Wyden’s Wooly Op-Ed

In a Wall St. Journal (subscription required) Op-Ed, Oregon Senator Ron Wyden makes several outlandish and false claims:

Mr. Forbes claims there is no evidence of discrimination by Internet providers. This is simply not true. Cox Communications, a broadband provider that also has a large classified advertising business, is currently blocking access to craigslist.org, a large, free classified Web site that competes with Cox. In another instance, Madison River, a broadband provider and phone company, blocked access of its Internet customers to Vonage, a competitor in providing phone services. Luckily, because net neutrality rules were in place when Madison River blocked Vonage, the FCC was able to act in ending Madison River’s discriminatory practices. Unfortunately, today those same net neutrality provisions are no longer in effect, and the FCC would no longer be able to protect Vonage from discrimination.

We’ve examined the Cox Cable myth, and found it totally lacking in substance so we won’t repeat that rebuttal here; scroll down.

The rules that enabled the FCC to act in the Madison River case were actually strengthened in the COPE Act, which gave agency the power to fine offenders up to $500,000.

Wyden then goes on to tout the success of the highly-regulated DSL system, but fails to mention that it lags far behind the less-regulated Cable broadband system in the USA:

To the contrary, policies that spurred competition, including forcing incumbents to provide network access to competitors, are exactly what drove the rapid broadband deployment in South Korea and Japan. Over the past 10 years, while South Korea and Japan were opening up their incumbent’s networks to spur competition, here at home the Baby Bells spent millions of dollars and filed numerous actions at the FCC to prevent competition.

Korea and Japan don’t tell us a thing about investment in US broadband, we’ve done the experiment and can see the results.

Wyden closes with the following colossal load of crap:

Mr. Forbes also makes a poor analogy that many opponents of net neutrality have used comparing the Internet to the Postal Service and mail delivery. This analogy is wrong. Net neutrality protections are not analogous to the post office charging consumers different rates for regular mail and overnight delivery. Rather, net neutrality would protect the person who pays for overnight delivery from having it take five days for his package to be delivered because the person receiving it did not pay for receiving overnight delivery as well. Internet providers want to prevent consumers who pay for priority delivery of data from receiving the data unless Web sites also pay for priority delivery. Net neutrality protections would prevent them from doing so.

Wyden’s regulation prevents broadband carriers from charging anyone for expedited delivery. There is no language in it about “double-charging”. The issue on the table is whether service providers have the option of paying for expedited delivery to customers who did not pay for it themselves.

Any movement that relies on misrepresentation, deception, and falsehood to make its case probably doesn’t have a good set of facts on its side.

H/T Matt Sherman.

One thought on “Wyden’s Wooly Op-Ed”

  1. Let’s take it one step further. Wyden is already wrong on the facts — the Cox/Craigslist kerfuffle is unrelated to neutrality. It’s unrelated to Cox, really, except for the bad luck of their customers being the victims.

    Wyden’s neutrality amendment (and most others) provides exceptions for security software, such as Authentium, one of the culprits in this case. So even if this were a neutrality issue, and even if Wyden got his way, this case would still be off-topic.

    We call it FUD in the tech world. When non-techies engage in it, they really expose themselves.

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