After more than a decade of debate and a record-setting proceeding that attracted nearly 4 million public comments, the time to settle the Net Neutrality question has arrived. This week, I will circulate to the members of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) proposed new rules to preserve the internet as an open platform for innovation and free expression. This proposal is rooted in long-standing regulatory principles, marketplace experience, and public input received over the last several months.
When I saw, what could only be described as the controlled leaks, of the news earlier this week and last week, I began to believe it was the case. I did not believe Wheeler would flip on this issue from last year to this year. I am geuinely surprised and pleased by this. He will never read this, but I apologize to him for the varied and many profanities I call him. Corporate prostitute comes to mind as one example.
Another section from his article drew my attention though:
I personally learned the importance of open networks the hard way. In the mid-1980s I was president of a startup, NABU: The Home Computer Network. My company was using new technology to deliver high-speed data to home computers over cable television lines. Across town Steve Case was starting what became AOL. NABU was delivering service at the then-blazing speed of 1.5 megabits per second—hundreds of times faster than Case’s company. “We used to worry about you a lot,” Case told me years later.
But NABU went broke while AOL became very successful. Why that is highlights the fundamental problem with allowing networks to act as gatekeepers.
While delivering better service, NABU had to depend on cable television operators granting access to their systems. Steve Case was not only a brilliant entrepreneur, but he also had access to an unlimited number of customers nationwide who only had to attach a modem to their phone line to receive his service. The phone network was open whereas the cable networks were closed. End of story.
The phone network’s openness did not happen by accident, but by FCC rule. How we precisely deliver that kind of openness for America’s broadband networks has been the subject of a debate over the last several months.
It's hard to make your case that something wont happen to an FCC Chairman who your industry has personally fucked over in the past by the very thing you say wont happen. Make your own bed, you have to lie in it.