NNSquad - Network Neutrality Squad
NNSquad Home Page
[ NNSquad ] Re: Odlyzko on Net Neutrality, Google, etc.
Bob, I sympathize with your desire for DIY connectivity, but this is an area where I think we will have to agree to disagree. The DIY option is an attractive one, and many will surely want to take advantage of it, such as yourself. But for most of the population, I expect the service option will be most attractive. I don't want to get into a long discussion (especially since I got pulled into what seems a side issue in a larger conversation), but we see services spreading in many areas. Modern food supply and kitchen equipment have improved tremendously over the last few decades, but the fraction of meals prepared at home has declined, as both fast food and gourmet eateries have proliferated. And that is just one example. And I could go into more specific topics in communication, but let's leave that aside. Best regards, Andrew P.S. Apropos Lauren's citation of "switching to competing Web services," would you be willing to replace that by "switching to competing PC operating systems"? I agree that today, changing a search engine is very simple. But will it be so simple if there is a wide range of services, all tied together, with many attractive features (most provided by other parties) that are available only on Google (or MS-Yahoo!, or whoever)? That is what I am worrying about, a future in which a dominant player achieves substantial lock-in through a multiplicity of hooks. -----Original message----- From Bob19firstname.lastname@example.org Mon Aug 11 21:59:22 2008 From: "Bob Frankston" <Bob19email@example.com> To: "'Lauren Weinstein'" <firstname.lastname@example.org>, <email@example.com> Cc: "Andrew Odlyzko" <firstname.lastname@example.org>, <email@example.com> Subject: RE: [ NNSquad ] Odlyzko on Net Neutrality, Google, etc. Date: Mon, 11 Aug 2008 22:59:07 -0400 I too have problems with the analysis <http://www.dtc.umn.edu/~odlyzko/doc/net.neutrality.pdf> because of the assumption that telecom must be modeled a service. I too compare telecom with railroads <http://www.frankston.com/?name=Railroads> but as a contrast rather as a given. I agree with the spirit of conclusion that "it appears to be better for society not to tilt towards the operators, and instead to stimulate innovation on the network by others by enforcing net neutrality" though we require fundamental change not just enforcement. Unlike Andrew I see fundamental change as inevitable in a reprise of 1984's divestiture. Of course, as he points out, other chokepoints will emerge. But telecom is an extreme case in using their control of our infrastructure to control content and it's pricing. Based on my experience I do see networking as indeed a DIY option and disagree with "The concept of a do-it-yourself end-to-end network is attractive, but few users have the skills and patience to make it a reality." In 1995 one could have said the same thing about home networking. Or we can go back to when Frank Strowger introduced the phone dial so we could do our own telephoning. Once you accept the idea that the networking is a service you are open to discrimination based on the nature of the service. Instead we should think of ourselves as accessing the rest of the Internet using wires (of various forms) that have a fixed cost. We can use the term Internet Access Provider or (IAP) - that's very different from providing services such as email and content. Instead of focusing on Google we should think about local connectivity. The same wires that gave us unmeasured local phone calls gave us the ability to dial into the Internet without additional charges. The ISPs provided local dialup numbers. There was very little cost for using the local wires - we did pay a monthly fee for our allocation of the cost of the entire network. This is no different from the days when you had to put a first class postage stamp on a UPS box if it contained a piece of paper, AKA, a letter. These charges are simply indirect taxes. I remember reading the ISDN tariff filings in the 1980's that justified the price for ISDN because someone was willing to pay that high price. Thus the Internet happened by innovating with analog modems over wires that didn't have a meter running. DSL is just another way to use that wire. As connectivity becomes a fundamental right you can't justify a usage charge just because some people are willing pay. Not only is it discriminatory but it also prevents innovative use of connectivity by limiting us to the subscriber lines circa 1876 even if they are now just abstract constructs. Local neutrality is a simple concept - the community pays for the wire (or equivalent) and a small maintenance fee. It's like roads but far less expensive. It's really that simple. You should be able to watch local events, get medical monitoring and "visit" the local library without a meter running or having to prove you have paid for access. Any charge for connecting to the rest of the Internet is a tax based on some allocation of value based on an arbitrary accounting model. But it's far worse than a simple tax since the cost of collection has become the dominant cost of telecom and we lack the transparency we need in order to have a rational policy. I want to keep this relatively short so won't take these arguments to the next step - how we interconnect communities. For now the important point is the neutrality starts at home with local connectivity. -----Original Message----- Sent: Monday, August 11, 2008 17:49 To: firstname.lastname@example.org Cc: email@example.com Subject: [ NNSquad ] Odlyzko on Net Neutrality, Google, etc. Odlyzko on Net Neutrality, Google, etc. For the record, I do not agree with Odlyzko's analysis suggesting that "search neutrality" or "cloud computing dominance" issues are likely to be viewed as "far more insidious" than ISP walled gardens or similar non-neutral ISP network constructs. Among other factors, the fundamental truth remains that despite any perceived dominance based on customer choices, switching to competing Web services providers remains far more practical and cost effective than switching ISPs, especially in the limited (or no) competition ISP marketplace (for affordable Internet access service) with which most U.S. customers must deal. In essence, users can choose competitors to Google to a large extent simply by changing a URL. The ISP marketplace is far more constrained in many ways. http://www.dtc.umn.edu/~odlyzko/doc/net.neutrality.pdf --Lauren-- NNSquad Moderator