Telecosm recap

You should have been there! Telecosm was thrilling. I will list the ways, in chronological order in two or three posts over the next few days. (Below is Part 1.) 1) Lawrence Solomon, author of The Deniers, demonstrated, beyond cavil, that nearly all the relevant scientists, outside of the government echo-chambers, completely repudiate the climate panic. He concluded by pointing to evidence for a cooling trend ahead. 2) After I presented the statistics showing that most of the global economy is driven by innovation in the Telecosm–teleputers, datacenters, optical fiber, fiberspeed electronics–Steve Forbes gave a magisterial tour of the world economy. Relevant to the debates on the Gilder Telecosm Forum subscriber message board was his assertion that the Fed had Read More ›

Defining ‘anticompetitive’

Is it anticompetitive for Google to let Yahoo use some of its technology to earn more money in the search ad business if Google had 61.6 percent of the search market in April while Yahoo had 20.4 percent and Microsoft, 9.1 percent? It’s only anticompetitive if you believe search ad revenue is–and always will be–the bedrock of the Internet economy. But that’s quite an assumption. Not too long ago some believed Microsoft’s success in desktop software would allow it to monopolize the online world. Then along came Google and search ads, which no one foresaw. An outsourcing deal between Google and Yahoo could be profoundly procompetitive because Yahoo makes less than it could in search ads. Using Google’s technology may Read More ›

Build a better mousetrap

The Rural Cellular Association wants the FCC to eliminate exclusivity arrangements between cellphone carriers and manufacturers of popular handsets. For many consumers, the end result of these exclusive arrangements is being channeled to purchase wireless service from a carrier that has monopolistic control over the desired handset and having to pay a premium price for the handset because the market is devoid of any competition for the particular handset. Exclusivity deals are common throughout the business world and often serve procompetitive purposes. And there is no way to condemn AT&T-Apple iPhone, Verizon Wireless-LG Voyager or Sprint Nextel-Samsung Ace without condemning exclusivity generally. For one thing, there are five major cellphone carriers and many smaller competitors. AT&T (Mobility), the largest, has Read More ›

Terabit Ethernet coming soon

George Gilder is getting some well-deserved recognition in Technology Review in an article by Mark Williams entitled “The State of the Global Telecosm – The most notorious promoter of the 1990s telecom boom has been proved right.” “I’m a fan of George Gilder, the bubble bursting notwithstanding,” Ethernet co¬≠inventor Bob Metcalfe (a member of Technology Review’s board of directors) told me after his San Diego keynote speech, “Toward Terabit Ethernet.” Metcalfe had told his audience not only that optical networks would soon deliver 40- and 100-gigabit-per-second Ethernet–standards bodies are now hammering out the technical specifications–but also that 1,000-gigabyte-per-second Ethernet, which Metcalfe dubbed “terabit Ethernet,” would emerge around 2015. Why, I asked, did Metcalfe believe this? “Last night, Gilder spoke to Read More ›

The bandwidth conundrum

John Dvorak, In today’s world, bandwidth demand is similar to what processing demand was 20 years ago. You just can’t get enough speed, no matter how hard you try. Even when you have enough speed on your own end, some other bottleneck is killing you. This comes to mind as, over the past few months, I’ve noticed how many YouTube videos essentially come to a grinding halt halfway through playback and display that little spinning timer. Why don’t they just put the word “buffering” on the screen? All too often, it’s not the speed of my connection that’s at issue–it’s the speed of the connection at the other end. It may not even be the connection speed itself; it Read More ›

‘We’d have nothing to do!’

Several state public utility commissioners are pleading with the Federal Communications Commission to preserve unnecessary, burdensome and anticompetitive accounting requirements that I have discussed below. Sara Kyle, Tre Hargett and Ron Jones of the Tennessee Regulatory Authority say they review the data required of telephone companies, even if their review has little or nothing to do with the purpose for which the data was originally required. This information is particularly useful in evaluating competition levels in Tennessee; further, such information may be necessary in fulfilling our Commission’s responsibilities should we decide that a state universal service fund is necessary. The argument the FCC essentially is hearing is without the data there would be less work for state regulators, which would Read More ›

Settling accounts, part 2

Recenty I commented that the Federal Communications Commission has an opportunity to relieve AT&T of several unnecessary, burdensome and anticompetitive accounting requirements. I noted that the data derived from the legacy accounting procedures simply isn’t used anymore to regulate revenue or set prices. That’s true, by the way. This week a group which calls itself the Ad Hoc Telecommunications Users Committee filed a letter (in which it didn’t identify its members) claiming: As we explained at the debate, the data produced by the cost allocations at issue have been used by the Commission and private parties in the past (CALLS), are being used by the Commission and private parties in the present (272 Sunset Nonstructural Safeguards, Separations reform and theSpecial Read More ›

What did he say?

Normally when you quote someone extensively but selectively and you’re making a different (arguably opposite) point, you acknowledge that. Stanford Law Professor Lawrence Lessig, who got a chance to lecture a captive Federal Communications Commission during a special public hearing on broadband network management this week, began the lesson quoting from remarks Gerald R. Faulhaber, Professor Emeritus of Business and Public Policy at Wharton, made at Stanford on Dec. 1, 2000 when he was chief economist at the FCC. I think Prof. Lessig is a gifted and well-intentioned scholar and educator. And Prof. Faulhaber framed the issues well, so it’s understandable why Lessig quoted him. But Faulhaber wasn’t on Lessig’s page. A transcript of Faulhaber’s full remarks, available on the Read More ›

Settling accounts

The Federal Communications Commission is facing another deadline at the end of this month to accept or reject a petition for regulatory forbearance. The petition would relieve AT&T of several unnecessary, burdensome and anticompetitive accounting requirements. The accounting rules at issue were designed to restrain telephone prices when AT&T was a monopoly entitled to recover its costs plus a reasonable profit. Rate-of-return or cost-plus regulation, as it was known, was a complete failure. It gave companies like AT&T an incentive to inflate, misallocate and manipulate costs. The companies responded, according to critics, by gold-plating their operations. AT&T hasn’t been subject to rate-of-return regulation at the FCC or in any of the states in which it operates for 10 years. And Read More ›

Google’s bids

Communications Daily ($) cited my recent post comparing Google’s limited objectives for the 700 MHz auction with the expansive objectives it outlined to the Federal Communications Commission last summer, and it included the following reaction to my comments from Richard Whitt of Google: Whitt said in response that Haney had misread his company’s comments from last summer. “We consistently have argued that the open access license conditions adopted by the FCC would inject much-needed competition into the wireless apps and handset sectors, but would not by themselves lead to new wireless networks,” he said Monday. “Only if the commission had adopted the interconnection and resale license conditions we also had suggested — which the agency ultimately did not do — Read More ›