Internet Pioneers Pulver, Barlow, Evslin, Berninger Slam Current Net Neutrality Regs Ahead of July 12 Internet Day of Action

Daniel Berninger, founder, VCXC and convener of Tech Innovators

“It is alarming to see the utter and complete failure of telecom regulation as applied to the telephone network does not even come up in the debate about extending Title II regulations to the Internet. A review of the track record shows Title II regulation made the telephone network impervious to innovation and fostered monopoly in communication. The failure to improve voice quality of telephone calls for 80 years represents a direct consequence of Title II regulation as does the former and remarkably expensive per minute costs of calling. Everyone abandoned the regulated telephone network as soon as the non-regulated Internet emerged in 1995 as an alternative means of communication.”

John Perry Barlow, co-founder, EFF

“Telecom regulations give a lot of leverage to organizations whether governmental or corporate to close down the right to know. My long experience says as soon as you give government the authority to impose regulations on the Internet you are doing something to frustrate the right to know. People tend to presume on theoretical grounds a little right minded regulation will help people build beneficial architectures and organizations. I do not think there is anything to support that theory. Every time I have seen any sort of regulation of the Internet the results have been mayhem. Declaring the Internet and the telephone network to be the same thing is like declaring a Buick and a symphony to be the same thing because they both make noise.”

Jeff Pulver, co-founder Vonage

“My twenty years of experience attempting to make the world a better place through communication includes no examples of regulation benefiting innovation. Free World Dial-up as the first Internet telephony network was immediately attacked as an illegal violation of Title II regulations. The FCC even considered a petition to ban communication software as a violation of Title II regulations. The founding of the VON Coalition in 1996 kicked-off a nearly decade long struggle to get the FCC to concede the non-regulated status of Internet voice services via the Pulver Order in 2004. The fight against Title II regulation of Internet voice made possible the voice functionality of Skype, Facetime, Facebook Messenger, and many many other services. I defy anyone to find a venture capitalist in Silicon Valley or anywhere else willing to invest in a communication infrastructure start-up subject to Title II regulation by the FCC.”

Tom Evslin, founder, ITXC

“Twenty years ago the incumbent telephone companies sought Title II regulation of the Internet to stop communication innovation threatening them. The failure to win protections from the Internet as a competing platform led the telephone companies to embrace IP technologies in subsequent years. Today, Google and the formerly nascent Internet start-ups seek the same protections from disruption innovation Title II regulations offers. The answer must be the same this time around relative to the latest crisis offered as justification for government intervention. No use of regulation as a barrier to entry or inviting the FCC to intervene as a referee with powers to ban new forms of competition.”

Tech elder friends convened to defeat Title II regulation of the Internet :

  1. John Perry Barlow, lyricist, activitist, and co-founder EFF
  2. Gordon Bell, researcher emeritus, Microsoft
  3. Mark Cuban, founder, AXS TV & Owner, Dallas Mavericks
  4. Tim Draper, co-founder, Draper Fisher Jurvetson
  5. Esther Dyson, investor, founding Chair ICANN
  6. Tom Evslin, founder & former, CEO ITXC
  7. Dave Farber, Professor Emeritus, CMU & Board Member ISOC and EFF
  8. Toby Farrand, VP Engineering, Ooma
  9. David Frankel, founder ZipDX, Jetstream, & HD voice pioneer
  10. Martin Geddes, former BT Strategy Director
  11. Charlie Giancarlo, Former Chief Development Officer, Cisco
  12. George Gilder, futurist and author
  13. John Gilmore, activist and co-founder EFF
  14. Bryan Martin, Chairman and CTO, 8×8
  15. Doug Humphrey, co-founder Digex, Cidera & first east coast ISP
  16. Joe McMillen, founder Complex Drive & lead developer first carrier grade VoIP gateway
  17. Scott McNealy, co-founder SUN Microsystems
  18. Bob Metcalfe, Professor, University of Texas & co-founder 3Com, inventor of Ethernet
  19. Andrew Odlyzko, Professor, University of Minnesota
  20. Ray Ozzie, creator of Lotus Notes & former CTO Microsoft
  21. Jeff Pulver, cofounder, Vonage & Zula
  22. Sandra Rivera, VP Data Center Group and GM Network Platforms (leads SDN/5G initiatives)
  23. Michael Robertson, CEO, MP3.com
  24. Les Vadasz, former EVP, Intel