Highly likely lame duck session could provide more time for telecom legislation to pass

I have been surprised that none of the press I’ve seen covering the telecom legislation and net neutrality have discussed the likelihood of a lame duck congressional session after the mid term elections.

Any old Washington hand will tell you that all of the political conditions are ripe for a lame duck session -- that possibly could go up close to Christmas. First, the congressional leadership wants to recess in early October to allow members to campaign. Second, the annual appropriations process is bogging down meaning that there will likely be a need for a “continuing resolution” for some of 13 appropriations bills by September 30 -- that would then be dealt with after the election. The political likelihood of needing a continuing resolution is increasing, because Democrats see an opportunity to take back the House and maybe the Senate. It is probably not in their political interest to let legislation breeze through the Senate in September which would give the majority party campaign ammunition. Most importantly, in wartime it just doesn’t make any sense for the institution of Congress to adjourn early and take themself out of the game and off the stage. From my experience I would put the probability of a lame duck session at over 90%.

Online giants prefer NN free lunch to the costs of broadband competition

Investors Business Daily reported today www.investors.com that it appears that Google and Yahoo have decided to pass on bidding for the next big FCC auction of wireless airwaves on August 9th.

It is interesting to note that Google may have a back door interest in this wireless auction because they have an investment in Current Technologies, a broadband over powerlines provider owned by privately held Current Group, which does plan to bid on the auction. http://www.intellon.com/pdfs/googlethis.pdf

It is comical that the online giants: Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, eBay, and Amazon claim “market failure� and that broadband market is a dreaded “broadband duopoly� in need of regulation -- and yet when they are given a prime “free and open� competitive opportunity to buy spectrum to offer broadband themselves, they are declining. How can it be a duopoly when they are free and able to buy prime national broadband spectrum? When they can offer WiFi like Google plans in San Fran? When Google can invest in broadband over powerlines? When they could work with wireless broadband competitors? When they could work with Clearwire? (which Intel just invested $600m in, and whose CEO is on Google’s board.) Stop whining and start competing!

What this is really about is the online giants preferring a free lunch of government regulated bandwidth rather than having to spend money on broadband facilities like their broadband competitors must. Oh but that would lower these companies 80-90% gross profit margins! Can’t have that! It's much cheaper and self serving to regulate your competitors and shift most all your distribution costs to your competitors and the customer.

Kudos to USA Today's balanced NN article!

I was very pleased to see that USA Today produced an excellent and balanced summary of both sides of the net neutrality debate. It can be done! The article did an outstanding job of summarizing both sides of the argument in the terms that each side uses.

I highlight the USA Today treatment in contrast to the Washington Post's recent coverage which I was highly critical of becuase it did not frame the article in a balanced way. The link to the post article is in my blog commentary.

How about some "CNET neutrality"?! #5

Attached is my latest rebuttal to CNET, don't miss my analogy to "CNET netrality" near the bottom of this post.

Rebuttal of point two! Need "CNET neutrality"

Posted by Scott Cleland (See profile) - July 11, 2006 1:39 PM PDT


At the beginning of your article, where you bashed my NPR commentary as “egregiously false, unbelievably cheap and manipulative, and insultingly void of truth or fact… you also appeared to represent yourself as reluctant to regulate: I quote: “regulation of the Internet in any form seems scary, a bit hasty and potentially dangerous.” However, given your commentary in point two, it appears as if you were not fully candid about your reluctance to regulate. Your commentary in part two shows you have an alarming “hair trigger’ for heavy regulation.

Explaining to CNET why NN is a subsidized rate for online giants #4

This is a continued CNET thread on why NN is a special low rate for online giants. 

Logical analysis and proven expertise

Posted by Scott Cleland (See profile) - July 11, 2006 9:21 AM PDT


Thank you for acknowledging that any legislation/regulation “needs to be carefully crafted” and that there can be “unintended consequences.” That is precisely why broadband providers are so concerned about net neutrality. The language is very sloppily drafted and very open-ended. They rightfully fear that bad, open-ended legislation in the wrong hands could be devastating. They learned the hard way in seeing what former FCC Chairman Reed Hundt did with clear de-regulatory language in the 1996 Telecom Act; he turned the intent on its head and pursued hyper regulation that took a decade of legal decisions to fix.

Rebuttal of CNET Charge that NN special low rate is a "lie" (#3)

I continue to post my rebuttals to the CNET Executuve Editor Molly Woods accusations of "lies"

Rebuttal to your Point One!

Posted by Scott Cleland (See profile) - July 10, 2006 9:24 AM PDT


I didn't see any reply to my last comment? Did I miss it?
Or is this not a debate, but just rebuttals of your article?
I trust you are still listening. It is hard to comprehensively respond in a one inch by 4 inch comment box.

On your charge that it is a lie that the NN legislation would give a special low, government set price for the bandwidth they use. I suggest you reread Snowe Dorgan after I have decoded them for you.

More rebuttal of CNET Executive Editor's blast of my NPR commentary

Given that Mooly Woods, Executive Editor of CNET blasted my NPR commentary on NN but will not give me equal time to respond, I am sharing with you my rebuttals to her points that I had to post in her comment section.

Homefield advantage

Posted by Scott Cleland (See profile) - July 7, 2006 1:55 PM PDT

Thank you for reply. I am not surprised that you chose the least distribution option for our back and forth, it suggests you would rather not have your general readership, hear the other side or the rebuttal of your position. I respectfully repeat that if you think this is an important issue and you really want a fair airing of it, I request again that you have a podcast debate on this or at least give me the opportunity to do a CNET guest column or interview to balance your view.

Google's Airplane -- What corporate welfare for dotcom billionaires can buy

For anyone that missed the WSJ article on the lawsuits over Google's opulent refurbishing of their personal 767 airplane -- it was just too precious for words.

Apparently the Google founders were fighting over who would get the king-size bed in their private bedrooms on the airplane and who would get the hammock. Kid you not. Read the article.

My point here is that Google is the lead in asking for NN -- special interest legislation to protect Google from broadband competition and to get a special government regulated price terms and conditions -- when the rest of us poor saps that fly coach pay the full competitive price for our bandwidth.

NN is corporate welfare for dotcom billionaires that obviously don't need the subisidy. 


My reply to CNET Exec Editor blasting my NPR NN Commentary as "lies"

CNET Executive Editor, Molly Wood, blasted my NPR Morning Edition NN Commentary as "lies" in her column recently, trying to rebut my statements one by one in "Net Neutrality: Bring it on". 

I replied in a comment to her post as soon as I learned of the personal attack. My comment/reply is found below in its entirety. I believe in CNET and Molly's sense of journalistic fairness and integrity that I will be given the opportunity to respond in detail to her assertions in a forum of their choosing.