The “Real” Meaning of Net Neutrality

Jeff asked me to write an analysis of the recent Net Neutrality hearing on Capital Hill for our blog.

I tried to, Jeff. I really did.

I quickly realized that I did not have a unique analysis of the hearing. The issues are clear and Cynthia, Om, Rafat & Staci already wrote what I was going to say.

But, there are larger, more practical issues that don't seem to be getting as much ink and that is what I will focus on.

Lately, there has been a loud rattling of sabers and the equally loud indignation over perceived threats of extortion.

Stepping back from the rhetoric, let’s examine some realities of the mutually beneficial relationship between Content and Distribution.

They need each other. No, it’s stronger than that. They gotta have each other.

Content without Distribution is a bunch of files sitting on a server not generating revenue.

Distribution without Content is an empty browser and no reason to buy Internet access.

All the current finger pointing and chest-thumping by both camps are nothing more than the opening salvos in what will turn out to be a long march towards an equitable solution.

That solution needs to balance the need for Distribution to generate an ROI on their CAPEX & OPEX while supporting the Internet as an engine of innovation, allowing new Content companies to grow.

Currently, there is a economic disconnect between Content and Distribution. So, it is to economics that we need to look for an answer.

Simply put: revenues aren't being shared. Both camps are holding onto their receipts with a white-knuckled grip, refusing to acknowledge the reality of the mutually beneficial relationship upon which they both exist.

I say that both camps should face reality and agree on a model where revenues are shared.

More on that revenue sharing model later...

Scott Landman


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