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.
SAN JOSE, CA -- For the record, I wanted to bring your attention to the op-ed published yesterday in the Wall Street Journal by Cisco SVP, Chief Development Officer and President of Linksys, Charlie Giancarlo. It lays out our argument for why net neutrality is a bad idea. By all accounts, it was widely circulated on Capitol Hill prior to the vote on HR5252, the bill that addressed net neutrality, and had a positive impact. Net neutrality vote failed by an overwhelming margin (nearly 2/3′s of House voted against.)Op-ed, in part, states: “Is regulation needed to accomplish ‘Net neutrality’? The prudent policy at this point would be not to regulate. First, the Internet is still in its adolescence, and it is undergoing rapid change. Regulation would lock in rules and practices that might seem correct today, but could create havoc tomorrow. Instead, we should allow the massive convergence to Internet technology to continue unabated, and regulators should address specific problems on a case-by-case basis.”You can access the full op-ed here. Paid subscription required.
SAN JOSE, CA -- This net neutrality issue is vexing to me. It isn’t consistent. First, the Internet’s success has been largely because it has been an unregulated communications tool that has benefited everyone. The companies that are advocating the hardest for so-called “net neutrality” principles are actually advocating to regulate the internet and have the government intercede in what is at its core a market issue. Yet, they are somehow being viewed as the good-guys and for the little guy. How were they successful in defining the debate this way? I guess since they really only care about one side of the value chain of the Internet -- the side that touches the users -- they are viewed as representing the “little guy,” the end-user, the consumer. In reality, they are using their market power and big business lobbying oomph (that is a technical term) to shape the debate so that they can benefit from the network but don’t have to invest in it. The “other” side of the debate, mainly the service providers, are trying not to get their hands tied in developing next generation networks with speeds and feeds that will be able to support all the high-bandwidth consumer and business applications that are coming down the pike. They actually care deeply about consumers as well, which is why they are seeking help from their large users (see pro-net-neutrality advocates above) to pay for differentiated services and quality of service which will help offset the huge cost of their infrastructure investment. Otherwise, you know where those costs will go? Bingo. The consumer. So, in a real way, the pro-net neutrality crowd while claiming to represent the best interest of the consumer is really just trying to have the consumer pay for their right to ride the service provider networks. Read More »