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IN PERSPECTIVE: The Groundskeepers

Wed, 09/30/2009 - 8:35pm
Brian Santo

FCC redesigning network neutrality field;
level playing field good; tilty playing field bad

The FCC wants to develop rules about network neutrality, in consultation with the industry and the public, and the process is going to take a year. The rules are going to apply to all Brian Santonetworks, including wireless networks. If the rules are going to apply to anyone, they should apply to everyone, right? If on nothing else, everyone agrees the ne plus ultra of life is a perfectly flat playing field.

By the way, did you know that many pro football fields are not level? Serious. They crest in the middle. So that rain will run off. They do that even in some domed stadia where it doesn’t rain. Well, it rains, but not on the field, which is under the dome. But then again, if the team wins and the players dump Gatorade on the coach, they need that to run off the field, too.

But I digress. ...

So, to review: FCC redesigning field; level playing field good; tilty playing field bad.

Verizon, Qwest and the entire cable industry were clever enough to see the utility of keeping their mouths shut for a year until they see what new network neutrality rules might actually look like.

But not AT&T. It decided to dig its heels in now. It’s the principle of the thing.

And one short week later, AT&T complains to the FCC that Google Voice sometimes restricts the ability to call people whose carriers charge high access fees; by law, phone companies must connect indiscriminately. Wow, that almost sounds like (gasp) network neutrality!

Here are our choices: a level playing field, which requires someone to make some irritating rules, or a free market in which competitors will cheat you out of your business every way they can, and you respond, and consumers get screwed around and profoundly aggravated and demand some seriously restrictive regulations.

You can’t have it both ways. And it’s insulting to the rest of us if you try to have it both ways within the space of a single week.

Tell me I’m wrong: brian.santo@advantagemedia.com

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