Sunday, October 25, 2009

Open Commission Meeting – October 22, 2009 -

Here is the website for the Network Neutrality "rulemaking" that everyone is so excited about.

Here you can download copies of the 5 voting members statements on the subject. But I found only one that contained any substance that reflected actual knowledge of the subject matter rather than just platitudes. Is it hard to guess that he was a dissenting vote?

Here is a direct link to his PDF (they are a bit hard to find in the "Scribd" muddle, but the links are above the articles as displayed.):

Some excerpts:

Furthermore, as we go forward, I hope we can explore the differences between discriminatory conduct and anticompetitive conduct. The public interest would be better served if the debate would focus more on this dichotomy. During the course of this debate, many have confused the important difference between discriminatory conduct and anticompetitive conduct. But the reality is that the Internet can function only if engineers are allowed to discriminate among different types of traffic. The word “discriminate” carries with it negative connotations, but to network engineers it means “network management.” Discriminatory conduct, in the network management context, does not necessarily mean anticompetitive conduct.

For example, to enjoy online video downloads without interruption or distortion, consumers expect video bits to be given priority over other bits, such as email bits. Such conduct is discriminatory, but not necessarily anticompetitive. If discriminatory conduct were to become anticompetitive conduct, then could it not be addressed in the context of competition and antitrust laws? While today’s Notice provides an opportunity to comment on the applicability of such laws, I hope that the record will contain a relevant market analysis before we venture further. Without a finding of a concentration of market power and abuse of such power in the broadband market, additional regulation is likely not warranted.

In fact, just over two years ago the Commission launched an inquiry into the state of the broadband services market. We cast a wide net in an effort to harvest evidence of fundamental market failure, and we came up empty. Similarly, after a lengthy and thorough market analysis, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued a report on the state of the broadband market just 27 months ago. In a unanimous and bipartisan 5-0 vote, the FTC strongly cautioned against imposing Internet regulation, saying:
[W]e suggest that policy makers proceed with caution in evaluating calls for network neutrality regulation …. No regulation, however well- intended, is cost-free, and it may be particularly difficult to avoid unintended consequences here, where the conduct at which regulation would be directed largely has not yet occurred. … Policy makers should be very wary of network neutrality regulation.

What tectonic market changes have occurred since the 2007 FTC report that would warrant a change in policy? Since the Supreme Court’s decision in Brand X, 4 we have been busy taking broadband services out of the common carriage realm of Title II and classifying them as largely unregulated Title I information services due to market conditions.5 So an important question to ask might be to what degree would a lack of a change in market conditions threaten the viability of any new regulations on appeal?
Emphasis mine, answer: Election of a collectivist President.

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