It's the Internet, Stupid

Jun 08, 2009 4:23 am
From Xeni Jardin via Boing Boing:
A collaborative commentary on The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), which proposes a new economic foundation for the USA through "job preservation and creation, infrastructure investment, energy efficiency and science, assistance to the unemployed," and the FCC's creation of a a "National Broadband Plan" for Congress by February 17, 2010.
There's risk in confusing broadband and Internet. If the National Broadband Plan starts from the premise that the U.S. needs the innovation, increased productivity, new ideas and freedoms of expression that the Internet affords, then the Plan will be shaped around the Internet. If, instead, the Plan is premised on a need for broadband, it fails to address the ARRA's mandated objectives directly. More importantly, the premise that broadband is the primary goal entertains the remaking of the Internet in ways that could put its benefits at risk. The primary goal of the Plan should be broadband connections to the Internet. The FCC's Internet Policy Statement of 2005 is a first attempt to codify important aspects of the Internet independent of access technology. It advocates end-user access to content, and end-user choice of applications, services and devices. It says that Internet users are, "entitled to competition," but it does not spell out the entitlement to the benefits of competition, such as increased choice, lower price and diversity of offers. It fails to provide for information about whether advertised services perform as specified. It doesn't address packet inspection, packet discrimination, data collection or end-user privacy. It is not clear that all of these are within the FCC's purview, but it is abundantly clear that all of these factors should be critical to a National Broadband Plan that addresses broadband connections to the Internet. Therefore, we urge that the FCC's National Broadband Plan emphasize that broadband connection to the Internet is the primary goal.