10 thoughts on “FTC: Network Neutrality… Who Needs It?”

  1. Om,

    No surprise here given the current administration which hasn’t really demonstrated any competence with regards to consumer technology usage. Hands off has been the general sentiment.

    Hopefully, whomever comes into office will embrace the opportunities and challenges of communications networks and help remove all anticompetitive barriers.

  2. Its not just the current administration – even the previous and other admins are just not paying to the markets, or real people. they just listen to lobbyists all the time. makes me sometimes throw up my hands and just sulk 😉

  3. I suppose if you are looking at the Internet as a market or driver of business primarily, then it makes sense. That’s the FTC’s bias, unfortunately.

    Like you phrased it, “real people” use the Internet. It’s not just an engine of business but the primary medium for connecting PEOPLE.

    So if you see it like a tool for societial good, like the founders and users of the Internet (i.e., everyone), the findings of the FTC are completely detached from reality.

    Note: I didn’t read the report, but I can only imagine.

  4. “blivet of legalese”

    Great line. 🙂

    Yes, this is just icing on the cake of disappointment after I saw that PK’s Gigi Sohn was the only consumer advocate at their February round table.

    Step 1: FTC pretends meeting with dozens of telecom lobbyists is a “broadband competition round-table”.

    Step 2: FTC Issues report saying everything is fine, competition is blooming, and they don’t think anything needs to be done.

    Step 3: Telecom utopia!

  5. Read it. Can’t say I agree with your characterization. It’s very much a “on the one hand, but on the other document.” Lots of “network neutrality advocates say X, while opponents say Y.” They don’t claim that there’s competition everywhere, especially in rural markets, and they definitely say that there’s the possibility for antitrust claims.

    I could see making a criticism that the report presents all sides in such a way that it becomes wishy-washy, but I can’t support at all your characterization. It’s as though someone noted that the arguments of network neutrality opponents are presented as well in the document (along with those of proponents) and completely took everything out of context.

    It does not “pretty much” say what you claim. It does lean in the direction of “more research would be good,” which I suppose could be taken somewhat as an argument for the status quo.

  6. Good heads-up, as usual, Om… but what I’d love to see here is a “state of the net” post on net neutrality.

    About half-way through the media wars last year, the industry co-opted the term (or, at least, seemed to…), and now it doesn’t hold the same allure for me.

    What does it mean, now, to be “for net neutrality”? And who are the players? And why do so many of the players seem to be on the “wrong side”? Some telcos are for it, some are against… it’s all very confusing.

    And I’m an net professional.

    Heaven help the lay person.

  7. I did wade through it. Didn’t find it as bad as you said although it has a major flaw which you caught: they conclude that there is sufficient competition in broadband and that the dupololy is not harming consumers.

    They are right that there is little evidence of actual violations of net neutrality (intention of violation is something else). The harm that results from the duopoly today is America’s dismal slide in international Internet rankings across all three dimensions of bandwidth, price, and availability.

    They are right that FTC enforcement action – antitrust or consumer protection – must be post facto and not anticipatory. That does justify no net neutrality regulation (which could actually end up aiding the duopoly) at this time. They are wrong that no anti-duopoly and procompetition action is needed either by them or the FCC or Congress.

    Good auction rules for the upcoming 700MHz auction would be a help but not a panacea.

    more at http://blog.tomevslin.com/2007/06/the-ftc-says-no.html

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