Tuesday, October 24, 2006 - The Progress & Freedom Foundation Blog

Kennard on Net Neutrality

We blog a great deal on net neutrality on this site; today I'm directing readers to other interesting perspectives.

We begin with former FCC Chairman Bill Kennard, a man who had his faults but was a tremendous breath of fresh air after the self-important reign of Reed Hundt. in Saturday's New York Times, Kennard calls the net neutrality debate what it really is:

This is essentially a battle between the extremely wealthy (Google, Amazon and other high-tech giants, which oppose such a move) and the merely rich (the telephone and cable industries). In the past year, collectively they have spent $50 million on lobbying and advertising, effectively preventing Congress and the public from dealing with more pressing issues.

Well said. Not surprisingly, Larry Lessig took issue with the editorial, and repeated his arguments against network property rights and in favor of government-mandated access and controls, a la France. Blogger Matt Sherman dissected the arguments nicely, rightly raising the First Amendment in opposition to net neutrality mandates. As for the argument that we should be more like the French -- which Lessig also made at a congressional hearing earlier this year -- Sherman eviscerates that. For more on why the French economy should not be the model read my TCS Daily piece from earlier this year.

Richard Bennett could be expected to have some insights on this front, and he doesn't fail. Bennett, knowing a wee bit about network architecture, notes that Lessig's arguments focus on painting one side as more virtuous than the other, and making the case with an odd vision of history. Bennett's take? "This is not exactly a highly sophisticated argument. In fact, it's wrong in just about every way an argument can be wrong: logically, factually, intellectually, and emotionally."

What more is there to say? Well, a fair amount, actually, which can be found in PFF's compiled works here.

posted by Patrick Ross @ 11:18 AM | Broadband , Communications , Internet , Net Neutrality