BRUSSELS -- Wanted to bring to your attention an interesting editorial in today’s Los Angeles Times. (Free registration required.) Editorial states that there is a movement afoot to charge VOIP providers the same fees that are being charged to traditional telephony. Editorial argues that voice on the Internet is just an application and shouldn’t be treated any differently from, say, e-mail. After all, people are already paying for their broadband in order to access VOIP services, it argues.Here is lead of article, but I recommend that you read it if interested in VOIP, telecom issues, universal service, and regulatory issues: “When monopolists call for a ‘level playing field,’ beware: Most often, what they really want is to hold back the competition. Such is the case in telephone service, as local phone monopolies are trying to saddle high-tech competitors with fees designed to subsidize the traditional phone network.”URL for article is: http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/editorials/la-ed-voip20jun20,0,1778996.story?coll=la-news-comment-editorials
PARIS -- Recently the OECD published a report about broadband multiple play offers across OECD countries. (pdf document)Who would have guessed that a French ISP would be ranked as most attractive. In these days, when you refer to France, you tend to think more about The Da Vinci Code or about the images of protests broadcasted on CNN rather than about innovative broadband.However, over the last 2 years, France has multiplied its number of broadband subscribers by 5 to reach now 10 millions -which represent more than 15% of population and 40% of households.Download fileThe magic recipe for this acheivement: a regulation favoring network competition and a disruptive player on the market.The French regulator (ARCEP -www.arcep.fr) has favored a competition between networks rather than between services relying on a unique infrastructure. In France, the difficulty is that cable does not compete with copper networks like in the US. Therefore the regulator had to implement competition through physical unbundling of the copper over the last mile. The key decisions were adopted during summer 2002. By the end of 2002, the prices started decreasing as the competition heated up. Now there are more than 3 million unbundled lines.(http://www.arcep.fr/observatoire/blr/index-tabordavril06-ang.htm)But a pro-competitive regulation would not have been sufficient to achieve the results of today on its own. The development of a disruptive, aggressive and very innovative ISP called Free (www.free.fr) was decisive. Read More »
SAN JOSE, CA -- So, there seems to be a bit of panic in the pro-net neutrality camp these days. There shouldn’t be. There seemingly is little support in the Congress for regulating the Internet. Non-regulation, as we all know historically, is what has made the Internet the success that it is, but that’s beside the point. My point is this: there is a question in a Daily Kos blog today that basically says, (I’m paraphrasing, but you can read the entry yourself): if net neutrality is NOT regulated into law, can “we” challenge that law as unconstitutional because it harms the 1st amendment on freedom of the press grounds. I can connect A to Q and know where the question is coming from based on the net neutrality argument of “BLOCKING” access, but puh-lease.If you are a net neutrality supporter, here’s the only reason you need to stop while you are ahead: In a MarketWatch by Dow Jones article yesterday, it says Senator Joe Biden (D-DE) said lawmakers would form long lines in the rush to craft Net-neutrality rules if network operators actually began to discriminate against popular Web sites. (Full article here). (Full disclosure: I worked for Senator Biden from 1993 to 1995.)That would close the case for me.But, wait, there’s MORE…the article further states that the FTC Chief and the FCC Chairman have already said they have the authority to step in IF there are bad actors in the broadband service provider space. Which may be why in an article in The Wall Street Journal, Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS) said, “I think this is legislation in search of a problem.” Well said, Senator.So, net-neutrality crowd…while you are ahead…while you have some credibility…please stop…the sky, indeed, is not falling.
SAN JOSE, CA -- If you weren’t already clear where Cisco is on the net neutrality issue, please check out this month’s “Face-Off” in Network World. Cisco’s Robert Pepper represents our side of the debate (i.e., what I call “the correct side”) and states, in part: The “Net neutrality debate sets out a false choice. The current discussion is framed as all or nothing. That is, without new regulation there will be anticompetitive behavior. This is patently false.”For those of you who don’t know Dr. Pepper, he is the the former Chief of Policy Development at the Federal Communications Commission (at the FCC for 19 years) and is currently Senior Managing Director of Global Advanced Technology Policy at Cisco.Full story can be accessed here.
SAN JOSE, CA -- That is the title of today’s editorial by The Washington Post against regulating the Internet, i.e. against net neutrality. The pro-net neutrality crowd is saying that when you have MoveOn.org and the Christian Coalition on one side of debate that you have to listen. I would submit that when you have The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post editorializing on the same side of the issue that you really have to listen.The editorial states, in part: “The weakest aspect of the neutrality case is that the dangers it alleges are speculative. It seems unlikely that broadband providers will degrade Web services that people want and far more likely that they will use non-neutrality to charge for upgrading services that depend on fast and reliable delivery, such as streaming high-definition video or relaying data from heart monitors. If this proves wrong, the government should step in. But it should not burden the Internet with preemptive regulation.”Read the editorial here. (Free registration is required at WashingtonPost.com.)