The FCC in Boston–No Tea Party

by on February 28, 2008 · 7 comments

This account of the FCC’s Boston meeting on Comcast’s network management policies, from Tom Giovannetti.

Somewhere, there are more sophisticated arguments for net neutrality:

The setting where a monopoly infrastructure business, in pursuit of its own ends, could take arbitrary steps that would ruin one business and make another succeed, were regarded as inimical to a really free market. It resembled far too much the widely disliked markets without property rights, dominated by a capricious political power. So what followed was a long period of increasingly stringent regulation.

One might conclude from this discussion of historical precedents for regulation of networks that something like network neutrality ought to be attempted. My take in brief is that that Andrew’s paper understates the aspects of the cure that are worse than the disease and neglects the history of networks beyond a simple pricing story. It is time to try another approach. But there could be some interesting discussion.

Interestingly, though, the current trend in the Comcast proceeding bears no resemblance to a reasoned attempt to provide a real solution to any real problem, to consider the history of networks, or to consider a range of solutions and their tradeoffs. It seems to be an exercise in pure faddish populism. Curious. One wonders what a court will make of it. Mincemeat, I suspect.

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