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Susan Crawford - Presentation at Emerging Communications Conference & Awards (eComm 2011)
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Susan Crawford - Presentation at Emerging Communications Conference & Awards (eComm 2011)


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  • 1.  
  • 2. monopolies in internet access, WIRED AND WIRELESS
    • Susan Crawford
    • The Big Squeeze
    • June 2011
    • What next?
      • enormous up-front costs
      • crushing economies of scale and scope
      • steeply declining cost curves in the last mile
  • 3. Why should you care?
    • Bottleneck for the future of computing in America
    • Without high speeds, low costs, and wide availability, new Facebooks/Googles will come from Berlin and Osaka – not from the US
    • Incumbents have no Wall Street incentive to invest in core networks – and no competitive reason to do so
  • 4. Why should you care? (2)
    • Tokbox – latency a real problem for real-time video
    • Sensors – how will all that data be shipped around and visualized?
    • AWS buying dark fiber – but “eyeball networks” still absolutely controlled
    • One man ’s “oppty for abuse” may be another’s opportunity to launch a new business
  • 5. High-speed Internet: Two stories
    • Wired:
      • Rich in urban areas are paying very high prices for high wired speeds
        • John Malone, May 2011: “Cable is a monopoly now” in data
        • Cable upgrade path much cheaper than telco
        • Largest growth area for cable is high-speed Internet access services
        • Built-in conflict of interest – think Al Jazeera
        • Large operators never compete with one another
      • Poor/rural aren ’t adequately reached or access for many is unaffordable
  • 6. High-speed Internet: Wireless
    • Wireless:
      • Same rich/poor divide (smartphones as dividing line)
      • Not substitutable for wired access (think videoconferencing)
      • Second-best (not what other govts plan for)
      • No price constraints imposed on VZ/ATT by competition (usage-based billing the big move)
      • Compressed/prioritized/billed-for services
  • 7. International high-speed access
    • FCC, May 2011: “Mean actual download speeds in some European and Asian cities are substantially higher than in comparably sized U.S. cities”
    • 24.8 megabits per second (Mbps) in Paris
    • 35.8 Mbps in Seoul
      • versus 6.9 Mbps in San Francisco, 9.4 Mbps in Chicago, and 9.9 Mbps in Phoenix
    • US prices substantially higher ($105 v. $40, eg)
    • Other countries have gigabit goals
  • 8. Takeaways
    • Two natural monopolies: wired and wireless
      • high upfront costs
      • unbridgeable advantages of scale and scope
      • pricing power, cherry-picking, prioritizing
    • Plenty of smart people in 1970s. Technology doesn ’t emerge by magic.
    • Pragmatic muddling-through is high-risk for US
    • Lack of vision/fear leading to fettered market
  • 9. Imagine national goals
    • Gigabit symmetric to most of the country ’s homes/businesses
    • Separation between transport and content ownership
    • Separation between wholesale and retail transport
    • Support for core network upgrades and municipal networks
    • Intervention to ensure unfettered competition
  • 10.