Thanks to all who read my initial posting on network neutrality, and especially to those folks who took the time to leave comments. While I don’t have the personal bandwidth (ouch) to respond to each and every posting while also taking care of my “day job” here at Google, I will check back periodically and offer follow-up reactions.
I believe it is important for companies like Google to establish a place of meaningful dialogue with the general public, and to open our policy advocacy role to outside analysis -- and yes, criticism. I also welcome your thoughts on other telecommunications and media policy issues of interest to you (my own current favorite topic is the FCC’s ongoing consideration of rules governing the upcoming 700 MHz auction). And I urge folks to take their views to the places where they ultimately count: the well-trod halls of the FCC and the U.S. Congress.Today, I'll offer some thoughts on one of the key issues raised in some of the comments on my net neutrality post: the broadband market. Later this week I'll address two other issues you asked questions about: type-based traffic differentiation, and payment for bandwidth.Market analysis
Scott Cleland asked whether the search market is as highly concentrated as the broadband market, and thus deserves network neutrality regulation as well. Scott asked me the same question at an EDUCAUSE policy conference last month, but I’m happy to repeat my response and elaborate here.
I’m certainly no economist, but I do try to keep up on the latest thinking about how markets function. The available evidence demonstrates that the U.S. consumer broadband market is highly concentrated, with extensive barriers to entry, high consumer switching costs, and no near-term competition. By stark contrast, the search market is robustly competitive, with numerous major players, new near-term competition, no significant barriers to entry, and zero user switching costs.
Together, these salient factors -- excessive market concentration, no viable competitors, considerable consumer switching costs, and substantial barriers to entry -- should lead policymakers to conclude that there is a major competition problem in the broadband market. No such problems exist in the search market.
I'll have more to say later this week about some of the other issues you've raised. In the meantime, what do you think?
A couple of points:I just ordered DSL service for my Mom's apartment: the best service she could get is 6 Mb download. Meanwhile, I see today that there's a report out today (http://www.computerworld.com/action/article.do?command=viewArticleBasic&articleId=9025726&intsrc=hm_list) that says that people in Japan average ten TIMES that, and people in South Korea, France and Canada all average better than the best I could get. To me that certainly shows something's wrong.Regarding wireless/3G service, where I am it's pretty poor. The 3G service is pretty unreliable - in many places 3G just doesn't work, and in other places my cell phone gets 3G, but my computer doesn't! (with the cell phone and the wireless card literally sitting next to each other).Now, I don't live in a tech hotbed, so that may have something to do with it, but as far as I'm concerned broadband here is pretty poor.
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This is a great analysis, however I feel it leaves out a large reason as to why people initially choose search engines, and stay with them: the peripheral features. Taking Google as an example, through the iGoogle gateway you can have personalized news, horoscopes, jokes, and a growing list of third party addons. Furthermore, there is Gmail, Google Docs, the Calendar, and even a personal Google website. This doesn’t even take into account any friends you chat with or share calendars, documents, etc. The switching costs associated with all of this are immense when taken together. Now, you could use Yahoo’s search while using all of Google’s additional products, but the average user has little incentive in the form of greater search results to bother navigating outside of Google’s garden.Now, I still feel that there is a significant level of competition in the search engine market, especially if you compare it to broadband market. However, I’d be intrigued to see potential information about how many users, once established within Google’s grid of products, use alternative search engines.
A podcast of the EDUCAUSE Policy Conference session referred to in this posting can be found here:http://connect.educause.edu/blog/gbayne/podcastnetneutrality/44583
I disagree that stickiness and switching costs are not significant in the search engine industry. The most successful search engine companies bundle their products with e-mail and other services (blogger, google maps, etc.) If nothing else it constantly brands the consumer's internet experience (not a bad business plan).Anyway, I think this is a great way for you to communicate more with the public.
We need new alternative that could offer HIGH SPEED SYMMETRICAL UPLOAD/DOWNLOAD internet access that will support the current need of IP-TV and Video-phone users. Web access that does not have have a "lag" in sending and receiving large web data- video and voice !!!The time is now, not later or tomorrow !!!
A huge difference between wireless broadband and search that was not mentioned here is that wireless broadband is built upon the public airwaves.Full open access is appropriate for new airwave allocations because there is no public benefit from allowing exclusive or restrictive uses; while open access offers great benefits. These benefits could include increased business activity and tax revenue. A recent Business Week article explains how it has sparked great innovation and competition in France.Restrictive uses might increase the perceived value of the licenses to incumbent providers, but is a great disservice to the public.
The 28% number from 2005 you quote seems a little disingenuous. The Pew Internet & American Life Project has reported that 47% of Americans had broadband connections at home as of early 2007.
Here’s a Broadband Video that will show you how to check availability by postcode, how perform a broadband speed test and where to find broadband forums to answer your questions. There are also offers for AOL Broadband. Here is a broadband beginners guide and below are common broad band questions;>What is Broadband?>Types of Connections?>Connection speeds and download limits>How to compare ISP’shttp://agreatpleasure.blogspot.com/2007/11/bt-broadband-broadband-supplier.html
Good article and comments about net neutrality and the broadband market. satellite internet access is the future of broadband internet technology.
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