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Thursday, June 22, 2006

Craig of Craigslists spars Net Neutrality with telecom lobbyist on NPR: Net Neutrality Part XI

David Berlind has great commentary on this one:

Scott Cleland, Chairman at Netcompetition.org (an outfit that is funded by the telecom industry) VS. Craig Newmark founder of Craigslist

"Although I transcribed well beyond the first line, Cleland completely lost me (actually, queue the nausea) when he said the best way to guard a free and open Internet was to maintain the free and open competition that exists today. Free and open competition? Where do they make stuff like this up? Last time I checked, you could not openly compete to drop a wire to my house. A modicum of competition actually existed until an FCC decision denied companies like AOL and Earthlink the level-playing field (wholesale bandwidth) they needed to compete against the local duopoloy (the phone and cable companies). I'm sorry, but two players a competition does not make.

But it gets worse (hon, can you run to CVS for another bottle of the white chalky stuff?). Then he says "If they're successful, they'll get a special low government set price for the bandwidth they use while everyone else — consumers, businesses, and government — will have to pay a competitive price for bandwidth." It's about the most clever piece of wordsmithing I've ever seen. The best fuzzy math I can come up with is that if the one or two broadband ISPs that monopolize the last mile to your house don't get to charge Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft (GYM) for every byte of traffic that flows across that last mile (to or from GYM), the fact that they generate more bytes than everybody else (by orders of magnitude) whose bytes flow across the same network means they're paying less per byte. In other words, everyone else is paying more. This of course neglects to point out that GYM and others are already paying a traffic premium for their own last mile. Then he says the government is promoting competition. Sorry, from my point of view, particularly with the FCCs recent decision, it's the other way around. It's sanctioning monopolies."

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