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Translating the "Washington-ese" of's letter to the Senate on Stevens Bill

I thought it would be useful to “translate” the “Washington-ese” of the online giants’ recent letter to the Senate on NN. My translation is in italics.
Dear Senator,

We write to express our deep concern with the Advanced Telecommunications and Opportunity Reform Act, S. 2686. 

            Translated: It appears we have painted ourselves into a corner and need your rescue. After screaming from the rooftops that we must have new net neutrality legislation pass now, in order to “Save the Internet,” we got stuffed in the House, the Senate Commerce Committee, and the FCC. We now find ourselves in the embarrassing position of blocking passage of most of the new Net Neutrality protections which we were asking for and which the American people could greatly benefit from.
·          Here’s our dilemma Senator. S.2686, would only protect Americans’ First Amendment rights to free speech on the Internet and only protect consumers rights to access any content, applications, and device of their choosing. Everyone else gets what they want but us. The House and Senate won’t give us the special regulated prices, terms and conditions we need to maintain our 80-90% gross margins. It isn’t fair. Didn’t you get the memo? It’s OUR net.     
We ask you to insist that this legislation include meaningful and enforceable network neutrality provisions before it is considered by the full Senate.
·          Translation: The plain language in S. 2686 protecting free speech and consumer rights is not meaningful. It doesn’t block broadband providers’ ability to compete with us. It doesn’t degrade broadband providers’ ability to offer differentiated choices to consumers. And it doesn’t interfere with market forces and commercial negotiations. We urge you to pass much more intrusive regulation now.  

Googleman: Congress needs a comic book!

Kid you not, Google's Vint Cerf in his debate today actually ruminated on the need to create a comic book to educate Congress on the Internet and net neutrality. He also played to the elites in the audience, by giving veiled instructions to a questioner to google "Stevens" and "tubes." Mr. Cerf apparently is not shy about telling a room full of press that he and his colleagues do not have a very high opinion of the mental aptitude of our national legislators.

It is common tactic for elitists to question the inteligence of those who disagree with them, that way they don't have to consider that the other side may have made a better case.   

Google's Cerf vs Dave Farber Debate -- scary memories of CLEC unbundling fiasco

There wasn't much new ground broken in the hyped debate between Google's Vint Cerf, "co-father of the Internet" and Dave Farber, Cerf's former Professor and thus a "grandfather of the Internet."
What I found most interesting was Mr. Cerf's focus in the debate on the the CLEC experience after the 1996 Telecom Act and his emphasis that there is still not enough last mile competition.  

I should have made the connection before, but his experience at MCI, one of the largest failed CLECs, must have been highly formative for him before he moved to Google. It sounded to me that Mr. Cerf sees NN as partly re-fighting the whole CLEC-unbundling issue -- or righting what he believes as a past wrong. It also sounded to me that his head is still in an intra-modal re-seller competition mindset and that he is not a believer in emerging inter-modal competition -- despite the evidence.

Rebutting Ebay which says NN is not about price regulation...sure CNET debate thread #9

My friend Chris Libertelli goaded me into explaining why NN cold lead to price regulation which I do with six points below.

UNE-P and NN both overreached!

Posted by Scott Cleland (See profile) - July 14, 2006 1:22 PM PDT


Both UNE-P and NN were/are huge regulatory over-reaching attempts.

From the beginning, your side has irresponsibly argued for an all encompassing concept of NN and drafted legislation that is hugely over-reaching. What do I mean?

Broadband duopoly BALDERDASH!

Neutrality-ites parade out the charge that the market a "broadband duopoly" in order to justify NN regulation. Balderdash!  Thus, I particularly relished the Business Week's article on Clearwire, which is an emerging nationwide alternative to DSL and cable modems. This great article is just more in a mountain of evidence to anyone that is fair-minded in examing the merits of the broadband duopoly assertion.  

Significance of FCC refusing to impose NN conditions on Adelphis deal -- Senate implications

Its very significant that the FCC refused to impose NN conditions on the Adelphia deal. 

First, after all the huffing and puffing of the liberal blogging community,'s 1 million person petition, and the 700 group coalition -- the neutrality-ites continue to fail. Add FCC (4-1) rejection of NN conditions on the Adelphia transaction to the House defeat of NN (269-152) and the Senate Commerce Committee defeat of NN (11-11) The phrase "more bark than bite" comes to mind when thinking about NN.

Second, it is good to have new Republican Commissioners McDowell and Tate on the offical record against NN. That's important because there now should be a solid Republican FCC majority against NN for the rest of the Bush Adminstration

Agree with CNET's Molly on something... sort of...#7

Found that Molly and I agree that technology is the answer we just continue to disagree on what that means for policy...

This would be much easier if CNET would just agree to do a podcast.

Excellent train of thought to explore!

Posted by Scott Cleland (See profile) - July 13, 2006 11:35 AM PDT

You may not be aware of it but you are making my point for me. If all the Internet needs is bandwidth, why don't the online giants just invest in the last mile? Intel is doing it with $600m in Clearwire. Google, Microsoft Yahoo and the others could easily afford to bid on the current FCC wireless broadband auction. Or they could co-invest with existing telcos of cable companies to build faster pipes? Oh I forgot. Co-investing, sharing the investment cost burden of upgrading the Internet -- among those that benefit the most -- oh, that wouldn't be neutral -- can't have that.

Molly's regulatory "hair trigger" Rebutting CNET's Molly Wood #6

This is a reply to CNET's Molly Wood chiding her for her regulatory "hair trigger."

You ducked my question

Posted by Scott Cleland (See profile) - July 13, 2006 11:02 AM PDT

I asked you why you are supporting legislation that punishes everyone with preemptive regulation for the sins of an extremely limited few (if we accept your latest examples at face value)? Why support legislation that makes no distinction on whether or not a company, industry or technology has had any NN complaints, whether or not the company, industry or technology enjoys any market power or whether or not the company even has any cusomters yet? And why would you support legislation that has no sunset provision, if people eventually had the number of competitive choices you deem enough? Do you believe that competition can succeed or is it impossible warranting no sunset provision?

Rebutting eBay which joined the CNET NN debate -- also Day 14: CNET Equal Time held hostage!

This is a reply to Chris Libertelli's comment on CNET trying to defend CNET Executive Editor Molly Woods blast of my commentary on NPR Morning Edition. I tease him for knowing better than he is letting on.

I am still waiting for a response from Molly to have the opportunity to do a guest column on CNET or have a podcast debate... but they don't seem to have the same jounalistic standard of fair play that NPR and most other news organizations do. Equal Time held hostage day 14.

Welcome to the debate

Posted by Scott Cleland (See profile) - July 13, 2006 9:15 AM PDT

Ah my friend Chris, you too are being literalist. You worked for FCC Chairman Mike Powell at the FCC and know that Reed Hundt crafted UNE-P out of statutory language that did not allow it. It took a decade of court challenges to clean up that mess!

"Broadband duopoly" charge: "code" for not believing in competition

Neutrality-ites continue to misleadingly rail against the problem of a “Broadband Duopoly” and that consumers have no real choice. Saying it is a duopoly and then saying there is no real choice in the same sentence -- is oxymoronic. With all due respect, please see my friend Art’s Brodsky’s Public Knowledge’s commentary as an example of this type of thinking -- that the current successful transition from monopoly markets to duopoly to competition is somehow not happening or is inherently bad. Competition is a process and a dynamic and every indication is that competition is increasing over any time period -- not decreasing -- or not happening as neutrality-ites imply with their somber duopoly rhetoric. (The fatal flaw in their superficial broadband duopoly analysis is that it is static and not dynamic or directional over time.)