Here’s the statement issued by Democrat Charlie Gonzales of San Antonio, TX, on the fascist “net-neutrality” nonsense:
“On its face, the Markey amendments seems fair, but the more you look at the implications of this legislation, the less fair it seems. Its most immediate consequence would be to exempt highly profitable companies like Microsoft, Yahoo, and Google from having to pay to use another company’s cable
network. In essence, this would allow Internet giants to reap the benefits of operating a cable network with none of the risks or costs. Forcing cable providers to give a free-ride to companies like Microsoft, Yahoo, and Google will ultimately work against consumers by undermining the financial incentive to develop the next generation of network technologies. It would also subsidize the efforts of companies like Microsoft, Yahoo, and Google to expand their dominance of most Internet commerce and to use their brain power to force smaller companies to partner rather than compete against them.”
Excellent, at least one Democrat has his head on straight.
UPDATE: Let’s go over the issues again, as this post has been linked by Google’s people and it doesn’t have any context. The telcos are presently disadvantaged relative to their biggest competitor in the broadband market, the cable companies, on two counts: the cable companies have a technically superior cable plant (coax instead of telephone wire) and they’re less regulated. Cable companies don’t have to share ISP revenue with third parties if they don’t want to.
The telcos therefore would like to upgrade their cable plants to something better, most likely optical fiber, but they don’t want to do that until they’re on a level playing field with cable. You’ll notice the cable companies are pretty quiet on this debate, leaving Google, Yahoo, and the net Luddites to carry the water for them.
Cable companies have been able to install their wiring because they have several service offerings with which to pay for it, mainly analog and digital TV, but also voice services and cable Internet. Internet is basically a free-rider on this system, because it was paid for by TV.
So the approach that the telcos want to take to paying for their optical network is to offer television as well as voice and Internet, and that’s why they sought the COPE bill that the Congress just passed out of the Energy and Commerce Committee. It grants federal video franchises to companies operating in areas where a cable TV franchise already exists. Are you with me so far? Google’s Save the Internet Coalition is butting into a debate over cable TV.
Now there are couple of things that could really sour the deal for the telcos where this financing plan is concerned, VoIP and Internet video. That is to say that it will be practical for people to drop their traditional phone service in favor of something like Skype or Vonage if everybody as a 100 Mb/s fiber going into their home, and it will also be practical for them to drop cable TV and just download TV shows off the Internet. Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft want to be in the business to providing these services.
As the Telcos aren’t sure how much they’re going to be hurt by all this competition, they’d like to have the flexibility to ensure that their voice and video services work better than those provided by Google and Yahoo, the free-riders who didn’t have to pay for the network. It’s not clear that consumers are going to stand for that, so another option is to let the free-riders subsidize the users’ broadband bill out their ample advertising revenue.
One thing that is clear is that we aren’t going to get optical fiber installed all over America for free. Traditionally, the costs of television have been born partially by consumers and partially by advertisers. The plans that the telcos have for fiber simply continue that model, and they don’t really have any effect on the kind of web-surfing, blogging, and e-mailing that you’re doing today.
I know these things because I’m a network protocol engineer who’s been working in the area of video, the Internet, and local area networks for a long time (I designed the cable system Ethernet uses today, for example.) I’m not being paid by any telephone company, and in fact I’ve never worked for one or consulted with one. This is the straight scoop and I think you have the right to hear it from somebody who knows the issues and doesn’t have an ax to grind.