Ironically, the same set of messages on my newsgroup that contained the
first couple of posts in this thread also had a subsequent post which
A U.S. appeals court on Tuesday upheld a 2004 decision by
telecommunications regulators allowing regional phone companies
to deploy new fiber-optic lines without having to share them with
The Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit rejected a
legal challenge by Internet service provider EarthLink Inc. aimed at
overturning a decision by the Federal Communications Commission.
The court said it was "permissible" for the FCC to absolve the
dominant local telephone carriers, known as the Baby Bells, of sharing
requirements when it comes to new fiber optic networks.
Come on, guys!
The capacity of even a single optical fiber is so immense that it
makes absolutely no sense, economically, socially, or any other way,
to have competing information providers repeatedly tear up public
streets, sidewalks, and rights of way to provide multiple fibers,
cables or wires into my house.
If AT&T or Comcast want to negotiate franchise deals with my community
to run fibers or cables along public rights of way to reach my house
(at, admittedly, very considerable expense to them), I'll be more than
happy to pay them a fair price for the continued use of that
infrastructure -- provided that once I pay that fair price, I can use
this infrastructure to reach any and all the different places on the
Information Highway that I want to reach over it, and to access any
and all of the different competitive information services that will
want to serve me over that infrastructure, with no control or
interference by them.
Maybe I misunderstand the initial posts, but if AT&T or whoever can
use public rights of way to build this infrastructure, and then only
let it be used to access electronic services *they* provide, merchants
*they* own, entertainment sources *they* are selling -- are you really
trying to tell me this is going to promote competition and innovation
in any of these areas?
Completely open use of that infrastructure by anyone who wants to pay
them just the fair transmission costs of sending bits over it
(appropriate depreciation costs of course included) is the sine qua non
of their being allowed to build it over public rights of way.
And secondarily, but far from trivial, once I've paid for the fair use
of this infrastructure, I don't want AT&T or whoever monitoring or
recording the specific bits I send over it, for any purpose whatsoever
(things like court-ordered -- and it better be court ordered --
If I go to the the Borders Books site over their fiber and search for
books on home finance, I don't want AT&T noting this and selling my name
to Joe's Sleazy Home Loan Service (and is there any other kind). If
AT&T is the corporate parent of North Face, I don't want them
deliberately giving me speedy connections to the North Face web site,
but only a slow and deliberately bit-dropping link to Lands End -- or
worse, "accidentally" misdirecting me from the latter web site to the
former. And if anyone doesn't think these kinds of things, and worse,
can and will happen, you must have never in your life used a broadband
Once we've paid the fair and limited transmission costs to the builder
of the local information infrastructure, our use of any physical
broadband connections to the worldwide Information Highway should be as
absolutely open, free, uncontrolled and anonymous as our use of city
streets and State and County roads to reach the U.S. Interstate freeway
system, once we've paid our taxes and auto license fees. That's what
"network neutrality" means to me -- and it's absolutely nonnegotiable.