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Thursday, September 28, 2006

Media Regulation and Net Neutrality
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If you want any more evidence of the dangers posed by Europe's proposed Audiovisual Media Services Directive, commonly known as a reform of TV Without Frontiers, the 174-page RAND Europe study released by the U.K.'s Ofcom should be more than sufficient. As Adam has already noted, the report is a damming indictment, and is full of data, solid academic reasoning and in-depth examinations of various industries and business models that could be negatively impacted. I've written about the difficulties of distinguishing between linear and non-linear services, and the report addresses that in a concrete way, also addressing how that distinction could have an artificial influence on business model development and funding. I particularly liked their value-chain-analysis approach to the various industries using Michael Porter's Five Forces Model.

This analysis also led to a discussion, however brief, of net neutrality, particularly through the study's analysis of 2.0 business models and quality-of-service issues. Take this from the executive summary:

As business models develop, so does the possibility of quantifying and analysing their response to regulation in more detail and with more certainty. Regulation includes changes to current regulated pricing and classification of content, so the interplay between content regulation and content pricing is, in our view, an essential area for future research.

That passage has a footnote that states the following:

The interviewees in this project have indicated that Quality of Service on the Internet is a complex issue and that net neutrality needs greater analysis in order to ascertain the real investment options that can drive content and network investment in Web 2.0 and next-generation network futures.

Here's hoping the various European Commission committees that are reviewing the Directive read this RAND Europe report closely. Here's also hoping Ofcom or some similar entity commissions RAND Europe to do a study on net neutrality, regulation and quality of service.

posted by Patrick Ross @ 3:22 PM | Broadband , Communications , Innovation , Internet , Mass Media , Net Neutrality

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I don't think any consumers would argue against your stance against the regulation of speech in cable/satellite and new media (internet) by the governemnt. It doesn't take a Rand study to note that this would be a bad thing.

The confusing part for myself and your consumers is identifying exactly what your stance is on Net Neutratility. Your public proposed stance is always very vague and filled with ambiguity as to the whats and whys. This blog article seems to be an attempt to counter it under the guise of fighting against the regulation of free speech and media regulation. I don't think anyone would argue against regulating free speech, no one wants that regulation. However, Net Neutrality has nothing to do with free speech, but everything to do with how government regulation will threaten your ability as service providers to maximize profits by charging content providers for different levels of service. This in its own way is a means of limiting freedom of speech, as the only voices that will be heard are the ones that pay the most.

Consumers AND business are not interested in that. It's ridiculous to try and spin it as if they do. Consumers want access to ALL information EQUALLY, this is what spurs COMPETITION, GROWTH, and KNOWLEDGE. Limiting it will only cause decay of those attributes.

Tauke's stance that the market will and has dictated what works is a fallacy. What market? The communications industry is a giant monopoly. The mere fact that there is an organization (the PFF) that is jointly funded by Comcast, Verizon, AT&T and others to jointly influence public policy is testament to that. The public doesn't have much choice in what they would like to have happen via demand, because they have no choice in suppliers. The consumers only voice, seems to be a goverment that has long been stupefied and castrated.

You speak of acting responsibly... how about thinking about how to benefit the evolution of consumers (mankind) AND profits and how your institutions can better serve those goals. The internet is such a wonderful open source communication method and humanity is growing and learning greatly from it. Be careful not to kill it. It will kill more than just profits.

Posted by: Joe Public at October 2, 2006 5:55 PM

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