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Pay no attention to the people behind the curtain

Monday, June 19, 2006

More Hands on the Internet

As I noted the other day, the BlogAd to your right for "smart network or dumb pipe" or whatever it says today takes you to a misleading video and presentation that distorts the arguments for what we're calling "net neutrality" and instead offers a point of view sponsored by the big telecoms like AT&T and Bellsouth. You can click on the ad and get their point of view if you like. That's the great thing about a neutral internet--no one is telling you what you can or can't see.

But I want to follow up with some more information for you. Last Friday, Mike McCurry (lobbyist for the telecoms) debated Paul Misener, vice president of Global Public Policy for (McCurry calls him the lobbyist at McCurry's blog!) about the issue. This post has a partial transcript and links to the video, but I wanted to highlight just a smidge of Misener's words. He starts by refuting the notion that somehow the telecoms get stuck with all the bills for high-profile and high-bandwidth dot-coms:
Tiered pricing for access is something we support. Amazon pays a lot more than ‘Joe’’ simply because we use more capacity… That makes perfect sense to us. You pay for that capacity. But the important component here is that once the consumer has paid for his or her capacity at their home they ought to be able to use that capacity however they want. There’s a fundamental misconception here that somehow delivery of video over the Internet is just like it is over cable TV, over satellite, over broadcast or, frankly, like delivery of content through newspapers or magazines. Those models have always been about ‘push.’ Somebody decides — who either owns the pipe or owns the newspaper — what content goes in their and pushes it out to consumers and they can choose to read it or not.

That’s not the way the Internet works. The Internet does not have all this content in there unless the user asks for it. When you hit return on your browzer it actually sends out a ‘get command’ to the server; it’s a very illustrative name for a command in computer code. It actually says ‘get’– that means now send me the file. That file never gets into the pipes owned by the network operators that Mike represents unless their customer who’s paid for that access asks for it. So we’re not clogging their pipes at all. We’re only providing the content that we hope our joint customers want to see.
As you can see, the argument that telecoms must have control over what goes in or out of their networks--or at what speeds--to protect themselves is baloney. McCurry and his crew are simply not being honest with you.

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