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Net Neutrality Brings Politically-Charged Tone to Supercomm

by David Mercer | 10月 22, 2009

The tone of this year's Supercomm is certainly more political than usual, with net neutrality at the center. Otherwise benign speeches and presentations are punctuated with "keep government out of broadband" taglines. All of this is very à propos, of course, as the FCC today is expected to vote on a proposal giving the green light to rules formulation on net neutrality--something the Telcos view as an existential threat. In yesterday's keynote, Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg ripped the idea of net neutrality as "a mistake, pure and simple--an analog idea in a digital universe," and blasted the "Silicon Valley digital elites" (oh God, using "elite" perjoratively is sooo 2008!). Net neutrality threatens to stifle progress, he suggested, noting that "if we can't earn a return on the investments we make in broadband capaicty, our progress toward a connected world will be delayed, if not halted altogether." In what some have referred to as "astroturfing," i.e., creating an artificial grass roots movement, Seidenberg suggested that net neutrality could create a public safety hazard, saying "If we can't differentiate betewen packets, we can't prioritize emergency communications for first responders, telesurgery or heart-monitor readings for digital medicine, or videoconferencing over spam for telecommuters." While it may tug at the heartstrings, the argument is a bit of a red herring. Nothing in the net neutrality discussions occuring now would prevent lawful and reasonable network management. Today's decision should come as no surprise to anyone; the US policy on net neutrality was effectively made last November with the election of a new administration. Twitter: twitter.com/DavidMercer_SA Client Reading: US IPTV Market Sizing: 15.5 Million Subscribers by 2013 Add to Technorati Favorites
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