Doug Stewart on 6 Dec 2010 14:14:59 -0800

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Re: [PLUG] Net Neutrality

Apologies for top posting. Switching from desktop mta to iPhone makes inline responses nigh-impossible. 

My initial statements were in fact mistaken, though your clarification misses the mark as well. The cable runs were in fact originally conceived of as monopolies, although the government in fact sought these monopolies and solicited bids for said, in much the same way they have been auctioning spectrum:

Additionally, the current state of play is due to an imperfect deregulation of the industry in the wake of the Telecomm Act of 1996:

Both of these circumstances are directly attributable to misbegotten involvement by the government. 

Having lived on the borderline between Service Electric and RCM territory for a time, let me tell you that cable competition is indeed a wonderful thing, both for programming AND wallets. 

Doug Stewart

On Dec 6, 2010, at 4:43 PM, Drew Lehman <> wrote:

> Actually all cable companies had a start from government funding.  In
> the earlier days local municipalities chose what cable provider could
> provide its services in that area.  Cable runs were often funded with
> local tax-payer money with the understanding that the cable company
> would pay a percentage of the subscriber fees back to the local
> government.  Cable companies are a monopoly in that you cannot install
> and run another cable-based technology through the area.
> While it is true that there are now more choices for various services
> the cable companies became common providers once they started offering
> voice and data.  Allowing companies like comcast to insert, degrade or
> change data on "their" network would lead to things like commercials
> being inserted into phone calls, and non-company services being
> downgraded or dropped.
>  Since data that Comcast does not "own" passes over their network,
> being the way the Internet works, they would be able to affect people
> that do not have their service.  In essence the lack of common carrier
> designation would allow these companies to ransom data and services,
> even for non-subscribers.
> On 12/6/2010 3:52 PM, Doug Stewart wrote:
>> On Mon, Dec 6, 2010 at 3:17 PM, Art Alexion <> wrote:
>>> Pre Internet, we had the concept of "common carrier".  If, like Bell
>>> Telephone, you were a common carrier, you couldn't interfere with the content
>>> you were carrying.  This was the price, as another poster put it, for having
>>> the public subsidize you and for being in the carrying other peoples' messages
>>> business.  Back then, a phone company with a direct line to your home or
>>> business was recognized as being different from a radio station, where the
>>> receiver has real options in the market.
>> You might have a point against Verizon, seeing as they're descendants
>> of Ma Bell. Your case against Comcast is null and void, however, since
>> they received no (overt) public subsidies to build their cable
>> network. (That was the whole POINT of cable.)
>>> The concept of Net Neutrality is really an extension of the common carrier
>>> primcipal to ISPs.
>> If North American Van Lines had a parallel set of roads they built and
>> paid for themselves, you'd have an analogous situation. As it is,
>> common freight carriers tend to receive that classification based upon
>> the fact that they're using public facilities (i.e., roads). As a part
>> of that right/privilege, they must not discriminate in their freight.
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