[discuss] Current drive

Milton L Mueller mueller at syr.edu
Mon Apr 7 19:26:52 UTC 2014

If only the people enamoured of the public utility model of regulation would familiarize themselves with the actual history and functioning of public utility regulation. The performance of monopoly regulated telephone companies, for example, in diffusing telephone service to the general population is abysmal. In the 1980s the world embarked on a historic departure from that model, a departure which made the Internet possible, as well as leading to massive lowering of costs and rapid gains in penetration in _both_ the developed and developing world. When folks say they want the public utility model, they are saying they want Ma Bell and PTTs, back to the dinosaurs.

From: discuss-bounces at 1net.org [mailto:discuss-bounces at 1net.org] On Behalf Of John Curran
Sent: Friday, April 04, 2014 11:15 AM
To: michael gurstein
Cc: discuss at 1net.org
Subject: Re: [discuss] Current drive

On Apr 4, 2014, at 10:59 AM, michael gurstein <gurstein at gmail.com<mailto:gurstein at gmail.com>> wrote:

I think that as the significance and scope of deployment of the Internet grows and the Internet becomes even more ubiquitous the calls for (and arguments in support of) seeing the Internet as a (global?) public utility operating (i.e. being "governed") "in the public interest" are growing apace at least outside of circles dominated by a neo-liberal ideology.

Michael -

By that logic, should we not also "govern" the design and functionality of the actual
devices used to access the Internet?  I am having trouble understanding why we'd
be so careless in allowing a variety of software and hardware designs, given the
need for consistent "utility-like" delivery, and certainly we could make a major impact
in areas such as security and spam if the configuration was not left to the vagaries
of actual users...    ;-)


Disclaimer:  my views alone.

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