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Powell Warns Net Neutrologists Not to Be Naive
From: David Farber <dave () farber net>
Date: Wed, 5 Apr 2006 15:39:48 -0400

All I can say is clearly I agree with what Mike is reported as saying. I gather Mike talked from notes so the ful text is not available. If anyone has the audio, point me.

Dave


Powell Warns Net Neutrologists Not to Be Naive


 Capitol Rotunda


Former FCC chairman Michael Powell is up on the stage at the Freedom to
Connect conference right now, and he warns the tech elite crowd here not to
be naive about the dangers of asking Congress for legislation on Net
Neutrality.  As he explains:


The legislative process does not work well when it has a weak understanding of innovation and tech policy. You are talking about 535 members who need to to get this. They have a very shallow understanding [of Net Neutrality].
If you go give them a quiz about the seven layers of the Internet, good
luck.


You live by the sword, you die by the sword. It is much harder get a law
off the books than to get it on. Someone will think it is a good idea to
apply the same rules to the other side's products and services. Be careful
because you are playing their game [the telcos']. We are talking about
resources, ability, and 100 years of skill.


He also points out the problem of the treating the Internet as a public
asset:


It is too facile to say the Internet belongs to the public.  People are
married to the metaphor of the public space, but they run into trouble when
it comes to who should pay for this stuff. They think it should be the
government.  That’s not going to happen. The government is broke, It’s
going to stay broke. There won’t be a Tennessee Valley Broadband Authority.


So what should those concerned about the Net's future do?  If this group
can't figure it out, how is Congress supposed to?  Powell's answer:


You have to make it financially difficult for providers to act in certain
ways because the grassroots consumer base will get angry.


Here, here.

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