Questions for NYT Editorialist on “Access and the Internet”

The latest of four New York Times editorials reiterating its support of net neutrality legislation or FCC rules, “Access and the Internet,” raises some simple questions.

First, are the examples in the editorial the best the New York Times can come up with to justify a major legislative overhaul to solve a potential problem that can’t even be defined or documented?

  • After literally quadrillions of Internet transmissions over the last few years without incident, if there was a real problem wouldn’t the Times expect to find more evidence of that real problem?
    • Citing the Verizon NARAL incident, which was not based on Verizon corporate policy and was an admitted and immediately rectified operational mistake, is among the thinnest imaginable justification for industry-wide legislation, especially given Verizon’s speed and effectiveness in fixing the admitted mistake.
    • Considering Apple’s rejection of Google Voice to be evidence of a net neutrality problem is even more far fetched.
      • Apple is a handset manufacturer not an ISP, and Apple has accepted over 65,000 applications for its Apps Store.
      • It understandably rejected Google Voice because it essentially would supplant the form and function of the iPhone’s innovation.
    • Is the New York Times suggesting that it may be a net neutrality violation if a competitor does not directly subsidize Google or volunteer to cede its market to Google when asked? Is that competition?

Second, in suggesting that the Markey-Eshoo bill is a “good bill that would guarantee so-called net neutrality,” did the editorial writer even read the legislation?

  • The legislation doesn’t even define “net neutrality” or “open” or reasonable network management.
    • How can it be a “good bill” if the bill’s drafters can’t even define the problem that they allege urgently needs solving?
  • If the New York Times read and analyzed the bill, they would realize that it is the quintessential example of a “bad” bill in that it:
    • Is completely unworkable,
    • Is much more regulatory than even the strictest monopoly-era regulation of the last 75 years;
    • Would torpedo incentives to invest in universal broadband access; and
    • Spawn incapacitating sector wide uncertainty.
Third, why is the New York Times editorial board so worried about a manufactured political issue, that the Times editorial board has proven is very thin on evidence or understanding, when there are real, pressing, and widely documented problems like Internet security to editorialize about?

  • President Obama declared cyber-security a national security priority.