Posted by: Hank Hultquist on May 7, 2010 at 3:04 pm
UPDATE: The contest has ended. To view the winning entry please check here.
In 2006, then Senator Ted Stevens was pilloried for comparing the Internet to “a series of tubes.” Today, a Free Press spokesman has done him one better.
According to Free Press, “the ‘Internet’ is not the wires that deliver the content and applications, but the content itself.” I suppose this would come as a bit of a surprise to the participants in the Internet Engineering Task Force, who seem to be under the misimpression that the Internet consists of interconnected networks running the IP protocol. Perhaps Free Press will petition them to re-name their group the InterNOT Engineering Task Force.
In any case, we here at AT&T are sponsoring a contest in honor of Free Press. We’re looking for the best analogy to capture the spirit of nonsensical abstraction embodied in Free Press’s effort to define networks out of the Internet. For example, one might say “a swimming pool is not the floor and walls of the structure, but simply the water in it.” Or “a cannoli is not the pastry tube, but simply the cream inside.” I think you get the idea.
Posted by: Jim Cicconi on May 6, 2010 at 4:21 pm
We are deeply disappointed that, in order to deal with an adverse court decision, the FCC chairman has decided to subject all broadband facilities, including Internet backbones, to common carriage regulation under Title II. We believe this is without legal basis. Make no mistake—when it regulates the networks that comprise the Internet, the FCC is in fact, and for the first time, regulating the Internet itself. There is no statutory basis for doing so—indeed it is directly contrary to Congress’s stated intentions—and is being done without any compelling evidence that would justify a reversal of the FCC’s prior decisions on this issue. If the FCC follows through with the chairman’s stated intent, it will have a direct impact on jobs and investment in one of the areas of the US economy that many hoped could help lead the recovery.
We do not question the chairman’s good faith or his genuine desire to craft a “third way”. But the fact remains that this approach would subject Internet facilities to some of the most onerous regulatory provisions on the books—provisions drafted in 1934 for a monopoly voice network. To regulate the most modern Internet technology of the 21st century under a model designed for a different era is hard to explain and even harder to justify legally.
Posted by: Hank Hultquist on April 30, 2010 at 11:35 am
In 1925, a young Californian claimed to have been told by the angel Gabriel that the world would end at midnight on February 13th. A number of people believed this prophecy including a Long Island housepainter named Robert Reidt who assembled a hillside gathering of believers to meet their fate. When midnight came and went uneventfully, Reidt rationalized that the angel must have meant Pacific time, and he exhorted the crowd to wait for three more hours. Three hours later he chalked up the continued non-occurrence of the extraordinary events to the “Satanic flashbulbs” of the reporters who had shown up.
At this point, I’m sure you’re wondering what this strange story could possibly have to do with broadband policy. I had a bit of a déjà vu experience while reading some of the reply comments filed the other day in the open Internet proceeding, but I couldn’t figure out exactly what was going on. Then, while listening to Wednesday’s Open Internet workshop in Seattle, I remembered Reidt and his ridiculous attempts to explain the failure of the apocalyptic prophecy.
In AT&T’s reply comments, we pointed out similar failures on the part of the Internet’s own doomsday prophets, such as Larry Lessig and Tim Wu.