Richard Bennett, NANOG posting, and Integrity

Richard Bennett richard at
Mon Jul 28 04:08:17 UTC 2014

I don't think it's conflation, Joly, since the essence of NN is for the 
eyeballs to pay for the entire cost of the network and for edge 
providers to use it for free; isn't that what Netflix is asking the FCC 
to impose under the guise of "strong net neutrality?" Professor van 
Schewick is pretty clear about making the users pay for the edge 
providers in her tome on Internet architecture and innovation.

Competition is a wonderful thing where it can work, but it's not a 
panacea, especially for the poor and for high-cost, rural areas. 
Communication policy has pretty much always relied on some form of 
subsidy for these situations, that's the universal service fee we pay on 
our phone bills.

Susan Crawford explicitly complains that American ISPs "gouge the rich" 
by charging more than the OECD norm for high-speed (50 Mbps and above) 
service, but she fails to point out that they also charge less than the 
norm for low-speed (15 Mbps and below) service.

I think it's easy to create unintended consequences if you don't look at 
how specific regulations affect real people, no matter how high-minded 
and principled they may appear at the surface.


On 7/27/14, 7:08 PM, Joly MacFie wrote:
> Conflating zero-rating with NN is not necessarily helpful.  I somehow 
> doubt that is ultimately what convinced all those groups to suddenly 
> come out against NN at the last minute.
> The EFF did recently address the issue.
> <quote>
> However, we worry about the downside risks of the zero rated services. 
> Although it may seem like a humane strategy to offer users from 
> developing countries crumbs from the Internet's table in the form of 
> free access to walled-garden services, such service may thrive at the 
> cost of stifling the development of low-cost, neutral Internet access 
> in those countries for decades to come.
> Zero-rating also risks skewing the Internet experience of millions (or 
> billions) of first-time Internet users. For those who don't have 
> access to anything else, Facebook /is/ the Internet. On such an 
> Internet, the task of filtering and censoring content suddenly becomes 
> so much easier, and the potential for local entrepreneurs and hackers 
> to roll out their own innovative online services using local languages 
> and content is severely curtailed.
> Sure, zero rated services may seem like an easy band-aid fix to lessen 
> the digital divide. But do you know whatmost 
> <>stakeholders 
> <>agree 
> <>is a 
> better approach towards conquering the digital divide? 
> Competition—which we can foster through rules that reduce the power of 
> telecommunications monopolies and oligopolies to limit the content and 
> applications that their subscribers can access and share.  Where 
> competition isn't enough, we can combine this with limited rules 
> against clearly impermissible practices like website blocking.
> </quote>
> On Sun, Jul 27, 2014 at 8:28 PM, Richard Bennett <richard at 
> <mailto:richard at>> wrote:
>     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 networks.
>     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 reported
>     <>,
>     companies such as Facebook, Google, Twitter and Wikipedia strike
>     up deals
>     <>
>     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.
>     RB
>     On 7/27/14, 5:07 PM, Joly MacFie wrote:
>>     Now, this is astroturfing.
> -- 
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> Joly MacFie 218 565 9365 <tel:218%20565%209365> Skype:punkcast
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Richard Bennett
Visiting Fellow, American Enterprise Institute
Center for Internet, Communications, and Technology Policy
Editor, High Tech Forum

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