Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Net Neutrality and a Comcast Shout-out

The selections from Cowney and Aronson bring up a lot of interesting points regarding the transformation of power within IC Technology but the point that resonates most is the importance of here and now in the realm of regulation. It becomes clear, through multiple lists and graphical evidence, that the United States will remain in the "pivot" of the inflection point for at least the next fifteen to twenty years. This being said, how will the US strive to continue this domination in the context of growing powers (notably China) as industry production and control mature?

The idea of network neutrality seems to make sense on a very intuitive level but I found it interesting that the evidence from the past ten years is conclusive that the original net neutrality framework was actually a bit counterproductive. The authors note data that indicates that the pricing controls on broadband actually promote discrimination either upstream or downstream. I find it interesting to note, on a personal level, that Comcast was found to be a guilty party "working" the system of net neutrality and, furthermore, followed it up with a shady maneuver at the FCC hearing. I am not surprised nor disappointed to hear that Comcast received a slap on the wrist from the FCC (the customer service gods should do that same) but it serves as a poignant example of the shortcomings of the original net neutrality pricing structure.

Although it has taken a couple of attempts to work out some major gliches in the net neutrality framework, Cowney and Aronson argue that there have been many successes as a result of continued efforts and an ability to maintain focus on the importance of unhindered innovation. A web platform has been created that allows for involvement of content producers and content owners for a stronger and more heterogeneous infrastructure. This platform and innovation ideology are two important factors that I look forward to observing as the new administration continues to look at the major issues facing the ICT governance community.


  1. I also enjoyed the Comcast references, having had less-than-positive experiences with them over the years; I wasn't at all surprised that they packed an FCC hearing with their own people to prevent the true story from being told. In terms of net neutrality, I agree with the authors' assessment that innovation should remain the overarching goal of any policy on the subject, and ICT policy in general. A focus on innovation, instead of solely on profit margins, would benefit the greatest number of people, especially in developing countries. And net neutrality policies are definitely one way to do so.

  2. Hey, all! On the topic of regulation, I found this today while doing research: http://www.usatoday.com/tech/news/2009-10-25-retailers-tracking-web-behavior_N.htm

    It's an article about companies tracking our browsing habits, which relates to what we were saying last night about ongoing regulation issues.