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Karl Bode
News Guy

2 edits
reply to Blair Levin

Re: response from Blair Levin

you imply you once wrote something nice about the plan. I can’t claim I read all your posts, nor that my memory is perfect. I am pretty certain, however, you were a model of perfect consistency in insisting the plan, the process, and everything about it was always and completely flawed. But if I missed your praise, please don’t hesitate to correct me.
Will do. Here's my original post on the plan, which actually highlights a number of positive things -- most notably the fact that the FCC finally appears to be using real data instead of lobbyist pie charts. It also, and here's where I've obtained "perfect consistency," notes the plan is heavy on showmanship and doesn't seriously tackle competition.
But there is no reason to beat around the bush about the important substantive disagreement that you and I have: you believe that the only important broadband policy is to require facilities based ISPs to unbundle. I do not.
My criticism goes well beyond unbundling, even if I do think the Australian approach to open access will see significantly more competitive traction than your plan -- which apparently addresses competition by ignoring it completely.

The title of this piece is the root of my criticism: as someone who has tracked your comments regularly, you rarely acknowledge that there's a lack of competition in the space, yet that's the biggest barrier to accomplishing something in this sector -- be it lowering prices for the marginalized, or preventing network neutrality violations without having to craft hard rules.

The entire CNET article in question goes by without you mentioning the word once (perhaps it was edited out?). High price of service is mentioned once, but trampled over quickly as some kind of tertiary and quickly fleeting concern.

To me the plan tries to convince people that if we focus on things like digital literacy and adoption hard enough, the public will collectively forget that most users (if they're lucky) have the choice of one or two providers -- one of them offering sub-par DSL service that won't be upgraded anytime soon.

I'm well aware there's very real political and legal obstacles that bridled the plan; to me discussing and solving these would take priority over debating wholesale discount rates for unbundled access policies you don't believe in anyway. I'm happy to go there, but perhaps we should start more broadly -- like the fact we can afford two wars but not serious infrastructure investment, or more specific perhaps discussing the fact it's 2011 and we still haven't mapped broadband access in the United States properly.