Tag Archives | Network Neutrality

Google and Verizon's Network Neutrality Negotiation

The rumored deal between Google and Verizon over Network Neutrality issues isn’t a deal–it’s a joint proposal to the FCC. It recommends rules that would prohibit the favoring of certain traffic over other traffic on the wired Internet. But Dan Gillmor, who knows way more about this stuff than I do, isn’t thrilled with the companies’ suggestions. And the proposal is pro-Network Neutrality only for wired traffic, not wireless data. Isn’t that a little bit as if it had advised for consumer-friendly regulations for dial-up–but not for broadband–in, say, 2000?


Technology in the Obama Era

obamabidenSo it’s official: Come January 20th, Barack Obama will be president of the United States of America. What will that mean for technology? The Obama campaign site has a tech section that provides some clues.

A very quick summary:

–Obama will appoint the nation’s first Chief Technology Officer.

–He’ll support Network Neutrality. (Which is a somewhat squishy concept, which the Obama site doesn’t define. And it doesn’t say how he’ll support it.)

–He’ll encourage broadband deployment through a combination of reform of the Universal Service Fund, better use of the nation’s wireless spectrum, promotion of next-generation facilities, technologies and applications, and new tax and loan incentives.”

–He’ll “give parents the tools and information they need to control what their children see on television and the Internet in ways fully consistent with the First Amendment.” (Free copies of Net Nanny for every household?)

—He’ll use unspecified “cutting-edge technologies” to make government more transparent.

–He believes we must “update and reform our copyright and patent systems to promote civic discourse, innovation and investment while ensuring that intellectual property owners are fairly treated.”

–He will “ensure that our patent laws protect legitimate rights while not stifling innovation and collaboration.” .

–He will “invest $10 billion a year over the next five years to move the U.S. health care system to broad adoption of standards-based electronic health information systems, including electronic health records.”

There’s nothing in there I disagree with. Come to think of it, there’s very little in there that anyone might disagree with. There’s also little in the way of detail. The idea of a cabinet-level CTO is an interesting one, and the right person could make a big difference. ((Me, I vote for Vint Cerf.) I’d love to see that CTO devote intense, sustained attention to broadband-related issues: It’s truly a national embarrassement that broadband in America is as slow, expensive, and spotty as it is.

More details to come, presumably. The president-elect will have his hands full from the moment he enters the White House; I hope he remembers those campaign promises and fleshes them out…and makes sure that they don’t remain mere promises.