Schmidt Speaks From the Lion’s Den
It’s one thing to talk about Net Neutrality and a little regulation to a crowd of digerati idealists. It’s quite another to bring that up at the Masters of the Universe Ball.
That’s the pet name I have for a number of billionaire and powerbroker gatherings that take place throughout the year – my personal favorite is Camp Allen up in Idaho – but this one, the Progress & Freedom Foundation’s annual Aspen Summit, is no slouch.
In fact, if you’ve ever wondered what happened to the minds behind Reaganomics (because they sure as hell ain’t talking to W. these days), they’ve transferred their posts to the board of the PFF, an organization focused on deregulation of the nation’s vital industries, lowering corporate taxes, and promoting competition in a free market economy.
The list of PFF supporters is a veritable who’s-who of telecommunications, media, technology, and Internet companies. In short, when AT&T, Verizon, Cisco, the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, and Comcast are in the room, it might be a little uncomfortable to bring up hot button issues like Net Neutrality and spectrum auctions.
But Google CEO Eric Schmidt did, while also half-promising to bid on a swath of 700 MHz wireless spectrum. You can watch the 55-minute video at the Google Public Policy Blog, or you can take Global Communications and Public Affairs manager Adam Kovacevich’s word for it, who writes:
In the policy arena, Eric offered three specific calls to action. First, he said we need to defend freedom of speech as more speech comes online – and give teeth to the issue by pressing governments to classify censorship as a trade barrier. Second, we need to continue working toward universal broadband access, by government collaborating with industry and making sure that networks remain content neutral.
The Yahoo rep must have thought his collar a little tight when Schmidt mentioned the censorship thing…the irony of Google bringing it up notwithstanding.