Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The FCC rolled their much ballyhooed National Broadband Plan last week, and it is noticably lacking in one important area, Net Neutrality:
But let’s face some ugly facts: Everyone has their own definition of what it truly means. No blocked content, equal access to bandwidth available, regardless of origination of the content, no throttling of provider service connectivity to where a user goes, privacy of where the user has been, the list is endless. Does the FCC come out and state net neutrality goals and regulations it wants? No. Is it mentioned in the executive summary? Not once. Is it mentioned in the NBB official plan? Zilch.

Make no mistake, this is a significant win as far as it goes. That doesn't mean the NBP is all win, it is a typical mid-level bureaucrat's grab bag of policies, regulations and taxes, with little in it that is truly revolutionary. There's some good in it, more wireless spectrum is generally a good thing. But, there isn't an issue that we can't demagogue, and the plan goes to great lengths to argue that the current state of ISP competition is "surely fragile". FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski unrolls the plan with an Op-Ed in the Washington Post decrying the "tens of millions" of Americans who have decided not to pay for something that they can get for free at their local library. Ars Technica posts the graphic at left from the report with the snarky caption "Look at all the competition". I don't know about you, but 82% of households having multiple providers to choose from looks kinda like competition to me. Nevermind competition provided through mobility, i.e. those desiring or needing different broadband options moving to a location that has them. I guess we just can't let a good crisis go to waste.
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