A tale of two visionaries

For today’s “compare and contrast” exercise look at the concise and clear Peter Huber explaining why net neutrality is a boon to lawyers:

The new Congress is determined to enact a “net neutrality” bill. Nobody yet knows what those two words mean. The new law won’t provide any intelligible answer, either. It will, however, put a real drag on new capital investment in faster digital pipes by making it illegal for many big companies to help pay for them, while leaving everyone guessing about the details for years. That last bit is great news for all the telecom lawyers (like me) who get paid far too much to make sense out of idiotic new laws like this one.

…with Visicalc Frankston’s vision of citizen net admins:

The Internet connection just carries raw bits. We get to decide what the bits mean. The carriers’ attempt to provide us with services over-defined and thus limited the solution. The results may seem counter-intuitive – by narrowly defining the allowable solutions the carriers’ effort failed. Instead those Internet packets gave us the opportunity to choose among any solutions including our own.

Today the gas and electric utilities deliver information via their web sites without having to make any special deals with the carriers. I use the term “carrier” but these companies are really in the business of providing services and deploy CFR only as a means of providing the services. The failure of the residential gateway highlights the sharp difference between the service culture and the Internet culture. Yet we still confuse the two.

Do you stop BitTorrent before picking up the VoIP phone? Then shame on you for discriminating, you control freak!

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