Today, the Senate Judiciary Committee held hearings on telecommunications legislation and network neutrality: Reconsidering Our Communications Laws: Ensuring Competition and Innovation. The key issue discussed at the hearings was the question of whether the broadband internet access market is a free, competitive market. However, the hearings did not discuss the issue of whether the broadband internet access available in the US is competitive with the internet access markets in other countries.
Here are some links collected recently:
Network World: Debate: Network neutrality: "The U.S. Senate this week is expected to debate network neutrality. What do you think? Scott Cleland, chairman of NETcompetition.org, which represents telecom and wireless companies and David Isenberg, a fellow at Harvard's Berkman Center for Internet and Society are online this week to discuss, debate and answer your comments."
Susan Crawford: From the telco point of view: "What's all this about 'consumers' and 'content'? We know that Americans like to post material of their own online. Almost 50 million of us have already done that, and teenagers have grown up with interactive media -- almost 60% of them have created and shared content online. We're users, not consumers. You're dimming our expectations -- we don't expect to be able to upload with ease, and we wish we had the same kind of broadband access as South Korea."
The 463 Group: Net Neutrality: What's Next?: "Feel free to disagree, but the betting types we've talked to are guessing that, all near-term Senate machinations aside, nothing gets out of Congress this year and the next Congress will take up the fight along with a host of other big, pending telecom issues (after all, it took many years to get the 1996 Telecom Act passed)."
Ed Felten, Freedom to Tinker: The Last Mile Bottleneck and Net Neutrality: "For a typical home broadband user, the bottleneck for Internet access today is the ‘last mile’ wire or fiber connecting their home to their Internet Service Provider’s (ISP’s) network. This is true today, and I’m going to assume from here on that it will continue to be true in the future. I should admit up front that this assumption could turn out to be wrong — but if it’s right, it has interesting implications for the network neutrality debate."
News.com: Net neutrality: Meet the winner: "As Verizon Communications' executive vice president for public affairs, policy and communications, Tauke has spent the last few months embroiled in a fiery debate over Net neutrality, the concept that broadband providers must be legally required to treat all content equally."
David Isenberg: Welcome to the Stupid Internet: "I looked at "reality." I saw email, and the Web, and eCommerce, and Mapquest, and blogging, and Instant Messaging, and streaming audio on demand, and multiplayer online games, and many other miracles too numerous to list here, miracles that never arrived via "intelligent" networks."
In The Hill, Future of Music Coalition's Jenny Toomey and Michael Bracy discuss why net neutrality is important for musicians: Indie Rock Revolution, Fueled by Net Neutrality: "To understand the importance of net neutrality for artists, look at the lack of a similar principle in modern commercial radio. When informally polled as to why they sign away their copyrights to major labels, most artists explain that they need to be on a major label in order to have a shot at commercial radio airplay. And, sadly, these artists have a point."
Tyler Cowen: Marginal Revolution: Net neutrality, part II: "If the cable and telecom companies had no legally-backed monopoly powers, I would not favor legally enforced net neutrality. 'Let the market decide' would be a good answer."
Michael Madison: Net Neutrality Anecdote: "I started to talk about the net neutrality issue. My wife wanted to know which side the Republicans are on and which side the Democrats are on. No: it’s not a traditional partisan issue. It’s partly the present v. the future, and hierarchy v. distributed control, but it’s also money v. money. Could I explain all that in the 20 minutes that we walked around the block? Not really."
Lawrence Lessig and Robert W. McChesney in the Washington Post: No Tolls on The Internet: "The protections that guaranteed network neutrality have been law since the birth of the Internet -- right up until last year, when the Federal Communications Commission eliminated the rules that kept cable and phone companies from discriminating against content providers. This triggered a wave of announcements from phone company chief executives that they plan to do exactly that."
All Things Considered: Network Neutrality Issue Unites Political Foes: "Once again, the old cliche "politics makes strange bedfellows" is proving itself true: The liberal advocacy group Moveon.org is fighting on the same side as the Christian Coalition. That may be the most headline-catching part of an issue with a notably dull name: Network Neutrality."
NY Times: Editorial: Wi-Fi and the Cities: "No fewer than 300 cities and towns around the nation have taken wireless Internet access, or Wi-Fi, to the people. San Francisco's aim is to make the entire city a hot spot, Chicago plans to blanket the city with access, and large parts of Philadelphia are to go wireless soon. But New York, which should be leading the way, is dragging."