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Subject: [IP] more on Renewed Warning of Bandwidth Hoarding

  • From: David Farber <>
  • To:
  • Date: Fri, 25 Nov 2005 21:22:21 -0500

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: 	RE: [IP] Renewed Warning of Bandwidth Hoarding
Date: 	Fri, 25 Nov 2005 20:52:03 -0500
From: 	Bob Frankston <>
CC: 	'Jonathan Krim' <>

I'm getting increasingly bored by all of this -- I have a simple model in Accepting the carriers
framing is foolish but ...

We don't have to wonder &quot;what if&quot; the providers decide to set aside 90% for
themselves -- they are already setting aside 99% for video

Need I point out that the backbone is essentially empty and that the first
mile is being limited by policies such as dedicating a copper wire to a
single phone call and then grudgingly lighting it up to pre-1900's speeds
for DSL? The carriers (Cable, Telco, etc) then spend huge amounts of
capital building identical infrastructures rather than sharing or letting
municipalities provide it for them.

The good news is that the marketplace is working and competition is driving
speeds up. I can now get a megabyte (>8mbps) per second over Comcast and
expect more with FIOS. It's tiny but the speed is increasing and I don't
expect blocking to succeed. But the pace is very slow, especially by
comparison with Korea and other countries.

What is most frustrating is that there seems to be no willingness by
Congress or the press or even their shareholders, to ask hard questions
about why the capital is being spent so inefficiently and why the public is
being denied capacity and the ability to solve their own problems.

I wish reporters would stop pretending they were reporting a sporting event
as in &quot;it is unclear how much artillery the technology group is willing to
roll out on this issue&quot;. They should find the news rather than waiting for
it to be prepackaged for them. It shouldn't take much to peel back the
cover stories and find a simple reality at odds with their claims.

But then reporting that the Emperor has no clothes may annoy readers who
want to believe that someone is in charge. Better to pretend ATT is still
the phone company and not just recycled logo.

-----Original Message-----
From: David Farber []
Sent: Friday, November 25, 2005 19:37
Subject: [IP] Renewed Warning of Bandwidth Hoarding

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: 	[Dewayne-Net] Renewed Warning of Bandwidth Hoarding
Date: 	Fri, 25 Nov 2005 02:52:42 -0800
From: 	Dewayne Hendricks <>
To: 	Dewayne-Net Technology List <>

Renewed Warning of Bandwidth Hoarding
By Jonathan Krim
Thursday, November 24, 2005; D01


A couple of years ago, a group of big technology companies got
together and issued a public alarm about the future of the Internet:

Those who own the wires that get us online, the companies said,
should not be able to pick and choose what Web content and services
we can see and use.

Just as electric companies can't cut deals with electronics makers to
allow only some products to work, the Internet should have similar,
guaranteed &quot;network neutrality,&quot; argued tech firms such as
Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Yahoo Inc.

The telephone and cable companies that provide most Internet access
dismissed the warning as a pro-regulatory, paranoid rant. It was a
solution in search of a problem, they said, and they vowed they would
never, ever do such a thing. And the issue receded.

But now it's back in a big way, and the question is: How will the
tech industry respond?


On March 3, the Federal Communications Commission announced that it
settled a case against a small North Carolina-based telephone company
that was blocking the ability of its customers to use voice-over-
Internet calling services instead of regular phone lines.

On Sept. 15, the first major draft of proposed changes in the
nation's telecommunication's laws was circulated by the House Energy
and Commerce Committee. The draft said Internet service providers
must not &quot;block, impair, interfere with the offering of, access to,
or the use of such content, applications or services.&quot;

On Nov. 2, another draft of the bill came out, with language
specifically addressing the Internet video services that are
proliferating as connection speeds increase and the phone companies
get into the digital television business. In this draft, the
prohibition on blocking or impeding content was gone.

If the bill passes as is, tech companies say, the Internet could be
forever compromised.

&quot;Enshrining a rule that broadly permits network operators to
discriminate in favor of certain kinds of services and to potentially
interfere with others would place broadband operators in control of
online activity,&quot; Vinton G. Cerf, a founding father of the Internet
who now works for Google Inc., wrote in a letter to Congress.

The phone companies argue that with their new fiber-optic systems
capable of handling huge amounts of bandwidth, they simply want the
ability to set aside some of it for their own services, be it
television, gaming or anything else.

Unfortunately for them, the head of phone giant SBC Communications
Inc., Edward E. Whitacre Jr., was a little more plain-spoken in an
interview in Business Week.

&quot;Now what they [Google, Yahoo, MSN] would like to do is use my pipes
free, but I ain't going to let them do that because we have spent
this capital and we have to have a return on it,&quot; Whitacre said. &quot;So
there's going to have to be some mechanism for these people who use
these pipes to pay for the portion they're using.&quot;

Like his predecessor, FCC Chairman Kevin J. Martin favors network
neutrality &quot;principles,&quot; but not codifying them as rules.

The FCC did add them as conditions of planned mergers between SBC and
AT&T Corp., and Verizon Communications Inc. and MCI Inc. But those
conditions apply only for two years, and only to those companies, so
Congress will have to wrestle with this beast.

A coalition of tech companies that includes Microsoft, Yahoo, Amazon,
Google, Ebay Inc. and IAC/InterActive Corp., argues that the issue is
bigger than straight-up discrimination.

What if, they say, the Internet service providers decide to reserve
90 percent of their bandwidth for their own services, and leave 10
percent for the rest?

&quot;Allowing broadband providers to segment their . . . offerings and
reserve huge amounts of bandwidth for their own services will not
give consumers the broadband Internet our country and economy need,&quot;
Cerf wrote.

Another wrinkle: What if Internet service providers decide to provide
lots of bandwidth to customers who buy their other services, such as
cellular or voice-over-Internet telephony -- but less if the customer
uses rival providers of those services?

That would be similar to the kind of bundling that occurs now, under
which, for example, cable Internet service is cheaper if a consumer
also buys a cable-television package. That, they say, is the free
market at work.

With tech firms and the Internet providers engaged in many joint
business relationships, it is unclear how much artillery the
technology group is willing to roll out on this issue.

If they hope to succeed against the powerful cable and telephone
lobbies, it will require more than some letters and public testimony
to Congress.

Jonathan Krim can be reached

Weblog at: <>

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