To some extent, I had given up on America and the prospect that it would develop a regulatory framework that might enable Internet entrepreneurs. In my mind, other countries have been supplanting the US as the havens for Internet innovation. The midterm election, however, has reminded me that, in a democracy, there is always room for a rethink, a do-over, an opportunity for a dramatic policy shift when the national consciousness wakes up and recognizes that its policies might be leading the nation down a backward-heading path.What could this shift be?
Shift Happened: How Might a Democrat-Controlled Congress Affect Media, Internet, Communications and Entertainment? Jeff Pulver, Jeff Pulver Blog, November 09, 2006
Jeff Pulver starts with the most obvious:
...the shift in power tips the balance to the Net Neutrality forces and puts the Bells on the defensive for the first time since passage of the "96 Telecom Act" as they continue their efforts to obtain video franchising relief. Perhaps this means there is a potential compromise in the works - video franchising relief for a more meaningful iteration of Net Neutrality?
He speculates that nonetheless the FCC may try to promote the telco position during the interim before January and the new Congress starts to pay attention. I wouldn't be surprised at that at all.
I think the most significant thing he says is:
Perhaps the responsibility falls to us -- the emerging entrepreneurs, innovators, and potential thought-leaders in this community -- to figure out what the shifting political makeup means to the ever-morphing world of the Internet, communications, media, and entertainment.
Congress is almost by definition a bunch of generalists. Most of them do have professional specialities, but for most of them that's the law. For them to make good laws and policies, they need somebody to help them with good content.
One of the first things I'd like to see would be hearings on the Hill about Japan and Korea and Finland and who knows what other countries being 10 times as fast in broadband as the U.S., with far more uptake. Who? How fast? How did they do it? What of that can the U.S. apply? What advantages does the U.S. have that those countries don't?
Call me silly, but I think it is in the interest of the whole world, as well as of the U.S., for the U.S. to forge ahead in Internet connectivity. After all, a society is its communications.