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Why ultimate FCC decision on Comcast network management is expected to be unanimous

(See end of this post for bottom line on why there will be a unanimous FCC decision on Comcast's network management practices.)  

It's obvious that there is much more that is uncertain than certain after listening to the five-hour FCC En Banc hearing at Harvard on the FreePress and Vuze petitions on Comcast's network management practices.

Professor Tim Wu, who coined the term net neutrality and who was a panelist framed the Harvard spectacle in CNET as a "...trial of the Internet." "Comcast is in the docket accused of crimes against the public interest."  

  • Well if this was a trial, Wu/FreePress et al did not prove their case, and certainly did not prove it "beyond a reasonable doubt."
  • Only in the "make-it-up-as-you-go-along world of net neutrality is it an alleged "crime against the public interest" for an ISP to protect the quality of service for many users by imperceptively delaying the packet delivery of non-time sensitive applications for a few users.  

FCC Commissioner Tate got all the first panelists to agree that there was a baseline need for "reasonable network management." Even Professor Wu conceded that there was "good discrimination and bad discrimination," just like there is "good cholestorol and bad cholestorol."

National Broadband Strategy Proponent has blindspot for mobile broadband

I was very surprised at the answer I got when I asked Bob Atkinson, the ITIF author of "Framing a National Broadband Policy" a question at the Alliance for Public Technology panel discussion last Friday on the topic of: "Framing a National Broadband Policy."

The Google Welfare Act of 2008

Chairman Markey's newly introduced net neutrality bill should more aptly be called "The Google Welfare Act of 2008." 

  • Google was quick to applaud introduction of the Markey bill on its blog and in a fawning call with reporters. 
  • Google's standard line was that "this bill is not about Google but about the next Google."
    • When anyone says something is not about "me" but about the next incarnation of "me" you can be pretty sure it really is about the "me."

Let us cut through all the platitudes, spin, fluff and distractions in this bill of which there are many. Let us also remember the useful phrase: "the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth."

  • Proponents of the Markey bill are indeed telling the truth that the bill does not formally or explicitly mandate FCC net neutrality regulations.
  • Unfortunately they are not telling "the whole truth and nothing but the truth," because the real world impact of the crux of this bill would be to trigger a cascade of new regulations of the Internet in order to comply with the U.S. policy change in this bill.

Why would the Markey bill trigger a cascade of new Internet regulations?

Net Neutrality vs. Reasonable Network Management -- new one-pager

Given the flurry of comments to the FCC on the FreePress petition on Comcast's network management due yesterday, I produced a new NetCompetition one-pager on Net Neutrality vs. Reasonable Network Management. I find the one-page format is useful to crystalize my thinking and boil my thoughts down most succinctly.

The primary conclusions in the one pager are:

  • Net neutrality has an inherent bias against network management.
  • Network Neutrality defines network management as discrimination.
  • Net neutrality is not a "practical' principle; the word "reasonable" exists for a reason. 

For those who don't want to use the one-page format or link above, I have copied the full text below:

Net Neutrality vs. Reasonable Network Management   Net Neutrality has an inherent bias against network management.   

NetCompetition press release on Markey Net Neutrality Bill -- wolf in sheeps clothing


For Immediate Release                                                                    

Contact:  Scott Cleland

February 13, 2008                                                                                              

202-828-7800  Markey Net Neutrality Bill is “Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing” 

WASHINGTONScott Cleland, chairman of, today released the following statement regarding Representative Ed Markey’s proposed net neutrality bill:


Federal Broadband Report proves wisdom of bi-partisan law to promote competition/reduce regulation

Many have missed the high significance of the NTIA Commerce Department report: "Networked Nation: Broadband in America."

  • In particular, press reports, which zeroed in on the histrionics of broadband critics, totally "missed the proverbial forest for the trees" on this one.
  • The fact is that this report is a very big deal for national broadband policy.    

First, this official United States Government report represents the consensus policy thinking and sign-off of all the many parts of the United States Government involved in setting United States broadband policy, including but not limited to: NTIA, FCC, FTC, USTR, CEA, OMB, OSTP, and the Federal Departments of Commerce, Treasury, State, Justice, and Agriculture. 

Second, this is the first and only official and comprehensive U.S. Executive Branch assessment of U.S. broadband strategy/policy and of U.S. progress in deploying broadband. Broadband critics can no longer say there is no official or clear U.S. Government broadband policy, because here it is:

Net neutrality is not a Democratic vs. Republican issue -- it is a fringe vs. mainstream issue

Please don't miss the new one-pager I produced on the politics of net neutrality.

I make the case that net neutrality is:

  • A fringe issue and a factional business dispute;
  • Not sound Democratic policy; and
  • Not sound Republican policy.

I made it available at the Internet Caucus event today.



Computerworld Opinion: Unregulated sector calls for regulation of converging broadband competitors

In a stunningly naive, parochial, and innacurate opinion piece, "Keeping a lid on broadband," Computerworld national correspondent Kevin Mitchell has scathing criticism of current free market communications policies (that by the way were modeled after the computer sector's free market and innovation successes) and calls for government bureaucrats to regulate most everything of import in the communications sector.   

I am stunned that in the journalistic "world of computers" there could be such a naive and parochial view of the real-world ramifications of technological and digital convergence -- the rapidly blurring lines between computing, communications and storage. Mr. Mitchell writes like the tech sector and computing in general is an impregnable and immutable island that should forever be insulated and protected from competitive and market forces occuring outside the tech sector.

The Common Sense Case Why Network Management Trumps Net Neutrality

Common sense dictates that the FCC will rule in favor of the critical necessity of broadband network management and against the FreePress and Vuze petitions which claim that prioritizing p2p traffic is an unlawful violation of the FCC's network neutrality principles. 

  • No one should mistake the FCC doing its job in investigating significant allegations (by issuing public notices for comments), for an FCC predilection against reasonable network management in favor of net neutrality supremacy.

The common sense case why network management trumps net neutrality:

First, the petitions violate common sense because the petitions are based on a false predicate and presumption. The petitions assume that the FCC's policy of network neutrality principles have the legal and binding effect of formal FCC rules or law and that they trump all existing law and rules. This is preposterous. Just because the petitioners make an impassioned and PR-manipulative plea for that view -- does not mean their petition holds any water.

When CNet questions others motives it needs to have clean hands in its own disclosures

While I am a frequent and usually appreciative reader of CNet's Declan McCullagh Iconoclast column, I have to challenge Declan's recent piece "House Republican targets Google on Privacy Grounds"  when he questions the motives of the Senior Republican of the House Commerce Committee for caring about privacy in the Google-DoubleClick merger, when Declan and CNET did not disclose that Declan's wife now works for Google.

I was also surprised and dismayed that Declan's post included a CNet chart from August to try and put Google in the best light on privacy but did not mention the other side of the coin -- that Privacy International study recently ranked Google as worst in the world on privacy issues.