Duopoly shumopoly

Broadband regulation is justified — according to Lawrence E. Strickling, who is the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information — because a recent FCC report indicates that “[a]t most 2 providers of fixed broadband services will pass most homes. Furthermore, “50-80% of homes may get speeds they need only from one provider.”
Christine A. Varney, the Assistant Attorney General for Antitrust concurs, noting

It is premature to predict whether the wireless broadband firms will be able to discipline the behavior of the established wireline providers, but early developments are mildly encouraging.

These comments essentially parrot the views of some left-wing advocacy groups who are trying to engineer a revolution in communications policy, such as Free Press and Public Knowledge.

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State of IP

At Telephony Online, Rich Karpinski notes, In today’s carrier networks, IP may not always be hyped or even seen, but it is indeed everywhere — and in 2010, it’s only going deeper and making an even bigger impact. I think this protocol proliferation in the name of IP is the death rattle of the old network. IP is a data protocol so of course it dominated the enterprise market and it is prevalent on the Internet so of course Internet players such as Google want it to be upgraded for so-called Multimedia. But the message of all the brave talk about “ultimate outcomes that have yet to take hold today” is that once again it is becoming reasonable to predict Read More ›

Verizon Wireless-Google partnership could trigger lawyerfest

Verizon Wireless and Google plan to co-develop several devices based on the Android system that will be preloaded with their own applications — plus others from third parties, a possible contender to Apple’s huge iPhone application store. They will market and distribute products and services, with Verizon also contributing its nationwide distribution channels. If the network neutrality mandates in the Markey-Eshoo bill were to become law, I don’t see how VZW and GOOG could preload applications, if the applications favor certain content on the Internet when they are used. That would seem to violate the “duty” of Internet access service providers to not block, interfere with, discriminate against, impair, or degrade the ability of any person to use an Internet Read More ›

Swanson on the problem with ‘net neutrality’

A must-read from Bret Swanson: Despite the brutal economic downturn, Internet-sector growth has been solid. From the Amazon Kindle and 85,000 iPhone “apps” to Hulu video and broadband health care, Web innovation flourishes. Mr. Genachowski heartily acknowledges these happy industry facts but then pivots to assert the Web is at a “crossroads” and only the FCC can choose the right path. The events of the last half-decade prove otherwise. Since 2004, bandwidth per capita in the U.S. grew to three megabits per second from just 262 kilobits per second, and monthly Internet traffic increased to two billion gigabytes from 170 million gigabytes–both tenfold leaps. * * * * At a time of continued national economic peril, the last thing we Read More ›

$350-$700 billion for broadband

The FCC staff estimtates it would cost $350 billion to achieve universal access to the fastest broadband speeds, or $700 billion to build ubiquitous competing networks. One way to raise this kind of money — without requiring a vote of Congress to raise taxes — is to impose a user fee on broadband subscribers. Assuming you are a politician and you don’t want to be blamed for raising taxes or for increasing broadband rates in an election year, this plan would have to be paid for by Chinese and other foreign investors buying Treasury bonds which would increase our national debt. But what if a massive investment in the fastest broadband speeds of today turns out to be an investment Read More ›

Photo by Vinícius Henrique Photography
black sony ps 4 game controller

Successful Parallelism

OTOY founder Jules Urbach is interviewed about the possibilities of cloud computing. Urbach: You’re going to be hard-pressed to have a Playstation 4 or an Xbox 720 that has better quality than the cloud.**** It’s not just [gaming] consoles that will be threatened by this — it’s your PC. It’s your Blu-ray system.It’s going to be a very thin, cheap device that can connect to the cloud. Or maybe you’ll see a hybrid solution in the meantime. Graphics processors (GPUs) — the most robust and commercially successful and thus most rapidly advancing parallel architecture — create an image ultimately expressed in a light pattern that is intrinsically parallel since all the pixels have to been seen at once. Processors from Read More ›

Legacy regulation killed Google Voice

Reacting to Apple’s decision to not allow Google Voice for the iPhone, Wall Street Journal guest columnist Andy Kessler complains, It wouldn’t be so bad if we were just overpaying for our mobile plans. Americans are used to that–see mail, milk and medicine. But it’s inexcusable that new, feature-rich and productive applications like Google Voice are being held back, just to prop up AT&T while we wait for it to transition away from its legacy of voice communications. How many productive apps beyond Google Voice are waiting in the wings? So Kessler proposes a “national data plan.” Before we get to that, Kessler complains that margins in AT&T’s cellphone unit are an “embarrassingly” high 25%. He doesn’t point out that Read More ›

Thoughts on broadband strategy

The FCC received reply comments last week concerning the national broadband plan it is required — pursuant to the stimulus legislation — to deliver to Congress by Feb. 17, 2010. In the attached reply comments of my own, I conclude: The broadband market is delivering better services at lower prices. There is no evidence of a market failure which would justify additional regulation. I pointed out that just as the Sherman Act does not “give judges carte blanche to insist that a monopolist alter its way of doing business whenever some other approach might yield greater competition,” according to the Supreme Court, the Commission would be wise not to insist that broadband providers alter their way of doing business just Read More ›

Forget broadband, U.S. ranks 45th in phone penetration

It is unacceptable that the country which invented the Internet ranks 15th in the world in broadband adoption, according to President Obama — a fact which he and some others believe justifies government spending and regulation to “renew our information superhighway.” A new paper by Scott Wallsten at the Technology Policy Institute contributes useful perspective concerning the U.S. ranking (which actually is in relation not to the world as a whole, only to the 30 nations which comprise the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).) Because average household sizes differ across countries, when every household in every country is connected to broadband the U.S. will rank 18th among OECD countries and much lower when compared to all countries in Read More ›

Bandwidth Boom

Bret Swanson at Entropy Economics makes some fascinating findings in a new paper: We estimate that by the end of 2008, U.S. consumer bandwidth totaled almost 717 petabits per second. On a per capita basis, U.S. consumers now enjoy almost 2.4 megabits per second of communications power, compared to just over 28 kilobits per second in 2000. The ability of Americans to communicate and capitalize on all of the Internet’s proliferating applications and services is thus, on average, about 100 times greater than it was in 2000. It sort of makes you wonder why we need a National Broadband Plan from the government, particularly when you consider the possibility that the government’s well-intentioned efforts may backfire. Consider Swanson’s observation as Read More ›