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Read "What's an ISP?" -- it shows the arbitrariness and unworkability of applying net neutrality regs

Kudos to Johna Till Johnson of Network World whose post "What is an ISP?" in the New York Times Bits blog, cuts to the quick of why net neutrality is so problematic to apply in the real world.

Not only can net neutrality supporters not define it, it is equally problematic defining who it applies to -- a point I have been making for a long time.  

The post explains how net neutrality would not allow Amazon's Kindle reading service... oops!


EU Commissioner's reasonable take on net neutrality

While I am always skeptical about the EU's regulatory approach, it is encouraging that the EU Commissioner is discussing a reasonable approach to net neutrality that:

  • competition and transparency should be the guiding principles;
  • network management and traffic prioritization are/can be necessary and important; and
  • The EU already has the tools in place to deal with anti-competitive bahavior.

Per a post by of EU Commissioner Viviane Reding:

Exposing the Biases in the Broadband Policy Debate -- My new white paper

Invited to speak at the ITIF forum on ITIF's white paper: "It's Time to End the Broadband Policy Wars" -- I so strongly disagreed with the framing bias of that white paper and the broadband policy debate in general that I decided I needed to counter it by writing my own white paper:

  • Don’t be Fooled by the National Broadband Policy “Straw Man”


    Exposing Three Hidden Policy Biases of Broadband Policy Proponents

The abstract of my six page paper is below:

Nielsen: US leading in Mobile Internet Penetration -- More evidence the US is not falling behind

New facts from independent sources continue to undermine the political charge that the U.S. is falling behind in broadband, the thinly-veiled charge that Big Government proponents use to justify the need for a national broadband industrial policy to replace the current free-market national Internet policy.

  • A new report by Nielsen, the independent market research firm: "Critical Mass: The worldwide state of the mobile web"
    • Ranks the U.S. #1 out of the 16 countries they measure in mobile Internet usage penetration -- ahead of the UK, Germany, France and Italy and others. 
    • The report also concludes that penetration of 3G-broadband-capable handsets is greater in the U.S. than in the EU (28% vs 25% of consumers respectively.)

Why are these new independent findings important?

First, broadband mobility is as important to Americans as stationary broadband speed.

Google's neutralism movement regrouping again -- Internet for Everyone

It's taken the Google-led neutralism movement two years to learn, and get on board with, what the broadband industry has been saying all along -- that Americans want broadband deployed soonest, and they want competitive broadband choice.

  • That's the real problem that the broadband industry and market forces have been steadily and successfully resolving in the marketplace over the last several years. 

It seems the neutralism movement may have learned that focusing on their manufactured net neutrality problem, and fear-mongering on threats to free speech -- could only take them so far politically.

Google unfairly represents AdWords as an "auction" process; it is not

Google unfairly represents that it competitively conducts 'auctions' for keywords in AdWords; Google even has an "auction policy." However, if you look up the definition of "auction" one finds it is the public sale of property to the highest bidder

  • The big problem here is that Google's auction does not sell property to the highest bidder.

If Google were interested in fair representation and truth in advertising, Google would represent Adwords as Google's algorithmic secret selection process or GASSP.

  • That's because Adwords is a really a mysterious 'Black Box' system, that is secret, non-neutral, non-transparent, non-auditable, and non-appealable.
  • Google probably thinks its "unfair" to expect the world's leading Internet advertiser to respect fair representation and truth in advertising laws...

U.S. remains #1 in 2008 World Competitiveness Yearbook -- The U.S. isn't falling behind

The 2008 World Competitiveness Yearbook just came out and the U.S. is ranked #1 in world competitiveness again -- for the fourteenth year in a row.

  • This ranking by the Swiss IMD is the third major, world-respected, independent ranking that concluded the U.S. is not falling behind the rest of the world in competitiveness.
  • These three different independent assessments are in stark contrast to broadband critics' call for abandonment of free-market competition policies in favor of a more regulatory broadband industrial policy. 
    • In November 2007, the U.S. ranked #1 in the World Economic Forum's Global competitiveness Report for 2007-2008.
    • Last year, the Economist Intelligence Unit's latest Global Digital Rankings had the U.S. tied for second in the world.

Bottom line: Pro net neutrality and pro-regulation proponents love to jump on isolated data or studies like the OECD broadband rankings to justify a reversal of free-market competition policies in favor of more command and control government industrial policies.

However, facts are pesky things.

Buzz is Chairman Markey is planning a House hearing on Net Neutrality next week

The buzz is that House Subcommittee Chairman Markey is planning a hearing on net neutrality for Tuesday May 6th (probably AM) -- if they can line up their witnesses, which are still TBD.

I wouldn't be surprised if Professor Lessig is asked to testify yet again, after testifying before the Senate last week and the FCC the week before.

Takeaways from Senate net neutrality hearing; & proposed FCC framework on network management

The big surprise of the hearing was that Chairman Martin was a last minute witness. The Committee created a new first panel for just Chairman Martin, which ended up consuming about 60% of the allotted time for the whole hearing, and which was also the prime time when most of the Senators and press were in attendance. This surprise testimony practically relegated the other panel, which was expected to be the main event, to more of sideshow status.

Overall, this hearing was slightly more balanced than its House counterparts. Chairman Innouye continued his very measured and balanced approach, in that he said things that each side wanted to hear.

  • Given that the Senate Commerce Committee is historically quite bipartisan, and that this committee remains split largely down the middle, I doubt if we will see much real movement on Dorgan-Snowe's net neutrality bill this session.
  • If Chairman Inouye actually thought net neutrality legislation should make progress, he wouldn't have waited fifteen months since the introduction of the Dorgan-Snowe bill to hold the first hearing on it.
  • It appears the real purpose of this hearing was basically to let off steam and throw the net neutrality activists a bone. 

The real import of the hearing was two-fold: 

My letter to Senate Committee on Net Neutrality asking: Why now? Why worsen recession?

Below is the full text of the letter I sent to all members of the Senate Commerce Committee and the Senate leadership questioning why of all times -- now -- for pushing net neutrality?

April 22, 2008

The Honorable Daniel K. Inouye

722 Hart Senate Office Building

Washington, DC 20510-1102

ATTN: Telecom Legislative Assistant

Dear Chairman Inouye: