For some reason Alex is having trouble posting to the WISPA General List so here is what he was trying to send:

Alex wrote,

I aon't write for this list any longer, but thought I'd drop in some thoughts that may be useful to you. Perhaps useful to those of you who are just getting into being and ISP.

I'd like to know what the list members think of have a site that can fire off an email to your Rep or Senator. You select the topic of concern, click a couple of buttons and off goes a canned letter to your Representative or Congress-person.

Several questions come to mind which I’d like you to answer. First, are the issues on of concern to the Wireless list membership? I see at least 2 I’m personally doing something about. The Telcom Act and Net Neutrality. If Net Neutrality means keeping the number and types of Web sites high, then I’m all for it. Is there a good reason to limit or block any site? Is the Internet supposed to be governed by Free Speech. If you can’t get your message to the world because backbone carriers decided that your message will be queued behind theirs and there are 3 main carriers (as there are telcos and energy companies), is this a matter of free speech? IMHO, the Internet should remain open, unfettered by legislation so long as there remains a competitive, open environment at all levels. I'm not sure it can be legislated, but certainly congress can adopt a position on the subject, and the FCC can establish guidelines.

If you decide you want to keep a level playing field what does that mean? Backbone providers are working hard to exclude competition, so goes the take-back of DSL circuits, the rising prices of T1 and other Telco/Backbone/DSL/webhosting/Conglomerate ‘assets’. Consolidation makes money for investors. It doesn’t create incentive for innovation.

So there’s my nutshell for Net Neutrality. Allow consolidation, which in turn creates lower competition, which defuses innovation, which reduces arguments for more spectrum which reduces competition, and then apply new tiered prices for video, audio, text, images, hosting, VoIP, and other innovations, which raises revenues for new massive Telco/Cable monopolies, which puts capital - read power - back into the hands of the companies who in general languished for 50 years in the monopolies, content to tell you that your Central Office was going to get Voice Mail, Call forward or anything other than dial tone, in 8-12 years, if you are lucky, and don’t make them ‘mad’.

We all need to excite investors. However, innovation is where investment needs to go. I see Net Neutrality as a statement of position in that respect. Is it a matter of Free Speech? Nope, its a matter of Federal Trade Commission snoozing on the job. Its a statement that Podcasting, Videocasting, Screencasting, VoIP, and other innovative applications need to be treated without taxation or burdens of higher fees in tiered pricing. There is currently a model for bandwidth usage that accounts for this variance in load, and its been in use for over 8 years. For any of you that were a part of the pre Commercial Internet - roughly prior to 1992. You know that there were guidelines and rules about how the Internet could be used. These rules were enforced by the regional network you were going to connect to. You applied to the regional network for access. In Texas we'd have to get a connection from a local University.

As it was I connected via UUCP to a friendly Admin at AT&T and registered as my domain in 1986. I provided email and news exchanges through an SCO Unix box and a couple of slow speed modems.

In those days, peering was something done with dial-up connections and discussions with others - specifically the Dallas Lunch Bunch.

It appears to me today, the Terms of Service / Use that any ISP offers, from ourselves (Aspenworks is a small regional ISP) to Earthlink or AOL. The terms of service are now up to the ISP. You can as an ISP declare you are not allowing any ports other than 80 21 25 maybe a couple others, and that your service provides a maximum of 250K bits on FTP.

You can declare whatever you like. That's net neutrality. No regulation works and free market rules, with *one* condition. That condition is that small operators, small media producers, small server operators are treated on a level playing field.

Net Neutrality works when the FTC is doing its job. Just like innovation works when free enterprise is allowed to flourish in a healthy competitive environment. You can apply whatever billing rule you want, so long as there is true competition. Then you have choices which likely include the price model you want.

My opinion is that the Internet is at risk from consolidation. In energy and telco telcom, is allowed to take place totally unbridled. The result is higher energy costs, higher telco charges - which has its upside if you are a passive investor in Old Telco/ Old Energy.

The FCC is not operating in the general interest of the public with respect to White Space or spectrum auctions. If innovation is allowed to be squashed, the these Public Assets might be best auctioned. Aren’t auctions part of a sell-off when there’s real trouble? Is that why the spectrum that you already own is being sold off in auctions? I don’t agree with auctions. If innovation is there in a free market, any citizen can start a business using that public asset and bring real benefits to their community. Auctions are a short term sell off of your asset with no real promise of a benefit.

Selling the public assets to private interests via auctions for short term gains makes no sense to me what so ever.

Demand your assets are not turned over to the highest bidder. Write your Rep. Senator. Tell them you don't want your assets - the public's spectrum sold off any longer.

We should be looking at ways in which the spectrum can be shared among multiple players in an open competitive way.

We should be encouraging competition by writing the FTC, Congress and the Pres, and demanding the restrain the consolidation of the Internet industry.

Alex Huppenthal

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