Metavalent Stigmergy

How New Default Consensus Realities Instantiate

It's still about THE OPEN ACCESS, STUPID

I’ve been momentarily transported to Net Policy heaven by watching this exchange between Net Prophets and Pioneers Vint Cerf and Dave Farber on C-SPAN2, unpacking and disambiguating the latest bumper-sticker topic of ‘net neutrality.’  What makes it particularly heavenly, for a fallen warrior in the 1990’s net wars, is watching each of these RealMedia RTSP streams over EthernetTV!

In "What is Net Neutrality?" (7/22/2006) featuring Vinton G. Cerf, Google, V.P. & Chief Internet Evangelist and Dave Farber, Carnegie Mellon University, Distinguished Career Professor of Computer Science and Public Policy,

we rediscover a topic that has LONG been near and dear to my heart, having been a point man in the Bay Area Open Access movement as long ago as 2000.  What can I say, but once again, “We Told You So.”

By failing to architect the Residential Information Infrastructure System (RIIS) as a native Ethernet To The Home (ETTH) network, the industry effectively and WILLFULLY failed to de-couple the physical transport and content layers, thereby creating the present REAL HAZARDS to universal openness and innovation; just as we painstakingly forecasted and explained in bygone millenium.  It could have been avoided by simply thinking and acting ahead.  Well, some of us DID act ahead, but we were killed for doing so, in the cause of bringing the network to where it is, today.

From the 7/22/2006 stream:

Dave Farber, "I hate that term, 'net neutrality' ... it's too general and innaccurate." Vint Cerf, "Worst case scenario?  Loss of OPEN ACCESS for consumers and OPEN ACCESS for providers."

This is NOT about “net neutrality.”  That newest bumper sticker is only serving to confuse the issue.  This is the OPEN ACCESS issue which never really went away.  The incumbent telcos did an effective job of stalling and thereby starving the CLEC’s out of existence by systematically and methodically breaking the law – The Telecom Act of 1996.  THAT is what took the steam out of the Open Access public debate, but it DID NOT take the steam out of the issue, itself.

To hell with net neutrality, if there is to be one rule to bind us all, it must be 100% NON-DISCRIMINATORY UNIVERSAL OPEN ACCESS to a common global IP network substrate, and as I’ve ranted and ranted and ranted since 1992 that substrate – from every home and business, to every home and business – over every splitter, bridge, router, gateway or server, is ETHERNET, period. 

Granted, today’s issue isn’t specifically about Ethernet, but it’s closely related, because as the network completes its inevitable evolution to Ethernet Everywhere, the circuit switched network operators of the 1800 and 1900’s are attempting to force antediluvian ownership, operations, and business models upon what must eventually become a Universally Affordable, Broadband, Symmetric, High Speed (hundreds of Mbps to Gbps), Ethernet network. Cerf makes clear a point that I’ve harped on for decades: Universal Service 2034 has nothing to do with the Universal Service of 1934; yet, more than 70% of the way there, the old definition continues to hold sway. Stupid. Period.

This discussion expanded on 7/24/2006 during a Center for American Progress day-long series of discussions that examined protection to consumers on the Internet.  Therein, a variety of panels reviews a framework to future hearings on the issue by the Federal Trade Commission.

Also quite worthy as a quick Internet History Who’s Who and general primer, see this RTSP streaming one-on-one interview with Cerf, the recent Presidential Medal of Freedom winner, himself.

Written on July 24, 2006