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.)
SAN JOSE, CA -- I was thinking some more about net neutrality and came up with a very apt analogy:The question is why stop at Net Neutrality? We should move on next to Highway Neutrality!!!Who could argue against that highways should be free, or that anyone who uses highways should be able to go to any destination they want to on the highway? Of course we should have highway neutrality! First of all, we can get rid of those high occupancy lanes -- how dare carpoolers get special treatment leaving the rest of us in bumper to bumper traffic. And, when we regulate that highways should be absolutely neutral, then they have to be open to any type of vehicle, from cars and trucks, to tricycles to 747′s. Of course the entire highway should be open to all traffic, so the public works departments will be prevented from painting lanes on the highway because that allows different traffic classes -- which can’t be allowed. A Neutral Highway also could not have speed limits because that would unfairly limit what users could do on the highway. Also, the highway department could not designate a breakdown lane, because it would take away from users rights and would unfairly allow the highway department a special lane! Highway Neutrality is definitely next.Charles H. Giancarlo is Cisco Systems’ Senior Vice President, Chief Development Officer and President of Linksys, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Cisco. You can access his bio here.