Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Of Vonage, IPOs, and the Extermination of Net Neutrality

The carriers and their apologists endlessly babble that technology has passed the Internet by. That TCP is decades-old technology that somehow doesn't map to the new world order of carrier last-mile fiefdoms. That Bob Kahn, Vint Cerf, Lawrence Lessig, and Tim Berners-Lee are harmless old coots who couldn't spot a modern network architecture if it fired off signal flares at the rest home.

The only problem for the carriers and their minions is this: context-less technical diatribes don’t stand up to the scrutiny of this little world we like to call "reality".

Internet phone provider Vonage has been sued in a class action lawsuit on behalf of shareholders who bought stock in the company prior to its IPO. Many observers believe that the risk of net neutrality’s demise has taken its toll on Vonage’s stock price.

That is what we call value destruction, an endemic, pervasive quality of handing a few juggernaut-sized corporations the keys to the Internet.

Here is all that I ask of the carriers and their lackeys: show me the business plans. Show me the forecasts of value-creation predicated upon last-mile gatekeeping.

Show me where IPTV works over Project-Lightspeed-quality last-mile lines (not on some carrier’s pristine backbone).

Illustrate for me with pie- and line-charts the carriers' customer-sat ratings.

Regale me with stories of the innovative IP services that have demonstrated the carriers’ net-savvy nature.

Tell me how Internet2 -- arguably the most advanced end-to-end network on the planet -- handled tiered architectures.

List for me all of the carrier's Internet deployment successes, ranging from ISDN to their promised fiber rollouts of the late 90’s.

Show me where the carriers have implemented tiered HDTV-over-IP over an end-to-end infrastructure… anywhere in a real-world situation with consumers involved.

I can show you a rich history of aggregate trillion-dollar market caps with the "old-model" Internet. That’s right - the one with net neutrality enforced by the FCC. Tell me how the carriers will do better by exterminating net neutrality. Let's start with opening up the telcos' business plans to public scrutiny.

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