Dangerous dolts threaten our internet

When I started reading this story about an effort to use radio bandwidth to provide ubiquitous, cheap or free (ad-supported), broadband internet access across the country, I started to get happy. But then I saw the dolts who were proposing this and the dangerous things they doing and I want to make sure they don’t get anywhere near our internet. At the end of the story, The Times reports:

M2Z plans to include a filter with the free service that would block access to “indecent” material, a definition Mr. Sachs said could be made by the government, just as it controls standards for broadcast television.

“Give us the spectrum and we’ll provide free service and we’ll live with the decency guidelines,” Mr. Sachs said.

If this post were a podcast, you’d hear an anguished and angry scream right now. Evil fools. They invite government censorship of our internet, a Trojan horse that would only lead to more censorship (insert idiotic level-playing-field argument here).

Just as idiotic, they want the government to give them that spectrum for free. Ha! Yes, let’s get ubiquitous, free, broadband internet access across America as a strategic imperative. But let’s auction that business off to the best players. And let’s require net neutrality.

So who are these fools? The Times says:

Milo Medin, chairman and chief technology officer of M2Z, which is based in Menlo Park, Calif., declined to discuss the company’s plans. Mr. Medin, a founder of the @Home Network, a high-speed Internet company that became [email protected] and went bankrupt in 2001, started the company with John Muleta, a former head of the wireless division at the F.C.C.

@Home: The Enron of the Internet. These bozos lost billions and botched an easy opportunity to bring internet access to almost every home in the country once and now we’re supposed to give them bandwidth?

It’s worse than that. @Home tried to strongarm content providers a decade ago, telling them that if they did not make proprietary and premium deals with @Home and allow the service to cache and serve their content — and pay for the privilege — then @Home would not give them full-speed access. They were the first enemies of net neutrality. And who was the architect of this dastardly scheme? Guess.

Keep these dangerous dolts away from our Internet.

  • What awful examples of the species seem to be showing up at this party — the folks behind the curtain who use smoke and mirrors, the “see-hear-speak no evil” ones who think there’s no problem, the patronizing self-interested who are just plain greedy, the carpetbaggers who play both sides for any opportunity, and now in comes the downright lacking of critical thinking skills . . . Perhaps we should start filming this as reality TV.

    We could then use the advertising dollars to fund content in Media 2.0. :)

  • It’s like playing Whack-a-Mole, isn’t it? Just when you think you have one bad idea smashed down, more pop up.

  • Jeff,

    The current players may be the wrong ones, if your view of them is accurate, but the concept remains viable.

    You assert the spectrum is a giveaway. According to this Business Week article, http://www.businessweek.com/technology/content/may2006/tc20060522_430352.htm?campaign_id=rss_tech
    the spectrum assignment is a revenue sharing arrangment with the FCC, 5% is the quoted figure. This seems to be a better arrangement for re-occurring revenue, than a one time payment under the current auction scene, regardless of the price.

    As for your assertion that the Auction system goes to the *best players*, step back and see who the backers of the tiered internet are. Seems to be the *best players*.

    As for the *decency* argument, this is silly. There are lot’s of folks who have figured out once you are connected, you can use the browser of your choice to go where and see what you want.

  • Jeff:

    It sounds like the Chinese Internet @home. Couldn’t agree more with your angry scream. Posted my own.

  • Andy Freeman

    > are lot’s of folks who have figured out once you are connected, you can use the browser of your choice to go where and see what you want.

    Not if they’re blocking IPs and proxy services, which seems to be exactly what they’re proposing.

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  • Uh, Jeff, weren’t you just arguing for FCC regulation of ISP business practices in the name of “net neutrality?”

    Your reversals are making my head hurt, dude.

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  • Let’s see… since so many are already FOR giving the Telcos, who’re $200 Billion richer without providing the services they promised, what they want, what’s another billion or so for VC’s to give to another group who ought not be trusted.

    It’s the American way, isn’t it? It’s only money, har har…

  • Andy Freeman

    Actually, Jarvis is consistent. He thinks that ISPs and bandwidth providers should not discriminate between different service providers and customers except on the basis of bandwidth.

    In other words, he thinks that it’s wrong for an ISP to block Yahoo or to provide better service for folks using Yahoo because Yahoo paid money to the ISP and some other search engine didn’t.

    Remind me – why should 1kb from Yahoo get preferential treatment over 1kb from Google?

    As I recall, the old AT&T didn’t get a cut of IBM’s revenues when I called IBM on the phone. Why should the new AT&T get a cut of Yahoo’s revenues when I use Yahoo? (The latter is AT&T’s proposal.)

  • That’s silly. Google buys bandwidth wholesale, and they can crush any startup search company by jamming ISPs with data from their video downloads. Content discrimination simply levels the playing field.

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  • anon

    Can you provide an email address for Milo Melin? I would very much like to contact him and give him a piece of my mind. He is widely hailed as an “internet legend” and yet has not used his influence to improve the net (why aren’t our speeds as fast as they are in Japan? why do we still have the speeds of 10 years ago?) plus all of the dangerous issues you raise. It’s all a matter of wealth and greed, isn’t it, Mr. Melin?

    Thank you for listening. I wish your information would reach more people. Pass the word, everyone, please.

  • FX

    “(why aren’t our speeds as fast as they are in Japan? why do we still have the speeds of 10 years ago?)”

    Perhaps population density and geographic expanse differences between USA and Japan/Korea/Hong Kong has something to do with it.

    Clearly you can see that each time the RBOCs (i.e. AT&T) drops their price for DSL, Cable raises their speed. You are getting your desired effect through normal course of market competitive forces. Where do you see the biggest value? More speed or lower monthly bills? I expect differences in opinion here. Most DSL and Cable customers (i.e. 90% plus) barely use 3Mbps concurrently with the current popular Internet applications available today. I wonder whether the mass population in Japan are ‘subsidizing’ the Internet infrastructure needed for a few percent of the population who are ‘heavy users’. And what are they doing with all this bandwidth? Winee and similar P2P applications.