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Preserving "Rational Competition"?

In What's Driving the Next Telecom Law, David Isenberg writes about the incumbents desire to preserve "Rational Competition"... Rational competition is the idea that corporations, knowing their own costs, and their competition's pricing, will price their products to maximize profits. It is tied up in the language of predatory pricing. Some economists argue that predatory pricing is rare, because it is, in fact, irrational... The flaw in the incumbent's argument is twofold... more

How to Increase Broadband Competition

Susan Crawford, seeking to learn from Korea and Japan, identifies three routes towards broadband competition... Facilities based competition: Still waiting for that mythical third wire, or perhaps some unused, unlicensed TV spectrum, but not holding my breath. (Broadband over powerline? It is such an encumbered technology that it is its own barrier to entry.) Wholesale access: Been there, tried that, but the Bells wouldn't unbundled elements... more

Smaller Cable Companies Take Aim at Network Neutrality

Young, wealthy Internet companies like Google shouldn't expect to get "special favors" from network operators that have sunk billions of dollars into fiber investments, the head of a smaller cable company said Monday...

"I think what the phone industry's saying and what we're saying is we've made an investment, and I don't think the government should be coming and telling us how we can work that infrastructure, simple as that," Commisso said during a panel discussion about issues faced by companies like his, adding, "Why don't they go and tell the oil companies what they should charge for their damn gas?" more

Comparative Broadband Ideas

The primary reason that Japan and Korea do so much better than the U.S. on any measurement of broadband (availability, penetration, price, speed) is that there is fierce competition in the market for broadband internet access in these countries. ...How do you increase competition in the U.S. for broadband access? Right now, we have giants fighting with each other -- cable and telephone companies. Small numbers of these companies control 80%-90% of the market for broadband access... more

Net Neutrality Bill Introduced in U.S. House of Representatives

After failing last week to add a provision to a telecommunications reform bill, four Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday introduced a free-standing bill aimed at preventing broadband carriers from discriminating against competing Web content or services.

The bill, sponsored by Representatives Ed Markey of Massachusetts, Jay Inslee of Washington state, Anna Eshoo of California and Rick Boucher of Virginia, would create a net neutrality law banning phone and cable companies from charging Web sites for faster data transmission, or blocking their online competitors' content and services. Senator Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat, has introduced a similar bill in the Senate.  more

Network Neutrality Upsetting Worldviews?

With everyone talking about network neutrality, with all the heat, it didn't feel good to have to be in NY today and miss the goings-on in Washington. I watched part of the late afternoon markup session online, with Rep. Barton sounding awfully effective as he marched steadily through Title III -- quickly taking votes, soothing congress people who were suggesting soon-to-be-rejected amendments, and sounding confident. The only substantive work I heard was the rejection of an amendment that would have left in place all state laws that regulate the subjects of the bill -- like mini wireless networks. But the real news had already happened... more

Net Neutrality Provision Rejected

Internet companies and consumer groups calling for a new U.S. law that would prohibit broadband providers from blocking or degrading some connections lost a major battle this week when a U.S. House of Representatives committee voted down such a provision.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee, during debate on a telecommunications reform bill, rejected an amendment that would write so-called net neutrality provisions into U.S. law. Backers of a net neutrality law want Congress to prohibit U.S. broadband providers from blocking or slowing their customers' connections to Web sites or services that compete with services offered by the providers. more

Forward-Thinking Remedies

Just a year ago, I gave a talk at David Isenberg's 2005 Freedom to Connect conference. I said, essentially, that we should be careful in asking for regulation to protect the net, because the power to protect carries with it the power to constrain. This was a very troubling message for the audience, and the chatroom projected behind me went wild with disapproval. Since then, I've become very concerned about the concentration in broadband service provision in this country, and worried that there won't be any competition for unfettered internet access. more

Powell Warns Net Neutrologists Not to Be Naive

Just got this email reporting the speech made by former FCC Chairman @ F2C organized by David Isenberg. "Former FCC chairman Michael Powell is up on the stage at the Freedom to Connect conference right now, and he warns the tech elite crowd here not to be naive about the dangers of asking Congress for legislation on Net Neutrality. As he explains..." more

Telecom Policy Review Panel Calls For Net Neutrality Legal Safeguards

The Telecommunications Policy Review Panel report [Canada] was released yesterday and while the immediate reaction will no doubt focus on the recommendations for a market-oriented approach with significant changes to the CRTC, I would call attention to three other recommendations gleaned from reading the executive summary (the full document is nearly 400 pages). more

Reinventing the Internet

New initiatives aim to overhaul the internet. But how can a "clean slate" redesign ever be implemented? If a planet-wide data network, akin to the internet, were built on Mars, what would it look like? That might sound like a silly question, but it raises an important point. The design of computer networks is constrained by the need to be compatible with the internet and other systems that have grown up over the past four decades. What if network designers could start again with a clean slate, unencumbered by today's messy reality? more

Is the U.S. Dancing to a Different Drummer?

Is the United States in full retreat from internationally recognized regulatory best practice? Or is it instead headed toward some different destination -- "dancing to the beat of a different drummer"? Where is this likely to lead? The following is an introduction to a paper, published by IDATE, from J. Scott Marcus, a Senior Consultant for WIK-Consult GmbH: "...What has radically changed is telecoms regulatory practice in the United States. The U.S., in a long series of regulatory decisions, has largely abandoned its long-standing regulatory principles and moved in an entirely new direction." more

VoIP Prompts Carrier Backlash

Carriers plan to challenge VoIP 'poachers' with services to win back defecting small businesses and test the market's economics. Signals that their grip on the Net neutrality high ground could be slipping are prompting major telecommunications carriers to put Plan B in motion -- an all-out price and feature war to test the staying power and limitations of Internet voice upstarts, analysts say. more

U.S. VoIP and Broadband Policy: Today's Debate is Off the Mark!

Despite rather rapid growth in broadband access, the U.S. is falling further and further behind other countries -- we're now ranked #16 in the world. What's slowing the U.S. down? Two threads dominate U.S. broadband policy debate today. The first focuses on traditional telecom regulation -- reciprocal compensation, universal service, e911, and CALEA (wiretap capabilities). The second focuses on "Internet freedoms," i.e., guarantees that your broadband access provider won't block or inhibit specific applications like VoIP. more

Flushing the 'Net Down the Tubes

Doc Searls has written a brilliant piece framing the battle for the 'Net at Linux Journal. The piece is long, but if you take the time to read just one essay on the 'Net and the politics surround it this year, read this one. If you're involved in public policy, it's especially important that you take the time to understand what's at stake here. One of Doc's main points: we haven't framed the conversation correctly and our poor choice of words makes the argument seem overly technical and arcane when it's really about freedom, markets, and innovation. more