Richard Bennett, NANOG posting, and Integrity

Richard Bennett richard at
Mon Jul 28 00:28:08 UTC 2014

So we're supposed to believe that NAACP and LULAC are phony 
organizations but pro-neutrality groups like Free Press and Public 
Knowledge that admit to collaborating with Netflix and Cogent are legit? 
Given their long history, I think this is a bit of a stretch.

It's more plausible that NAACP and LULAC have correctly deduced that net 
neutrality is a de facto subsidy program that transfers money from the 
pockets of the poor and disadvantaged into the pockets of super-heavy 
Internet users and some of the richest and most profitable companies in 
America, the content resellers, on-line retailers, and advertising 

Recall what happened to entry-level broadband plans in Chile when that 
nation's net neutrality law was just applied: the ISPs who provided free 
broadband starter plans that allowed access to Facebook and Wikipedia 
were required to charge the poor:

"A surprising decision in Chile shows what happens when policies of 
neutrality are applied without nuance. This week, Santiago put an end to 
the practice, widespread in developing countries 
of big companies “zero-rating” access to their services. As Quartz has 
companies such as Facebook, Google, Twitter and Wikipedia strike up 
with mobile operators around the world to offer a bare-bones version of 
their service without charging customers for the data.

"It is not clear whether operators receive a fee 
from big companies, but it is clear why these deals are widespread. 
Internet giants like it because it encourages use of their services in 
places where consumers shy away from hefty data charges. Carriers like 
it because Facebook or Twitter serve as a gateway to the wider 
internet, introducing users to the wonders of the web and encouraging 
them to explore further afield—and to pay for data. And it’s not just 
commercial services that use the practice: Wikipedia has been an 
enthusiastic adopter of zero-rating as a way to spread its free, 
non-profit encyclopedia."

Internet Freedom? Not so much.


On 7/27/14, 5:07 PM, Joly MacFie wrote:
> Now, this is astroturfing.
> On Sun, Jul 27, 2014 at 4:26 PM, Richard Bennett <richard at 
> <mailto:richard at>> wrote:
>     This is one of the more clueless smears I've seen. The "astroturf"
>     allegation is hilarious because it shows a lack of understanding
>     of what the term means: individuals can't be "astroturf" by
>     definition; it takes an organization.
>     Groups like Free Press are arguably astroturf because of their
>     funding and collaboration with commercial interests, but even if
>     you buy the blogger's claim that AEI is taking orders from Comcast
>     (which it isn't), it doesn't pretend to be speaking for the
>     grassroots. After 76 years in operation, people engaged in public
>     policy have a very clear idea of the values that AEI stands for,
>     and the organization goes to great lengths to firewall fundraising
>     from scholarship. AEI's management grades itself in part on being
>     fired by donors, in part; this is actually a goal.
>     The thing I most like about  AEI is that it doesn't take official
>     positions and leaves scholars the freedom to make up their own
>     minds and to disagree with each other. Although we do tend to be
>     skeptical of Internet regulation, we're certainly not of one mind
>     about what needs to be regulated and who should do it. AEI is a
>     real think thank, not an advocacy organization pretending to be a
>     think tank.
>     The article is riddled with factual errors that I've asked Esquire
>     to correct, but it has declined, just as it declined to make
>     proper corrections to the blogger's previous story alleging the
>     FCC had censored 500,000 signatures from a petition in support of
>     Title II. See:
>     The blogger came to my attention when he was criticized on Twitter
>     by journalists who support net neutrality for that shoddy piece of
>     sensationalism; see the dialog around this tweet:
>     The net neutrality debate astonishes me because it rehashes
>     arguments I first heard when writing the IEEE 802.3 1BASE5
>     standard (the one that replaced coaxial cable Ethernet with
>     today's scalable hub and spoke system) in 1984. Even then some
>     people argued that a passive bus was more "democratic" than an
>     active hub/switch despite its evident drawbacks in terms of cable
>     cost, reliability, manageability, scalability, and media
>     independence. Others argued that all networking problems can be
>     resolved by throwing bandwidth at them and that all QoS is evil,
>     etc. These talking points really haven't changed.
>     The demonization of Comcast is especially peculiar because it's
>     the only ISP in the US still bound by the FCC's 2010 Open Internet
>     order. It agreed to abide by those regulations even if they were
>     struck down by the courts, which they were in January. What
>     happens with the current Open Internet proceeding doesn't have any
>     bearing on Comcast until its merger obligations expire, and its
>     proposed merger with TWC would extend them to a wider footprint
>     and reset the clock on their expiration.
>     Anyhow, the blogger did spell my name right, to there's that.
>     RB
>     On 7/22/14, 9:07 AM, Paul WALL wrote:
>         Provided without comment:
>         Drive Slow,
>         Paul Wall
>     -- 
>     Richard Bennett
>     Visiting Fellow, American Enterprise Institute
>     Center for Internet, Communications, and Technology Policy
>     Editor, High Tech Forum
> -- 
> ---------------------------------------------------------------
> Joly MacFie  218 565 9365 Skype:punkcast
> WWWhatsup NYC -
> -
>  VP (Admin) - ISOC-NY -
> --------------------------------------------------------------
> -

Richard Bennett
Visiting Fellow, American Enterprise Institute
Center for Internet, Communications, and Technology Policy
Editor, High Tech Forum

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