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George Gilder on Telecommunications Policy

michael posted more than 10 years ago | from the open-access dept.

Communications 60

Codeine writes "The Testimony of Mr. George Gilder to the Telecommunications Policy: A Look Ahead hearing held by the US Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation strongly supports the idea [of] mandated 'open access' to the logical layers of the network, and it is embodied in a new legislative proposal by MCI, A Horizontal Leap Forward: Formulating a New Public Policy Framework Based on the Network Layers Model. The success of the layered model in the LAN environment, migrated to the WAN."

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BSD user on gorgeous babes! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9162201)

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Re:BSD user on gorgeous babes! (-1, Offtopic)

wash23 (735420) | more than 10 years ago | (#9162246)

Yeah, she's hot. I can see why you're obsessed.

Re:BSD user on gorgeous babes! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9162266)

Yeah... hot for a 10 year old.

FP ! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9162206)

I don't know what this is about but this is my first FP.

Re:FP ! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9162297)

Hello, gentlemen.

All your base are YOU FAIL IT!

telecom (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9162221)

my dick is having a party in your ass

Bob Goatse has left the building (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9162241)

I repeat, Bob Goatse has left the building.

Manipulation (4, Insightful)

jm92956n (758515) | more than 10 years ago | (#9162251)

The U.S. now ranks eleventh internationally in residential "broadband" access. Using the FCC's silly 200-kilobit-per-second definition, some now say that 25 percent of American homes have broadband. But by the standards of Asia--where most citizens enjoy access speeds 10 times faster than our fastest links--U.S. residences have no broadband at all.

Hi, I'm Mr. George Gilder. You may remember me from such other testimonies as "Manipulating data" and "Obfuscating statistics."

I would like to inform you that ubuiquity of broadband is in no way related to population density.

Gentlement, I thank you for your time.

Re:Manipulation (5, Insightful)

imidazole2 (776413) | more than 10 years ago | (#9162323)

Uhm... your quote simply states that by Asia's definition, the US's 'broadband' doesnt really fall under the category of 'broadband'.

Their access speeds are generally 10x faster than the US's... meaning that to them, we're slow :P

Re:Manipulation (1)

whoever57 (658626) | more than 10 years ago | (#9163006)

Well, at least they are not claiming 128k represents "broadband" as is being done in the UK []

Re:Manipulation (2, Insightful)

coppice (546158) | more than 10 years ago | (#9165182)

Gee this population density argument is used so often by Americans I'm starting to think you have brainwashed yourselves into believing it.

Most broadband is delivered over telephone copper pairs and TV cable. Which country has more of its homes connected to both of these than any other?

Only a modest proportion of the population of the US is on such an enormous local loop that some form of ADSL will not work. I can't think of a country (except perhaps Holland) which has more people plumbed up with cable. Its true that a lot of the cable in the US is pretty old and nasty, and the amps might need replacing to allow a bidirectional flow. Still, the US does have more of the basic plumbing than almost anywhere else.

Logical Layers and Dependencies (3, Insightful)

yintercept (517362) | more than 10 years ago | (#9162282)

Ideas such as defined network layers, APIs, etc. offer a happy medium between proprietary and open development. The APIs become open to the public allowing different companies to integrate in an existing framework. It seems to me the ideal world would have elements of different approaches to life. Rather than OSS having to push all proprietary software out of existence through a viral legal model, or a monopoly controlling the computer horizontally from OS to Office Suite, a structured layer model could create a working ground for both models.

Re:Logical Layers and Dependencies (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9162308)

The GPL does not prevent people from making compatible software that is proprietary. If it is pushing proprietary software out of existence, it is doing it by being better and cheaper.

Re:Logical Layers and Dependencies (1)

edbarrett (150317) | more than 10 years ago | (#9163110)

The GPL does not prevent people from making compatible software that is proprietary.

Huh? If it's proprietary, only the owner can produce it. Did you mean "The GPL does not prevent people from making proprietary software that is compatible"?

Re:Logical Layers and Dependencies (1)

edbarrett (150317) | more than 10 years ago | (#9163113)

Ignore me, I'm a doofus. I was reading too fast. A thousand pardons!

Re:Logical Layers and Dependencies (-1, Offtopic)

fingerfucker (740769) | more than 10 years ago | (#9162332)

Karma whore...

from the article (5, Informative)

strook (634807) | more than 10 years ago | (#9162303)

Too long and dense, here's a summary.

The basic theme is, America is supposed to be the home of everything great. Our vice president invented the internet for christ's sake. So why don't we have the best access for consumers?

"The U.S. now ranks eleventh internationally in residential "broadband" access. Using the FCC's silly 200-kilobit-per-second definition, some now say that 25 percent of American homes have broadband. But by the standards of Asia--where most citizens enjoy access speeds 10 times faster than our fastest links--U.S. residences have no broadband at all. U.S. businesses have far less broadband than South Korean residences. South Korea, for instance, has 40 times the per capita bandwidth of the U.S. Japan is close behind Korea, and countries from China to Italy are removing obstacles to the deployment of vDSL, fiber-to-the-home, and broadband wireless networks."

Gilder thinks our government's mucking things up:
"The Telecom Act of 1996... turned into a million-word re-regulation of the industry. Regulatory actions by the FCC and the 51 state utility commissions greatly exacerbated the bad parts of the Act and distorted many of the good parts."

MCI has a new proposal: "A horizontal layers approach would supposedly be a radical shift from the "vertical silos" approach now used, where telephony, cable, and wireless, for example, are regulated based on historical industry definitions, not generic functional categories. The common denominator of Internet Protocol (IP)--supposedly the basis for all future communications networks--is said to necessitate the new layered regulatory approach."

Gilder doesn't think reregulation is going to help, and poses some interesting questions: "Should Google be able to leverage search into Gmail, or to supply content using its proprietary algorithms and its physical network of 100,000 servers? Shouldn't any rival search provider be able to feed off of Google's advanced infrastructure? After all, wouldn't it be impossible to recreate Google's massive web of global intelligence? Doesn't Google's superior infrastructure exhibit "market power"? Might Google actually evolve into a general provider of web-based information management services, rivaling the PC-based Microsoft, or should Google be "quarantined" as a search provider? Or maybe we should structurally separate Google into three companies: an infrastructure provider (its 100,000 networked servers plus algorithmic IP), a content/advertising company, and an information services company (Gmail plus future knowledge management applications). Surely FCC bureaucrats can make these easy distinctions and explain the resulting penalties to weary entrepreneurs who have just spent 10 years of their life building a new service that people really like."

His conclusion: "The real threat to monopolize and paralyze the Internet is not the communications industry and its suppliers, but the premature modularizers and commoditizers, the proponents of the dream of some final government solution for the uncertainties of all life and commerce."

Re:from the article (4, Funny)

TwistedSquare (650445) | more than 10 years ago | (#9162364)

Our vice president invented the internet for christ's sake

Now Cheney invented the internet too! Sheesh, what's the world coming to ;-)

Re:from the article (1)

SoLoatWork (187259) | more than 10 years ago | (#9162972)

No, he's just your typical liberal still living in the year 2000. ;)

Article slashdotted, full mirror available here! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9163052)

Click here []

Re:from the article (1)

Hard_Code (49548) | more than 10 years ago | (#9162532)

"The basic theme is, America is supposed to be the home of everything great."

Maybe instead: The basic theme is, America is supposed to be the home of the perception of everything great.

Re:from the article (1)

Guppy06 (410832) | more than 10 years ago | (#9163376)

"Too long and dense, here's a summary."

Buttercup is gonna marry Humperdink in little less than half an hour.

Re:from the article (1)

mphase (644838) | more than 10 years ago | (#9163601)

Yeah okay now I'm mad. Don't you dare touch my precious...I mean my google! Filthy little beauracrats...I mean wait I mean baeuracrats!

MIRROR (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9162334)

Just in case it get /.ed go here []

Re:MIRROR (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9162346)

thanks for the link lysol

Call me a Socialist.... (5, Interesting)

deutschemonte (764566) | more than 10 years ago | (#9162342)

But I have always believed that the people should own the infrastructure that companies do business on.

Other than toll roads, we don't allow companies to own our public streets and then mandate to us who gets to use them to conduct business.

If the people (i.e. the government) owned the data infrastructure that telecoms do business on, it would allow for more competition because smaller companies could compete over the same lines without biased interferance from the owners of the lines.

In fact it would drive down the cost of the lines because the governmental authority over them would charge each company a fee to have access plus a usage charge. Total usage fees would remain the same no matter how many carriers compete for the same population, but the access charge income would rise with each carrier that entered the market.

[/soap box speach]

Re:Call me a Socialist.... (0, Redundant)

deutschemonte (764566) | more than 10 years ago | (#9162362)

I have to make the most obvious reply to my posting...

In Solviet Russia, the data infrastructure owns you!

Re:Call me a Socialist.... (3, Insightful)

yintercept (517362) | more than 10 years ago | (#9162406)

If the people (i.e. the government) owned the data infrastructure that telecoms do business on, it would allow for more competition because smaller companies could compete over the same lines without biased interferance from the owners of the lines.

The problem with this analogy is that it is the actually building of the lines where we need to concentrate our economic resources. So, if the government owns the lines, then we put an inefficient bureaucracy in charge of the area where we need the work.

When a government or single monopoly completely defines one layer of the puzzle, we create an artificial bottleneck based on the government regulation or the inner mechanizations of the monopoly. Personally, I think we need a maleable structure that allows different companies to compete at different layers.

Re:Call me a Socialist.... (1)

esj at harvee (7456) | more than 10 years ago | (#9166126)

what's missing here is a recognition of "natural monopoly". A natural monopoly exists when increasing competition results in increasing per customer costs.

Another way to think of it is in a town of population X, it costs Y$ to serve the entire town. Every competitor and entering the market using the same type of technology will have to expend Y$ to service that town. If you have three competitors, they need to make their revenue on one-third of the customer. If you have four competitors, they now need to make their revenue on 1/4 of the customers. end result being that the cost for service increases with competition.
This model of economics for last mile also applies if you have mechanisms for covering last mile that have unequal costs as long as they are rival services. Non-rival services are like comparing apples and oranges.

Another missing component in the discussion has been structural separation. With structural separation, you have one company/town/whoever maintaining the infrastructure as a regulated monopoly. that infrastructure is guaranteed to have non-discriminatory access for all comers. This way, you have competition where it works (i.e. on services).

Re:Call me a Socialist.... (5, Insightful)

HBI (604924) | more than 10 years ago | (#9162436)

Then the government is either going to have to lay the lines itself, or pay someone to do them. No one will do it on their own if they aren't going to own them.

Sitting here in 2004 with tons of unused fiber laid cross-country already, you may find it easy to say that, but when I was sitting there in 1994 wanting to get connectivity for 160 offices across the US, I was damn glad that wasn't the case.

Companies like the original WilTel (who were originally natural gas and oil providers who laid the fiber in the right-of-way of existing pipelines (SPRINT did the same thing with railroad right-of-ways) made it possible to have high speed digital connectivity at a time when the government regulated monopoly of RBOCs and their artifically drawn LATA boundaries made supposed 'public' lines completely unavailable. Yes, this all happened because of the AT&T breakup. Still, we'd be glad to have an ISDN connection right now if private industry hadn't filled the need.

Then again, you might be talking about the last mile, as the article was. Once again - why lay the infrastructure if you aren't going to own it? No one will. If you are going to wait for the government to do it, you are going to be waiting a long, long time.

The fundamental problem is that the existing copper local loop is 'good enough' to provide some access. Therefore, there is no drive for the government granted monopoly of local telephone providers - technically the owners of the local loop - to improve it. In this case, the granting of monopoly powers works against us - but it is still necessary to provide service on the local loop and at the CO.

There is no real solution to the problem that doesn't involve losing something. Pick 2 out of 3 - service, speed, low price. Most people aren't willing to compromise on #3 or #1, that's why you have shitty lines.

Re:Call me a Socialist.... (3, Insightful)

yintercept (517362) | more than 10 years ago | (#9162558)

Part of the way governments enforce the local monopolies is with strict regulations on who can string fiber...when and where. I worked with a mining company that could not network two buildings on their property because the bureaucracy considered the dirt road between the buildings a public access.

why lay the infrastructure if you aren't going to own it?

One solution to the last mile problem is to let individuals own it. Having individuals owning the wire to a neighborhood NOC and being able to rent services from anyone providing services to the NOC would distribute ownership of the last mile. It also gets over number 3...individuals are not happy paying a high rent for the last mile, but would be willing to fork out bucks when they own the resource outright.

Re:Call me a Socialist.... (1)

NoMaster (142776) | more than 10 years ago | (#9164676)

One solution to the last mile problem is to let individuals own it. Having individuals owning the wire to a neighborhood NOC and being able to rent services from anyone providing services to the NOC would distribute ownership of the last mile.
Isn't that pretty much how it worked before deregulation - in theory?

Very few people could afford to own the last mile. The few that could afford it, rent it out (at cost + profit) to the many that couldn't.

Sound like a phone company?

So, instead of this, government (all the people) owned it, and supplied the benefit to all.

Then, some bright spark somewhere decided to sell the ownership back to you. Or maybe not you, but the few that could afford it...

Re:Call me a Socialist.... (1)

michael_cain (66650) | more than 10 years ago | (#9166990)

One solution to the last mile problem is to let individuals own it. Having individuals owning the wire to a neighborhood NOC and being able to rent services from anyone providing services to the NOC would distribute ownership of the last mile.

I've never understood how this works, in practice. How big is the neighborhood NOC? 500 households? 1500 households? Clearly this will involve active electronics to terminate the last-mile fiber -- who pays the bills to power that gear and to maintain it? Who pays for the land where the NOC sits? How do you handle on-going maintenance requirements, such as when someone with a backhoe rips up the fiber bundle? How do you enforce payment of the repair bills by the property "owners"? How do you tie ownership of these facilities to ownership of a house in a way that guarantees that subsequent owners will continue to pay?

Re:Call me a Socialist.... (1)

HBI (604924) | more than 10 years ago | (#9170785)

I'm sorry the mods have abandoned this thread because you deserve some points for that.

Succinctly put.

Re:Call me a Socialist.... (1)

NineNine (235196) | more than 10 years ago | (#9162447)

I'm in favor of it too... as long as the government *buys* the infrastructure at a fair price. The gov't can't (or shouldn't) just start seizing private assets because they feel like it, or even if they think that it's a great idea.

OSI 7 layers? (4, Insightful)

ka9dgx (72702) | more than 10 years ago | (#9162405)

Who the heck actually uses the 7 layers? Nobody, that's who. The ISO seven layer model only has native environment that it works on, the Flip Chart, or it's modern day replacement, PowerPoint.

This guy actually wants to let people lock in "content", and it sounds to me like DRM is perfectly fine with him as well.

What a putz!


Re:OSI 7 layers? (1)

ChrisHanel (636741) | more than 10 years ago | (#9162888)

The ISO seven layer model only has native environment that it works on, the Flip Chart, or it's modern day replacement, PowerPoint

But let us not forget their ancient ancestor, the Bar Napkin.

A tool for teaching & communications (1)

mikewas (119762) | more than 10 years ago | (#9162970)

The OSI 7 layer model is a tool to facilitate teaching & to expedite communications by defining certain terms & functions. It wasn't intended to be a design.

Re:A tool for teaching & communications (1)

Ben Hutchings (4651) | more than 10 years ago | (#9165690)

The OSI 7-layer model was the basis of an actual OSI protocol stack [] . Back in the 80s governments were preparing to use this for all their networks. In practice the protocols were too complex for interoperability, whereas TCP/IP is relatively simple and highly interoperable. I guess some people are embarrassed by the failure of OSI as a protocol stack and want to claim credit for the invention of protocol stacks, most of which don't really fit the model that well [] .

I'm not a geek! (1)

ozamosi (615254) | more than 10 years ago | (#9162446)

I read this artikle, and I don't understand a word. Hurray, I have a life! You pathetic geeks...

It's about time (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9162491)

All I can say is that it's about time, as the founder of 3utilities [] myself and my colleagues have long been petitioning local and national government for a more open policy regarding this countries overly conservate telecommuniations networks.
As you can see [] , a more open approach will not only benefit us as a company, in terms of profit margins, but will directly benefit the consumer through even greater choice and cheaper prices.
The future is looking increasingly bright.

Re:It's about time (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9162508)

wow, just wow, I took at look at the predicted savings graphs at the parents site [] (just below the second paragraph).
And a more efficient telecommunications policy could have saved me enough money in the past 5 years to pay for a nice holiday abroad. Good luck in your campaign Mr Sandringham.


Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9162628)

How is this a troll?

George Gilder, a guru in his own mind (4, Interesting)

wintermute42 (710554) | more than 10 years ago | (#9162560)

George Gilder seems to have succeeded solely on the basis of his belief in his own power as a prophet of the future. As those who subscribed to his stock market newsletter found, he was a legend in his own mind, not in reality.

George Gilder was a largely unknown hack author of little read books that many would regard as sexist before he wrote Wealth and Poverty which caught on with the Reagan administration believers in "supply side" economics (we know this today as the economics of tax cuts and massive federal budget deficts). Although "supply side" economics has returned, it was largely out of favor with the administration of Bush Sr. and the balanced budget faction of the Clinton administration. So Gilder reinvented himself as a technology guru. The fact that he has no background what-so-ever in science or technology did not stop him. He interviewed those who did and wrote up his impressions in breathless terms.

The peak of Gilder's trajectory was his stock market newsletter which had thousands of subscribers who were willing to pay thousands of dollars for the privilege of reading the thoughts of the master. This and the opportunity to get early access to Gilder's hype which was moving the market in many cases.

Then there was the fall. As the 2000 stock market crash erased the value of many of the stocks that Gilder touted, his subscribers deserted him in droves, much poorer for the experience. Gilder had invested in the stocks that he hyped and his investments were largely wiped out. Gilder was also making money holding conferences and was left with conference committements and no attendees. In the end he was heavily in debt, his bubble wealth wiped out.

But true ego maniacs and pundits never die. They just continue the process of reinvention, whether as Governor of California or as an expert in telecommunications. So here we see Gilder again blowing hot air on topics that he has a shallow understanding of. And, as always, coloring his presentation with the usual Republican freemarket ideology (regulation bad, taxes bad, poor people weak and shiftless, unrestained free market good, rich people good).

Where Gilder is wrong (4, Interesting)

Animats (122034) | more than 10 years ago | (#9162621)

First, despite all the whining for Federal subsidies, broadband Internet access is at 45.9% this month. It just passed 56Kb/s modem access. (There are still a reasonable number of users at lower speeds. Amusingly, the fraction of 14.4 Kb/s users has been relatively constant for years.) High speed home Internet access is growing at about 8% per year. Korea is at about 70%, and Canada is at about 64%. Korea saturated at around 70%, and Canada seems to be levelling off around 70%. The US should hit 70% broadband in about three years.

That's higher than cable TV ever reached. Cable TV has been stuck at roughly 65% for many years. And it's way above book and newspaper penetration. Far more people have Internet access than buy books. Newspaper penetration is down to 55% or so, and has dropped about 10% per decade since 1950.

Remember, the US has flat rate local phone service, but many other countries don't. So dialup access was and is cheap to buy.

So this isn't a problem.

As for the "layering" business, we've had that ever since telephone deregulation. You can buy bulk bandwidth cheaply if you can get it to your site, or go to where it terminates. Look how little bandwidth costs for a colo server. Bulk long-haul bandwidth is incredibly cheap.

Re:Where Gilder is wrong (1)

Garak (100517) | more than 10 years ago | (#9162863)

Local calls here in canada are free just like in the US.But we only have a few telco's. It use to be one for each province, now its down to like 6 or less. So each as a healthy budget for keeping their lines upto date and allowing for high speed dsl.

Here in Newfoundland our telco Newtel just merged with the other 3 telco's in the atlantic provinces to form Aliant Communications. But even before the merger each telco already had DSL well underway available even in the smallest towns. When the internet was starting to get popular back around 94-95 newtel was just starting to build an ATM network connecting every community on the island. They layed lots of fibers for future expansion. At first it just carried POTS back to the centralized CO's. I belive they replaced all their old CO's with just A/D units and everything was sent over ATM back to a single CO. Anyway they had fiber everywhere and there old phonelines were getting pretty old so they had to replace alot of it anyway. Converting the lines for DSL was no big cost. Throw in ATM DSLAM racks and your in business. Currently its only in the smallest and remote communities you can't get 1mBit DSL and 3mBit DSL(768kBps up).

At the same time Cable atlantic had bought NLNET dialup service from Memorial University. This got them looking at cable modems. They were one of the first companys in northamerica to lanuch internet over their cable system along with fiber optic distrobution for their regular cable service.

The competition between the two has kept the prices very low from the start(~$40 CND, $25 US at the time) while dialup internet was $20/month for 60 hours. Many people would go over 60 hours a month and run up big bill and quickly switch to DSL/Cable. Unlimited dialup is still not the norm.

Basicly the Telco's and the cable companies are doing it themselfs rather than 3rd parties. They own all the fiber and local loops/coax so their cost is pretty low. It seems more like young engineers are making the key choices insted of old management.

Pretty much anyone who uses a computer at all these days has DSL or cable. Dialup is only being used for the few people who go online to check email only.

From my 3rd party view, the thing holding back broadband in the US is that the telco's don't seem to be offering DSL, 3rd party ISP's are trying to make a go of it paying the telco ontop of the normal ISP cost. This means tigher bandwidth caps and/or higher prices for the end user. Also throw in cheap unlimited dialup.

Good for the Customer, US, and Business is best (3, Insightful)

OldHawk777 (19923) | more than 10 years ago | (#9162903)

I live about 30 miles away from New York City and still can not get any wire-DSL, wireless local-loop or Fixed Position Wireless (Google the phrases), ... why be forced to share the cable. Data is data; So, why not have three or more companies that are able to provide all services (phone, HDTV, data, internet, ...) and content that I/you select/want and just one bill for $100 or less a month. I'll pick my provider and keep them as long as they keep me happy for a good price.

"Building a new service that people really like." OR "The real threat to monopolize and paralyze the Internet is not the communications industry and its suppliers, but the premature modularizers and commoditizers, the proponents of the dream of some final government solution for the uncertainties of all life and commerce."

Open standards, technology, innovation, laws, concepts, ... providing a real performance incentive and dynamic Capitalist "Open Market" is the way to go. Any law that mandates control/protection of sectors (special interest) in technology, customer base, media/content, ... is a big-bad mistake for economic development and the citizens of a nation. Let performance, total-cost (environment, health, welfare, ...), and customer satisfaction rule the market.

Allowing special/proprietary interest to control the market and customer is Un-American, Communistic, and anti-capitalist, everything many of US are against, unless you're a rhetoric and dogma hog like many politicians and fools. Bad businesses must fail, file bankruptcy, and pass into history. Just as that HP CEO said no USA worker should have a god given right to a job, I say no business/CEO should have a Government granted right to market share and/or customer base. We should never protect any market sector or customer base for corporate welfare and customer exploitation as we have been doing by laws for special interest during the last 30 years (at least). It will just promote more enrons for US. Act in the customers interest with laws that allow and promote choices, freedoms, options, ....


Gilder opposes layering, open access, competition (3, Informative)

isdnip (49656) | more than 10 years ago | (#9162935)

The original post is wrong. It implies that Gilder supports the MCI position. But Gilder's testimony opposes it. Gilder is, like many extreme right-wingers, a fan of unregulated monopolies. He does not believe that monopolies should be regulated; he thinks that technology will magically render them powerless. His record in picking technology investments, however, is rather spotty, to be charitable.

In Gilder's world, the incumbent telephone companies, who had government-granted monopolies, should be allowed to have total control over their usage and content. No competing ISPs, no uncensored web sites, no competing web merchants, if that's what the monopoly wants. If they want to charge $100/month plus $5/hour for dial-up access, fine. Anything else is, to him, excessive government regulation. He'd permit somebody else, of course, to string new wires on the street, but the impracticality of that is not his problem.

He should be relegated to the dumpster of other failed nut case prophets, and left with his fellow creationists to ponder the problems of a world where scientists and rational thinkers are allowed to question his faith.

Re:Gilder opposes layering, open access, competiti (1)

beakburke (550627) | more than 10 years ago | (#9163214)

NO, to be more accurate gilder thinks that regulating monopolies is a loosing game because of the pace of technological change. Instead of regulation, he proposes the government make rules that make it easier for new competition to enter the arena.

Re:Gilder opposes layering, open access, competiti (1)

tehdaemon (753808) | more than 10 years ago | (#9164406)

Ain't that just different regualtion?

Re:Gilder opposes layering, open access, competiti (1)

isdnip (49656) | more than 10 years ago | (#9164846)

Allowing "new competition to enter the arena" is often ridiculous, when there is a strong natural monopoly component to the service in question. Natural monopoly is an economic term for a product with a very high entry cost to produce and a large economy of scale. Telephone wire is a good example: If somebody has a 100% market share, and loses 20% to a competitor, and the cost is to run the wire past the customer site (which is the case), then the incumbent's unit cost will be 1/4 of the competitor's. This makes competition extremely difficult.

The Telecom Act recognized this, by requiring the incumbents to unbundle their facilities. The incumbents went along with the deal (getting other things in trade), but immediately tried to back out. It's bloody out there now on the telecom streets.

SBC, VZ, and the other incumbents have a natural monopoly on the local wire, even though it's no longer a de jure monopoly. There's no natural monopoly on Internet service, servers, information, etc., but if the monopolists can exert full control on content, as Gilder wants and MCI doesn't want them to, then all of those competitors will be shut out.

Re:Gilder opposes layering, open access, competiti (1)

beakburke (550627) | more than 10 years ago | (#9174658)

But his point is that technological change and the monopoly's high prices contain the seeds of the monopoly's own undoing. Every dominant company faces the problem that innovation doesn't always pay. It's easier for new companies to do that, due to size and sunk costs.

The problem with regulation is that government moves slower than technology. By the time the government gets on the ball to take care of monopolies, the damage is done and the marketplace has already started to look for alternative ways to surplant the monopoly (witness all of microsoft's violations, and the emergence of linux). The wheels of government and justice grind to slowly to be truely effective. Sometimes, the best thing the government can do is nothing. (Though I would argue that Microsoft should have gotten slammed for threatening ISV's on software bundling. That's simple restraint of trade, which is a pretty slam dunk arguement compared to all the discussion about "bundling" software).

Re:Gilder opposes layering, open access, competiti (1)

arazor (55656) | more than 10 years ago | (#9166091)

You have confused "right wingers" with libertarians and mixed variations there of.

right wingers support govt regulations though less then left wingers of course. Both right wing and left wing in America at least support government granted monopolies.

Its the libertarians who are against any government regulation of the market.

but dont take my word for it got the official libertarian party website and see for yourself.

btw I am not a libertarian

WorldCom^wMCI hijacks the OSI model (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 10 years ago | (#9163066)

In their "open access" position paper, MCI (AKA the ripoff empire of WorldCom) calls the multilayered network model "MCI's Layer Model". It's the very familiar OSI network layer model. So it works, but MCI is ripping off the credit. Since they use the change to that (often superior) pirated tech model to justify government deregulation of their business, why won't they use the new tech/law model to continue their fraudulent ripoffs of everyone within reach?

WOOT Fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9164021)

Anyone thaT thinks

Stopped clocks, etc. (1)

daminotaur (732705) | more than 10 years ago | (#9164129)

There are some interesting references to companies/technologies that Gilder thinks are going to change everything in the 7-layer world:

Corvis -- link [] "using colors of light both to bear the message and to determine the path of the circuit. It radically collapses the top layers of the OSI (Open Systems Interconnection) stack.. A "switchless" web of always-on fixed lambdas (wavelengths of light) can function as both the physical and logical layers of the Net because the intelligence is embedded in the path." ,p> Broadwing -- Broadwing [] Subsidiary of Corvis. "In uniting Corvis, a cutting edge equipment provider, with Broadwing, an infrastructure builder and service provider, [Corvis CEO David] Huber is also betting that IP networks are not inherently modular, where equipment from a thousand providers can easily be cobbled together to deliver high-bandwidth, low-latency services..."

EZchip -- EZchip [] "." Where until now data flowing through the seven layers and numerous sub-layers were parsed and modified by a gaggle of hundreds of chips connected by thousands of wires and glue-logic galore, EZ puts all seven layers of the OSI stack onto one-chip, performing all the essential functions of an Internet router on a single sliver of silicon. The "layers" are once again transcended when EZ's software tools allow programmers to tell the chip what to do without even referring to the rigid layers, channelizations, protocols, and interfaces used in the previous software environment."

It's true he's a Reaganite, but Reaganites aren't wrong 100% of the time. They aren't that useful.

'Course, I also remember something about a company called "Global Crossing."

He concludes:

"The telecom industry is nowhere near some mythical paradox of perfection or cul de sac bargain basement of commoditization. It is still engaged in a thrilling adventure of putting together worldwide webs of glass and light that reach from your doorstep or teleputer to every other person and machine on the planet. It is long distance and it is local, it is packetted and circuited, it is multithreaded and aggregated, it is broadband and narrowcast, all at once. These crystal palaces of light and air will be hard to do and the world will reward the pioneers who manage to build them."

The right solution is to open the market (1)

jonwil (467024) | more than 10 years ago | (#9164307)

One of the biggest problems is that people who want to offer better broadband (especially those whos plans dont require leasing any infrastructure from the Baby Bells) face opposition not just from the Baby Bells but also from various regulators at local, state and federal levels.

Make it easier for anyone to come in and lay cables or fiber (subject to some easy to follow rules about where and how it can be laid obviously). Get rid of all the red-tape. (in particular, if you get permission from the owners of all the pieces of land your cables will run through, you should be able to lay any cables or wires you want as long as they dont cause problems for power, water, phone, gas etc).

One sad example (that I cant seem to find any usefull links to right now) is the example of Anaheim california. They spent all this $$$ setting up a world-class fiber optics network, set up a nice NOC full of infrastructure then promptly abandoned it. (last I heard, all thats left is a bundle of fiber ends sticking out of the wall somewhere) I dont know why it was abandoned (and I cant find a link on google that explains why) but anyone with the money and the will to run their own infrastructure like this should not be prevented from doing so by unnecessary red-tape.

Course, another option is to go totally wireless and set up a bunch of wireless points all over town. It would be cheaper than running miles of fiber.

The reason broadband sucks in the US is because no-one is willing (or mabie its that no-one is able) to offer better broadband than the crap you have now. Here in australia, I am getting 512k/128k ADSL with NO download limits, traffic shaping, portblocking, restrictions on servers or whatever else (there are some restrictions on things like running a webserver and selling space on that server but they are perfectly reasonable). Plus, I can run unlimited LAN machines. All for AUS$80 per month (about $US55 at current conversion rates)

It may seem expensive but considering this is 512k/128k, and has no download limits (or, like some other ISPs have, traffic shaping where after a certain amount of downloads your speed gets cut back a bit untill the next month), its pretty good.

Here in australia, all the infrastructure is owned by Telstra. (used to be 100% government owned, now partially privatized, current government is still trying to sell off the rest) Other companies can come in and offer telephone service and DSL broadband over the lines. (and there are are plenty to choose from in both markets)

Unlike the US, we have a government and regulators with some teeth who are prepared to go after Telstra. (just recently, Telstra dropped their retail DSL prices below their wholesale prices and were hit very hard for it by the regulators)

Re:The right solution is to open the market (1)

falconx7 (447933) | more than 10 years ago | (#9164583)

So my 1.5mbps/128kbps cable connection with:
"NO download limits, traffic shaping, portblocking, restrictions on servers or whatever else"
for us$45 is inferior how?

I do admit the 128kbps upload is very dissapointing, alas they lowered it from 768kbps last year.

Uhh... the story is wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9165663)

Gilder's testimony does not support mandated open access - just the opposite. E.g.:

The idea is mandated "open access" to the logical layers of the network [...] The new proposal feeds on fear - fears that cable TV companies or the Bells might seek to leverage their broadband networks by wrapping content into their conduits, or that Microsoft might keep "tying" new applications into Windows, or that Google might monopolize information on the Net (yes, there is already an organized effort to turn Google into a public utility). [...] Lessig, MCI, and company worry that the "end-to-end" nature of the Internet -- where any terminal attached to the net can be reached from any other terminal -- will be threatened if these new layering rules are not adopted. [...] Layering proponents, however, make a fundamental error. They ignore ever changing trade-offs between integration and modularization that are among the most profound and strategic decisions any company in any industry makes. [...] Proponents of "layering," or "Net neutrality," or a free Internet "commons" assume there is one network, that it is sufficient and timeless, that no new networks are possible or needed. They want innovation on the edge, in the form of software apps and Wi-Fi attachments. Innovation in the core is either assumed or ignored. The logical conclusion, however, is that since the "best network," "the free commons" cannot make any money, there will be no network. And just how much innovation at the edge will there be if there is no innovation -- no bandwidth -- in the core?

Gilder is of the ultra-libertarian persuasion - he writes for Forbes after all - and has never run into a regulation he liked. OK, so the language is a bit convoluted... but is it too much to ask to RTFA before submitting the story? :-)

Wrong on at least seven levels (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9167573)

1. The MCI paper advocates the "unbundling" of net-related laws, so for example content regulation is not addressed through enforcement mechanisms that target infrastructure. etc.

2. The paper does tentatively suggest separating layers 2 and 3. Gilder calls this "mandated 'open access' to the logical layers," as if physical switching infrastructure was the same thing as the IP control plane. Conflating these two distinct domains at best betrays an imperfect understanding of the technology, or else reveals a willingness to distort facts to serve an advocacy agenda.

3. Open access to the actual (control plane) logical layer doesn't even make sense. It's wide open -- anyone can start a new network at any time. In the near-complete absense of viable revenue streams other than access, Internet traffic is (almost) the only game in town. Thanks to "semantic overloading," IP addresses (IP and autonomous systems being the significant features of the "logical layer") can be largely equated with "eyeballs" and "content" -- so the direction of traffic is ultimately determined by the distribution/ownership of IP. Sooner or later every successful company with a vested interest in "eyeballs" or "content" starts to think about getting control of those IP, to save money or make money. That's where most new networks come from.

4. Point of information: The US is "home" to something like 50% of all the (17k+) administratively distinct networks in the world. This number is way out of proportion to what one might expect given population, GDP, telecom infrastructure, etc. The US is very very good at generating innovation in networks. TCP/IP works the same everywhere, but networks continue to cluster in the US because, thanks to some fairly unique regulatory innovations that Gilder disparages, the infrastructure needed to create/extend a network is available at a reasonable price to non infrastructure owners. In other countries, the rule is one-infrastructure, one-system (i.e., 1:1); in the US is it one-infrastructure, many-systems (1:n). Since building new infrastructure is extremely expensive (e.g., vs. upgrading), and existing infrastructure is extremely underutilized, (1:n) is the only arrangement that makes economic sense.

5. This 1:n or "logical multiplexing" arrangement has transformed (and continues to sustain) the US as an operating haven for networks that disproportionately serve the global Internet user base. The irony is that US citizens don't get to enjoy as much access to these resources as others, thanks to continuing monopoly control of the only viable high bandwidth last mile.

6. MCI is still the largest seller of IP transit in the world. Think about it -- why would they publish and actively tout a paper that was intended to turn their primary business into a nonprofit public service (i.e., mandate 'open access' to the logical layer)? it's not (too) hypocritical for MCI to advocate open access to another, monopoly-controlled sector; there's no shortage of competition in the market for transit (except of course in regions where it is foreclosed by a monopoly LEC).

7. The real intent of the paper, the interests of MCI, the point that Gilder is trying to obfuscate -- and the critical policy question at issue today -- is control of the physical (esp. last mile) infrastructure that underlies the "logical layer" and every other component of the Internet. If the changes in regulation that Gilder advocates come to pass, RBOCs will quickly come to own all US "eyeballs." Even if the telcos reward their new/permanent captive audience by delivering fiber to every home, their monopoly control will almost certainly guarantee that the innovations that come from "logical multiplexing" will never reach US customers. "The ability to tie and merge and break apart and outsource products, services, and technologies" is essential, as Gilder points out. It should be as possible over the only viable high bandwidth last mile as it is across every other segment of the net. At least Gilder is consistent: he wants to get rid of that 'open access' too.

8. My opnion: better to let the RBOCs go bankrupt and let someone/anyone else buy up the infrastructure, conditional on delivering FTTH without net-atrophying access restrictions.

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