Monday, November 21, 2005

If it ain't broke...

One of my favorite wacko Southern sayings comes from Jerry Lee Lewis, who once stated his attitude to excess thus: "Enough is alright, more is better, and too much is just about right." This might also be applied to Congressional efforts to fine-tune the economics and engineering of the internet. Just last week, we published our November edition of the Daiwa Global Telecom Monthly, and in it I wrote a leader piece dealing with the BITS act and related issues, and afterward I wondered if I had been a bit too alarmist and paranoid.

However, after reading Susan Crawford's take on the new draft bill on the Universal Service Funding mechanism (read pages 17 - 19, and then go and change your underwear), I am beginning to agree with Jerry Lee (i.e., only too paranoid is an adequate response to this kind of craziness). In other words, this piece from one year ago seems to be playing out as I envisaged - but it's actually worse.

Not only does the customer stand to get shafted, but it looks to me like purveyors of third party communications applications are left open to, in effect, being forced to pay interconnect, as well as being saddled with all manner of compliance costs (and fines, should they not play along nicely). I wonder how Skype would have handled this challenge had it remained an independent company, but even with eBay footing the bills, I'm not sure how it deals with this.

I guess this is a good time to be in the deep packet inspection field. Skype was about opening up communication, and now the sweet spot in the market is around closing it down.

(UPDATE: Those of you old enough will remember just how quickly Woodstock was followed by Altamont...)

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