IPcentral Weblog
  The DACA Blog

Wednesday, December 8, 2004

Powell Reprise on "'Net Freedom"
(previous | next)

The second of a seven-part series of a discussion between Chairman Powell, Larry Lessig and others last summer has been posted over at AlwaysOn. (Part one, loosely described, discussed why the government shouldn't build out a fat pipe for all Americans just because we are not currently in what equates to the BCS rankings for broadband deployment.) In this part, Powell discusses the rationale behind his four principles for 'Net Freedom. In answering Lessig's question on whether there is full FCC support to keep the Internet how it "really was," Powell states:

Well, it's an interesting question. As best as I can read it now, the Commission has pretty much bought into that subscription. The real test is going to come the day that somebody gets caught doing something nasty. That's going to be a real test of the policy.

In a recent article in Regulation magazine, Lessig writes that those "network owners who interfere with 'net neutrality' or compromise 'Internet Freedom' face a significant threat of subsequent regulation." I would agree that the threat of regulation is the middle course that the Chairman seems to be steering here through a policy statement. Lessig goes farther, however, in asserting that Powell has "clearly signaled to broadband providers that violating the four freedoms would lead the FCC to regulate broadband provision. Neutrality is thus the rule, at least so long as Powell gets to direct the rules."

The question boils down to what constitutes "nasty" behavior. One can imagine a host of activities that would render the orthodox wing of the end-to-end constituency apoplectic. Nevertheless, some actions that might facially violate "'Net' Freedom" - say a broadband provider limiting 'net accessibility for children or access preferences through some sort of affinity marketing program - might be beneficial to consumers and broadband penetration as a whole. The problem with 'Net Freedom, or net neutrality, or whatever you call it, is that it is an abstract policy in the name of an abstract goal. The proper answer to such calls is: "Maybe."

posted by @ 7:43 PM | Broadband , E-commerce , The FCC

Share |

Link to this Entry | Printer-Friendly

Post a Comment:

Blog Main
RSS Feed  
Recent Posts
  EFF-PFF Amicus Brief in Schwarzenegger v. EMA Supreme Court Videogame Violence Case
New OECD Study Finds That Improved IPR Protections Benefit Developing Countries
Hubris, Cowardice, File-sharing, and TechDirt
iPhones, DRM, and Doom-Mongers
"Rogue Archivist" Carl Malamud On How to Fix Gov2.0
Coping with Information Overload: Thoughts on Hamlet's BlackBerry by William Powers
How Many Times Has Michael "Dr. Doom" Copps Forecast an Internet Apocalypse?
Google / Verizon Proposal May Be Important Compromise, But Regulatory Trajectory Concerns Many
Two Schools of Internet Pessimism
GAO: Wireless Prices Plummeting; Public Knowledge: We Must Regulate!
Archives by Month
  September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
  - (see all)
Archives by Topic
  - A La Carte
- Add category
- Advertising & Marketing
- Antitrust & Competition Policy
- Appleplectics
- Books & Book Reviews
- Broadband
- Cable
- Campaign Finance Law
- Capitalism
- Capitol Hill
- China
- Commons
- Communications
- Copyright
- Cutting the Video Cord
- Cyber-Security
- Digital Americas
- Digital Europe
- Digital Europe 2006
- Digital TV
- E-commerce
- e-Government & Transparency
- Economics
- Education
- Electricity
- Energy
- Events
- Exaflood
- Free Speech
- Gambling
- General
- Generic Rant
- Global Innovation
- Googlephobia
- Googlephobia
- Human Capital
- Innovation
- Intermediary Deputization & Section 230
- Internet
- Internet Governance
- Internet TV
- Interoperability
- IP
- Local Franchising
- Mass Media
- Media Regulation
- Monetary Policy
- Municipal Ownership
- Net Neutrality
- Neutrality
- Non-PFF Podcasts
- Ongoing Series
- Online Safety & Parental Controls
- Open Source
- PFF Podcasts
- Philosophy / Cyber-Libertarianism
- Privacy
- Privacy Solutions
- Regulation
- Search
- Security
- Software
- Space
- Spectrum
- Sports
- State Policy
- Supreme Court
- Taxes
- The FCC
- The FTC
- The News Frontier
- Think Tanks
- Trade
- Trademark
- Universal Service
- Video Games & Virtual Worlds
- VoIP
- What We're Reading
- Wireless
- Wireline
Archives by Author
PFF Blogosphere Archives
We welcome comments by email - look for a link to the author's email address in the byline of each post. Please let us know if we may publish your remarks.

The Progress & Freedom Foundation