Update On Net Neutrality And Net Freedom

The proliferation of DPI applications, as noted by their stocks rallying, are gaining traction in universities and governments is counter intuitive at a time when the same technology is being used to quell the fight for democracy around the world. We wrote earlier last year that DPI is not a one size fits all approach to delivering more efficient bandwidth or throttling applications, or users, you don’t want to serve.

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Megan Tady a blogger, video producer and communications coordinator for Free Press refers to the “kill switch” as the “Mubarak Option” and wonders if Congress will approve the bill introduced by Lieberman, Collins and Carper giving Obama, and his successors the power to shut the people off if we decide to get all rowdy over our own freedoms.

In her words, “the reportedly broad, ambiguous language of the bill and its lack of safeguards for individual freedoms are deeply troubling. We need to be certain that no bill gives government the authority to cut off Internet access. Such power, in the hands of the top executive, poses a drastic threat to our First Amendment right to free speech and assembly.”

From our same friends, Coriell Wright who “advises Free Press on legal matters related to our policy, research and campaign work; helps to craft our regulatory agenda; and represents Free Press on our issues before the FCC and Congress,” provides a more clinical view of the disastrous Comcast and NBC merger which many feel was a total capitulation to the media goons and a despicable contradiction by Obama on what he promised. Not only does it unravel the wrapping on net neutrality, it puts Genachowski back in his lobbyist post from where he came, and from where Obama said he would not turn to for hiring folks who are supposed to protect the public interest.

Here is how Cori lays it out:

1. Following the Clayton Anti-Trust, the DOJ cannot block a merger unless it would substantially decrease competition.
2. The FCC cannot approve a merger unless it enhances public interest goals like competition, diversity, and localism.
3. Both agencies attempted to mitigate the obvious risks by adding some stipulations.

The DOJ consent decree and the FCC merger order parallel each other in many important aspects. Both adopted Network Neutrality protections which prohibit Comcast from favoring delivery of NBC content online, as well as conditions preventing Comcast from refusing outright to sell NBC programming to competing Internet video distributors, like Netflix to starve them of content and run them out of business.

According to Ms Wright, “the DOJ attempted to preserve the competitive environment that existed before the merger. The FCC, too, sought to maintain the pre-merger status quo.” The DOJ, busy as they’ve been, has left a lot to the imagination in how they choose battles and how they define their responsibilities, but I suspect they gave Obama once again exactly what he demanded, and that, in and of itself, is the way business is done in 2011.

The only consolation here is that after following telecoms and the major networks for a lifetime, I would give you odds that they will screw this up and blow the chance to make any real money or grab any real market share. I don’t know many in our business who don’t know that the next major shakeup will come when we find a decent replacement for an Internet connection and we can unhook cable for TV altogether. The only reason cable TV exists is because of inept and corrupt politicians around the nation and world. The only other reason they exist is because they have been paying off politicians through campaign contributions, luxury outings and favors. That is the way our government works in 2011.

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