You Can Never Separate the Network from the Networker

Earlier this fall, Julius Genachowski, head of the Federal Communications Commission, made some relatively quiet and eloquent speeches about the administration’s new policies regarding the Internet and where we were going forward.  While this administration has been getting lots of bad press about disappointing expectations, the jury is still out on the many issues facing Internet workers, and how they will follow through.  It is clear, that unless we all stay informed and open about the information, we will not make the right choices for ourselves and everyone else.

A Free Web For All

A Free Web For All

Under the title of, “Preserving a Free and Open Internet: A Platform for Innovation, Opportunity, and Prosperity”, the FCC Chairman laid out the crtical points:

“The fact is that we face great challenges as a nation right now, including health care, education, energy, and public safety. While the Internet alone will not provide a complete solution to any of them, it can and must play a critical role in solving each one.”

Essentially, the idea here is that in the last fifteen years, and really the last ten to be precise, the Internet rose from a non descript entity which was blamed for everything from our problems with deviants and gamblers, to being the nasty culprit to put an end to the printed word.  Yet today, everyone sort of agrees that the Internet must be at the core of all our systems and operations and that our freedoms to discuss each of those things is key to our future growth.

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Top 10 Concerns of Buying a VoIP Business Phone System
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The Internet has lifted borders that no armies dared budge yet now it stands poised at the threshold of the world’s future as the pivotal point of contention for a world with serious communications issues.  As the chairman reiterated, when he describes designing a network for our future:  “The solution was to devise a network of networks that would not be biased in favor of any particular application.”  And he surely chose the right temperature tone and lexicon, “It would deprive innovators and investors of confidence that the free and open Internet we depend upon today will still be here tomorrow. It would deny the benefits of predictable rules of the road to all players in the Internet ecosystem.”  Don’t believe for a second that any of the words in this are picked out of hand, as I’m sure they were each carefully chosen, especially the part about “investors.”

In the end, we can never separate the dancer, from the dance, or, I suppose, the networker from the network.  As the noted German sociologist,   Ferdinand Tönnies taught us about the evolution of societies from groupings based on feelings of togetherness and on mutual bonds (which he called Gemeinschaft) to those groups that are sustained by it being instrumental for their members’ individual aims and goals. Tönnies model, at least at this point, fits the Internet well and is now buttressed by the polarities observed in the communities of the blogosphere.  Tönnies was misunderstood.  He never intended to say this was a structural embedded cycle all societies must face.  I do wonder what he would think now though, after seeing what happened over the last ten years.

The dances around the Internet are so dazzling you’d think the celebrities would show up.  Instead definitions around what telcom companies are and what content is, are being manipulated to keep the economy stable, or keep the ol’ telcom guys from crying too badly and keep forking over big time lobby money.  The  former ‘major’ TV networks may be the only thing deader than print today. Unless they figure out how to retire, or reincarnate, an awful lot of old media dinosaurs, there will be some cheap houses for sale in Westport.

But if you think it’s a done deal, like an end to a war, any war, think again.  WSJ’s Amy Schatz told us prior to this meeting that “The FCC instead created its four “guiding principles” for protecting network neutrality. They were vague enough to embolden those looking for ways around it. Major phone companies like AT&T subsequently said they were considering creating “fast lanes” on the Internet, available at a higher price — plans they put on hold amid an outcry.  Now, by codifying the principle, the FCC is seeking to limit erosion of network neutrality.”

Maybe AT&T will become a bank, or something else, so they aren’t held to the same standards.  Telcoms have a way of only getting bigger, more entangled and unwieldy to manage.

Stay tuned for the future of the FCC and how it affects your job as it evolves and your neighborhood as it becomes more and insular to the larger communities around it.  We will soon be tracking some of the issues that are affected by all of this, including the recent musical M & A shenanigins so if you have any tips, let us know.


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