June 12, 2006

We Didn't Build the Internet to Turn It Back Into Cable Tv

You know, the kind of cable TV where big entertainment companies pay off cable companies to get their channels on your set top box?

Congress didn't accept it, so net neutrality lost.

So we are keeping the system that started a year ago. It's the one that will make the internet like Cable TV.

It's critical to innovation, our companies (mine is Dabble.com) and to freedom of speech that we have a neutral net, where anything can move across it, where there is no fee to get some piece of information through to someone who wants to see it.

This isn't about tiered pricing. This is about who's packets paid the telco's fees.

This is about Hollywood keeping us from speaking, because if I'm watching my friend's video, I'm not watching Disney. Hollywood stands to benefit the most, after the telco's who charge the fees.

And Disney can afford to pay off the telcos to pass through their info, but my friends can't.

Posted by Mary Hodder at June 12, 2006 11:54 PM | TrackBack

Mary, do you think the big studios will pay the Telcos? I think it will be the other way around!
It's the small guys - the internet long tail - that will have to pay.
My view:

Posted by: Harry at June 14, 2006 04:25 AM

Hi Harry,
You may be right. My point was that big content deals made behind the scenes will be made between Telcos and Hollywood. It may be that they don't actually end up paying each other at all, in either direction, due to the nature of the arrangements with telcos needing content. But you can bet that a little guy, someone with a few videos, will have to pay a lot to get their stuff going.

And the excuse by the telcos for this will be that they "charge everyone" and so the bookkeeping on the big deals will appear to be set up so that the big guys pay too, and that they just have to pay less per video due to volume publishing. Then the telco+hollywood deals may well have something else balancing the payment in the other direction.

The whole thing is going to squeeze out little guys, individual publishers of video, and that is my main concern.

It's undemocratic, and we didn't build the internet, to turn it back into cable TV. The internet is supposed to be different, but we are allowing those kinds of structures to replace what we had before on the internet, which was an open system where any type of content could get through. And it's not good for the internet or people, or the democratizing influence the internet has become.

It's antidemocratic.


Posted by: Mary Hodder at June 14, 2006 07:39 AM

I totally agree with you.
The battle against it will have to be on regulating the fair use of DSL copper access, where big Telcos are inevitably a monopoly, BUT ALSO keeping open the spectrum for Wi-Max access, so that it remains open and competitive.

Posted by: Harry at June 15, 2006 01:56 AM


All I can say is "Hell Yeah". Well maybe I can say more: "Excellent post, you've done a good job getting to the meat of this issue."

The cable network is private, the telephone network has historically been public, but it's worth spending BILLIONS to make it private if it means they can sell the audience to advertisers (the most profitable business their MBA's can identify for them). What makes this so frustrating is that they've already been given $20 billion to roll out 25MB connections and now they are saying they can only do it if they can do so in the Comcast/ESPN model.

Rat bastards...

Posted by: Daniell Krawczyk at June 15, 2006 11:00 PM

Mary -

The old rallying cry was that the Internet treated censorship as damage and routed around it.

With some large fraction of bandwidth on backbones going to P2P applications (which will gladly hop across the net in any direction to get their bits) it seems that at least some part of the infrastructure still believes this. (though there are increasingly fervent efforts to break P2P apps, it's hard to break them all without crippling the net)


Posted by: Edward Vielmetti at June 16, 2006 10:56 AM

I agree with Ed. There will always be ways to get around things - but there will always be efforts to thwart them.

And, in the end, those efforts will break the net.

At least in the US. Which will make other countries more competitive and further screw up the economy and our ability to join the world community.

Posted by: Jim Benson at June 18, 2006 02:25 PM