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NN's gross misrepresentation of FCC broadband competition data

The way many neutrality-ites take the FCC broadband competition data out of context reminds me of the classic book “How to Lie with Statistics.” The analysis below should be called “How to put the FCC Broadband Competition Report Data in Honest and Fair Context.” Or “Why the Broadband Duopoly Assertion is Superficial Misrepresentation.”

The first important context is the DIRECTION of broadband competition. It is critical to acknowledge that broadband is a new market that is largely replacing the monopoly dial-up market where consumers had virtually no choice. None of the FCC data suggest that this market is trending back to monopoly or getting less competitive than before. On the contrary, most every time series of data that matter show that the broadband market is becoming increasingly competitive. Is there perfect competition now everywhere? Of course not; that’s a red herring. The honest and fair question should be: is the competition policy that replaced monopoly policy working and resulting in increasing competition and consumer choice and deployment of new technologies? (i.e. the purpose of the 1996 Telecom Act) The answer to that fair question is yes! It is working and making steady and impressive progress over time for most all of America.

Powerful evidence it's not a broadband duopoly

The Washington Post's good article "Rewriting the Web for Mobile Phones" is powerful evidence that there is not a broadband duopoly in the U.S. The article explains that both Google and Yahoo are introducing programs specifically-designed for mobile phones, which by the way outnumber PCs in the U.S.

If broadband  access was a broadband duopoly, why would both Google and Yahoo be investing in moble phone Internet interfaces? And why does Microsoft have Mobile Windows on the popular Treo phones?

It doesn't sound like market failure to me. An analyst in the article said: "These are still the early days of the Mobile Web. Theres going to be a big, big market and there are some huge players that are gong to put a lot of resources into this area." (I ask why Snowe-Dorgan has no sunset provision for when there is more competition -- could it be that they never want it to sunset becuase the issue is not sufficient competition but protection from competition?

Yahoo in the article is making our case for us why one-size-fits all NN regulation is inappropriate for mobile phones (which by the way have not had NN since 1993.) Yahoo spokeswoman said: "With the mobile Web, we don't just try and plop PC-based services onto the phone. The network speeds are different, the device capabilities are different and the what consumers want from us is different."

If Yahoo understands how different Mobile broadband access is from landline broadband access, why does Yahoo support the rigid, one same NN rule for every broadband carrier regardless of their differences?  Could it be protection from competition?

NN forum shopping

The Heartland Institute flags in an article that two prominent State Attorney Generals are now backing NN.

Like the kid that doesn't like what one parent says, goes and asks the other to get the answer they seek, neutrality-ites don't want to hear the "NO!" that they got from the FCC, the DOJ antitrust division, the House of Representatives and the Senate Commerce Committee.
In Washington this transparent maneuver is called "forum shopping." It is the common practice for those with weak or losing arguments.

Inconvenient truths from Berners-Lee/Farber NPR debate on NN

The NN debate between Tim Berners-Lee and David Farber on NPR was useful.

My takeaway from David Farber was two main points: First, no one can define the problem NN is trying to solve; and second, that there are sufficient laws and mechanisms already in place to address any net neutrality concerns, if they transform from being hypothetical to real. 

My big takeaway from Tim Berners-Lee's comments was his over-simplification that left the impression that NN is what everyone has now and have always had.  

To make NN sound less radical and controversial, net neutrality proponents routinely like to imply they just want to restore the situation to the way it was before the FCC's 2005 decision to declare DSL an unregulated information service.

However, if that was truly the NN game plan, and there was no other agenda:

Why are none of the NN bills (Snowe-Drogan or Markey Bills) written as restoring or reinstating what existed in regulation or legislation before if that is truly the case? (Why is it completely new language that applies to all the non-copper technologies it never applied to before?)

Why is net neutrality so hard to define? (If NN is the way its always been, couldn't we just use past definitions?)

Why is the term NN a relatively new term used for the first time on the Internet -- just a few years ago?

An outstanding anti-NN Op Ed

For those who are interested in an outstanding Op Ed on the folly of net neutrality I encourage you to read the Op Ed of David Cohen of Comcast in the Philadelphia Enquirer from earlier this week. its dead on.

NN is "Reverse Robin Hood"

In the real world, NN would have a "reverse Robin Hood" effect where NN would "rob" from light bandwidth users and "give it" to heavy users of bandwidth. The mantra of NN is "non-discrimination" which is a politically-manipulative way of saying broadband pricing must be uniform or averaged

Practically, it means that people that could be paying a lower price for demanding less bandwidth or sevices are forced to pay a higher price to subsidize those who demand and use more bandwidth and services. Simply, NN takes from the bandwidth "poor" and gives it to the bandwdth "rich" -- a classic "reverse Robin Hood" scenario. 

"The Long Tail" Book and And Why NN is anti-niche market!

I am in the midst of reading a new and very interesting book called "The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business is Selling Less of More"  written by "Wired" editor in chief Chris Anderson. His core brilliant insight is that Internet and digital technology create the "new economics of abundance" in that there is as much opportunity on the long tail of the demand curve as there is in the "head" of the curve where most companies focus. Simply, there is huge growth and revenue opportunity and potential in serving niche markets! 

Indian Govt Blocks Web Access -- Hello? the threat is from Government not business!

The Washington Post reports today that the Indian government ordered Indian ISPs to block acccess to many websites and blogs. Now the second most populous country, India, in addition to China, the most populous country, are blocking free and open access to the Internet.

Why oh why do the american neutrality-ites think it is a good idea to invite the Federal government of the world's third most populous country into the business of policing bit traffic, when there isn't even a problem? Is it because neutrality-ites trust the government more than business? I think so. At the core of the net neutrality movement is a deep anti-business, anti-capitalism, pro-big-government bent. 

Profound new insight from Dave Farber, Former FCC Chief Technologist and famous Professor

Dave Farber, former FCC Chief technologist and professor to Vint Cerf, made one of the most profound and important comments I have ever heard in this NN debate yesterday. As reported in today's Communications Daily: "The chief threat to Internet culture isn't bit discrimination, but DRM, (Digital Rights Management) a peril to the Web's information-sharing ethos, Farber said. And DRM comes from content providers and content owners, not network providers, he said."

I've been ruminating on this truly profound insight for most of the day and had to comment on it here. Farber is right. Dead right. The neutrality-ites have organized around the wrong boogeyman.

My dead serious rebuttal to CNET Wood's last criticism, CNET thread #10

Below is my last rebuttal to the flaming by CNET Editor Molly Wood of my NPR Morning Edition commentary on NN. I take her to task for dismissing the reality of unintended consequences and for being uninformed and anti-business.


My dead serious straight-faced rebuttal to your last point.


Molly, your snide conclusion to your Cleland-bashing of my NPR Morning Edition commentary on Net Neutrality first exposes that you have very little appreciation of the unintended consequences of government intervention, and second that you either have little grasp of business and the sector or you are deeply anti-business.