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Subject: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] [Fwd: SuitWatch - May 17]
From: Ruben Safir
Organization: Brooklyn Linux Solutions
X-Mailer: Ximian Evolution 1.4.4
Date: Wed, 17 May 2006 18:01:13 -0400
> From: SuitWatch
> To: suitwatch-at-ssc.com
> Subject: SuitWatch - May 17
> Date: Wed, 17 May 2006 11:22:20 -0600
> SuitWatch -- May 17
> Thanks to Suitwatch's sponsor this week: Spikesource
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> Localizing the Broadband Battle
> "Congress shaping telecom law in private", reads the headline in the Austin
> American-Statesman. "While most conference negotiations are closed to public
> view, lobbyist continue to influence the members and their staffers", the
> story says.
> On May 1st, Susan Crawford commented on Senator Stevens' telecom bill draft,
> which presumably forms the base material for whatever legislators and
> lobbyist are cooking up. She begins, "It's 135 pages long, and the first
> Title is: 'War on Terrorism.'"
> You can bet "Net Neutrality" will be neutered in whatever comes out of these
> I've been one of the voices engaged in the fight for Net Neutrality -- or at
> least for some of the concepts it represents. Saving the Net, Net Neutrality
> vs. Net Neutering and Imagining the Maximum Net all took a pro-Neutrality
> Net Neutrality basically says the Net's packetized goods are inherently
> "neutral". Meaning that the nature of the Net itself does not favor one
> source of bits over another. It just delivers the goods. In David Isenberg's
> immortal words, the Net is "stupid" in this respect. Like the Earth's
> gravity, Neutrality serves an equally simple (and "stupid") purpose for
> everything it supports.
> Tim Berners-Lee puts it eloquently:
> Twenty-seven years ago, the inventors of the Internet designed an
> architecture which was simple and general. Any computer could send a
> packet to any other computer. The network did not look inside packets. It
> is the cleanness of that design, and the strict independence of the
> layers, which allowed the Internet to grow and be useful. It allowed the
> hardware and transmission technology supporting the Internet to evolve
> through a thousandfold increase in speed, yet still run the same
> applications. It allowed new Internet applications to be introduced and to
> evolve independently.
> When, seventeen years ago, I designed the Web, I did not have to ask
> anyone's permission. . The new application rolled out over the existing
> Internet without modifying it. I tried then, and many people still work
> very hard still, to make the Web technology, in turn, a universal,
> neutral, platform. It must not discriminate against particular hardware,
> software, underlying network, language, culture, disability, or against
> particular types of data.
> Anyone can build a new application on the Web, without asking me, or Vint
> Cerf, or their ISP, or their cable company, or their operating system
> provider, or their government, or their hardware vendor.
> 1. Vint Cerf, Bob Kahn and colleagues
> 2. TCP and IP
> 3. I did have to ask for port 80 for HTTP
> I found that post through Richard Bennett, who characterizes it as "flying
> off to socialist Neverland". Richard, like Tim, is a techie. Seems to me Net
> Neutrality should be, at its base, a technical issue. But it isn't. It's a
> political cause.
> On the one hand, it is good for geeks to get interested in how politics can
> screw up something they value. Larry Lessig has been urging this loudly ever
> since his famous Free Culture speech at OSCon in the summer of 2002. On the
> other hand, Net Neutrality may be a failed political strategy from the
> outset, because it attacks carriers directly. No matter how lame or
> irrelevant the carriers may be in the long run, they buy votes in Congress
> by the boatload. Attacking them is bound to backfire.
> Sure enough, the carriers are reframing Net Neutrality as a way for
> government to mess with business. NETcompetition.org slickly applies the
> cable industry's ample lobbying and public relations muscle. And they are
> joined by right-leaning techies such as Richard Bennett, who engages TBL in
> a long debate in the comments section under the post quoted above. At one
> point Richard summarizes,
> The big issue here is that the choices that need to be made between good
> practices and bad are very hard to make in legislation, which tends to be
> more like an ax than a scalpel. Anti-competitive practices are hard to
> identify until we have actual markets in which to measure them. So at this
> point it seems that the prudent thing is to ban only the most egregious
> abuses in law, and wait and see what really comes to pass as the new IMS
> networks are rolled out.
> This is echoed by Randolph J. May of the Progress and Freedom Foundation,
> arguing against Net Neutrality in CNET: In a competitive marketplace, the
> government usually does not require that vendors treat all customers and all
> suppliers alike for all purposes. Very often such differences in treatment
> in a competitive marketplace reflect economic efficiencies to be realized
> from that result in cost savings, and these cost savings enhance overall
> consumer welfare. Avoiding broad prohibitions on such differential treatment
> gives operators the freedom and flexibility to invest with confidence in new
> facilities and innovative services consumers may value.
> On the other side is David Weinberger, with whom I co-wrote both The
> Cluetrain Manifesto and World of Ends. David wrote Why Net Neutrality
> Matters on April 22. He begins,
> Net neutrality (formerly known as the end-to-end principle) means that the
> people who provide connections to the Internet don't get to favor some
> bits over others. This principle is not only under attack, it's about to
> be regulated out of existence.
> Here we see how a technical issue is being re-cast as a political one. And,
> though we may be An Army of Davids (as right-leaning and Neutrality-favoring
> law professor and superblogger Glenn Reynolds calls us in his book by that
> title), the Goliaths still own the votes. Which is why Net Neutrality is
> losing in Congress. Jonathan Peterson sums up the prospects:
> The reality is that this is a battle that we are going to lose. The telcos
> are going to be allowed to implement special carriage pricing to pass to
> content and service providers - perhaps the Supreme Court will strike it
> down, perhaps not. But just as no one burned down Washington DC when the
> decisions that made our cellular infrastructure and services fall so far
> behind were made, no one will burn down DC as our internet goes the same
> way. (Which doesn't mean that you shouldn't go to Savetheinternet.org and
> sign their Save Network Neutrality Petition).
> So it's time to put on a strategic planning hat and start figuring out
> what a post-network neutrality world will look like. Only companies with
> deep pockets will pay the fees for fat content.
> I've read that YouTube is burning through $1M/month in hosting fees. That
> can't continue in a rational world, even without bandwidth surcharges from
> ISPs. This means that Google and Yahoo will be able to afford to host
> amateur video content, but most of the other players will die or be
> purchased by the big guys for their content.
> Google and Yahoo are great companies, but an end of network neutrality
> actually helps them out by locking out new competitors who won't get the
> best rates for fat pipe carriage. That's a deal with the Devil that's hard
> to ignore.
> To pass, Net Neutrality need bipartisan support. Toward that end, it
> probably hasn't helped to have Moveon.org, a partisan organization on the
> left, come out with a petition to save what it calls "the Internet's First
> Amendment". Partisanship breeds sportscasts in the media. So, predictably,
> Net Neutrality became what CNET called "a hotly contested Democratic bid to
> enshrine extensive Net neutrality regulations in the law books", when it
> failed in House committee by a 34-22 vote, mostly along partisan lines.
> So. What next?
> In Comparative Broadband Ideas, Susan Crawford says there's a simple reason
> why the U.S. is falling farther and farther behind in broadband access,
> while Korea and Japan lead the way:
> 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.
> Here in the U.S. access is controlled by monopolies and duopolies. Here in
> Santa Barbara only one cable company, Cox Communications, reaches nearly all
> the homes and businesses in town. One reason we moved here in 2001 was that
> Cox's offering was far better than the lousy 100Kb IDSL we were getting at
> our old house in Silicon Valley. Since then Cox has improved services in a
> few ways, but in others has cut back. There is some competition from
> Verizon, which now offers faster upstream speeds at lower prices than Cox,
> but not for the whole town. Where I live the best Verizon offers is "Up to
> 768 Kbps/128 Kbps". But I just tested my Cox connection via DSL Reports
> (http://www.dslreports.com/stest) and got 4.371Mb down and 331Kb up. That's
> not bad, but in Japan and Korea customers are getting 100Mb service for a
> fraction of what I pay to Cox. And I have no choice: Cox has to be my
> provider. They have a functional monopoly. Competition is the key. Broadband
> markets need to be opened. Susan Crawford again:
> There are three routes towards increasing competition in broadband access:
> (1) "local loop unbundling," which means requiring the incumbent to
> physically open its facilities to new entrants, who then find new ways to
> provide services to end-customers; (2) "wholesale access," which means
> requiring the incumbent to sell a wholesale broadband access product to
> all comers; and (3) encouraging other kinds of broadband access
> ("facilities-based competition"), which means helping new entrants have
> their own networks without having to deal with the incumbents at all.
> I vote for #3. This is what we have in Utah with UTOPIA , where a consortium
> of 14 cities built out fiber infrastructure that they're wholesaling back to
> the incumbents who didn't want to make the effort. Loma Linda, CA is
> mandating 5-15Mbps to premises. Other efforts are going ahead in Burlington,
> VT, Lafayette, LA and many other localities. Why? People want it. Save Muni
> Wireless reported last summer:
> After the passage of a law in Louisiana requiring a public referendum for
> municipal broadband, voters in Lafayette approved a $125 million
> fiber-to-the-home project by a 62% to 38% margin.
> Yet here in Santa Barbara a Cox official told me a few months back that too
> few people are interested in better broadband. This was after a meeting of a
> local "broadband coalition" (of which I am a member), where customer after
> customer talked about their need for exactly that. At another meeting a Cox
> representative said she didn't "see the problem", adding that customers
> could get all the fiber they want, if they'll just pay for it. When pressed
> on costs, estimates ran up to $50,000.
> Of course, the carriers will fight the municipalities (and the companies
> that the municipalities grant rights to string fiber on poles and pull fiber
> through buried conduits). Read the Lafayette Pro Fiber Blog for a running
> account of the fight between citizens (and municipalities on behalf of
> citizens) and carrier-controlled state legislators.
> But with citizens backing, there isn't much they can do. We might not be
> able to work around Congress, or even all the state legislatures. But we can
> work locally to find solutions that work for both vendors and customers. We
> need to enlist the participation of independent companies that are
> accustomed to real competition in real markets, and are not just inhabitants
> of what Bob Frankston calls "The Regulatorium".
> In the long run, that's the only way.
> Congress shaping telecom law in private.
> Susan Crawford on Stevens' telecom bill.
> Susan Crawford on Comparative Broadband Ideas.
> Larry Lessig's Free Culture speech.
> Tim Berners-Lee on Net Neutrality.
> David Weinberger's Why Net Neutrality Matters.
> Glenn Reynolds' Instapundit blog.
> Glenn Reynolds' An Army of Davids.
> Bob Frankston on buggy whips.
> Bob Frankston's Telecom is Just a Phase We're Going Through.
> Saving the Net: How to Keep the Carriers from Flushing the Net Down the
> Imagining the Maximum Net
> Net Neutrality vs. Net Neutering
> MoveOn petition
> CNN story
> Lafayette Pro Fiber
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> To remove yourself from this list, see lists.ssc.com/mailing-lists.
> 1. http://www.epmoreinfo.com/spikesourceq2proseventreg/?utm_medium=newsletter&utm_campaign=nlsuitwatch/
> 2. http://www.interesting-people.org/archives/interesting-people/200605/msg00059.html
> 3. http://scrawford.blogware.com/blog/_archives/2006/5/2/1928428.html
> 4. http://scrawford.blogware.com/blog/_archives/2006/5/7/1938922.html
> 5. http://randomfoo.net/oscon/2002/lessig/
> 6. http://dig.csail.mit.edu/breadcrumbs/blog/4
> 7. http://www.hyperorg.com/blogger/mtarchive/why_net_neutrality_matters.html
> 8. http://instapundit.com/
> 9. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1595550542/102-3940455-8901710?n=283155
> 10. http://www.siliconinvestor.com/readmsg.aspx?msgid=22390869
> 11. http://www.frankston.com/Public/Default.aspx?zz=xcs&Script_name=/default.aspx&name=TelecomPhrase
> 12. http://www.linuxjournal.com/article/8673
> 13. http://www.linuxjournal.com/article/8929
> 14. http://www.linuxjournal.com/article/8910
> 15. http://www.civic.moveon.org/save_the_internet/index.html
> 16. http://news.com.com/Democrats+lose+House+vote+on+Net+neutrality/2100-1028_3-6065465.html
> 17. http://www.utopianet.org/
> 18. http://lafayetteprofiber.com/
> 19. http://java.sun.com/javaone/sf
> 20. http://conf.phpquebec.com/en/
> 21. http://www.usenix.org/usenix06/lin
> 22. http://www.ssc.com/mailing-lists