Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Network neutrality - Delamination Now!

David Weinberger has decided that we need a constitutional declaration on network neutrality, which he is calling Delamination Now.

"So, we know what a monopolistic, centralized communications system is like. And we know what it took to open it up even a little. Issuing regulations to make it more open this way or that didn't work because the telephone company was structured in every dimension — from business model to technical infrastructure to how its billing systems worked — to fight openness, competitiveness, and distributed, local control.

And we also know what happened once we broke up the old monopoly. Long distance rates dropped. New businesses emerged. Competition spurred innovations in services and in the equipment we could attach...

The way the old phone system was is the way the current suppliers of Internet connectivity are. That's not too surprising since the old phone companies are Internet carriers.

The problem is the same and so is the solution. We should do to the carriers of Internet signals what we did to the carriers of telephone signals. Bust 'em up so that the companies that connect us to the Internet don't also sell us services over the Internet. Providing connection and providing content and services can and should be profitable businesses. They just shouldn't be the same business...just as you wouldn't want your local school owned by The Acme Textbook Company, or your safety inspectors supplied by The Acme Burglar Alarm Company. It's just too hard to resist your own brand.

No, we have to bust up the carrier cartel. Structural separation. Divestiture. It's the only way to get the Internet that our economy, culture and democracy need...

The carriers will tip their hats at Net Neutrality if they are forced to. They will then ignore it. For the carriers, business models trump regulation, law and reason.

We have history so we can learn from it."

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