A Little Knowledge Is A Dangerous Thing

BY CCIA Staff
December 15, 2008

The Computer & Communications Industry Association is issuing the following statement in response to an article in Monday’s paper, ‘Google Wants Its Own Fast Track on the Web,’ which contained several mistakes. The following statement can be attributed to Ed Black, President & CEO of CCIA:

“We are disappointed that the WSJ continues to misunderstand the Internet and the importance of competition to its proper functioning. Not only did the article get some key facts wrong, like suggesting that President-elect Obama, Professor Lawrence Lessig and Google have recently changed their positions on the important issue of network neutrality, but the article equates mundane, beneficial ‘caching’ services with potentially illegal broadband discrimination.

“The fundamental driver of the push for reinstituting formal net neutrality rules is the lack of meaningful competition in the key markets. We would have hoped the WSJ, which states it believes in the free market would get this basic fact. While there are slight differences in opinion regarding what the rules should be, there is broad consensus in the tech industry that net neutrality is important to promote innovation and that discrimination should not be allowed. Few would engage in this effort if the natural play of dynamic market forces existed and could be counted on to discipline abusive anti-competitive behavior. The consequences of unchecked discrimination and abuse are too important to allow given the unquestioned importance of the Internet. What makes the outcome of net neutrality protection so necessary is the lack of meaningful high speed broadband competition which would let consumers vote for net neutrality by changing Internet services providers.

“The article also accuses Google of somehow violating its commitment to net neutrality by simply discussing nonexclusive tiered pricing and edge caching with network operators. Neither Google nor Lessig have ever called for a prohibition on tiered pricing per se letting Internet providers charge more for faster service as long as they offer the same deal to everyone else willing to pay more, although there are legitimate questions to be asked about some configurations of such schemes. So they have not changed their stance as the article suggests. From all that we’ve seen, Obama, Lessig and other tech companies’ commitment to prevent discrimination on the Internet remains as strong as ever.”

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