No Politics For Network Neutrality


Freedom 2 Connect conference organized by David Isenberg is proving to be a network neutrality lovefest. I was scheduled to attend, but work commitments prevented me from going. Filling in admirably is my colleague Erick Schonfeld who is blogging up a storm on Business2blog. He writes about Michael Powell’s speech. Former FCC commish was pretty blunt in saying that legislating network neutrality is not going to happen, and it is a bad idea anyway.

“It is too facile to say the Internet belongs to the public. People are married to the metaphor of the public space, but they run into trouble when it comes to who should pay for this stuff. They think it should be the government. That’s not going to happen. The government is broke, It’s going to stay broke.”

Powell’s thoughts were matched by Martin Geddes, one of my favorite broadband pundits. “Network neutrality can’t be made to stick. Telcos will evade whatever definition you put up; it’s easier than fighting UNE-P unbundling rules. It’s easy to create atilted playing field,” he said in his speech today. Martin, makes a lot of sense, and offers a very coherent reasons why getting politics involved in NN is going to create one messy situation.



We can’t let our internet fall in from of these ISPs.

If they do this our internet is destroyed forever even this website. If this happens Vonage, Chat Rooms, Yahoo, Google, Hi5, Xanga, and every website (even mine) on the entire internet will be destroyed by ISPs. If we let this happen online businesses will suffer.

We need to petition these ISPs that want to control and regulate our speeds/websites/Vonage/pay services even if we pay for a higher package we will still be controled and regulated.

I am already paying $44 dollars a month to Roadrunner. Whats great about paying for the internet if we have to pay more, more, and loads.

If congress allows the “internets destruction by ISPs” bill then I will refuse to stay in business with my ISP and cancel internet service.

I already canceled Netflix for sending me broken DVDs, and delayed service.

Jesse Kopelman

Well, if you feel that way, let’s get rid of the regulation that helps big business. Let’s get rid of spectrum licensing. Let’s get rid of anti-municipal broadband legislation. Let’s get rid of franchising laws. The truth is that no serious player is advocating no regulation — everyone just wants only the regulation that is most favorable to them.


I don’t think that a “less is more” attitude toward legislation aimed at the internet is equivalent to advocating anarchy…I do think that there is a real possibility that once Congress starts meddling, they won’t stop.


You can’t deny though that it’s been the absence of government regulation that has allowed the Internet to take off – far from anarchy, it’s been a model for innovation and progress. Regulation, on the other hand, would stifle innovation and ruin a perfectly good system. Flexibility will be the key to this country’s success in the broadband game. We have it now – let’s keep it.

Jesse Kopelman

Well, you either have a government or you don’t. Unless you are advocating anarchy, there are certain things that a government should provide to its constituents. I think Internet access is one of those things. Privatize the highway system first and if that works out we can talk about the Internet.


The government is clearly not all bad, but when it comes to discharging regulatory powers they have a tendency to be very vague and to grant much power which in turn hurts both businesses and consumers. It’s for these reasons that I just cannot support net neutrality legislation and the regulation baggage that is necessarily connected with it.


I’m with Powell and Geddes. It’s easy to ask Congress to regulate. The problem comes when you ask them to STOP regulating…


Well, regardless of your opinion on our efforts abroad, I don’t think anyone would really want a government owned Internet. For that reason, I think we ought to be very careful about allowing governmental regulators to control the flow of Internet traffic. The free market has been very successful to date in meeting consumer demands, and it certainly deserves the benefit of the doubt.

Jesse Kopelman

I see, the government is broke when it comes to building infrastructure here, but not when it comes to destroying it overseas. If Mike’s dad was listening, I’m sure he smiled.

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