Net neutrality is dead, but it probably doesn’t matter

 

powellLast week the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia shot holes in the U.S. Federal Communications Commission’s version of net neutrality saying the Commission was wrong not in trying to regulate Internet Service Providers but in trying to regulate them as Common Carriers, that is as telephone utilities. The FCC can’t have it both ways, said the Court, and so the Feds get to try all over again. Or will they? I think events are moving so quickly that by the time this particular argument is worked out all the players will have changed and the whole argument may be moot.

If you read the court’s near-unanimous decision they leave the […]

700 MHz opportunity down the toilet (no, make that stolen)

Today, if you have a few million bucks to spare, the Federal Communications Commission will be auctioning wireless licenses in the 700 MHz band — primo space in many respects because it is lower on the RF spectrum and offers longer range. But Auction 92, as it is called, is anything but primo, since it is for licenses that either received no bids in the previous Auction 73, held in 2008, or were sold in that auction to organizations that never paid in full. That earlier auction, which I covered at the time, is a sad story of opportunity lost, especially for Google.

Remember how that freed-up spectrum was up […]

By |July 19th, 2011|2011|68 Comments

Netflix too big to fail?

The Intertubes are alight this week with old news — that Netflix is the largest user of U.S. Internet bandwidth. Most stories cite a Sandvine report I won’t link to because you’d have to subscribe and I like you too much for that. Better still, look at the very interesting graphic above, courtesy of Arbor Networks. This chart has been floating around the net for a couple of months and shows the result of an Arbor study of several U.S. ISPs illustrating how we Americans spend our Internet bandwidth. There are three lessons I think we can learn from this chart: 1) that BitTorrent is no longer (or perhaps never was) the threat were were […]

By |May 19th, 2011|2011|49 Comments

The Trojan App

It wasn’t so many years ago, remember, when AT&T (the old AT&T, the U. S. national telephone monopoly) owned the phone wire in your walls. You put the wire there, or your builder did, and you certainly paid for it, but once dial tone filled the lines those lines became the physical property of Ma Bell and you couldn’t legally touch them. Everyone longing for the bad old days should remember when you couldn’t touch your own phone lines under penalty of law. Today or tomorrow, we’re told, the FCC will vote under the guise of net neutrality to re-instill some of those old ways of doing business, at least for wireless networks.

Well it won’t work.

The short story of what’s happening at the FCC […]

By |December 21st, 2010|2010|56 Comments

What Goes Around: Teledesic 2.0

teledesic2Bill Joy used to say, “not all smart people work at Sun” (he was right). Max Levchin is making a killing in Web 2.0 by resuscitating Web 1.0 projects that were too ambitious for 1999 but — thanks primarily to Moore’s Law — are just right for 2009.  Sometimes all it takes is a change of scene or season for something that was a failure the last time to be a big success today. And that’s why I’m predicting the eventual return of Teledesic or something just like it — some new form of Internet in the sky.

This is the first of probably three columns about what will be in coming months the huge story […]

By |October 29th, 2009|2009|166 Comments