Archive for April 2010

The Consequences of the Comcast vs. FCC Ruling

The Washington, D.C. district court handed down its decision (.pdf) in the Comcast vs. FCC case on April 6, 2010.

The decision throws into focus the muddle that is current internet law in the United States.

“America needs competition among its high-speed internet providers. Open access has proved to be an effective way to do this elsewhere. Barring that, the FCC’s now-voided rules on net neutrality would have been a poor, but adequate substitute,” wrote The Economist, which is not a radical lefty ragsheet, in its response to the decision. The magazine recommended that Congress clarify the distinction between the internet and telecommunications.

All of this is necessary only because of a mistake the FCC made in 2002.

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The Stimulus Is Meant To Change The ISP Business

The stimulus won’t actually change the business of providing internet service, but it did demonstrate what the current administration would like ISPs to be doing. Those that got funded were, for the most part, already deeply involved in their community. Many projects were already in the planning stages or had even been partially implemented before they received stimulus funds.

An example is the OpenCape project, which I wrote about here. Planning for it began years ago. It involved local emergency services, educational instutions, and the local small business association.

ISPs should already be working these institutions (if they are reasonable as customers).

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