jump to navigation

Net Neutrality – Obvious to Users Now Proven in Research March 12, 2007

Posted by John in Technology.
trackback

Net Neutrality is the most obvious issue for anyone who is in the tech business but a recent survey says via ‘game theory’ that regulation will kill innovation.

PodTech presents a ‘cage match’ between the ‘father of the Interet’ and top ex-FCC official on Net Neutrality.  audio and video and transcript from Bob Pepper and Vint Cerf on the issue

For Net Neutrality – Vint Cerf

[podtech content=http://media1.podtech.net/media/2006/11/PID_001383/Podtech_Google_Vint_Cerf.mp3&postURL=http://www.podtech.net/home/technology/1464/father-of-internet-neutrality-crucial-to-nets-future&totalTime=550000&breadcrumb=3F34K2L1]

Against Net Neutrality – Bob Pepper ex-FCC Official

[podtech content=http://media1.podtech.net/media/2006/11/PID_001440/Podtech_bob_pepper_on_net_neutrality.flv&postURL=http://www.podtech.net/home/technology/1529/bob-pepper-ex-fcc-exec-discusses-net-neutrality&totalTime=237000&breadcrumb=3F34K2L1]

Guest: Vint Cerf – Google
Host: Catherine Girardeau – PodTech

Vint Cerf – Google
Any innovative ideas that involve large number of collaborative devices interacting with each other wants to be openly explored and that’s why this discussion on net neutrality is so important, because we want the exploration to happen, we want people to be free to try out applications that reside in the Web 2.0 space without being faced with getting permission to try things out from the broadband carriers.

Catherine Girardeau – PodTech
This is Catherine Girardeau, PodTech news. It’s Wednesday, November 8. I’m in San Francisco at the elegant Palace Hotel for the Web 2.0 Conference. This morning I talked with Vint Cerf. Vint Cerf is VP and Chief Internet Evangelist for Google. He is also known as one of the Fathers of the Internet. He co-designed the TCP/IP protocols and the architecture of the Net.

In addition to being one of the designers of the Internet architecture, he also had founded some important professional organizations that have further shaped the Internet. At the Web 2.0 Conference, Vint Cerf is debating, Robert Pepper, formerly at the FCC, now with Cisco Systems about the contentious issue of network neutrality. I asked Vint Cerf why network neutrality was important at this point in the development of the Internet?

Vint Cerf – Google
Well, in some respect, network neutrality has been important to the Internet ever since its inception. The openness of the network and the opportunity for virtually handing them to try out a new application without having to get special permission or pay specially an ISP in order to try that out, it’s been fundamental to the innovation that has, in fact grown the Internet over the last 15 years that it’s been a commercial enterprise. That openness is being threatened by the FCC’s action last August, to transfer Internet service from a communications regime to an information regime is moving it from title 2 to title 1.

The side effect of that has been to allow the broadband carriers in particular, a kind of license to charge whatever they want to and exercise whatever constraints and limitations they wish on what consumers are allowed to do or what producers are allowed to do on the network. The last of that neutrality that’s a non-discriminatory element, the effective loss of common characteristic really threatens Internet innovation and it also threatens consumer choice.

Catherine Girardeau – PodTech
Now, what are the global forces that work here? I know that this debate over network neutrality or Internet regulation is pretty heated in the United States. What are the forces that work in the rest of the world around regulation of the Internet?

Vint Cerf – Google
Well, in fact the same debate has been echoed in other parts of the world and I wasn’t aware of that. In the UK, for example when OFCOM, the equivalent of FCC, undertook to assure that the network was open, they required BT to maintain an open wholesale capability of service that was equally available to anyone who could pay for it. And similarly, we see the same kinds of results in the Netherlands where both cable and telephone industries must be opened, must not discriminate against users and similarly, in New Zealand, legislation has passed. It has the same effect. So, we are seeing a recognition that this open access and this non-discriminatory access is critical in many countries that recognize the trauma.

Catherine Girardeau – PodTech
So, you’re very much part of the beginnings of the Internet, the founding of the Internet, the assurance that the Internet is an open network. So, what advice would you give the (inaudible) squabbling over regulation or not at this point?

Vint Cerf – Google
Well, the concern that I have along with my colleagues is that there isn’t sufficient competition for broadband service in the US. There was plenty of competition for dial-up. There were thousands of dial-up service providers and it was easy to switch. You just change the telephone number you call and you went to a different modem bank. But in the broadband world, it’s much harder to switch. You have a choice amongst the two in the United States, DSL and cable. About 60% of the population does get to make that choice. About 30% gets only one choice; either cable or DSL, but not more than 10% get no choice at all. Switching is hard if you don’t have any other choices.

The alternative technologies have not taken off, things like Broadband over power line or wireless is something that have almost no visibility in a commercial spectrum, maybe 0.5% of all broadband services offered by other than DSL and cable. So, what is critical here is to recognize the potential for abuse. The potential for anti-competitive behavior and to put roadblocks in the way of that potential in order to make sure it doesn’t happen.

If there were enough competition, you and I wouldn’t be talking about network neutrality, I wouldn’t be worried about it, but there isn’t enough competition and there isn’t any evidence right now that there will be enough competition. And so, to protect the Internet’s innovative character and to protect consumers, who want to have the open choice to go anywhere on the Internet that they expect to go.

That’s what they paid for when they got broadband service; we need to have these kinds of protections. I will point it out that some people distort argue and argue well, they won’t let us charge more for the higher speed is not true. If the consumer wants broader band service, paying more is perfectly reasonable. What, we’re concerned about is that the carrier, the operator of the underlying physical facility is abusing and potentially could abuse that access to control the applications that run on it or control, which service providers, which applications the users can get to by differentially charging those service providers to get access to the users.

Catherine Girardeau – PodTech
What argument do you provide to people who say, well, there is no need to regulate it, there is no problem right now, this is premature regulation?

Vint Cerf – Google
Two responses to this; I won’t quote the frequently mentioned Madison case and here it’s an example, but I wouldn’t call it totally compelling. We’re actually seeing some of these problems showing up in Korea recently and is quite a flap over the inhibition of competitive video services by a carrier, who had its own competitive video and in fact blocked or otherwise interfered with competitors, that’s one example. I think the other reason that I am concerned about is that even if there isn’t any current problem, the potential is extremely high for anti-competitive behavior.

Example, one of the competitive alternatives is Municipal Networks and we’ve seen the Local Exchange Carriers in the United States actively trying to prohibit the construction of Municipal Networks by seeing legislation at the state level and that seems to me a (inaudible) example, the anti-competitive behavior. In that case, it’s my view and the view of my colleagues that we need legislative protections against that.

Catherine Girardeau – PodTech
Now, we’re here at the Web 2.0 Conference, where people are learning about and talking about the latest wave of Web development. What do you think is the next wave of development of the Internet, say over the next 5 to 10 years?

Vint Cerf – Google
Now, that’s a really hard question to answer. I can tell you what some of the elements are, the standards that will allow free interactions among parties is important. With Web 2.0, well, I think it’s about a marketing kind of term, does have the characteristic that if you standardize enough of the document exchanges that could occur in the protocols they use and we could get inter-corporated, interaction happening, business processes to be interacting directly with each other, accounts payable, accounts receivable, order entry and so on. We could speed up the whole process of business by having each thing a decent price. Second and probably very important is that any innovative ideas that involve large numbers of collaborative devices interacting with each other wants to be openly explored and that’s why this discussion on Net neutrality is so important because we want the exploration to happen, we want people to be free to try out applications that reside in the Web 2.0 space without being faced with getting permission to try things out from the broadband carriers.

Catherine Girardeau – PodTech
Thank you so much for joining me.

Vint Cerf – Google
Well, thank you I enjoyed the chance to chat.

Catherine Girardeau – PodTech
Vint Cerf is the Vice President and Chief Internet Evagelist for Google. Before that he was with MCI. He is perhaps best known for being one of the architect or Fathers of the Internet. At San Francisco’s Palace Hotel at the Web 2.0 Conference, I’m Catherine Girardeau, PodTech News.

Copyright ©2006 PodTech.net. All rights reserved. Privacy policy

This transcript is from a PodTech.net podcast at:
http://www.podtech.net/home/technology/1529/bob-pepper-ex-fcc-exec-discusses-net-neutrality

Guest: Bob Pepper – Ex-FCC Executive
Host: John furrier – PodTech

John furrier – PodTech
Bob Pepper you were with the FCC, retired with Cisco systems, is at debating Vint Cerf, the Father of the Internet. Are you nervous, on Net Neutrality?

Bob Pepper – Ex-FCC Executive
No.

John furrier – PodTech
I think?

Bob Pepper – Ex-FCC Executive
Vint Cerf is an old friend of me, has actually talked about this issue quiet a lot.

John furrier – PodTech
You’ve been involved in policy across three administrations. What’s your view on Net neutrality, right now?

Bob Pepper – Ex-FCC Executive
What do you mean by Net neutrality?

John furrier – PodTech
Is it good, bad? People don’t know — the average Americans don’t know…

Bob Pepper – Ex-FCC Executive
People don’t know. People even don’t know, what the term means?

John furrier – PodTech
What does it mean for a (Voice Overlap)?

Bob Pepper – Ex-FCC Executive
The term means different things to different people and that’s part of the (Inaudible).

John furrier – PodTech
So, it doesn’t mean that you don’t want discrimination, in terms of any comparative (ph) behavior?

Bob Pepper – Ex-FCC Executive
Absolutely.

John furrier – PodTech
Does it mean — do you want new regulation?

Bob Pepper – Ex-FCC Executive
No, you don’t need it. So, there’s this balancing act between benefits and costs. So it’s a great term that means different things to different people. So, it doesn’t really have much content at all. So, what we need to do is, we can define what you mean, by the term.

John furrier – PodTech
In fact, people talk about, in terms of (Inaudible), Sergey and Larry had a conference call Google Earnings, is that two Earnings ago, actually came out and interrupted the earnings to say that they’re against Net neutrality. What do you think about that?

Audience Member
No, they’re actually having four…..

John furrier – PodTech
I mean four — that mean they’re four, in favor of Net neutrality.

Bob Pepper – Ex-FCC Executive
They’re allowing in favor of regulations. So, it’s ironic that they’re arguing and lobbying in favor of detailed regulation that could have all kinds of unattended consequences, in terms of regulating things that we’ve never regulated. And that’s the one of the issues that people don’t fully understand, is the trade off, between points that make sure of bad things don’t happen, and the way in which you do it. And the way that many people are proposing, new regulation could have unintended consequences that I don’t think anybody, certainly not anybody, Web 2.0 would want.

John furrier – PodTech
How about innovation? Actually US has been lagging on all indicators on broadband penetration, for the past few years from other countries. What about innovation to this in terms of the new media model, and new broadcast models?

Bob Pepper – Ex-FCC Executive
Well, anyway that’s the point, right, which is, if you really want broadband, you want innovation in the network. If you want rapid adoption; you want innovation at the edge, right? And part of the debate; that people have setup, is the false choice, and the false choice between innovation at the edge and innovation in the core. And you want innovation in both places; not one or the other, and the debate has been polarized, by people who’re arguing the extremes.

John furrier – PodTech
So, for the average person in their couch at home, what does it mean for them? What should they think about?

Bob Pepper – Ex-FCC Executive
For them, it means nothing. Because there is no problem, right? You can go online, you can watch this on your website, you can go to Google, you can download videos, you can go to Bitsmart There’s no problem, today.

John furrier – PodTech
So, keep it the way it is.

Audience member
But, the crux of the issue is that the Telcos are rolling out FiOS – they’re rolling out fiber optics. They need to get the internet into the 21st century in the United States, and they’re investing a huge amount of money. And they want to return on that investment. Isn’t that what Net neutrality is really about?

Bob Pepper – Ex-FCC Executive
No, because, that’s only part of it. Because with that, what we’re referring to is, the need to have investment and innovation in the networks in the core, right. So, they need a return on that, just as, companies that will make investments, innovated applications in continuity edge, need a return on that. There’s an opportunity for everybody to be working together, but what you want to prevent, is any competitive behavior. And so, there’re ways that you can achieve that. And so if you really want, the US to catch up in Broadband, you need investment in the networks as well as investment in content and applications. It’s not an either or situation.

John furrier – PodTech
Bob Pepper, dropping the Net neutrality issue and we’re here at PodTech.net. Good luck with debating Vint Cerf, the Father of the Internet, go get him. Thanks.

Copyright ©2006 PodTech.net. All rights reserved. Privacy policy

Comments»

1. Laura Unger - March 12, 2007

The greatest threat to net neutrality is that we don’t have public policy, like they have in so many other countries, to encourage speed, encourage infrastructure, encourage universal access, encourage affordability.

2. gwhiz - March 12, 2007

Mr. Furrier… thanks for the transcript… but it’s FULL of misspellings to the point it makes little sense in important places (notably in Mr. Pepper’s opening… audience member says “No, they’re actually having four”…

Correct me, but I think that was meant to be “for”

It’s a small but important hiccup in the reading. You’re attributed for saying some of what Pepper said… It’s really kinda too bad. Good topic presented… not so well (at least in the trascript). Streaming videos much better and glad you provided that!

Gerald

3. Webhamer Weblog: Search & ICT-related blogging » Net neutrality - Vint Cerf’s worries - March 13, 2007

[…] Interview with Vint Cerf now CEO at Google formely known as one of the founders of the internet. This interview is about the openess (is that a word?) of the internet and some recent developments to regulate this medium. Vint talks about the FCC that wants to bring the internet form a communications level to a information level. Another thing that worries him is the broadband infrastructure that is in the hands of a few large companies. Consumers do not always have the choice to switch technology (cable, dsl, wireless) or providers. […]

4. HandsOffPlease - March 13, 2007

Hi John, Glad you posted the match. Yes, regulations like net neutrality will kill, or at least slow, innovation. I urge your readers to check out the Precursor Blog, who explains how the University of Florida’s game theory is based on a plethora of “erroneous assumptions.”
http://precursorblog.com/node/320

HandsOffPlease
With Hands Off the Internet Coalition

5. Net Neutrality Research Slammed by Scott Cleland « John Furrier - March 14, 2007

[…] Neutrality Research Slammed by Scott Cleland I posted a link to the research that was dissing the opposition of Net Neutrality and now that research is being called out by Scott Cleland.    Scott goes on to slam them by […]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: