A Practical Navigator for the Internet Economy

Heath Care and Electronic Records

We lead off with a sketch of an article we wrote 30 years ago for the futurist magazine on Dr. Lawrence leads ideas for computer-based medical records.  This is the first occasion that I can remember where I went out of the way to tell the world the story of a new and very fascinating technology but 30 years later one unfortunately that has not gotten very far because of the enormous human engineering problems it poses. Nevertheless there is no doubt that its intellectual foundation is correct and I definitely hope that it will begin to make progress. Certainly readers will find plenty of evidence that even in 1979 the most exciting knowledge breakthroughs were to be found not within specialized silos but rather in achieving a synthesis of operation that crosses different fields of expertise.

Trans-sectoral Thinking and Australian Broadband

[p. 4] The Australian Minister for Broadband requests through Paul Budde input from the list that identifies innovative uses.  He gets plenty of examples including an interesting one that suggests making information about a remote object available to an expert so that the object does not have to be brought into the presence of the expert.  While broadband cannot directly do much of our local work, it can help us understand how to do the local work better.

Craig Partridge: Fiber's great advantage is that you can mint spectrum. Adding a new fiber in an area increases available transmission spectrum, while adding a new wireless device in an area decreases available transmission spectrum. Eventually wireless cannot add capacity to meet demand (note we're some distance from that moment).

I'm a big believer that we can use wireless spectrum far better than we do today and with better technology can squeeze much more capacity out of wireless for all uses. Whether that will happen is rapidly becoming policy issue rather than technology issue.

More on Open Nets in Australia  p. 10

Budde: The plan is indeed to get all retail players on the network. The only problem might be Telstra, but so far they have reacted positively to the plan - but you never know of course.

In order for the government to get Telstra onboard it has also foreshadowed structural separation, the proposed legislation is so cumbersome to Telstra that it would nearly be impossible for them to refuse the offer to become involved in the new NBN.

Fiber in the Balkans  p. 12

But the main topic was the extensive level of fiber-to-the-home initiatives outside of the EU including the Middle East.

Such as in Iran, starting with the enormous city of Teheran with 17 million inhabitants. The plans are being made now, and they have the money.

As Telco 2.0 already has noted: top down technocratic or autocratic deployment of fiber is a proven successful model. Look at Japan, Singapore, and recently Australia.

It short circuits the haggling and lobbying of incumbents as they work to maintain their monopolies, while they keep on delaying the investments as long as possible. This can be seen in Croatia (and other countries in the region [editor – including Greece)

Both Society and the Law Evolve -- they are not top down design p.14

Cecil: The key to any sustainable legal system, it seems, must be the express recognition that neither precedent nor statute nor constitutional (or cultural) "truth" expressed as words, is truth.  Rather it points toward truth.  

Our legal striving, however, is always locked in dialectic. Two sides. We have battles over our inability to quit battling.  

We never seem to consider triads, though I was struck that your father's piece implicitly picked up on that. Rational v. Spontaneous is not a contest; it is a dynamic that, when in balance, results in evolution.  Evolution is the stuff of creation; it's the essence of our survival.  

Cole: Back (whew!) to the architecture and economics of computer connectivity -- we have many of these same choices -- do we want established, top-down principles, exhaustive specification, simple, low-level rules, or some combination of all three? Should the unserved be served via (a) a specific technology; (b) a specific speed (up or down); (c) or a specific cost per end user? Or should the rule be that they get whatever someone is willing to provide at a specified price per end-user?

Vest: The "rules" that have been developed in both cases -- monetary and IP addressing -- are intended to mitigate the risk of such failures. As long as we lack the power to instantaneously conjure up a replacement liquidity mechanism at will, worrying about preserving the one(s) we've got is probably a good idea. But those "rules" are inevitably going to feel like a taking of liberty by some Austrians.

Anyone who says that I can't start a lending bank myself -- i.e., that I have to use some "currency" that's dictated by a third party, and that I have to satisfy some capital and reserve requirements denominated in that currency, and also forego my right to privacy by demonstrating my "compliance" to that same external "authority" -- is stifling my personal will to be entrepreneurial... or substitute "IPv4" for "currency" and "ISP" or "bank" in the above and you get the Internet version of the same argument.

Cowen: Obviously market participants have an interest in gaming the system and in presenting data in a particular way to support a particular argument. However, if a longer time horizon is drawn is there not also a mutual interest in market participants establishing consistent data? For the game theorists, since the knowable range of alternative outcomes is so varied it is in fact in each player's interest to tell the truth  (where the data is collected over a considerable period of time).

I am very interested in looking at regulation and law through this lens with the help of the more reality based behavioral economics that we have discussed.

Governments Must Push Trans-sectoral Packages p. 24

Budde: Maybe deployers who "play well together" should be rewarded in whatever coin makes sense, so highway departments have positive incentives to make medians available, etc.

In the US, the stimulus funds are NOT allocated that way. They are assigned to individual agencies, with NO explicit rewards (and I am guessing, few implicit ones) to encourage trans-sector proposals. One can certainly imagine stimulus packages that reversed this presumption.

Estrada: Here’s how we are talking about trans-sector at FirstMile.US:

1. Government entities at the federal, state and local levels should care about the government’s ‘grand challenges’ -- healthcare, public safety, education, civic participation, energy independence/efficiency, and economic growth.

Pro Telstra Tirade Complains That

Arch-econ Mail List Gives Paul Budde Unfair Help  p. 27

That Budde has tremendous sway in Canberra has been confirmed: for example, on 21 April, he indicated that he was even providing talking points to the minister for his speeches. In a post to the US-based Economics of IP Networks mailing list, which circulates across some 200 inter- national telecom policy wonks, he wrote that he had just returned from a meeting with Stephen Conroy. Conroy was apparently keen for him to pursue his "trans-sectoral" digital economy discussions with the group as the minister "needs as much ammunition as possible on the questions" for an address Conroy was planning for the National Press Club in Canberra the following week. In another post to the blog of the group moderator, Gordon Cook, Budde wrote his industry groups were intended to "support the government in its fight against Telstra."

Old Order Will Have to Change p. 32

Budde: referring to Scott Cleland astreoturf on behalf of the LECs: What I see here is a clear indication that the vested telco and cable monopolies don’t want the US to catch the Australian ‘disease’ of open telecoms networks and unrestrained competition.

Australia is not the only country taking this new direction - if anything the USA is the straggler here. But it will be impossible for that country to ignore these global developments towards open networks.

We had a great win earlier this year when President Obama announced that the $7.2 billion broadband stimulus package would be based on the open network principles. The cracks are starting to appear in the telco monopoly fortresses of the USA.

I am leading an industry group called ‘Big Think Strategies’ that has furnished the Obama Transition Team and the FCC with reports promoting open networks. Its sister group in Australia has also provided ‘Big Think’ reports to the Australian government.

A Tainted FCC p. 33

Budde: The FCC Broadband over Powerline (BPL) rulemaking in 2004 was simply a hollow attempt to make it appear as though the US was developing a real competitive broadband market.

At that same time the FCC ruled against opening up the telco networks to more competition and BPL was promoted by the FCC as one of the reasons why that was not needed.

My interpretation is that the FCC has been severely compromised by very active and successful lobbying from the vested interests. And to camouflage this BPL was used as a smokescreen to make it appear that the FCC was serious about competition. [snip]

Tim Poulos: Is there any chance for intra-modal competition being reinstated in the US?

Vint Cerf: Not without a wholesale re-education of the FCC...

Eric Lee: And a staff purge as well.  It’s my understanding that a lot of the Martin staff will be staying - and perhaps they and others will be in a position to continue influencing public policy making.  [snip]

Mark Cooper: I will go one step farther. All major infrastructure, network industries of the industrial and pot-industrial age, left to their own devices produce neither competition nor openness without public policy (e.g. regulation, antitrust, etc).to impose it. [snip]

Cecil:  Open markets show up for brief periods lasting about a decade or so, but that's it.  Funny - Open mostly happens where there's no regulation (evenly - for all players; past 8 years were lopsided regulation, not deregulation).  Thus, the Internet arose from an exemption from common carriage regulation ...

Tom Vest Incidental at best. The Internet "arose" because it was not initially perceived as a potential commercial "telco service" offering at all by the facilities owners.

The Internet was able to grow substantially beyond the confines of a handful of university-based labs *only* because of positive regulatory (i.e., not deregulatory) changes like FCC 60 2d (1976), which  (IIRC) deprived AT&T of discretionary authority to refuse to sell private lines based on a determination that the line would be used as a component of some other "commercial" service. That was the change that both enabled competitive entrants to become commercially viable without the impossible burden of building out their own end-to-end duplicate facilities platforms, and also created the impetus/rationale for protocol overlays (e.g., TCP/IP) that are transparent to the underlying physical media, and vice versa. Another way of saying the same thing is that FCC 60 2d made the very concept of "network infrastructure" possible (or at least, relevant to anyone outside of AT&T's planning department).

How Much Broadband is Enough?  p. 41

Cole: I am becoming convinced that those of us who want to see at least 10 Mbps UP, and more is better, do need to find, if not a "killer app," a variety of "wounder apps" (sorry, could not resist <grin>) to help make the case. I am been doing some informal discussion with people who have the education and experience to "really get it" who do not (and are not employed by ILEC's or otherwise pressured in this space.

Don Marti: Maybe it's time to look at architects and schools of architecture. How can you design spaces with many channels of audio, along with HD cameras and screens, to make two distant spaces work something like a common space? Not conference rooms for structured meetings, but the kind of run into somebody space that keeps people informed in the background: http://www.randsinrepose.com/archives/2009/04/15/the_pond.html

Wagter: I would consider this a very interesting challenge for a multidisciplinary team: how to recreate more or less this feeling of "presence" which you experience when with friends? This would improve our quality of life and reduce our unnecessary travel time to a level where one could not live without it.

Fiber Buildout in Netrherlands  p. 45

Stratix finds that the fibre industry is scaling up production in 2009 and regular launches in new towns and cities occur despite the credit crisis.

More detailed data per province and municipality on the Dutch FTTH market as well as Stratix' expectations and views can be found in the downloadable report at: http://www.stratix.com/ftth.php

Poulos reffering to Reggfiber: It's much more forward looking, it's based on extensive conversations we had with C-level execs (including Reggefiber's), and we are throwing in a conference in September.


BTW: mash-ups were made available by Reggefiber itself:

As well as its majority owned RSP:

Rood: You are right that there are some nice maps and shape-files depicting areas, on their websites, where they are constructing / active.

The difference is that they provide in some cases the shape files for, but not available datapoints like the amount of homes in area, the known homes connected and we also have the projects they do not depict, like projects by housing corporations, developers and local cablecos that are active in some areas.

One of the purposes of broadband mapping efforts should be to assess paces of roll out vis-à-vis the homes in area.  There are some other acts one can do to combine todays wealth of data from public sources that can be linked to a much higher level of insights for a.o. policy purposes.

Social and Economic Changes from increased Bandwidth.  p. 48

JM van der Vleuten: Things cannot become 'extinct'. If they disappear it will be because people have found other ways to do them, not 'because' but - in some cases - by using the internet. Some items will not disappear: hand written letters, for example, their number declines but their prestige is rising. Others will not be missed by me: video rental stores (and not because I don't rent video's).

My theorette: as long as molecules can be replaced by bits and bites, we're on a way to a smarter and more sustainable future. What Internet is this list about? Bowling alleys were on their way out long before net access became a big presence in homes. And a lot of these are actually getting un-extinct thanks to the Internet.

The Stockholm Syndrome  p.50

On June 18  Susan Estrada: http://www.redding.com/news/2009/jun/18/editorials/

I saw this editorial today, from Northern California. It espouses some great ideology: " Say what you will about the federal government's spending binge this year. We should work to get our share, and the rural broadband money is a fat pitch across home plate for our region. And as long as we're laying the debt on our children and grandchildren, we can at least build something that will give them new opportunities. At least it will give them a fighting chance to pay the bill."

But, check out the comments. Most are completely against any government intervention into broadband deployment. The rallying cry seems to be - let's stay mediocre forever.  [snip]

Villa: I think we have clearly moved away from the initial Stockholm model indeed. The question is not anymore about whether government should substitute market (and address a failure) and build its own infrastructure, but rather what is the role of government in stimulating market when it is not reacting. The Amsterdam City Net     and       Almere strategies are there to show this: government stimulations through the success of local demonstration pilots (Almere) and government action in stimulating the horinzontal unbundling of a vertical network (through all what Herman and Dirk successfully did), with several business entities reacting to the stimulation
and agreeing to investments into a new paradigm, is really the new way go to for everybody.
This shifts the discussions from "how expensive is the network and should the government bear the cost" into "how can government unlock successfully a market potential which is not realized"..



Trans Sectoral Economic Issues in the Application of Computer Technology to Health Care

Reflections on the 30th Anniversary of My Futurist Article on the Problem Oriented Medical Information System of Dr Larry Weed

Editors introduction                                                  p. 1
Larger Significance                                                 p. 2

Symposium Discussion April 16 - June 18, 2009

Evolution of Australian Broadband Policies Continues with Request for Trans-Sectoral  Thinking -- More on Australian Open Networks                            p. 10


Fiber in the Balkans

A Brief Report on Recent Developments
Fiber week – Croatian Conference                                p. 12

Scarcity and Abundance or Two Different Kinds of OrderA Discussion Stemming from a 1985 paper by John Marks                                  p. 14

Government Leaders Need to Put Trans-sector Policies in Place within Stimulus Packages                                        p. 24

Paul Budde’s Education of the  Australian Government

Telstra’s IT Existential Challenge                          p. 27
The Old Order will Have to Change                      p. 32

The FCC Mislead the Market                      p. 33

How Much Broadband is Enough?         p. 41

FTTH Deployment in the Netherlands      p. 45

25 Things About to Become Extinct -- All Due to the Internet?                                p. 48

The Stockholm Syndrome                              p. 50

Executive Summary                              p. 54