2013 January

What Does Netflix’s Decision to Block Content Tell Us About Innovation and Investment in Internet Infrastructure?

Posted by | Broadband Internet, Video | One Comment

The Netflix debate tells us there is a yawning gap between the reality of current network architecture and the outdated theories supporting our regulatory policies. This gap is the single biggest threat to the virtuous cycle of invention, investment, and growth that have characterized the Internet over the last decade.

I’m having my own case of Cassandrafreude after reading the responses to my posts on Netflix’s decision to block consumer access to its new Super HD service. One commenter says it is a “great thing” that Netflix is relieving Internet congestion (a tacit admission that Internet congestion actually exists) by deploying computing power inside ISP networks. Another commenter suggests Netflix is attempting to “vertically integrate (from just content provider to content provider + CDN)” because “existing CDNs may not be equipped to handle the new traffic Netflix wants to push over them.”

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What Does Netflix’s Decision to Block Internet Content Tell Us About Internet Policy?

Posted by | Broadband Internet | 2 Comments

I posted an analysis of Netflix’s new Internet blocking strategy last week. I concluded that Netflix is attempting to leverage net neutrality regulations to gain an anticompetitive price advantage in the marketplace. In my view, this harm is an unintended consequence of the FCC’s decision to abandon its free market approach to the Internet and adopt net neutrality rules that enhance the market power of so-called “edge” companies. As Neil Stevens said in his Tech at Night column: “Told you so.”

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Netflix Blocking Internet Access to HD Movies

Posted by | Broadband Internet, Video | 26 Comments

“Unfortunately, most consumers won’t realize that Netflix is trying to impose its costs on all Internet consumers to gain an anticompetitive price advantage against its over-the-top competitors.”

At the Consumer Electronic Show two weeks ago, Netflix announced that it would block consumer access to high definition and 3D movies in its new “Super HD” (HD) service for customers of Internet service providers (ISPs) that Netflix disfavors. Netflix’s goal is to coerce ISPs into paying for a free Internet fast lane for Netflix content. If Netflix succeeds, it would harm Internet consumers and competition among video streaming providers. It would also fundamentally alter the economics and openness of the Internet, “where consumers make their own choices about what applications and services to use and are free to decide what content they want to access, create, or share with others.”

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Checking the Facts in TIME

Posted by | Broadband Internet, Freedom of Speech, Media | No Comments

I had an interesting Twitter exchange yesterday with Sam Gustin, a reporter at TIME focused on business, technology, and public policy. He published a favorable article on Susan Crawford’s new book, Captive Audience, which argues that cable companies control the Internet and as a result the U.S. is no longer the global leader in broadband. I saw a link to the article in this tweet by Tim Karr:
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CLIP Files Comments in Response to the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking Regarding Mobile Spectrum Aggregation

Posted by | Wireless | No Comments

The Communications Liberty and Innovation Project[1] (CLIP) submits these reply comments in response to the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking regarding mobile spectrum aggregation released by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on September 28, 2012.[2]

I. Executive Summary

Commenters in this proceeding are asking the FCC to reverse nearly twenty years of successful mobile spectrum policy by drawing distinctions among mobile spectrum bands in the aggregation context. One commenter submitted an incomplete theoretical analysis that assumes spectrum propagation characteristics are the most significant factor in the costs of a mobile network deployment and thus may serve as a reliable proxy for more comprehensive market analyses. The empirical evidence demonstrates that this assumption is false: Differences in propagation characteristics among spectrum bands are neither competitively significant nor a reliable proxy for competitive analysis. There simply is no evidence that aggregation of mobile spectrum with particular propagation characteristics enables anticompetitive behavior or results in consumer harm.

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A Conversation About Tech Policy with Representative Blackburn

Posted by | Broadband Internet, Wireless | One Comment

I recently had a chance to speak with Representative Blackburn, who was named Vice Chair of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce last November and will play a key role in tech policy this year. During our brief conversation, Blackburn demonstrated why she is a rising star among conservatives leading Internet transformation. Here is what Rep. Blackburn had to say:

On the importance of the Internet to the economy:

Interactive technologies are embedded and intertwined into every sector of our nation’s economy. Our global competitiveness requires that we protect the freedom of the Internet and the ability of entrepreneurs to innovate on this platform without government interference.

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