Should consumers have to pay for Google’s failure to transition to social networking?

An interesting discussion today on CNBC regarding Google’s apparent declining fortunes in the area of search. According to Fortune Magazine senior writer Michael Copeland, Google’s core search business is declining. This is a result of competition from Microsoft’s search engine Bing, and Google’s apparent failure to capitalize on social networking.

It seems that members of Facebook and Linkedin prefer to search for expertise and advice from the networks they have built on these sites rather than rely solely on Google’s PageRank algorithms to find information.

Google, according to Mr. Copeland, has to develop the next best thing if it is to continue its dominance in the world of tech.

Makes me wonder, however, that while Google’s best and brightest are conducting their soul searching, should broadband access consumers have to pay extra for Google’s failure to launch?

Google is a leader of that motley crew of open Internet proponents. They, it appears, would rather end users pay increased fees to broadband providers in exchange for the equal treatment of the traffic they transmit over a broadband provider’s network.

It seems that in addition to so-called nondiscriminatory treatment of their traffic, Google and other content providers who have yet to wise up to adopting a Facebook/Linkedin business model, would like to see net neutrality implemented as a bandage to stop the potential hemorrhaging.

What’s really unnerving is that our government, led by the Obama administration and the Federal Communications Commission, are being complicit in this charade. Rather than codify a bunch of net neutrality policies that will only prop up an Internet business model that is apparently becoming less significant, the FCC should allow the ebbs and tides of commerce to take its course and allow Google to figure out the next big thing on its own.

American consumers should not have to bailout Google and other less than dynamic content providers because the brightest minds in the room went on holiday.

Declining GDP growth means downward pressure on demand for broadband

Posted July 30th, 2010 in economy, GDP, net neutrality and tagged , , , by Alton Drew

The Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis released its first estimates for gross domestic product, the measure of our nation’s output and consumption. It was not encouraging.

The annual increase in GDP is at 2.4% for the second quarter of 2010. This is down from a revised 3.7% for the first quarter of 2010.

More telling of the state of broadband demand is the state of computer purchases. Final sales of computers accounted for .04 percentage point of the change in GDP for the second quarter, compared to an addition of .10 percentage points to the overall change in GDP in the first quarter of 2010.

What does this imply for broadband demand? Well, you can’t ride the super information highway without a computer. What’s even more troubling is that for the past 17 months, the FCC has wasted time and resources pushing a net neutrality policy that does not nothing for increasing facility deployment, reducing consumer prices, or increasing consumer demand.

Net neutrality may end up compounding the neutralization of consumer demand for broadband if GDP numbers keep declining this way.

In response to net neutrality debate veers off on copyright tangent

Wow. Talk about a double standard. Content providers, some of whom are very opposed to broadband access providers throttling and prioritizing their traffic, actually want broadband access providers to play post office by inspecting traffic for copyright infringement? Can we really have it both ways?

Well. Maybe. Depending on whether the Federal Communications Commission gets its way on net neutrality. If the three Democrats on the FCC can get Congress to amend the Communications Act so that broadband access providers are defined as telecommunications companies, the law may just lend that type of activity some support.

I base this conclusion on Sec. 222(d)(2) of the Communications Act. A telecommunications carrier can use, disclose, or permit access to customer proprietary network information obtained directly or indirectly from consumers to” protect the rights or property of the carrier, or to protect users of those services, and other carriers from fraudulent, abusive, or unlawful use of, or subscription to, such services.

We don’t want you to ration our traffic, content providers will say, but we want you to read everybody else’s content and we are willing to see you classified as a telecommunications carrier so that you can do it and protect our intellectual property.

So much for the net neutrality posse’s “concerns” for the civil rights of the masses.

In response to without net neutrality FOX news will load faster than the Daily Kos

Posted July 29th, 2010 in Broadband, FCC, Government Regulation, net neutrality and tagged , , , by Alton Drew

I admit that FOX News makes me look like a flaming liberal, and as much as I like and respect Senator Franken, he is wrong on this issue.

Senator Franken appears not to appreciate the laws of demand and supply. FOX News, partly due to the political realignment amongst the electorate, sees a greater demand for its content versus that of the Daily Kos. No broadband access provider would have to show FOX News any additional favor in order for more traffic to flow to FOX’s websites as opposed to those of other media organizations.

If content providers such as Daily Kos desire equal treatment of their traffic, then maybe they should take the good old free market approach of giving the masses content that they want or change their business model to something more socially networked like Facebook. With over 500 million members, Facebook has no reason to worry about equal treatment of their traffic.

In response to Title II the great divide

Posted July 29th, 2010 in Broadband, FCC, Government Regulation and tagged , by Alton Drew

Content providers and broadband access providers may be divided over whether limited common carrier regulations should be applied to network management but the more important divide is the one between minority communities and access to the Internet.

According to the Hispanic Institute, in 2009, 46% of African Americans reported a broadband connection at home while 65% of white Americans reported having a broadband connection at their homes.

For English-speaking Latinos, 68% of this population had broadband connection at home, but for Spanish-speaking Latinos, only 32% had broadband connectivity at home.

In an economy that is information driven and where commerce and conducting business with government is increasingly reliable on the Internet, this is the divide that must be addressed. Unfortunately for net neutrality proponents, their arguments and their philosophy never address this most fundamental issue.