Monday, July 17, 2006

Net Neutrality Gets Emotional

The title is actually a misnomer because net neutrality has been an emotional issue from since Ed Whitacre uttered his famous statement in Newsweek. The latest round of the net neutrality battle is not taking place in the halls of Congress, but in cyberspace at the CNET site between Molly Wood and Scott Cleland. Molly takes off the gloves to present a more emotional than factual discussion of net neutrality. In her article she blasts Scott Cleland of NETCompetition.org and his blog of providing a false and manipulative interview on NPR. While I do not personally know Scott, I can say that he as built a sound reputation as an industry analyst which is why he often is interviewed by PBS, The New York Times, and other widely respected publications. His analyses are typically thorough, unbiased, and accurate which is why I find Molly’s attack emotional and incredible. Scott makes no mistake of disclosing that communications companies may sponsor his work and sites. If he was a lap dog for the industry as Molly proposes, would he have taken a shot at MCI calling it one of the largest failing CLEC when he surely knows that WorldCom was the failing CLEC that acquired MCI. I derive my revenue from the industry. Does this mean that I am an industry wag? I think not.

Scott’s arguments and web sites present a good discussion of net neutrality that are not often present is discussions by so-called journalists like Molly Wood. We both support net neutrality and no government regulation of the Internet. The absence of regulation has spurred innovation and investment in the Internet. Injecting regulation into the Internet just as we did with telecommunications is a recipe for disaster just like we have with current telecommunication policy.

Check out Scott’s site and blog for some very insightful articles. The most amusing thing on the NETCompetition.org site is the counter of how many days without a net neutrality problem although I question the accuracy of the counter that changes every second for a day. Maybe Scott could clarify his algorithm. I do not agree that we have sufficient competition in the industry. In some areas like business services I would agree, but for residential and last mile access, I would like to see at least one more provider per market. If you are into the whole net neutrality debate, go on over to the CNET web site, read Molly’s editorial, then click on the TalkBack link to read the banter. Wade through the chaff to find a few tidbits of insight.

Tag: net neutrality, MCI, Verizon