The "Net Neutrality" Wars

Pricing regulations and the notion that the government can regulate how the firms operate don't make sense. The WSJ has this:

There's nothing neutral in the battle between AT&T Inc. and Google Inc. over the future of the Internet.

Google, the powerhouse of Silicon Valley, and AT&T, champion for the old-line phone industry, are marshaling political allies, lobbyists and—in AT&T's case—labor unions for a fight over proposed "net neutrality" rules that could affect tens of billions of dollars in investments needed to upgrade the U.S. broadband network, which lags in speed and affordability compared with some countries.

On Thursday, the Federal Communications Commission made good on its promise to push new rules that would require Internet providers such as AT&T to deliver Web traffic without delay.

Broadly, that means cable and phone companies couldn't block or slow access to services from Google, Netflix or others that are a drain on their networks or could compete with their businesses.

But as the details of the new rules are hammered out in coming months, AT&T and Google are ramping up efforts to ensure the FCC doesn't impose rules that could hurt their profits or expansion plans.

Plenty of lobbyists have made their concerns about the FCC's proposal known to their political allies over the past few weeks. But AT&T lobbyists were particularly active, swarming Capitol Hill and state houses, prompting a bipartisan mix of governors, congressmen and senators to send worried letters to the FCC. Two big labor unions have taken out newspaper ads attacking the new rules.

"Google to date has gotten relatively a free pass that they're somehow promoting the public good on net neutrality as opposed to, what I see, is that they're trying to entrench their business model," said Robert Quinn, AT&T's senior regulatory lawyer in Washington. . . .

More regulations means that big changes are less likely to occur in the future.

McCain moves to block "net neutrality" rules

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Blogger Unknown said...

Note: Your quoted text is from a wsj.com article, but the link is to another AP article hosted at google?   As is usual POTS is insisting on even more gummit regulation before updating the network infrastructure they should have been updating all along.   I'm not a big fan of Google but admittedly I use Gmail anyway, although NOT their search engine.   On the other hand, I thoroughly despise AT&T and do everything I can to avoid sending dollars their way and will continue to do so in the future no matter what the outcome of this impending debacle called 'net neutrality'.

10/24/2009 10:29 PM  
Blogger John Lott said...

Yes, I hadn't put up the link to the WSJ piece. Thanks. The AP link at the end was to a different piece that I wanted people to also see. In any event, I am much more concerned about the damage that Google can and will do than I am about AT&T. Possibly if you explain your reasons more, but Google has much stronger political views and is willing to go much farther in influencing the political debate than is AT&T. Google even brought in Al Gore as a consultant for their search engine to help it decide how Google should have its search engine give greater weight to different sites.

10/24/2009 11:31 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

John Lott@10/24/2009 11:31 PM --

The AP link at the end was to a different piece that I wanted people to also see.

Yes I had read the AP article.   I.e. China's one billion+ population is definitely something google's CEO realises is going to carry a lot of weight in future developments in the Internet AND Google intends to pursue all avenues, no matter how politically distasteful they seem to some of us.   So yes, politically Google's willingness to embrace China does suck and to bring Al Gore (internet inventor) in as an 'browser search adviser' truly must be a joke?   But then other US companies,Micro$oft to name one, have in the past seemingly have also had few qualms about dealing with China when the bottom line is at stake.   I guess I was a bit confused though how the AP piece related the WSJ.com piece from a 'Net Neutrality' standpoint?   It's all politics, now I get it!

I am much more concerned about the damage that Google can and will do than I am about AT&T. Possibly if you explain your reasons more,...

Personally I fear most what the FCC will do in the form of regulation to the process of 'Net Neutrality' prodded on by AT&T to secure their interests or as you fear, Google to secure their interests as well?   At the present time, every time I see the government getting involved in a regulatory issue(s), espeically in digital technology of any sort, the term 'Regulatory Capture' comes to mined.   AT&T is a past master in the art of 'regulatory capture'.   It's a given that Google will try to take full advantage of the governments continued ineptness at understanding the issue of 'Net Neutrality' thus at the end of the day leaving the hapless consumer, who a US government regulatory agency is supposed to be representing, out in the cold with less choice and guaranteed more expensive services in the final bargain.

With that typed.   Really, I don't trust Google any more than you do, Mr. Lott.   But, you and I both use Google's services (you: Blogger, me: Gmail) and how much has it cost us at the financial level?   Answer: Most likely $0 since Google realises profits on ad revenue not subscriptions, ads I for one can easily filter.   But AT&T costs me $$$ even when I avoid dealing with AT&T directly when taking into account various fees and taxes tacked onto my bills each month from other service providers directly related to that condition called 'regulator capture'.   AT&T, while being a high tech company these days, still operates as if it was the pre-'80 mega-POTS that it once was, and for all intends and purposes is again today, many government approved acquisitions later (rhetorical: HOW did that happen?!).   I'm not a fan of any of the parties involved in this 'Net Neutrality' debate because I'm reasonably sure that the end losers will be _us_, the consumer?   Again!

FWIW, I would suggest to anyone who is still interested in this subject of 'Net Neutrality', Eric S. Raymond's take (Nov '08) on 'Net Neutrality' which does a decent job of summarising IMO) the issues and players involve in this issue.

10/25/2009 3:26 PM  

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