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“The Internet’s Future: Congress Should Stay Out of Cyberspace”

June 12, 2006 at 12:00 pm PST

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.)

Guest Blogger: Charles H. Giancarlo on Net Neutrality

June 10, 2006 at 12:00 pm PST

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.

WSJ Net Neutrality Editorial by Cisco: “Neutrality Check”

June 9, 2006 at 12:00 pm PST

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.

Net Neutrality: Who’s David? Who’s Goliath?

June 6, 2006 at 12:00 pm PST

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 »

Cisco on Net Neutrality: “We care about the entire value chain.”

May 31, 2006 at 12:00 pm PST

SAN JOSE, CA -- A quote by one of my colleagues in a recent article by San Jose Mercury News reporter Jessie Seyfer on net neutrality helped better frame the issue for me. Robert Pepper is a colleague of mine in Washington, DC and he has been at Cisco for almost a year now having joined us after nearly 20 years at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). In talking about what the OTT’s (over-the-top providers -- Google, Yahoo, Amazon, etc.) want out of this debate or the service providers (ATT, Verizon, Qwest, Comcast, etc.) want out of this debate, he framed Cisco’s position thusly: “Some of the people who are most public in this debate focus on one part of the value chain or another. We actually care about the entire value chain.”This position is clearly laid out in previous posts to this blog and our position is also posted on Cisco’s external website, but I think that this quote crystalizes why I think our middle-ground, compromise position will ultimately win the day…after all, policy-making is about consensus and when both sides are happy or both sides are sad, it is said, you have done a good job of negotiating an agreement.You can read the San Jose Mercury News article here.Read about Cisco’s position on net neutrality here.