Friday, November 02, 2007
Obama Backs Net Neutrality. Just Another Reason Why Racial Loyalty Alone Won't Allow Me To Support Him
Obama Promises To Reinstate Net Neutrality During First Year In Office
I have been in the IT/Telecommunications business for more than 20 years. I hold various certifications. I have worked for or consulted with a variety of different firms. Despite all of this experience and solid perspective to the Net Neutrality Actor-vists.....I don't know what I am talking about and I am an agent for the evil capitalistic telecomm firms who wish to scan each of our e-mails and wantonly shut down people's personal blogs.
In my discussions with many of these people I find that they DON'T KNOW WHAT THE HELL THEY ARE TALKING ABOUT. The "Net Neutrality" movement participants are usually "environmentalists" who don't like going out into the woods because of the mosquito bites that they might get so they have turned to applying their ideology to the Internet. They use fear and worst case scenarios to justify their claims that one day the corporate oligopoly in the telecom business will trample over our free speach rights.
As I watch the drama over the release of the tape by "Dog The Bounty Hunter" in a private conversation taped by his son and purchased by a tabloid I wonder why these same people aren't alarmed by the actions of THIS corporation, the "National Enquirer" to violate privacy if they are so concerned?
Net Neutrality - AS THEY DEFINE IT is the threat that a big telecom company seeking to favor their own content over those of one of their competitors who have not paid them for a prime class of service will "discriminate" against the routing of the packets sent by the firm who did not pay up.
Let us stop right here and INSPECT this claim. The specific issue is around "real time communications". Today the industry is struggling with how to insure that voice and video over IP is given the appropriate priority over the network. These sessions occur in real time. A delay in packets related to your voice call leads to an unclear voice conversation. With IPTV if there is delay the picture that you see on the screen becomes garbled.
The context of this entire debate is the future transition by the cable companies in particular where they adopt IPTV. Today even though you have one coax cable coming into your house there are actually 2 different broadcast domains in use on the physical cable. The television broadcasts that you receive are broadcasted in one particular set of frequencies on the cable. The Internet access that you receive on that same cable is broadcasted on a different range of frequencies. The cable head end unit muxes these two signals together and sends it down the same "pipe". The plan for IPTV is to merge these two domains together. The signal in IPTV becomes packetized into IP packets and routed over the local access network that is owned by the network operator. Billions of dollars has been spent by Verizon, for example to upgrade their local networks to fiber optics in support of this emerging future broadcast technology.
The threat to Verizon and others is that as they go to IPTV they lose the exclusive control of the "channel lineup". Where as today they offer 300 fixed channels that have been negotiated and paid for via contract and thus they sell "programming bundles" to their consumers, in the IPTV realm, being exposed to the broad Internet there is the threat that one broadcaster with a high speed Ethernet connection could broadcast an HD television channel and be on par with the channel line up from the cable company. All the while they are consuming bandwidth at the flat rate, only having paid their local ISP for the connection to the Internet. Another point of technical details is "multicast" technology. Where as today each video session that is accessed from a streaming server consumes a slice of bandwidth from the broadcaster's local access circuit and thus provides the bottleneck as to how many individuals they can "serve", with multicast the signal is put into the network once and the various ISPs receive it once and a branch of the signal is broadcasted across their network with their consumers able to hop on to form an additional "leaf" upon the branch.
In simple, non-technical terms this puts all of the financial risks upon the backs of the network builders/operators while the content providers, having paid their flat rate are able to make a killing by billing the end users for their variable consumption. Who on Earth is going to sink billions of dollars into building a network while having their ROI potential capped at a $19 to $40 per month Internet access package? Add to this these cable companies would have their television packages destroyed as anyone with a high speed circuit could become a broadcaster of high quality video with little to no start up costs. As the bandwidth demands from the end consumer increases due to the additional users, it is the network operator who will be left holding the bag to capitalize further investments.
Let's be clear. These network operators have billions of dollars at their disposal. They have a team of marketing agents and lawyers and lobbyists working to plead their cause. I am in no way shedding a tear for them. My issue is with the technology-socialists. They are applying their anti-capitalistic screed to this subject. In listening to Bill Moyers of PBS on the subject his report had the deck stacked against the evil telecom firms. Popular rantings in Congress is that South Korea is far ahead of us in the game of Internet access. They point to the fact that 100Mb per second Internet access is available in that country while we are "still" at 2Mbps and some can't even get that depending on where they live. They never talk about the $24 BILLION in financing that Verizon had to stake their company on as they built their FIOS network. There is still no guarantee that this investment is going to stave off competition from competitors who are able to swoop into their large urban markets that serve as "low hanging fruit". As with Korea -the density of people makes it far more easier to install high speed switching equipment with relatively short cable runs to light them up. Move to the rural areas and you have far less population density. This means more cable with fewer people using the expensive electronic networking equipment. The carrier that is required to cover all of these places holds the bag with respect to the capital required to make it happen.
What about the content providers? As we cheer about Michael Vick's $120 million contract or the fact that Tyler Perry got a $100 contract for his sitcom, few realize that this system of financing is what makes all of this work. TBS receives payment from the cable operators to carry its content. These operators receive their funding from the cable subscribers. Of course TBS pays Tyler Perry from the commercial advertising it does AND from the cable subscription fees that it collects. There is no getting around the fact that MONOPOLIES and or limited distribution agreements which focus the public's attention upon a chosen group of talent is a necessity for branding and for the current entertainment market. There are literally hundreds of street ball players on the playgrounds of America who could take LeBron James to the hole with ease. These people don't have their games filmed for a global audience that was crafted by the marketing from the NBA. Thus they don't have the million dollar television contract nor the shoe endorsements.
Somehow economic and financial realities seem to escape the technology-socialists. They seemingly know little about how capital investments work.
I have said it before and I will say it again: I have yet to see Senator Barack Obama STAND UP TO any far left entity during his presidential run. His policies are not unlike their's. Add Net Neutrality to the long list of reasons why I WOULD NOT vote for Barack Obama DESPITE the fact that he would be this nation's first Black president.