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Europeans see NN as away to undermine U.S. Competitiveness

Net neutrality is not only a domestic issue but also a policy weapon some Eurocrats see as a way to undermine American competitiveness to Europe's advantage.

  • Make no mistake, NN has a powerful competitiveness, trade and foreign policy dimension.
    • Keeping the Internet free of regulation and promoting competition and the deployment of new technologies are critical to maintaining America's competitiveness.
  • Other nations are begining to see the NN concept as a clever way to slow down U.S. innovation and "level the playing field" through regulation to improve their competitive position relative to the U.S.
    • Some of the more socialist-minded nations like France are beginning to see that they can advance relatively, if they can slow U.S. innnovation down -- with "competition" restrictions that favor the EC and relatively disadvantage the U.S.

Why I wrote my commentary, "America's Unique Internet success" in the Washington Times a couple of weeks ago," was to drive home this important insight that America truly is unique when it comes to the Internet

  • America created the Internet.
  • And America's committment to free markets, competition and deregulation has been rewarded with the phenomenal growth and innovation that we call the Internet and the online world.
  • America has a unique role in leading the world in fast-paced industry innovation and creating intellectual property.
  • And America has created more facilities-based broadband competition than any nation in the world, which will ensure that we continue to lead the world in broadband-related innovation.
    • Necessity is the mother of invention.
    • America's committment to true free market competition, not regulator-managed competition, is the key to real and sustainable innovation and continued American economic leadership in the world.

So why am I highlighting the international angle of NN? What pattern is emerging overseas? Let me connect some international-precursor-dots...

  • European consumer advocates and some regulators are taking aim at Apple for bundling iTunes with the iPod!
  • In Norway in the last few weeks, there was a consumer protection ruling that went after Apple's iPod-iTunes bundling.
  • This innovation attack on Apple is very similar to the EC crusade against Microsoft which is forcing Microsoft to unbundle its Media Player in Europe -- much to the chagrin of U.S. antitrust enforcers who strongly disagree with that approach.
  • IBM, in pushing its open souurce strategy, is reportedly stirring up interest in net neutrality in other countries as a way to advantage its open source consulting support model over new software innovation.
    • IBM and other countries are calling the issue "software interoperability" but its just a euphemism for advantaging foreign software providers over Microsoft.
  • Another European euphemism for net neutrality is "separation of layers".
    • What it really means is that more-interventionist-minded European regulators view themselves as referees that divy up the spoils between competing Euro-business interests and their international competitors (the U.S.). 
    • "Separation-of-layers" is a clever term for disadvantaging integrated and innovative American companies that are out manuevering Euro-businesses.
  • The EC is also considering "structural separation" of their dominant telcos, as reported in the 3-9-07 Comm Daily.
    • This is because the EC was never very keen on allowing real competition or market forces to break out because that would be more disruptive to their social policies than they were willing to bear.
    • EC Information Society and Media Commissioner Viviane Reding appears to be leading this charge.
    • This is exactly the type of regulatory thinking which has allowed America to enjoy "unique Internet success."
      • We promote competition, which yields innovation and growth.
      • Those concepts are much too radical for the EC regulators to embrace; to do so would lead to dimininishing their role and power. They couldn't have that...