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FCC: Do Net Neutrality right

Brad Burnham, a well-known and thoughtful venture capitalist — I know him a bit, and like and respect him — has posted a letter to the FCC explaining why it ought to reject Chairman Genachowski’s compromised version of Net Neutrality (AKA “I can’t believe it’s not Net Neutrality”) in favor of something more clear and powerful.

Barbara van Schewick, an authority on Net Neutrality, has posted about a very specific example of the harm that would be done if the Chairman’s version becomes public policy: Zediva is a online DVD rental start-up that needs Net Neutrality to be viable. Zewdiva says in their own letter to the FCC:

By enabling users to watch new DVDs online, our service may be perceived to directly compete with the VideoLonLDemand service, PayPerView or other PayTV services offered by cable providers and, in some cases, the providers of fiber networks and wireless networks. At the same time, we depend on the broadband Internet access service offered by these providers to reach our users. In the absence of strong nonLdiscrimination rules and meaningful restrictions on what constitutes “reasonable network management”, these competitors will be able to exploit their control over the provision of broadband access to put us at a competitive disadvantage.

Here’s hoping that Chairman Genachowski can put on a pair of man pants and propose some real Net Neutrality (while maintaining his sense of humor).

2 Responses to “FCC: Do Net Neutrality right”

  1. Brad Burnham is biased by the fact that he invests in multiple companies which would benefit from a transfer of income from ISPs. Barbara van Schewick works for the Center for the Internet and Society at Stanford, which receives large amounts of money from Google – the primary source of funding behind lobbying for regulation of the Internet. Both are driven not by the interests of consumers or Internet users but rather by the interests of the corporations they represent. Thus, neither is credible. The fact is that regulation of the Internet would be demonstrably bad for consumers. It would slow Internet speeds, increase the cost of service, destroy jobs, deter innovation, stifle investment in infrastructure, and hinder deployment of high speed service to unserved and underserved areas. No one who cares about the welfare of this country or its citizens should support “network neutrality” regulation.

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