Well, Not Actually for Everyone . . .

by on June 24, 2008 · 28 comments

When I saw the announcement of Google’s “Internet for Everyone” campaign on their Public Policy Blog, I have to admit, my BS detector started to rise.

“Ubiquitous and open broadband access for every American [should be] a priority in the next administration,” they say.

How about now, Google, and you?

You could have bought the spectrum that you encumbered with “open” rules in the 700 MHz auction, but you didn’t. Now you’re sitting back saying the government should do it for you.

Who would gain from the next administration making broadband “a priority”? Google, of course.

Then I clicked over to the site and saw the evil kid alone at the computer in the living room. Is that a parent drinking wine in the kitchen? Really, I couldn’t help myself.

The campaign “stands for” access, choice, openness, and innovation. What about fair play? Peace? Ending world hunger? A platitude in every pot and a bromide on every CRT.

Really, it’s a bunch of pap that Google will use in Washington, D.C. to insulate itself from competition and drive wealth to its owners. Seeking profit is what compaines like Google are supposed to do – but not using the nation’s public policies.

Update: Julian Sanchez nails it with: “All this may have a whiff of ‘and a pony’ about it . . . .”

  • http://linuxworld.com/community/ Don Marti

    Yes, Google wants “neutral” access to infrastructure — but how much of US fiber is on rights of way obtained by eminent domain, or what was originally public land given away to common carrier railroads?

  • http://www.cato.org/people/jim-harper Jim Harper

    Unpack that a little, Don: Should any property once owned or wrongly taken by the government be subject to dispossession again? How many times? Permanently or for a set period of years? I don’t think past use of government power to enrich private interests creates a sound basis for doing it more in the future.

  • http://linuxworld.com/community/ Don Marti

    Yes, Google wants “neutral” access to infrastructure — but how much of US fiber is on rights of way obtained by eminent domain, or what was originally public land given away to common carrier railroads?

  • http://www.cato.org/people/jim-harper Jim Harper

    Unpack that a little, Don: Should any property once owned or wrongly taken by the government be subject to dispossession again? How many times? Permanently or for a set period of years? I don’t think past use of government power to enrich private interests creates a sound basis for doing it more in the future.

  • Rustybroadband

    Jim, I don’t know about you, but I’m quite fine with internet advocacy being adopted by (people/companies/orgs) other than the standard consumer groups and those internet service providers who lucked into carrying internet traffic by virtue of them lobbying to be monopolies over their wire.

    I recognize Google has a business interest in every American having broadband. That’s fine. They were quite clear about it in their post. I, for one, am glad that internet advocacy is not being left up to the default carriers (DSL/Cable) who provide 95% of broadband access.

    Companies like Amazon, Google, eBay, Ask.com and their voices are critical if we’re ever going to get the competition we deserve.

  • Rustybroadband

    Jim, I don’t know about you, but I’m quite fine with internet advocacy being adopted by (people/companies/orgs) other than the standard consumer groups and those internet service providers who lucked into carrying internet traffic by virtue of them lobbying to be monopolies over their wire.

    I recognize Google has a business interest in every American having broadband. That’s fine. They were quite clear about it in their post. I, for one, am glad that internet advocacy is not being left up to the default carriers (DSL/Cable) who provide 95% of broadband access.

    Companies like Amazon, Google, eBay, Ask.com and their voices are critical if we’re ever going to get the competition we deserve.

  • Mike Wendy

    I would agree with Rusty’s last line if in “voices” he/she meant the competitive dynamic prsented by Google, etc. and its effect on boosting broadband. That to me seem far more preferable than government mandated access regimes (which represents their main approach of late).

    The evolution of technology (there’s at least 6 different ways to get broadband into and out of households) works daily to boost broadband penetration. Info services – which face little direct regulation by the FCC – has gone a long way toward promoting the technological response. It works.

    I find it odd that some call for 1930′s Style New Deal regulatory models to seek answers for 21st Century “problems.” What grows now ain’t your father’s internet – thankfully.

    Have faith. Be patient. The new Internet now blossoms, and it will continue to do so where it isn’t smothered by New Deal access regimes.

  • Mike Wendy

    I would agree with Rusty’s last line if in “voices” he/she meant the competitive dynamic prsented by Google, etc. and its effect on boosting broadband. That to me seem far more preferable than government mandated access regimes (which represents their main approach of late).

    The evolution of technology (there’s at least 6 different ways to get broadband into and out of households) works daily to boost broadband penetration. Info services – which face little direct regulation by the FCC – has gone a long way toward promoting the technological response. It works.

    I find it odd that some call for 1930′s Style New Deal regulatory models to seek answers for 21st Century “problems.” What grows now ain’t your father’s internet – thankfully.

    Have faith. Be patient. The new Internet now blossoms, and it will continue to do so where it isn’t smothered by New Deal access regimes.

  • http://linuxworld.com/community/ Don Marti

    Jim, excellent point. If you have fiber crossing your property, and the easement for the original copper wires was granted through eminent domain, you should be able to buy the easement back for whatever “fair” price the government compelled the corporate ancestor of the company to pay you.

    Unless, of course, the fiber’s owner can still reasonably say that the fiber is “for public use” which is where network neutrality comes in.

  • http://linuxworld.com/community/ Don Marti

    Jim, excellent point. If you have fiber crossing your property, and the easement for the original copper wires was granted through eminent domain, you should be able to buy the easement back for whatever “fair” price the government compelled the corporate ancestor of the company to pay you.

    Unless, of course, the fiber’s owner can still reasonably say that the fiber is “for public use” which is where network neutrality comes in.

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