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Net Neutrality: Luke, Beware of the Dark Side

USA Today asks the question, 'Who will pay for the Internet superhighway?' as the title of an editorial. Their article defines the topic this way -- "In the media and the halls of Congress, the Internet, phone and cable TV industries are raising a ruckus over net neutrality. What's the squabble about?"

I have an alternative title for their column, "Truth, Lies and the Unguided Manipulation of Public Policy." Perhaps this dialogue is missing the inclusion of the greater question -- as the U.S. slips further within the national ranking of the global networked economy, what will be done to stop the U.S. rank slipping to #20 in 'real broadband' market penetration?

For those of you who don't fully comprehend the implications of this apparent crisis, let me use a simple analogy.

U.S. public policy is similar to "the force" in the Star Wars fictional series storyline -- it can be used for both good and evil purposes. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is similar to the Jedi High Council, and the U.S. House and Senate are similar to the the Chancellors of the Galactic Republic. OK, are you with me so far? Jolly good!

Well, just like in the fictional Star Wars, here in the highly competitive global networked economy of the real world politicians need to be guided by trusted advisors who can make the determination between what is inherently good and evil.

IMHO, the ultimate question that should be asked -- by USA Today, or whomever -- is can the current FCC commissioners collectively guide the nation's telecom and Internet infrastructure debate in the right direction? (hint: siding with the 'dark side' is unwise).

As America prepares to insert a decisive policy keystone in the foundation for its forward-looking economic position within this rapidly evolving 21st Century, I say "may the 'good force' be with you." Choose wisely, young Luke (a metaphor for a 200+ year-old immature nation, about to make an important decision).

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