Internet High Priestess Esther Dyson Declares: Net Neutrality Debate is a “Muddle” and Two-Tier Internet is Not Necessarily a Bad Thing — Read all About it on the new Beet.TV Transcription Blog!

By on 01/19/2007 5:25 PM @beet_tv

View a transcript of this interview

There’s been a lot of discussion lately about pending moves in Congress to keep the Internet from being split into faster and slower networks — keeping the Net "neutral."  Esther is leery about Congress jumping into new regulations — and she’s not alone among the big tech thinkers.   Here is  a compelling case against Net Neutrality in today’s Washington  Post by David Farber of Carnegie Mellon University and Michael L. Katz of the University of California at Berkeley.

Esther has been a major player in Internet policy for some time.  She was a past chairman of ICANN, the body that regulates Internet domains.  She just started to blog for Huffington Post.

She thinks the whole debate over Net Neutrality is a "muddle" and that most people don’t understand the issues.  And, she is not too encouraged by what she sees emerging on Capitol Hill. She believes that if there is a commercial need for faster Internet, it should exist. 

Seems like the avalanche of online video through the Internet is one of the prime factors in motivating the teleco industry to establish a two-tier Internet.

Here’s a transcription of the interview:

Esther Dyson: The biggest problem that net neutrality has is nobody knows what they’re talking about when they talk about it. The issue is who pays and whether they’re monopolies or not, so there’s a whole lot of, I think, disingenuous discussion about control without ever really looking at the fundamental issue, which is somebody’s got to pay for more bandwidth if consumers are gonna be uploading and downloading video.

Some people say, “Well, we want to sell advertising and control the channel, and; therefore, we’re gonna be able to tell consumers they can get it cheap or free and become the good guys,” but we do that, basically, by limiting their access.

As long as there’s healthy competition, I have no problem if someone pays extra for additional bandwidth, as long as that doesn’t cut off people’s access to the other stuff. The challenge is when you have – especially when you have local cable companies who are going to limit people’s access, the same way the cell phone companies will give you sort of their platform without letting you get to the rest of the web.

That’s when you have a problem, but net neutrality basically means whatever you want it to mean. For example, AT&T just signed an agreement that they would basically – they said, “We’ll observe these principles of net neutrality for everything except Internet TV,” which, of course, is what the net neutrality battle is all about.

So it was a kind of useless exemption. It’s like saying I’ll be good every day except for days when I wear red, and then you wear red on the days you wanna be bad.

Andy Plesser: It’s streaming and downloading video that’s really the big – and uploading video is the big issue around this whole bandwidth and net neutrality discussion?

Esther Dyson: The issue around bandwidth and net neutrality is simply can you control what users see, pay for it through advertising, and then tell the users you’re giving – they’re getting it for free without allowing them the ability to pay for what they actually want.

And so there’s this disingenuous discussion of if you don’t allow us to pay extra, you’re not gonna get free content. Well, of course not, but let the consumer decide whether they want paid or subsidized.

Andy Plesser: Where do you think the legislation might go and the impact that it could have? Do you think about that?

Esther Dyson: I think we’ll muddle through. Really, what will happen is if anything’s too egregious, we’ll sort of stop it eventually, but yeah, companies will throw their weight around, and it’ll – they have a lot of lobbyists and a lot of money.

[End of Audio]

Read Transcripts of our Interviews!

Here at Beet.TV, we have just launched a transcription blog that mirrors posts on Beet.TV.  We have a handful transcribed — but will add dozens more in the days ahead. We use smart human beings to transcribe our interviews.  We think that transcriptions will be of value to you.  The transcriptions also help maximize the search of our content.  We think it’s pretty cool.   Please visit our new transcription blog and subscribe to it.  I hope you find it valuable.

Andy Plesser


Recent Videos
The Growth of Addressable Television will Be Powered by Media Agencies

Addressable TV, the sending of TV ads to specific cable or satellite boxes, is developing but its growth is limited by supply.   MSO’s including AT&T DirecTV, Cablevision and others offer only two-minutes per hour. But that is going to change. It will be driven by media agencies who will buy ...

Mike McAvoy, The Onion
Native Advertising Powering Profitability for The Onion…along with Donald Trump

COLOGNE –  Native or custom advertising units, is powering profitability for the Chicago-based satirical publisher The Onion, says CEO Mike McAvoy, in this interview with Beet.TV at DMEXCO last month. Big marketers including Ford are on board  with custom campaigns.  The business of display does ...

Armel Bursaux, SMG
Starcom MediaVest is Powering Clients with Expanding DMP Solution

COLOGNE –  Putting the power of data management into the hands of its clients, is the primary genesis of the Publicis’ DMP offering, explains Armel Bursaux, Data and Analytics Director of Starcom MediaVest, in this interview with Beet.TV last month at DMEXCO. SMG parent Publicis announced its ...

The Expansion of MediaLink, CMO Dee Salomon Explains

COLOGNE – Known in the media and adtech industries as a powerful networker, with glitzy parties in Cannes and at CES, MediaLink is expanding with dedicated practices around programmatic advertising, a content creation unit and a very active role in many of the current agency reviews, explains Dee ...

NBCUniversal Now Ramping Up Its Programmatic Video Sales Via Private Deals

NBCUniversal is ramping up its programmatic video sales via private deals, but it’s not selling video inventory on open exchanges. “It’s our most prized asset, “ says Aaron Radin, SVP-Partnerships and Portfolio Products at NBCUniversal, in an interview with Beet. TV. “It’s the core asset of the ...

Advertisers Need More Transparency And Security: AudienceScience’s Bernard

COLOGNE — Advertising technology platforms are giving advertisers and ad buyers unprecedented and ever-greater abilities to plan, control, buy and monitor their digital ad campaigns. But with this new power comes, also, degrees of complexity. For starters, now that advertisers rely on more and more ...

Automation Can Be Inefficient: FreeWheel’s Rooke

COLOGNE — Programmatic ad-trading technology has been used to automate and refine the process of buying and selling online display ads. Now it is also making in-roads to online video. Next, many hope it will similarly revolutionise TV advertising. But is programmatic automation really all it’s ...

Common Measurement Is A Smokescreen: FreeWheel’s Heller

COLOGNE — These days, a plethora of advertising technologies gives brands analytical insight in to a whole array of campaign data points. As the tech burgeons, many advertisers, scratching their head at all the results, speculate about combining those data in to a single score. But that would not be ...

Digital Content Must Be Consumer-Centric: Conceptbakery’s Dorfler

COLOGNE — According to one local ad exec, Germany’s business culture emphasizes efficiency and planning up front, which minimizes the risk of failing. It’s very different from the ethos of some U.S. companies, which tend to try out several ideas to see what sticks. However, while risky, that ...

Programmatic Will Increasingly Be Tied to Content: Performics’s Kahn

COLOGNE — Consumer intent has become the most important variable for marketers to tap into, according to Michael Kahn, CEO of the Publicis-owned performance marketing agency Performics. “I believe that the marketing world has moved from a post-awareness world to one fully focused on consumer ...

Content and Creativity Is Coming to the “Machine-Driven World” of AdTech, AOL’s Bob...

Programmatic advertising has been in the spotlight for the past two years.  Now it is the integration of creativity and content into the “machine-driven”world of adtech that is essential says Bob Bejan, Global Creative Executive Director of AOL in this interview with Beet.TV Bejan, who joined ...

Native Video Is Fastest Growing Format in Mobile Advertising: AdColony’s Yang

COLOGNE — Native video is the fastest growing format in mobile advertising today, according to Nikao Yang, SVP-Global Marketing and Business Development at AdColony, a unit of  Oslo’s Opera Mediaworks. “Publishers are looking for new innovative ways to monetize their content feeds,” he ...