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Y490 Politics of the Internet, Lecture 10

Y490 Politics of the Internet, Lecture 10

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  • 1. Y490 Politics of theY490 Politics of the InternetInternet November 10, 2010November 10, 2010
  • 2. Critical Political EconomyCritical Political Economy  ““Traditionally, this type of analysisTraditionally, this type of analysis focuses on how economic inequalitiesfocuses on how economic inequalities based upon ownership and control servebased upon ownership and control serve to narrow the range of media contentto narrow the range of media content available in market-based societies.”available in market-based societies.” Source: Chadwick, p. 290.
  • 3. Three Schools of ThoughtThree Schools of Thought  Strong political economy approachStrong political economy approach  Media should be seen as directly servicing a widerMedia should be seen as directly servicing a wider system of material production (consumer capitalism)system of material production (consumer capitalism)  Weak political economy approachWeak political economy approach  Greater role for individual leadership in the mediaGreater role for individual leadership in the media industries (e.g. Bagdikian)industries (e.g. Bagdikian)  Instrumental approachInstrumental approach  How owners and political elites use the media asHow owners and political elites use the media as instruments of ideological mobilization (e.g.instruments of ideological mobilization (e.g. Chomsky)Chomsky)
  • 4. Top Global Web Sites (2009)Top Global Web Sites (2009)  GoogleGoogle  FacebookFacebook  Yahoo!Yahoo!  YouTubeYouTube  Windows LiveWindows Live  WikipediaWikipedia  Blogger.comBlogger.com  Baidu.comBaidu.com  Microsoft Network (MSN)Microsoft Network (MSN)
  • 5. Top 10 ISPsTop 10 ISPs  SBC (AT&T) (business and consumer DSL, U-Verse,SBC (AT&T) (business and consumer DSL, U-Verse, and satellite—ISDN not disclosed)and satellite—ISDN not disclosed) 14.814.8  [October 22, 2008][October 22, 2008] Press Release [.xls]Press Release [.xls]  15.4%15.4%  Comcast (cable broadband)Comcast (cable broadband) 14.714.7  [October 29, 2008][October 29, 2008] SEC 10-QSEC 10-Q  15.3%15.3%  Road RunnerRoad Runner (cable broadband, both business and(cable broadband, both business and residential)residential) 8.68.6  [November 5, 2008][November 5, 2008] Trending SchedulesTrending Schedules  9.0%9.0%  VerizonVerizon (FiOS and DSL)(FiOS and DSL) 8.58.5  [October 27, 2008][October 27, 2008] Press Release [.xls]Press Release [.xls]  8.8%8.8%  55  America Online (all U.S. AOL brand accounts)America Online (all U.S. AOL brand accounts) 7.57.5  [November 5, 2008][November 5, 2008] Trending SchedulesTrending Schedules  7.7%7.7% EarthLink (DSL, dialup, cable, satellite, PLC, and webhosting—some other business lines not included) 3.0 [October 31, 2008] SEC 10-Q 3.1% 7 Charter (cable broadband) 2.9 [November 6, 2008] SEC 10-Q 3.0% 8 Qwest (DSL only) 2.8 [October 29, 2008] Press Release [.xls] 2.9% 9 Cablevision (cable broadband) 2.4 [November 6, 2008] SEC 10-Q 2.5% 10 United Online (counting paid access only) 1.5 [November 10, 2008] SEC 10-Q 1.5%
  • 6. Decline of Newspapers?Decline of Newspapers?  Last year was the worst on record for the U.S.Last year was the worst on record for the U.S. newspaper industry. Total advertising revenues (bothnewspaper industry. Total advertising revenues (both print and online) declined 16.6 percent to $37.85print and online) declined 16.6 percent to $37.85 billion, according to the latest figures from thebillion, according to the latest figures from the Newspaper Association of AmericaNewspaper Association of America. That is $7.5 billion. That is $7.5 billion less than in 2007. Print advertising alone declinedless than in 2007. Print advertising alone declined 17.7. Classifieds were down 29.7 percent. And even17.7. Classifieds were down 29.7 percent. And even online advertising was down 1.8 percent to $3.1 billion.online advertising was down 1.8 percent to $3.1 billion. Source: http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/03/29/the-wounded-us- newspaper-industry-lost-75-billion-in-advertising-revenues-last-year/
  • 7. Decline in ReadershipDecline in Readership  Online readershipOnline readership is growing butis growing but overall readershipoverall readership is down accordingis down according to the Pewto the Pew Research CenterResearch Center
  • 8. Closing of NewspapersClosing of Newspapers  At least 120 newspapers in the U.S. haveAt least 120 newspapers in the U.S. have shut down since January 2008,shut down since January 2008, according to Paper Cuts, a Web siteaccording to Paper Cuts, a Web site tracking the newspaper industry. Moretracking the newspaper industry. More than 21,000 jobs at 67 newspapers havethan 21,000 jobs at 67 newspapers have vaporized in that time, according to thevaporized in that time, according to the site.site.Source: http://www.cnn.com/2009/US/03/19/newspaper.decline.layoff/index.html
  • 9. Origins of the DebateOrigins of the Debate  Coalition of Broadband Users andCoalition of Broadband Users and Innovators (CBUI) sent a letter to FCCInnovators (CBUI) sent a letter to FCC Chairman Michael Powell in NovemberChairman Michael Powell in November 20022002  It included the phrase “net neutrality”It included the phrase “net neutrality” coined by Tim Wu in an article written incoined by Tim Wu in an article written in 2002 and published in 20032002 and published in 2003  CBUI called for “nondiscriminationCBUI called for “nondiscrimination safeguards” to guarantee net neutralitysafeguards” to guarantee net neutrality
  • 10. What is Net Neutrality?What is Net Neutrality? ““Net neutrality simply means that all like InternetNet neutrality simply means that all like Internet content must be treated alike and move at thecontent must be treated alike and move at the same speed over the network. The owners ofsame speed over the network. The owners of the Internet’s wires cannot discriminate. This isthe Internet’s wires cannot discriminate. This is the simple but brilliant “end-to-end” design ofthe simple but brilliant “end-to-end” design of the Internet that has made it such a powerfulthe Internet that has made it such a powerful force for economic and social good.”force for economic and social good.” Lawrence Lessig and Robert W. McChesney, “No Tolls on the Internet,”Lawrence Lessig and Robert W. McChesney, “No Tolls on the Internet,” Washington Post, June 8, 2006.Washington Post, June 8, 2006. Ask a Ninja’s “What is Net Neutrality?” video
  • 11. Eli Noam’s Possible MeaningsEli Noam’s Possible Meanings  No different quality grades for serviceNo different quality grades for service  No price discrimination among InternetNo price discrimination among Internet providersproviders  No monopoly price charged to content andNo monopoly price charged to content and application providersapplication providers  No discrimination against content providersNo discrimination against content providers who compete with carrier’s own contentwho compete with carrier’s own content  No selectivity by the carriers over the contentNo selectivity by the carriers over the content that they transmitthat they transmit  No blocking of the access of users to someNo blocking of the access of users to some websiteswebsites
  • 12. Arguments of ProponentsArguments of Proponents  End-to-end architecture of the InternetEnd-to-end architecture of the Internet must be preservedmust be preserved  This means preventing discrimination byThis means preventing discrimination by conduit companies against content andconduit companies against content and services that they do not controlservices that they do not control  Conduit companies will reserve lots ofConduit companies will reserve lots of bandwidth for services like cable TVbandwidth for services like cable TV which will degrade Internet performancewhich will degrade Internet performance for everyone elsefor everyone else Vint Cerf
  • 13. Congress and the FCC EncourageCongress and the FCC Encourage Telephone and Cable to CompeteTelephone and Cable to Compete  Telecom Act of 1996Telecom Act of 1996  FCC decisions to permit telcos to buyFCC decisions to permit telcos to buy cable networks and cable operators tocable networks and cable operators to compete in telephone marketscompete in telephone markets  FCC wanted telcos and cableFCC wanted telcos and cable companies to compete in high-speedcompanies to compete in high-speed Internet and cable TV services via newInternet and cable TV services via new fiber optic networks built withoutfiber optic networks built without government subsidiesgovernment subsidies
  • 14. Michael Powell’s InternetMichael Powell’s Internet Freedoms, 2004Freedoms, 2004  freedom to access contentfreedom to access content  freedom to use applicationsfreedom to use applications  freedom to attach personal devicesfreedom to attach personal devices  freedom to obtain service planfreedom to obtain service plan informationinformation
  • 15. FCC Policy Statement 2005FCC Policy Statement 2005  consumers are entitled to access the lawfulconsumers are entitled to access the lawful Internet content of their choiceInternet content of their choice  consumers are entitled to run applications andconsumers are entitled to run applications and services of their choice, subject to the needs ofservices of their choice, subject to the needs of law enforcementlaw enforcement  consumers are entitled to connect their choice ofconsumers are entitled to connect their choice of legal devices that do not harm the networklegal devices that do not harm the network  consumers are entitled to competition amongconsumers are entitled to competition among network providers, application and servicenetwork providers, application and service providers, and content providersproviders, and content providers
  • 16. More Arguments ofMore Arguments of ProponentsProponents  There is insufficient competition betweenThere is insufficient competition between cable operators and telcos to guaranteecable operators and telcos to guarantee non-discriminationnon-discrimination  There is a potential for violations ofThere is a potential for violations of freedom of speech in the absence of netfreedom of speech in the absence of net neutrality guaranteesneutrality guarantees Gigi Sohn Larry Lessig Tim Berners-Lee
  • 17. Organizations that Support NetOrganizations that Support Net NeutralityNeutrality  ACLUACLU  ALAALA  Christian CoalitionChristian Coalition  Gun Owners of AmericaGun Owners of America  Consumers UnionConsumers Union  Google, Amazon, Yahoo!Google, Amazon, Yahoo!  American Electronics AssociationAmerican Electronics Association
  • 18. The Opponents’ Perspective onThe Opponents’ Perspective on Net NeutralityNet Neutrality  NCTA anti-NN adNCTA anti-NN ad  Fox News coverageFox News coverage  Glenn BeckGlenn Beck David Farber
  • 19. Arguments of OpponentsArguments of Opponents  Net neutrality guarantees constituteNet neutrality guarantees constitute unnecessary regulationunnecessary regulation  The threat of discrimination is overblownThe threat of discrimination is overblown  Cable and telephone companies needCable and telephone companies need new revenues to build out the networknew revenues to build out the network  Need to have “intelligent networks” toNeed to have “intelligent networks” to obtain “quality of service”obtain “quality of service”  Competition is sufficient to preventCompetition is sufficient to prevent abusesabuses
  • 20. The Video Franchise Bill, 2006The Video Franchise Bill, 2006  Attempts by Democrats led by EdAttempts by Democrats led by Ed Markey in the House to add net neutralityMarkey in the House to add net neutrality amendments failed in committee and onamendments failed in committee and on the floorthe floor  Net neutrality amendment proposed byNet neutrality amendment proposed by Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME) failed toSenator Olympia Snowe (R-ME) failed to pass in an 11-11 committee votepass in an 11-11 committee vote  Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK) votedSenator Ted Stevens (R-AK) voted against the amendmentagainst the amendment
  • 21. Ted Stevens’ Tubes StatementTed Stevens’ Tubes Statement  And again, the Internet is not something you just dumpAnd again, the Internet is not something you just dump something on. It's not a big truck. It's asomething on. It's not a big truck. It's a series of tubesseries of tubes.. And if you don't understand those tubes can be filled andAnd if you don't understand those tubes can be filled and if they are filled, when you put your message in, it gets inif they are filled, when you put your message in, it gets in line and it's going to be delayed by anyone that puts intoline and it's going to be delayed by anyone that puts into that tube enormous amounts of material, enormousthat tube enormous amounts of material, enormous amounts of material.amounts of material. June 28, 2006 Video by Y490 class members in Spring 2010
  • 22. PeoplePeople ReactReact to Stevens’ Explanationto Stevens’ Explanation
  • 23. Telecom Lobbying Money Spent inTelecom Lobbying Money Spent in the First Half of 2006the First Half of 2006 Category Specific Firms and Organization Amount in $ millions Telephone Interests AT&T, Verizon, BellSouth, and USTA 30.3 Cable Interests Comcast, Time Warner, Cox, and NCTA 12.2 Internet Interests Google, Yahoo!, eBay, Microsoft, Amazon.com 8.8 Total 51.3
  • 24. Wyden Saves the DayWyden Saves the Day  Ron Wyden used his Senatorial privilegeRon Wyden used his Senatorial privilege to place a hold on the Video Franchiseto place a hold on the Video Franchise bill because of the lack of net neutralitybill because of the lack of net neutrality guarantees. Since Ted Stevens did notguarantees. Since Ted Stevens did not have the 60 votes needed to overridehave the 60 votes needed to override Wyden’s hold, the bill was not put up forWyden’s hold, the bill was not put up for a vote on the Senate floor.a vote on the Senate floor.
  • 25. Barack Obama Supports NetBarack Obama Supports Net NeutralityNeutrality  Speech on net neutrality at Google inSpeech on net neutrality at Google in 20072007  Net neutrality becomes part of the officialNet neutrality becomes part of the official Democratic party platform in 2008Democratic party platform in 2008  Obama appoints Julius Genachowski asObama appoints Julius Genachowski as head of the FCC in 2009head of the FCC in 2009  American Recovery and Investment ActAmerican Recovery and Investment Act of 2009 provides $7.2 billion forof 2009 provides $7.2 billion for broadband infrastructure and mandatesbroadband infrastructure and mandates
  • 26. Genachowski Adds Two Items toGenachowski Adds Two Items to FCC Policy Statement of 2005FCC Policy Statement of 2005  ““broadband providers cannot discriminatebroadband providers cannot discriminate against particular Internet content oragainst particular Internet content or applications”applications”  • “• “providers of broadband Internet accessproviders of broadband Internet access must be transparent about their networkmust be transparent about their network management processes.”management processes.” Video of Genachowski
  • 27. Comcast Throttling of Bit-Comcast Throttling of Bit- Torrent Traffic in 2007Torrent Traffic in 2007  Robb Topolski discovers delays in delivery ofRobb Topolski discovers delays in delivery of Bit-Torrent files for his barber shop quartetBit-Torrent files for his barber shop quartet  Topolski publishes this on TorrentFreak blogTopolski publishes this on TorrentFreak blog  EFF and AP verify independentlyEFF and AP verify independently  Comcast eventually admits that it was “trafficComcast eventually admits that it was “traffic shaping” using an application called Sandvineshaping” using an application called Sandvine that prevents “seeding”that prevents “seeding”  The FCC told Comcast to stop doing thisThe FCC told Comcast to stop doing this  Comcast complied but appealed to courtsComcast complied but appealed to courts
  • 28. The Comcast RulingThe Comcast Ruling  US Circuit Court of Appeals of DC ruledUS Circuit Court of Appeals of DC ruled on April 6, 2010, that the FCC did noton April 6, 2010, that the FCC did not have the authority to regulate ISPs underhave the authority to regulate ISPs under the Telecom Act of 1996 (thereforethe Telecom Act of 1996 (therefore Comcast was not bound to obey FCCComcast was not bound to obey FCC rules regarding traffic management)rules regarding traffic management)  Ruling was based on FCC decision toRuling was based on FCC decision to reclassify cable modems and DSL asreclassify cable modems and DSL as information servicesinformation services
  • 29. The National Broadband PlanThe National Broadband Plan  FCC announced intention to guaranteeFCC announced intention to guarantee net neutrality in spite of Comcast rulingnet neutrality in spite of Comcast ruling  Genachowski spoke of a “third way”Genachowski spoke of a “third way” between “heavy-handed prescriptivebetween “heavy-handed prescriptive regulation” and the “light-touch approach”regulation” and the “light-touch approach” of the pastof the past  FCC would attempt to reclassifyFCC would attempt to reclassify transmission component of broadbandtransmission component of broadband as a “telecommunication service”as a “telecommunication service”
  • 30. ConclusionsConclusions  Net neutrality was framed by Republicans as aNet neutrality was framed by Republicans as a regulatory issue.regulatory issue.  Republicans and their supporters carried the day untilRepublicans and their supporters carried the day until June 2006 when the political tide began turn againstJune 2006 when the political tide began turn against them.them.  The 2006 and 2008 election results meant thatThe 2006 and 2008 election results meant that Democrats and their allies would attempt to passDemocrats and their allies would attempt to pass legislation guaranteeing net neutrality.legislation guaranteeing net neutrality.  However, the Comcast ruling and strong RepublicanHowever, the Comcast ruling and strong Republican opposition to net neutrality made legislative action veryopposition to net neutrality made legislative action very unlikely. It was not clear whether the FCC strategy tounlikely. It was not clear whether the FCC strategy to reclassify broadband transmission would work.reclassify broadband transmission would work.

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