Re: Natural Monopolies [telecom]

From: Neal McLain

> Over the years there have been sporadic attempts to regulate CATV > companies as utilities but CATV companies have successfully fought off > these attempts. FCC decisions dating back to 1958 have ruled that > CATV companies are not common carriers because they -- the CATV > operators themselves -- choose the signals to be delivered to > subscribers.[1,2] > > Several subsequent laws and court decisions have limited this right > [3], but the fundamental classification remains in place: CATVs are > not common carriers.

It's great having the depth of expertise here! I agree that since CATV exercises editorial control over what content it chooses to provide, the CATV service is not a common carrier, but more like a publication or "information service." "Information Service" and ISP are defined at

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. It SEEMS to me that someone who indeed chooses content (editorial control) and may or may not deliver that content is a publisher and not a common carrier. But, someone providing Internet access does no content choosing. Instead, they are transporting the content that the user is selecting. As such, it appears to me that they are a common carrier. The television broadcast portion of CATV still remains "publishing," but ISP functions appear to be pure telecommunications. As these telecommunications functions start to duplicate other telecommunications functions (VoIP versus POTS), the distinction between the two and the different regulation of the two seems inappropriate.

I find it interesting to compare ISP functionality to POTS functionality. For example, recent net neutrality discussions have mentioned AT&T getting paid by content providers to have that content not apply against a user's data limit. This, to me, seems very similar to a collect call or 800 number, which is widely accepted in POTS. Should it not be widely accepted on the Internet?



Reply to
Harold Hallikainen
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No, it should not, and for an important reason: POTS and WATS (800) services are both offered on the PSTN, which is (at least for the moment) a network that is designed to use virtual circuits for every phone call. If the customers talk or if they don't, they still pay for and get a 4KHz (64Kbps) pipe in both directions, but if they can't be connected, they don't pay for that pipe.

The Iternet is not able to guarantee that bandwidth to each customer simultaneously, but the customers pay for the pipes no matter what. It's fundamentally a flat rate system, with bandwidth allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.

Bill Horne

Reply to
Bill Horne


Well, the answer is obvious: regulate broadband under Title II and linear video under Title IV. Apply it equally to telcos, CATVs, Google Fiber, and any future fiber networks.

Then let the beancounters try to figure that out!

Neal McLain

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