Berin Szoka’s Techdirt Profile

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About Berin Szoka




Berin Szoka’s Comments comment rss

  • Feb 21st, 2014 @ 8:04am

    Re: FCC or FTC

    It's worth noting that the Department of Justice, back in 2006, lobbied hard against requirements that new broadband providers build out to an entire franchise area, pointing out that this creates an enormous barrier to entry. See, for example, http://www.justice.gov/atr/public/comments/216098.htm

    Google Fiber might never have happened had the Bush DOJ not pushed against such requirements. Today, Google Fiber uses a "neighborhood rally" to determine whether there is sufficient demand in a neighborhood to merit building out to homes there initially. But they install the hardware everywhere, so they can built out those connections in the future, and they make special efforts to drum up interest in minority and poor neighborhoods.

  • Feb 20th, 2014 @ 8:38pm

    Re: Re:

    A "four year journalism" degree? Who are you referring to? I have a degree in economics from Duke and a law degree from the University of Virginia, clerked for a federal judge, and practiced Internet and communications law at Latham & Watkins, one of the world's very largest law firms, before moving to the think tank world in 2008.

    I mention this for two reasons:
    - Unlike Karl, I actually write "nuanced" legal analysis, such as pointing out that the FCC actually won, while other libertarians claimed -- truly without "nuance" that the decision was a loss for the FCC
    - Unlike journalists, if I really wanted to sell out to corporate America, I could go back to a law firm and work for them as a client -- and make several times more money.

    So, please, you my disagree with me, but let's not try to reduce this to the simplistic logic of "We disagree, therefore you must be insincere."

  • Feb 20th, 2014 @ 8:16pm

    Re: Correct.

    I can assure you, Wired asked me to write the latest piece -- and it was they who chose the headline.

    But I will note that your assumption is perfectly consistent with how nearly everyone else seems to think about Net neutrality: "This doesn't feel right to me. There MUST be some evil corporate plot afoot."

    In short: ready, fire, aim

  • Feb 20th, 2014 @ 3:21pm

    (untitled comment)

    Karl, thanks for your commentary, as gracious and nuanced as ever. A few initial responses:
    - OK, so AT&T proposed Sponsored Data before ESPN. I stand corrected. So what? Do you disagree that content owners may in fact have more market power, or that much of the market power often attributed to cable/broadband (for example, blaming them for higher cable bills) actually belongs to big programmers?
    - Second, as for that "recent bout of painfully un-nuanced Wired editorials featuring Szoka seem more like Colbert-esque satire than honest discussion," which part of my piece with Geoff Manne explaining what the DC Circuit's Net Neutrality decision actually meant did you find un-nuanced? Was it the part where, unlike most knee-jerk libertarians, I didn't applaud the decision as a victory over regulation and another defeat for the FCC, but instead pointed out that the FCC actually won far more than it lost? Or the part where I pointed out that Section 706 could allow the FCC to regulate not merely Net neutrality but lots of other things I'm sure you'd hate, from mandating copyright enforcement to trying to "clean up the 'Net"? Did you find Harold Feld's concerns about 706 in Maggie Reardon's CNET piece similarly "un-nuanced?" Or did you actually read both, set aside your fixation on the need for a particular kind of Net neutrality regulation, and think for just a moment about the dangers of Section 706? Did you note that Geoff and I point out that the FCC can, consistent with the data roaming decision, regulate edge/ISP deals to make sure the terms are reasonable and non-discriminatory?
    - For the record, I didn't chose the title of either piece and was annoyed at both. On the January piece, it's not actually true that the FCC "Lost on Net Neutrality," just as it's not true that anyone has "Killed Net Neutrality." Net neutrality lives on via Section 706.
    - What kind of corporate shill for the cable industry would write, as I did in Wired last summer, that we should do everything we can to level the playing field so that companies like Google Fiber, CenturyLink, Sonic.Net and Verizon can build out competitive infrastructure? Did you actually read that piece? (I didn't choose that title either.)
    - On this point, I will reiterate my work at TechFreedom, and before that at PFF, has been supported by both ISPs and edge providers, currently including Comcast, Verizon, AT&T, Google, Amazon, Facebook and Yahoo! I don't think any of them would continue to support our work if they found it "painfully un-nuanced."
    - Give a listen to (or read the transcript of) my debate re the Cable - Time Warner cable merger on Diane Rehm on Monday and, please, let me know if anything I said there is inaccurate or un-nuanced. I'd love to know.

    Again, thanks for being so gracious and nuanced. You, sir, are a scholar and a gentleman.

  • Sep 28th, 2013 @ 7:34am

    Re:

    Duh, even Adam Smith said: "Seldom do businessmen of the same trade get together but that it results in some detriment to the general public."

    That's why we have the FTC, antitrust law, consumer protection law, and tort law. The question is HOW should these laws be applied.

  • Sep 28th, 2013 @ 7:34am

    Re:

    Duh, even Adam Smith said: "Seldom do businessmen of the same trade get together but that it results in some detriment to the general public."

    That's why we have the FTC, antitrust law, consumer protection law, and tort law. The question is HOW should these laws be applied.

  • Sep 26th, 2013 @ 9:53pm

    Re:

    Zing! Actually, no, not quite enough. I had to cut the piece down by about 300 words. It's way still too long, of course, but the real tragedy is that 273 of the 300 words I cut were buzzwords -- most of them real libertarian buzzwords. I cried a bit (as you can imagine.