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Excellent essay by the master contrarian.

On Video as a driver of the Net: "Two centuries ago, newspapers so dominated the traffic carried by postal services, accounting for about 95% of the weight. But at the same , newspapers provided only about 15% of the postal revenues."

On the real issue: "Communications service providers do have a problem. But it is not that of a flood of video. Instead, it is … the erosion of their main revenue and profit source … voice."

Net Neutrality War Heating Up

It’s pretty clear that the AT&T (T ) and Bellsouth (BLS) merger has turned into a proxy war over Net Neutrality, with Yahoo (YHOO) and Google (GOOG) spearheading the effort in a naked attempt to keep their distribution costs near zero. Correspondingly, Washington bloodsuckers lobbyists on both sides are gearing up.
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Net Neutrality Debate – Gilder Telecosm 2006

Gilder Telecosm 2006 - Net Neutrality

I woke up in SFO at 4AM to make sure I could get to Tahoe in time for this debate. I’ve written extensively on Net Neutrality and stopped once I realized it was unresolvable.

Broadband Brawl: A Debate Over Net Neutrality

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Verizon’s G-Man on Net Neutrality

Interesting interview in Businessweek on Net Neutrality with Verizon’s VP of Public Affairs (aka he works in Washington DC) Thomas J. Tauke.

It would appear that Verizon has finally found someone who can make a clear case as to why Net Neutrality legislation is anti-market, anti-competitive, and a expropriation of corporate property. This guy mixes the Kool-Aid extra sweet…

Should Internet content providers pay extra to reach customers at higher speeds?
It depends. There is no business model yet that we are aware of where the content providers are paying. But as these networks have increased capability, and as new companies emerge, we think new models will develop.

So let’s say, for example, that you’ve purchased 5 megabits of service, and you are a gamer. And the XYZ gaming company develops a new game that needs 25 megabits of service. They could come to you as a consumer of their products and say: “Go to Verizon and buy 25 megabits.” Or they could come to Verizon and say: “When he logs on, we want you to up the speed so that he will get 25 megabits.” So this would be a way in which they could jumpstart their business by making sure that when you purchased the game from them you also got the high-speed capability.

Is there a gaming company that is doing that now? No. Should we prevent a gaming company from doing that? We don’t see why, because it obviously is easier for that gaming company to come to us and say, “When one of our customers needs this speed, we’d like to give it to them,” rather than to have them go and convince every one of their customers that they should pay for this high-speed access on a monthly basis.

In effect, net neutrality legislation would eliminate a carriers ability to offer variable pricing.

Update: This interview was a sidebar to a longer article lamenting the Bell’s lack of innovation. I’ve also made some comments following up on a Techdirt post that I disagreed with.

Scott McNealy on Net Neutrality

Scott McNealy, ex-CEO of Sun Microsystems (SUNW) talking about Net Neutrality (term defined) (my opinions here) in an interview with the Washington Post:

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Net Neutrality Double Standard

Spent today working outside in the yard wishing I was out cycling. Had a lot of time to think.

What I find funny is the same people who pound the table about how the internet was born a wild, free, medium, how this is it’s biggest advantage, and how this is the manifest destiny of the network now cry foul when the internet might evolve into paying for multiple tiers of service.

Folks who make an argument for government mandated net-neutrality are asking to halt the untethered evolution they proclaim to be essential. That’s pretty funny.

Net Neutrality – Rearranging the Deck Chairs

The Net Neutrality ship continues to sink with the recent removal of wording from legislation that would have removed the right of carriers the to tariff based on application.

I’ve always felt Net Neutrality is a concept that expropriates the property rights of carriers in order to allow media and content companies a free-ride on their infrastructure. Google, Yahoo and other media and content companies lack ownership of a layer-one digital right of way to the consumer- so the easiest approach is to legislate the theft of it.

Anyone who thinks this is a reactionary opinion should consider what Rep Ed Markey said about the failure to pass the bill. From the CNET article:

There is a fundamental choice. It’s the choice between the bottleneck designs of a…small handful of very large companies and the dreams and innovations of thousands of online companies and innovators.

What if this debate was over a privately owned road? Would Mr. Markey feel the same way?

The good of the many is more important than the good of the few. But there are laws that cover the taking of private property rights – if you determine the greater good requires that the few forfeit their deed of ownership then you should compensate them for it.

When it comes to “fundamental choice”, I’ll go with property rights over government re-appropriation any day.

Additional Observation: Note the title of the CNET article – “Republicans defeat Net neutrality proposal“. As it’s prospects wane, the debate on Net Neutrality is moving from a technical and economic argument to a political one. Never mind that 4 of the 11 Democrats on the committee voted against the provision – nothing like a little political fire-stoking to keep debate rolling.

Net Neutrality Will ‘Fossilize’ the Internet

Martin Geddes (Blog: Telepocalypse) delivered a rare dissenting opinion at the Jeff Pulver “Freedom to Connect” net-neutrality love-fest conference today. I was not there, but I can’t imagine it was a friendly audience. Earlier in the day Michael Copps, FCC Commisioner, delivered a keynote outlining the risks of net neutrality. (Note I will link to speech when text is online).

Here’s a highlight of Geddes’s speech:

An open, free net is an emergent outcome, not an a-priori input to be legislated into existence. We need to capture and accellerate the experiments in how networks are built, financed and sold; and protect those experiments from incumbent wrath until the results are in.

But most critically, don’t fossilize the network in 2006 by adopting network neutrality.

My thoughts on the subject can be found by searching for “Net Neutrality” in the search box or simply clicking here.

Net Neutrality – Nixed by Congress?

In a move that is certain to drive the digital elite into a apoplectic fit, an article from the National Journal Telecom Update reports that Network Neutrality provisions have been removed from upcoming Telecom legislation.
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Net Neutrality and Why I Care

I’ve been trying to provide the reasoning for why the carriers are promoting the concept of charging for QoS. They have clearly done a poor job doing so.

The majority of opinion on the internet among what I like to call the ‘digital elites‘ is not only opposed to the concept, but also harbors an intense hostility towards the telcos. I am spending my personal and professional time trying to defend them because this hostility appears to be leading towards a call for government intervention in the market, which I feel will be a very bad outcome for customers as well as investors. Continue reading