Facts vs. Fictions

Have you ever seen Free Press’ list of supposed facts about Net Neutrality? Most of them aren’t facts at all, not surprisingly.

PSEUDO-FACT #1: Network Neutrality protections have existed for the entire history of the Internet.

REAL FACT: Actually, there is no legal precedent at all for the anti-QoS provision of the Neutrality regulations, and many commercial Internet customers use QoS today. Even the Internet2 Abilene network tried to use it.

PSEUDO-FACT #2: Network discrimination through a “tiered Internet” will severely curtail consumer choice.

REAL FACT: How can the expansion of service plans be a curtailment of choice? The QoS plan doesn’t affect web surfing, it’s something that opens broadband up to alternate uses, as the Cable network has for ten years with Triple Play.

PSEUDO-FACT #3: Network discrimination will undermine innovation, investment and competition.

REAL FACT: All networks discriminate, that’s how they manage traffic and prevent overload. A richer service space frees innovation by providing it with the necessary support in the network for new things.

PSEUDO-FACT #4: Network discrimination will fundamentally alter the consumer’s online experience by creating fast and slow lanes for Internet content.

REAL FACT: The Internet has always had fast and slow lanes for content, that’s why the round-trip-time to the nearest Yahoo! portal is so much faster than for a generic web site. The two main tiers today separate the consumer Internet from the commercial one. COPE narrows the gap, and Free Press wants to increase it. Key point.

PSEUDO-FACT #5: No one gets a “free ride” on the Internet.

REAL FACT: Not all riders pay the same price per bit today. Google pays wholesale and I pay retail. Google is not paying a “fair share”.

PSEUDO-FACT #6: Phone companies have received billions of dollars in public subsidies and private incentives to support network build-out.

REAL FACT: That’s given us a nice copper network, but now we want a fiber optic one, and that’s going to cost more.

PSEUDO-FACT #7: There is little competition in the broadband market.

REAL FACT: Yes and no. Most consumers have four choices, two of which are wireless, but most choose wire because it works better. The laws of physics aren’t neutral.

PSEUDO-FACT #8: Consumers will bear the costs for network infrastructure regardless if there is Network Neutrality.

REAL FACT: So let’s drop the corporate income tax, OK? The same logic applies, you see.

PSEUDO-FACT #9: Investing in increased bandwidth is the most efficient way to solve increased network congestion problems.

REAL FACT: It’s part of the solution, but not the total solution. There is more bandwidth in the access network than in any one internal path, so the billion users on the Internet can always overload any one interior link. That’s why we need both fast pipes and QoS.

PSEUDO-FACT #10: Network owners have explicitly stated their intent to build business models based on discrimination.

REAL FACT: All business models depend on discrimination, as do all tax laws and all criminal laws. It’s not a bad thing when we discriminate rationally.

PSEUDO-FACT #11: The COPE Act will not deter discrimination, but it will tie the hands of the FCC from preventing it.

REAL FACT: It gives the FCC the power to levy fines up to $500,000 for denial of access or degradation of access. That’s not peanuts.

PSEUDO-FACT #12: Supporters of Network Neutrality represent a broad, nonpartisan coalition that joins right and left, commercial and noncommercial interests.

REAL FACT: You’re basically a bunch of no-nothing kooks from both fringes who agree on an issue just like Pat Buchanan and Ralph Nader agree on their opposition to NAFTA, for different reasons. Show me somebody who’s: A) Knowledgeable; and B) Not a fringe figure who supports your regulations and I’ll buy him a beer. I haven’t seen that person yet. And no, Moby doesn’t meet my requirements.

Thanks for asking.