Forget Net Neutrality: Just Take The Networks Away From The Telcos

from the root-for-no-one dept

Slowly, but surely, people are starting to figure out what's really going on with the network neutrality debate. While some of us have been trying to point out that the network neutrality debate is only clouding the real issue concerning competition in the broadband space, too many people have been focused on which side of the ridiculous debate you're on. However, both the telcos and the internet companies have been feeding the public exaggerated propaganda that continues to obscure the real issue. Hopefully the tide is turning. Last week, Tom Evslin wrote up a great summary of the situation, pointing out why both sides were lying and how competition was the issue. Now, Andy Kessler has matched him with a fun opinion piece for the Weekly Standard explaining why you should root for no one in the net neutrality debates. He points out that the telcos have to push against net neutrality, because otherwise their business model collapses -- an argument he made a few years ago when it came to line sharing (the lack of which has obliterated what little competition there was in the broadband space). Kessler goes on to knock down the telco supporters' favorite argument about how they'll never invest in new fiber without a guarantee of a profitable business model:
"Forget the argument that telcos need to be guaranteed a return on investment or they won't upgrade our bandwidth. No one guarantees Intel a return before they spend billions in R&D on their next Pentium chip to beat their competitors at AMD. No one guarantees Cisco a return on their investment before they deploy their next router to beat Juniper. In real, competitive markets, the market provides access to capital.
So, what's the solution? Kessler comes up with a modest proposal of sorts, that is amusing to read, but which will never play in Silicon Valley with its libertarian focus on "property rights." He suggests yanking language out of the Supreme Court Kelo "eminent domain" case -- and using that to argue for taking over broadband networks from the telcos (a situation for which there is some evidence that better broadband can be delivered). His point, satirically enough, is that if the threats are made loudly enough, it could freak out the telcos just enough to generate some real competition in new networks. Instead, though, we're left with arguing about silly side arguments backed up by musicians who have no clue what they're talking about. Suddenly, arguing for eminent domain over telco networks doesn't seem quite so silly...
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  1. identicon
    alex, 20 Jun 2006 @ 11:35am

    internet speed gaurenty

    Hear in the uk i have noidesr how how owns the network, But what i do no is that isp's have sold ther broadband cheep almost makeing no money and so now the brodabd subcribers haverissen dramicticly wher netowrks have remined the same. So the internet is slowing down Im currnetly with the cepest isp avlibe as a result my internet is teribly slow and they shape my trafic. what they need to do is ofer me gaurentied speed say 2mbs max but 1mbs min so no mater wats going on i have that speed and give me unimited bandwith and stop blocking stuff and i would pay for that then they could buid the network.
    In terms of what the isp's say about haveing a tool road for priority trafic. Is it only me who thinks what they inted to do is more like coneing off 2 lanes of a moteway for tolpayers and less like building a bright shiny new road for people who pay. anyway should probly have wasted this rant on my own blog not yours buy hey.

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