Thoughts on Comcast v. FCC

I published the first of two pieces on CNET today about interesting and even encouraging developments in Washington over Internet policy. (See “New Year, New Policy Push for Universal Broadband")

In short, I believe that over the past year the Obama administration has come to see Internet products and services among the best hopes for economic recovery and continued competitiveness for U.S. businesses. At least as a matter of policy, this is the first administration to see digital life as a source of competitive advantage.

Tomorrow’s piece concerns the “spectrum crisis” and what the federal government hopes to do to solve it. (The federal government “owns” the radio waves, after all.)

Cut due to the length of the piece was a longer analysis of the arguments a few weeks ago in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in Comcast v. FCC, in which cable provider Comcast challenged a sanction the FCC issued in 2008 for the company’s attempts to limit use by some customers of peer-to-peer applications including BitTorrent. For the longer version, see "The White House's New Internet Policy."


In terms of a 'competitive advantage' in online markets, how is it that the White House is staking claim to the supposed international view of global communication? As it stands, China is making a bid to oust the U.S. from its stranglehold of the internet and its associated markets. Furthermore, it sounds to me as if the Digital Millenium Act is a loosely held bandaid that covers the ever growing peer to peer sharing, shareware and freeware programs that are burgeoning the web. My question is: who can truly set policy governing internet activities?

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