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Some more opinions I trust.

From a lawyer to my Symposium list. (I don’t identify because I don’t yet have his permission to blog. He is not in the office and must have gone out after his post.)

He writes: I just had a long talk with Dave Burstein about this. I see his point, that this could potentially create a loophole that swallows the benefits of the network neutrality definition.

As with so many things, this is a complicated legal and technical issue. As a lawyer, it seems obvious to me that the IPTV carve out is meant to apply to what we now think of as cable services under Title VI: 24/7 programming, video on demand, and pvr capabilities. The idea that AT&T can give Yahoo! video access to the “Video delivery system” while leaving YouuTube in the “broadband” slow lane would seem to me a violation of the merger conditions.

But an FCC willing to play games could allow an interpretation that treats any video content as “IPTV” rather than broadband and therefore give AT&T discretion. The structure of AT&T’s system gives AT&T an edge in finding places where the line between IPTV and other IP content blurs, and pushing the boundaries on that.

It is important, however, to keep an eye on the ultimate prize in the NN fight — legislation that preserves end-to-end architecture. What we have achieved here (although I have not been terribly involved myself, so cannot claim much actual credit) is to grind out another first down in a massive running game. We have a working definition of network neutrality that goes from the subscriber all the way back to the Tier 1 peering point.

The incumbents will respond by trying to find ways around this definition. As we advance on the Congress and FCC fronts, we will need to do our best to prevent them from succeeding.

Cook’s Edge: But Susan Crawford really nails it here:

The day the internet became cable television: Dec. 29, 2006

As part of the AT&T/SBC merger that is expected to be approved today, AT&T is now pledging to keep its “wireline broadband Internet access service” neutral.

AT&T joins the trickster pantheon with this move. (Other well known recent tricksters include Br’er Rabbit and Bugs Bunny.)

“Wireline broadband Internet access service” means traditional copper-wire digital subscriber line access provided by phone companies like AT&T. It’s not very fast, but it’s much faster than dial-up, and AT&T and Verizon sell it to a lot of people.

But cable internet access is more popular in this country, and although the phone companies are closing the gap they’d like to compete more effectively with the cable industry.

Friends -


Susan’s full post here.

and tell the FCC to say


to rapaciuos Ed.

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