality -- preemptively solving a non-existent problem.

If net neutrality proponents were more responsible they would also be focused on solving real (not hypotheical)  ongoing problems that are critical to every user every day, which is how to increase the Internet's capacity so that it can continue to operate as it has or better.

The Bottom line: Net neutrality proponents are missing the proverbial forest for the trees.

 

A must-read economists' joint statement on Net Neutrality

I sincerely hope that everyone who cares substantively about the net neutrality issue, on either side of the debate, reads the new 2-1/2 page "Economists' Statement on Network Neutrality Policy" by the AEI-Brookings oint Center for Regulatory Studies.

  • This joint statement is a brief and easy read,  and is among the clearest, most reasonable, and value-added statements I have seen on the subject.
  • It should not be surprising then that it is written jointly by some of the best and most respected regulatory economists in the country.

We are still waiting to read a cogent, well-reasoned and supported piece of work that supports the policy of Net neutrality. All we have gotten is assertions, hypotheticals --virtually no facts or analysis from the other side.

Legislating envy? Read good Op Ed in Canada opposing Net neutrality

Hal Singer of Criterion Economics has a very good commentary today in Canada's Financial Post called "Not Neutrality."

Hal is a very clear thinker and anyone who quotes Milton Friedman in a supportive way is alright by me.

One passage of Hal's commentary really hits the nail on the head about how insidious net neutrality is:

  • "Although the idea has taken on many meanings, net neutrality is fundamentally about denying a voluntary exchange between two consenting parties for the sake of equal outcomes. The argument goes something like this: If my Web site cannot afford certain bells and whistles to make real-time applications run better, then my rivals should be prevented by law from purchasing those enhancements from any broadband service provider."

Rock the Net: a bad "lip synching" performance of Moveon.org's song

The Future of Music has created a supposed new "coalition" "Rock the Net" to promote net neutrality by banding together music groups who have been suckered into fearing that the Internet will somehow be taken away from them -- without net neutrality legislation.

This is not about policy or legislation.  

This is a cheap publicity stunt.

"Rock the net" is basically a bad "lip synching performance" by music groups singing liberal Moveon.org's pre-canned song.

  • No musician at their Rock the Net press conference showed any understanding whatsoever of the net neutrality issue or how musicians might be threatened without NN legislation. 
  • They just "lip synched" Moveon.org's lyrics. 

"Lip synching" is the perfect metaphor for the supposed net neutrality grass roots "movement" overall.

"Put up or shut up" time: FCC launches Notice of Inquiry on NN

The most relevant part of the FCC launching a Notice of Inquiry (NOI) into the net neutality issue was FCC Bureau Chief Tom Navin testifying that no one has formally complained about blocking and no one has formally petitioned the FCC on the matter. 

  • In other words, there is no there there.

The FCC is launching an NOI to cut through the hysteria and misdirection and finally get the facts on the record.

  • The NOI is basically the FCC saying its "put up or shut up" time.
  • Make your case or go away.

While I don't think this bogus and completely unsubstantiated issue is even worthy of an NOI, I can understand why the FCC would want to launch an NOI to ensure that no one can say the FCC is not taking this issue seriously.

Former UK official eviscerates NN as "extreme" and "impractical"

An article in the Register on the first significant NN debate in the UK is a wonderful read.

It is always helpful to get the reaction of an outside perspective to cut to the quick of an issue.

  • Alun Michael, the former UK trade minister "described the clamour for preemptive technical legislation as "extreme... unattractive and impractical"
    • "It was, he said "an answer to problems we don't have, using a philosophy we don't share.""
  • The current top UK regulator over the net neutrality issue Douglas Scott "concluded by saying neutrality wasn't an issue, so long as customers could migrate to an alternative provider quickly and easily."  

I reccommend reading the whole article.

FCC affirming no NN for wireless broadband cements dereg precedents

The most important development for a free market Internet in the last several weeks was the FCC's  5-0 decision March 22nd to declare wireless broadband an unregulated information service.

  • In laymans terms, the FCC officially and unanimously declared that net neutrality is NOT required for wireless broadband going forward. 

Why is this a big deal?

  • The FCC legally cemented the policy precedent of regulatory parity -- for broadband de-regulation.
    • The FCC applied the Supreme Court's seminal "Brand X" de-regulatory ruling that declared cable modems an unregulated info service (2002) -- to all other mainstream broadband facilities, DSL (2005), BPL (2006) and now wireless broadband (2007).      
    • The legal facts of the FCC reiterating the same policy and technology parity logic repeatedly over several years creates a powerful phalanx of deregulatory legal precedent that future regulators will be hard-pressed to reverse piecemeal.
  • If a future FCC Chairman, say a Commissioner Copps in a potential Democratic Administration, wanted to apply Carterfone-like regulations to only wireless, that FCC ruling would likely be ruled in court to be arbitrary and capricious because it singled out wireless and treated that broadband technology much differently than other analogous broadband technologies: cable modem, DSL and BPL.
    • To be fair and legal, the FCC would have to apply new regulations in a technologically-neutral way.
  • What the FCC decided is that wireless is NOT different in a policy or legal sense.
    • This makes it much harder to legally and politically justify any eBay-Skype petition for Carterfone rules for wireless.
    • The savy observer will appreciate that this FCC ruling effectively moots the eBay-Skype petition to apply Carterfone rules to wireless.
      • I fully expect people will continue to talk about wireless Carterfone rules.
      • However, when they have to talk about it in the context of the FCC's Notice of Inquiry into NN, they will find it extremely difficult to justify that wireless is different and requires special rules.

Well done FCC!  Great de-regulatory box out!

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Q&A One Pager Debunking Net Neutrality Myths