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Comments from Frankston, Reed, and Friends

Saturday, November 09, 2002

BobF at 11:35 AM [url]:

on Lessons from the Meltdown of U.S. Telephone Industry

In response to http://www.interesting-people.org/archives/interesting-people/200211/msg00064.html:

I appreciate being cited.

I started to write a longer response but better to be brief ... though each time I try I find myself writing too much.

It's as if Compaq were claiming it was impossible to be in the commodity PC business and that Mike Dell couldn't exist.

We see a form of this anti-market paternalism in the "broadband policy" insanity. I can't think of a better word when we are told that we need broadband to allow for innovation but since no one is coming up with broadband apps we better preempt innovation and create artificial ones. The PC industry just gives people opportunities and then races to stay ahead (to oversimplify).

This is why I chose to focus on "no new wires" for home (data) networking. I could've just told everyone to install fiber in their homes but chose the in-place messy phone (irony?) wire instead. Same situation in the ground -- copper can carry many times the capacity of today's DSL with no distant limits just by putting simple electronics on the wire and at the demarc. Fiber can come in due course but doing it as a high capital effort ahead of demand is Telecom Classic. (though you should put in fiber instead of new copper and when it is easy).

Whether it's Japan, Noam, or even the CATO institute, I'm troubled not so much by the inability to have faith in marketplaces as the inability to see how far we've already gone in doing precisely what people don't trust the marketplace to do. Instead we seem to want the government or incumbents to give us a tame dead version by 2006.

And maybe that's the real problem -- people want to do something for (to?) us and the Internet is about not doing us favors. What's a governance/paternalist to do? It's as if I suggested people could have home network without having to call an installer -- the concept "didn't parse".

Note that these remarks were also posted on the IP list: http://www.interesting-people.org/archives/interesting-people/200211/msg00067.html.

Sunday, November 03, 2002

DanB at 11:26 PM [url]:

Dan Gillmor on Telecom policy

Dan Gillmor wrote a really good essay about Telecom policy in his Sunday column this week. It's worth reading, and nice to see in an influential newspaper. Good going, Dan!

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