North American Network Operators Group

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Re: [Latest draft of Internet regulation bill]

  • From: Sean Donelan
  • Date: Sun Nov 13 00:21:16 2005

On Sat, 12 Nov 2005, Christopher L. Morrow wrote:
> good question, I think all of the examples though have on thing in common:
> all the 'discount' is on 'local' traffic (local to the network), the cost
> differential is applied to 'non-local' traffic. This sort of goes to my
> point that inside a network bits all cost the same, its the external
> places that cost more...

Do we bring back LATAs?  You pay different prices for inter-LATA and
intra-LATA network access? Bring Judge Greene back from the grave to
supervise the boundaries. At one time, some of the access networks had
separate ASNs for each LATA.  They probably still have them stashed away
in mothballs.  How hard would it be to inflate the routing table with
more ASNs?

Its possible to create all sorts of internal/external or local/non-local
boundaries.  I think network operators would prefer to define them for
technical traffic reasons instead of political/marketing reasons.  But if
forced, the political/marketing folks would love to design the network.

> Are the folks advocating making content providers
> pay for 'access' to their customers willing to stand up competing services
> locally? (something to keep their customers who lose access to things they
> really care about)

That's why I have more faith in the market than in regulators when
company executives do something incredibly stupid.  The unregulated
Internet market has done a pretty good job at keeping things relatively
simple for consumers, with the occasional messiness that comes with a
market such as peering battles.  Consumers, and their surrogates the
press and blogs, aren't shy about hitting company executives with a

On the other hand, regulated markets seem to get extremely convoluted as
various groups lobby to add more "fair" or "special" conditions.
Network neutrality, equal access, must carry, etc seem to be more slogans
for lobbying efforts to convince regulators to protect various companies
own self-interest.  Have we replaced General Motors with Google?  What's
good for Google is good for America?

But its really tough to predict what consumers will consider important.
Consumers seem to find PCS cell phone quality acceptable for the price
they pay, even though it doesn't meet some regulator's quality standards
for phone calls.

Why do people want to prevent companies from experimenting with different
ideas and letting consumers choose what their prefer?  Are people on this
list so smart they think they should decide what choices people have?

> yes, that always works out well :) I suppose it'd guarantee revenue for
> 'the evil empire' though :)

Yep.  The evil empires have a hundred years of experience dealing with
regulation.  If the regulators define what the Internet is or isn't,
instead of the marketplace, I don't know if people would recognize it
anymore.  Common carriers can have lots of regulations, but most of the
regulations just end up shielding the carrier from liability.  They can
just say the government makes us do it, even though the tariff was
written by the company itself, and pass along the extra costs to
the consumer.  AT&T was very dull, but profitable essentially the entire
time it was heavily regulated.  What color should Princess telephones be
this year?

Don't throw me in the briar patch :-)

The marketplace is messy.  Regulation is seductive because it appears to
be cleaner.