Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Rum, sodomy, the lash and co-regulation

Back on 23 October, I blogged 'You have to love Jon Peha for Paragraph 177 - the Technical Advisory Process - so perhaps the lunatics won't get to entirely run the asylum in the 120 days of sodom that the NPRM will unleash.' Well, there's been a good deal more rum, sodomy and the lash than 120 days (more like 8 months and counting), despite my hope in February of 'Reasonable People Achieving Consensus?'
Now the industry is planning a BITAG - Broadband Industry Technical Advisory Group. Simple question - why would the FCC accept a self-regulatory group when it could 'trust but verify' and go down the co-regulatory route? As the Open Internet Coalition stated: "We strongly feel as with all self-regulatory regimes, this can only be effective with a legal backstop to enforce voluntary industry rules at the FCC. Without such a backstop, this approach will be toothless and ultimately ineffective."
Quite. The fact Google is supporting it does not make it better than co-regulation.
UPDATE: the usual scuffles have broken out in DC between those who take Adam Smith's name in vain on one side, and Free Press which oddly wants to grind through yet more FCC processes on the other.
UPDATE 2: the BITAG will be chaired by Dale Hatfield, who has done more or less everything forever in telecoms policy, though his speciality is spectrum reform rather than Torrent protocols. But he's certainly a safe pair of hands, could be Jon Peha's godfather (cue music...). I would not immediately mark him down as someone to bang heads together with the incumbents, but its self- not co-regulatory, so that's probably not top of the list of skills required.

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