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[ NNSquad ] Re: Odlyzko on Net Neutrality, Google, etc.


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,

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 Bob19-0501@bobf.frankston.com  Mon Aug 11 21:59:22 2008
	From: "Bob Frankston" <Bob19-0501@bobf.frankston.com>
	To: "'Lauren Weinstein'" <lauren@vortex.com>,
	Cc: "Andrew Odlyzko" <odlyzko@umn.edu>,
	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


	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



	-----Original Message-----

	Sent: Monday, August 11, 2008 17:49
	To: nnsquad@nnsquad.org
	Cc: lauren@vortex.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.





	NNSquad Moderator