Do what they say, not what they do…

August 16, 2009

Vint Cerf, Google’s Internet Evangelist, urged the FCC at a broadband workshop last week to regulate broadband networks as a utility like the electrical grid.

  • I wonder if others spotted the irony in Google’s “utility” regulation prescription for broadband.

Google’s Mr. Cerf looks at the most competitive broadband market in the world, declares it inherently anti-competitive, and summarily prescribes… monopoly utility regulation for the entire broadband industry.

Meanwhile back at the Google Book Settlement ranch… Google has negotiated a de facto book search monopoly for itself in the Book Registry “utility” of the Google Book Settlement, without any regulation or Government oversight.

  • Google advocate and former FTC official, David Balto, praised the Google Book registry utility saying:
    • Antitrust appropriately recognizes the need to reward such risk taking endeavors. For decades the courts and antitrust enforcers have recognized the need not to intervene against innovations and new products developed based on superior skill, foresight and ingenuity. The creation of this new online library is precisely that, a risky endeavor that benefits society and consumers.”

Hmmmm. When Google artificially sets up a monopoly book utility for itself, it warrants no regulation. However, when Google’s competitors take risk, introduce new products, invest and innovate in the risky endeavor of broadband deployment and competition, Google’s policy prescription is the exact opposite — monopoly utility regulation… I wonder why that could be…

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