Net Neutrality Friday

You know some weeks I just love the US Government and this is one of those weeks. On Monday, President Obama sent out a message about Net Neutrality. This will keep us busy for at least this week and perhaps a lot more. The reason that I think that this missive will occupy us is that the message called for a lot of changes and not all of them will be easy to do at the same time. This LINK will lead you to the full text of the President's message. I always recommend that you read the source and not the repeating of the message by news agencies wherever possible. For example, there is a mistake right in the middle of the message about not being penalized solely for calling someone who is using another provider. In this case, the President is trying to compare phone and Internet service. Well in fact, you ARE penalized for calling someone on another service. This is called Long Distance and for a very long time this was not free. International Calling was extremely expensive in the old days (okay 10 years ago).

There were some really positive parts of the message. This included the desire to include Wireless Service inside the Net Neutrality Rules. There were other things that I think are expansions of the debate including calls for Universal Access. The biggest controversy will be around the call for the Implementation of Title II. And I won't fully explore that today, but will try to make sure we are all on the same page about a lot of these topics.

When we talk about things we need to be very clear what we are talking about. That alone creates problems. For example, Net Neutrality and Universal Access are actually separate topics within a complete framework of a social policy. I think we need to define what we all mean by Net Neutrality and the President has laid out 4 key elements. Again, I ask you to read his words.

However, I want to caution all of us about one thing. Investment. What we all want is the ongoing investment in the network by the Corporations who provide us service. As it is, they are telling us that Consumer Broadband is a low margin product. By implementing Title II, we will continue to press down on the margins. The thing that makes me nervous is how this will impact the rest of the ecosystem that supports the network.

My last job was in Spam Filtering. If any of you have Gmail, you get Spam Filtering from Google via a product named Postini. You get this for free. Needless to say, given free is your competition it is hard to drive up prices in Spam Filtering. Remember, the ISPs buy equipment from suppliers. If the ISPs get squeezed on margin, then that pushes down to the equipment vendors then the chip vendors. Without new products, innovation stops in the ISPs.

So, I will be using the President's framework for discussion over the next few weeks. Have a great weekend!

Jim Sackman Focal Point Business Coaching Change Your Business - Change Your Life! Business Coaching, Sales Training, Marketing Consultant, Behavioral Assessments, Business Planning