[discuss] FW: Comcast undertakes 9 year IETF cosponsorship!?

Andrew Sullivan ajs at anvilwalrusden.com
Tue Mar 25 18:50:39 UTC 2014

On Tue, Mar 25, 2014 at 07:13:07PM +0100, Jefsey wrote:
> I agree with you on most points (may be should one reread what I
> wrote). 

I did read what you wrote, more than once.  I responded to the parts
that seemed to me to be on topic.  But since you ask. . .

> 1/ in sponsoring meetings one maintains friendship. It is a basic
> investment for good relations and a good image as an innovation
> supporter. Regular lobbying strategy.

This just repeats the same vague hints of misbehaviour.  How exactly
is "lobbying" in this case like lobbying a legislator?  What is the
basis by which the analogy between IETF processes and representative
democracy sound?  For I maintain the analogy is at best mistaken and
at worst invidious.  If you have a point beyond, "Comcast has
interests," make it.  The IETF's procedures are, I claim, carefully
designed to acknowledge such interests and channel them towards sound
Internet engineering.  IF you have an argument that that's not the
case, let's hear it.  I'm tired of snide implication and dark hints of
conspiracy: it's time for those who are claiming that there's bad
behaviour to produce even one decision of the IETF that was clearly
influenced by a meeting host, or else to stop throwing these
accusations around.

> 2/ you did not address the main question: "I would be quite
> interested if someone could explain me why, in terms of business
> return and Congress legislation evolution Comsat and its likes would
> be interested in internet innovation" (status-quo is not about
> influencing innovation, but about dilluting it).

I _think_ what you're saying is that we're supposed to explain
Comcast's (I presume that's who "Comsat" is?) motivations in
contributing to Internet innovation.  First, I think this question is
either leading or question-begging, because it assumes that Comcast's
motivation in sponsoring an IETF meeting is to promote Internet
innovation.  It may well be that Comcast simply wants to sponsor the
meeting because they think it's a good use of promotional dollars.  I
really have no idea why Comcast does anything: I don't work for them.

But in general, if I am a large player in a technical market, even the
shallowest familiarity with the history of technical businesses will
teach me that those who attempt to sit on their laurels find
themselves at a disadvantage.  Technical companies must participate in
innovation in their fields, or else be surprised by unexpected

Finally, you make the completely unsupported claim that maintaining
the status quo is not about "influencing innovation, but about
dilluting it".  I think this is a false dichotomy; but anyway the
claim would need some sort of definition of what "diluting innovation"
is and why you think the dichotomy is even reasonable.

> What I only know is that Fadi announced Sao Paulo in including
> Telcos in "the familly". As far as we are concerned all  this
> suspicion results from 1996 Telecommunication Act intricacies.

It seems to me that a far more reasonable explanation is that, as the
administration of parts of the Internet changes, it would be
ridiculous to leave out the very people on whose wires the Internet
critically depends.  If you are writing procedures for the auto
industry, you need to talk to automotive engineers or you get stupid
procedures.  The same for aerospace, food packing, baby cribs,
housing, or screws and bolts.  And it's also the same for shlepping
bits around the planet in wires and radio waves.  The key thing is to
avoid capture of the process.  Excluding the very people who
understand the issues the best is a doomed strategy.

Best regards,


Andrew Sullivan
ajs at anvilwalrusden.com

More information about the discuss mailing list