Coalition urges Conservatives to vote "No" on Network Neutrality Regulations

Encouraging news yesterday in the net neutrality debate. The Internet Freedom Coalition, a group of free-market conservative organizations, called on House Republicans to reject proposed net neutrality regulations. As Jason Wright, president of the Institute for Liberty points out, “In today’s climate, you don’t often see such agreement among free-market conservatives.”

“Net neutrality would be the first step down the dangerous path of Internet regulation” said Tom Readmond, executive director of Americans for Tax Reform’s Media Freedom Project.

Net Neutrality Podcast with George Gilder

Scott Cleland from NETCompetition joins George Gilder for a podcast discussion. Topics include innovation, net neutrality, and what's next......

To listen, click on the play button below, or download the podcast to take it with you.

Myth: The Internet is Public Property

Reality: The Internet is a network of private networks enabled by many universally-accepted, consensus standards. No single entity can control or change these standards. Network neutrality is not required to protect today’s Internet.

Essential Internet Standards:

  • Internet Transmission Protocol (IP) is universally-accepted and enables all types of communications technologies to fully inter-operate and function as one network;
  • Domain Name Systems (DNS) administered by ICANN, an international non-profit corporation, provides a universally-accepted address system for Internet devices; and 
  • World Wide Web (www) is a universally-accepted standard that makes text, graphics, sound and animation on HTTP Internet servers accessible to Internet users with a point and a click.

All these private networks have freely and openly accepted these universal Internet standards, because it is in their economic self-interest to do so and in the interests of tier users, not because it is required.

Don’t shoot the messenger because you don’t like the message

Several bloggers have greeted my recent entry into the net neutrality debate with less than flattering portrayals. Examples include: Digital Destiny, NSP Strategist, and Dana Blankenhorn. The common thread reads that anyone associated with communications companies must be bad, wrong, or have nothing worthy to say. Ouch!

If you are reading this and support net neutrality, I thank you for your open-mindedness. For those of you opposed to my position, I believe net neutrality should be debated on the merits not shaped by personal attacks and false assumptions. Let me explain.

eBay seeks a better deal for itself than for its users

I'll be interested to learn how many eBay users see through the self-serving call to action letter they received yesterday from eBay CEO Meg Whitman. eBay users are very savvy business people, and if they read the letter carefully, they will see that eBay is asking to get a better bandwidth deal for itself than its users get.

If eBay didn't live in the rarified air of 82% gross profit margins and the Internet giant elites, and if eBay truly looked at the world through its earthbound users' eyes, it would see that eBay users have long toiled away in the "two-tiered" Internet world that they look upon with such disdain. eBay should know that its users have long had the competitive choice of using the slow-lane, "dirt road" of dial-up (still used by ~35 million American households), and the faster lanes of different types of broadband (now used by over 37 million American

Net Neutrality Debated on NPR

I spoke about net neutrality this morning on the NPR program On Point. While I had hoped for a more balanced debate, I was able to make a solid argument for letting competition, not government, continue to shape the Internet and encourage online innovation. I was also able to briefly mention how network neutrality legislation is actually corporate welfare for Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, eBay and others. Right now, there are a lot of people out there trying to scare people into supporting net neutrality. The fear-mongering about censored content, degraded Internet, etc. The boy who cried wolf continues the well-established net neutrality pattern of crying “wolf" in hopes of scaring people into running to their rescue on net neutrality. They obviously think people are stupid and won’t remember what they say. Just like the proverbial boy who cried wolf learned the hard way, if people can’t trust that your cries for help are true, they won’t believe you when you do tell the truth. People aren’t stupid and they do remember. The e-commerce giants’ latest crying-wolf, with absolutely no evidence to support it, is shameless: implying that Moms won’t be able to protect their families; e-mail users won’t be able to keep in touch with family and friends, small businesses won’t be able to survive online, and churches won’t be able to get their messages out to congregants.

Itswhosenet?'s Freudian Slip?

We welcome the ecommerce giants: Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, eBay, Amazon and IAC in coming out of the shadows and publicly sponsoring a new website -- tellingly-named “" -- to debate the merits of net neutrality legislation. However, we are a little puzzled by the name choice of “" Until now no one was bold enough to claim “ownership" of the Internet. Was this just a Freudian slip by Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, eBay, whose 80-90% gross profit margins make them feel like they really do “own" the Internet so to speak? A better name choice might have been “," which would come across a little more inclusive, “democratic" and a little less covetous.

Why the Internet doesn't need saving

Net neutrality fear-mongering aside, the Internet doesn’t need new net neutrality regulation to survive or thrive. The Internet is healthy and flourishing on its own. The Internet is no baby anymore that needs a government nanny for its protection and sustenance. The Internet is all grown up and fully capable of taking care of itself.

It’s important to remember the many natural and powerful defenses the Internet has developed to protect itself -- that do not depend on net neutrality.

First and foremost, the Internet is the only universally-accepted and ubiquitously-deployed communications technology on the planet; this affords the Internet extraordinary importance, influence and independence.

    Is Google's "neutral" definition: talking out of both sides of one's mouth?

    Did anyone else connect-the-dots of hypocrisy in Google’s new toolbar deal with Dell? Up front let me say, I firmly believe there is nothing wrong with Google paying Dell to have Google’s web browser search toolbar installed as the default search tool in the 20 million PCs that Dell ships each year. That’s competition and a free market at work. However, I also think it is the height of hypocrisy for Google, the Nation’s primary Internet search gatekeeper, to say that it’s perfectly ok for them to vertically integrate and engage preferential content deals, but that the same type of business practices by their potential competitors, competitive broadband providers, should be made illegal? Given that so much of the Google brand depends on user trust that Google is principled and will “do no evil? in skewing search results as the Nation’s primary Internet search gatekeeper, I am surprised they would adopt such a self-serving and highly-public double-standard with regard to the net neutrality “principle.? Does Google want to develop a reputation for saying one thing but doing another? A free and open Internet is important for them, but not for new potential competitors.