Can Openness Win the Day for Net Neutrality?

September 21, 2009

Amidst all the reporting and opining about FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski’s Net Neutrality plan, it’s wise to remember that Monday’s speech only marks the start, not the end, of the latest battle over this hot-button issue. What’s really different this time around is that the push for net neutrality rules is coming from inside the FCC, which has a majority of votes on the side of net neutrality proponents. But as longtime Washington watchers know, an FCC regulation is often only the start of a legal tussle that almost always ends up for final jurisdiction in the courts or Congress.

As supporters and detractors start the inevitable process of publishing their own predictably tilted views on the matter, it’s worthwhile noting another huge difference in the dialogue this time around — namely, the FCC’s own ambitious publishing, blogging and open-information efforts. While the FCC under Republican chairmen like Michael Powell and Kevin Martin was always going to mimic the Bush administration’s penchant for secrecy and the power of back-room dealing, the FCC in the Obama administration era is using openness, data and interaction as a method to further its own agenda, and it’s a powerful force that is only starting to pick up steam.

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Friday’s Wireless Headlines

January 23, 2009

News of note around the ol’ Internets:

Senate Ready for DTV Delay: Sen. Rockefeller says it’s a disgrace that the DTV transition needs to be delayed. Vote is next week?

WiMax Forum Wants to Make Roaming Easier: The industry group launches a plan to help providers, device manufacturers and others synchronize WiMax services for easier roaming.

Sprint Dials Up a $2B Public Safety Plan: The good folks at Sprint have an idea about how to spend some of that stimulus cash, to build a network for public safety personnel.

Wireless Providers Want Cash, Not Conditions: Meanwhile, the big cellular telco lobbying organization, CTIA, says stimulus cash is great, but please hold the “open network” conditions, thanks.

VoIP a Winner over 4G: A study says that Voice over IP will be a big winner on 4G networks. (We agree, and plan to cover the topic in our WiMax Focus research service later this year.)

Now Live: The Sidecut Net Neutrality Report

August 11, 2008

As you can tell from our spiffy new button to the right, our promised report on net neutralityNet Neutrality Phase II: The Battle of 2009 — is now live and ready for ordering via instant download. By combining our long background of reporting and analysis of the issue with interviews of leading legislators, top policy execs from the biggest companies, as well as representatives of the leading public-interest groups, we have produced a definitive in-depth look at the network neutrality issue, which by all accounts is headed for a big year in 2009.

While I’ll get to some of the report highlights in a bit, I want to point out first that here at Sidecut Reports we have no agenda and no skin in the network neutrality game, something that makes us much different from many players in the debate. By trying to stay as objective as possible, our goal was to produce an agenda-free look at network neutrality, which we consider a vital issue in any discussion about the future of broadband, networks, and the digital economy.

So what’s in the 34-page report? Starting with the FCC’s recent order punishing Comcast for its blocking of peer-to-peer applications, our report examines all technical and political parts of the debate, and how proponents and their opponents will position themselves following the November elections. Highlights of the report include:

  • Why the FCC’s recent Comcast order isn’t much more than a starting point for the “next phase” of the net neutrality debate
  • Why some close observers put the odds of Congress passing some kind of net neutrality legislation “better than even” in 2009, especially if Barack Obama wins the Presidential election
  • What the big telcos, AT&T and Verizon, are planning to do and say to prevent passage of any new net neutrality legislation
  • How Google and consumer groups Free Press and Public Knowledge are teaming up to educate the public and regulators on why they think there is a need for baseline net neutrality rules
  • How any and all outcomes might affect the investment outlook for companies from startups to large service providers
  • Why the debate is getting less rhetorical and moving toward more collaboration between opposing sides

The report also contains a network neutrality historical timeline, as well as the Sidecut Reports ranking of the “top ten” individuals influencing the network neutrality debate. The new report is available for immediate download.

In case you are new to Sidecut Reports, a little background: We are an independent editorial research company that provides business professionals with deep background, up-to-the minute information, and decision-making analysis on pertinent topics that goes far beyond blogs at a price far less than that charged by traditional analyst operations. Led by longtime industry journalist Paul Kapustka, Sidecut Reports provides in-depth looks into topics at the intersection of telecommunications, the Internet and public policy. The net neutrality report is our second report, following the release earlier this year of our Sidecut report on WiMax, which looks at the current market for WiMax wireless services in the U.S.