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Thursday, March 04, 2010

Above the fold - the political bit of Ed's speech

So the policy wonks have written some fascinating stuff about how information transparency can help and hinder efforts to get to net neutrality 'lite'. But note the speech continues to make claims about UK competition that are highly dubious (anyone would think he was living in actually competitive Denmark or Netherlands): "As we think about this set of problems, it is worth noting that the facts on the ground are different here in Europe compared with the US. In the US, limited competition, both at the network and at the ISP level, means that the potential for consumer detriment through traffic management is greater. In Europe, as recent research for the FCC indicates [presumably the Berkman/Benkler report], the mixed model – investment in infrastructure complemented by unbundling of the local loop has delivered a more competitive market structure from the exchange back into the network [is this a justifiable middle mile claim? Dave Burstein would disagree]. Where competition thrives, the case for a highly interventionist net neutrality policy is harder to justify on the grounds of consumer protection."
Second, the reported version has a few more interesting and frankly less constructive comments than the text on the Ofcom site, though this may just be sloppy journalism by the Financial Times:"The scale of deployment of next-generation “superfast” broadband networks would depend on greater clarity on the issue, Mr Richards said. Ofcom will publish its initial proposals “later in the spring”, aiming to settle its position by the end of the year. While the regulator is likely to avoid the “highly interventionist” approach taken in America, due to greater competition in the UK, broadband providers may be required to be more transparent about how they manage their web traffic."
Well, did he say 'highly interventionist'? Anyone?
UPDATE: I am told that the journalist's spin on what was a constructive speech was a bit of a surprise....
UPDATE 2: Well, perhaps TalkTalk really is about to provide proper backhaul competition to BT and Virgin? This appeared yesterday and promises much, hopefully delivering soon.

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