TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: What is Net Neutrality all About?

Re: What is Net Neutrality all About?
16 Jun 2006 11:41:58 -0700

Tim Scott wrote:

> I agree most heartily with your comments. Internet gatekeepers are a sketchy
> issue, however. Who regulates the regulators? It is important that
> regulating the internet with gatekeepers does not "throw the baby out with
> the bathwater", per se. Who ensures that the gatekeepers are regulated?

Very good point. I don't know the answer.

For the first question, "regulated vs. unregulated" I do believe in
regulation. We as consumers gave up an awful lot when some industries
were deregulated. Proponents of deregulation claim the benefits
outweighed the costs, but I feel strongly those proponents pretty much
ignore or minimize the costs. Norvergence and Enron, anyone?

The second question, "who regulates the regulators" is a lot tougher.
I think _overall_ the history of FCC/PUC over the old Bell System was
pretty good -- we got excellent service at good rates (with very few
exceptions). But other regulators weren't so good -- Western Union
got a raw deal* compared to the Bell System, and railroads suffered
terribly under the old ICC**.

I'll note one mistake: government pressure on the Bell System in the
1960s and 70s to hire disadvantaged people. Oslin says this
contributed to the service crisis of that area (not the only factor)
because so many new craft people were inexperienced and some just
weren't that good.

> Your comments on "mob rule" were straight on the point, sir.


*I think Bell's TWX unfairly hurt WU's own Telex, and WU was forced to
absorb the bankrupt Postal Telegraph. I do think WU should've been
allowed to do more voice carriage than it did. (Per Oslin's book)

**Railroads did much better under deregulation, but new problems of
service quality exist. Due to mega mergers, railroads have become de
facto monopolies. IMHO, they're not building additional capacity to
provide better service that they should.

> [TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: People often times praise two long-
> time netizens for their abilities; one being Vint Cerf and the other
> being Esther Dyson, in other words, the ICANN people. Maybe -- if we
> can think out of the box for a few minutes -- an organization like
> ICANN could handle this 'gatekeeper' function pretty well. Any
> thoughts? PAT]

I can't comment on those people or organization.

However, the first issue is whether there is to be a "gatekeeper" at
all -- a great many people do not want one as the postings show.

Presuming there will be gatekeeper, then the "gate" itself has to be
defined and this is tough and tricky. How big is the gate? How tough
is it to pass by?

Too little regulation is worthless. Too much regulation is stifling.

One would think this would be an objective engineering decision but
it's not. Engineers have very different ideas and opinions.
Businesses, both conveyors and users, have different legitimate

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