Wheeler's "breeze" blows hot air

13 July 2014 by Steve Blum
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What – me worry?

Fierce Online Video ran a great article by Samantha Bookman comparing a cheerleading editorial in the Wall Street Journal by FCC chairman Tom Wheeler with a much more pessimistic view of future that came from a broad canvassing of Internet experts by Pew Research. According to the article, Wheeler, a former lead lobbyist for both the mobile phone and cable television industries, wrote…

“In the not-too-distant future, wireless communications will connect not just everyone, but everything. When 50 billion inanimate devices are talking to each other (Cisco’s forecast for 2020), information will flow like the breeze among sensors and databases,” he wrote. The FCC chairman also encouraged companies to somehow “push past network legacies” to find new opportunities.

If you want further enlightenment from Wheeler on the free flow of information, sorry, the editorial is hidden behind the WSJ pay wall. I have no objections to pay walls, by the way. The Internet should be a place where writers can make a living. I just think it’s hilarious.

Clearly, his information isn’t flowing “like the breeze”, because the Internet is, and should be, both a business and a place to do business. Which is why his network neutrality proposal is nonsense. Case by case review of network operators’ business practices will, if done honestly, bog down infrastructure deployment and development of new services and content in a perpetual regulatory wrestling match. If, instead, it’s driven by Wheeler’s no lobbyist left behind ethic, it’ll become a contest to write rules that benefit and, in effect, subsidise one particular business model over another. Victory will go to the companies and lobbying fronts with the deepest pockets.

Do you think the FCC chairman has a problem with that?