[e2e] end2end-interest Digest, Vol 39, Issue 32
David P. Reed
dpreed at reed.com
Mon May 21 14:43:36 PDT 2007
Insulting the Media Lab as a playground is rather unnecessary, and since
I claimed no credibility from where I work, it really sounds rather
stupid as a rhetorical device. Does it make you feel superior?
I got my terminology regarding network externalities and increasing
returns from discussions and writings with economists and business
school professors. It's very possible that I'm wrong in my usage - and
I'm happy to be corrected.
However, I didn't claim that network externalities were the *same* as
increasing returns to scale. My fault for a non-parallel construction
in that sentence, which might suggest that I thought that they were the
same thing. They are different, and *both* apply to my argument.
I was using the economist term "network externalities" not the
regulatory law term. Sorry to be confusing if I was. If you are
instead taking the opportunity for gratuitous insult, my skin is thick.
Peyman Faratin wrote:
> I am not sure whether the folks are building computers from sand in
> the playground of the media lab, but I can say that you are "inventing
> your own science from scratch".
> Network externality is _not_ the same concept as increasing return to
> scale. One is to do with (desirable/undesirable) side-effects of
> actions of one agent on another not in the original contract
> (externalities) and the other is to do with efficiency gains of
> productions of a _single_ firm (where the average cost of production
> diminishes with increasing quantities produced). The marginal cost of
> checking these facts is insignificant in this day and age of google
> and wikipedia.
> Regulation and economics of networks are non-trivial and require
> attention to the details of the arguments that people so freely
> misrepresent. Government regulation did have a very significant impact
> on the Internet (through differential settlement structures between
> interconnecting PSTN and early dialup ISPs). This government
> regulation of settlements in fact _helped_ Internet scaling, not to
> mention their public investment in the interchanges and the backbone.
> MSN was rolled out and could've tipped to become the dominant standard
> (as many other inferior technologies have done so historically -
> VHS/Betmax, Gasoline/steam,....). See  and  for some more recent
> text on the economics and regulation of Internet.
> Determination of causality in an (un)regulated economy is a very
> non-trivial task and, like all sciences, the validity of an economic
> (and the accompanying regulatory) hypothesis/proposition is
> conditioned on the semantics of the model primitives (externalities,
> returns to scale, etc). The devil is in the details.
>  H. E. Nuechterlein and P.J. Weiser (2005) /Digital Crossroads:
> American Telecommunications Policy in the Internet Age/, MIT Press,
> Cambridge, MA, US, 2005
>  Handbook of Telecommunications Economics, Technology Evolution and
> the Internet, Vol.2, S.K. Majumdar, I Vogelsang and M. Cave (eds),
> Elsevier, 289—364, 2005.
>> One can, at any time, create a non-interoperable network. Corporations
>> do it all the time - they create a boundary at their corporate edge and
>> block transit, entry, and exit of packets.
>> That is not the Internet. It's a private network based on the IP
>> protocol stack. Things get muddier if there is limited
>> interconnection. Then, the Internet would be best defined as the
>> bounded system of endpoints that can each originate packets to each
>> other that *will* be delivered with best efforts. It's hard to draw
>> that boundary, but it exists.
>> Given this view, I don't think government regulations played a
>> significant role in the growth of the Internet. We have had lots of
>> private networks, many larger than the Internet. I know, for example,
>> that Microsoft built a large x.25 based network in 1985 to provide
>> non-Internet dialup information services for Windows. It was called
>> MSN, and was designed to compete with the large private AOL network.
>> What the Internet had going for it was *scalability* and
>> *interoperability*. Metcalfe's Law and Reed's Law and other "laws".
>> Those created connectivity options that scaled faster than private
>> networks could. Economists calle these "network externalites" or
>> "increasing returns to scale".
>> Gov't regulation *could* have killed the Internet's scalability. Easy
>> ways would be to make interconnection of networks a point of control
>> that was taxed or monitored (e.g. if trans-border connectivity were
>> viewed as a point for US Customs do inspect or if CALEA were implemented
>> at peering points).
>> But lacking that, AOL and MSN just could not compete with the
>> scalability of the Internet.
>> That has nothing to do with competition to supply IP software stacks in
>> operating systems, or competition among Ethernet hardware vendors.
>> However, increasing returns to scale is not Destiny. The Internet was
>> not destined to become the sole network. But all the members of the
>> Internet (people who can communicate with anyone else on it) would be
>> nuts to choose a lesser network unless they suffer badly enough to
>> outweigh the collective benefits.
>> Individualist hermits don't get this, I guess. If you want to be left
>> alone, and don't depend on anyone else, there are no returns to scale
>> for you at any scale. Grow your own bits in the backyard, make your
>> own computers from sand, invent your own science from scratch. If the
>> walls are high enough, perhaps you can survive without connectivity.
>> Message: 3
>> Date: Fri, 18 May 2007 14:46:03 -0400
>> From: Haining Wang <hnw at cs.wm.edu <mailto:hnw at cs.wm.edu>>
>> Subject: [e2e] Call for Participation - IWQoS'2007
>> To: end2end-interest at postel.org <mailto:end2end-interest at postel.org>
>> Message-ID: <FDC6B43C-8B6E-4FFD-8799-3A7DAE1091AE at cs.wm.edu
>> <mailto:FDC6B43C-8B6E-4FFD-8799-3A7DAE1091AE at cs.wm.edu>>
>> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=US-ASCII; delsp=yes; format=flowed
>> (Apologies if you have received this more than once)
>> CALL FOR PARTICIPATION
>> Fifteenth IEEE International Workshop on Quality of Service (IWQoS 2007)
>> Chicago, IL, USA, June 21-22, 2007
>> IWQoS has emerged as the premier workshop on cutting edge research and
>> technologies on quality of service (QoS) since its first establishment
>> in 1994. Building on the successes of previous workshops, the objective
>> of IEEE IWQoS 2007 is to bring together researchers, developers, and
>> practitioners working in this area to discuss innovative research
>> results, and identify future directions and challenges. We will continue
>> IWQoS's long standing tradition of being highly interactive while
>> maintaining highest standards of competitiveness and excellence. This
>> characteristic will be re-emphasized through a technical program
>> consisting of keynote addresses, rigorously reviewed technical sessions
>> (including both long and short papers), and stimulating panel
>> discussions about controversial and cutting edge topics. The panel and
>> the short paper sessions will be highly interactive and leave much time
>> and space for the audience to get involved.
>> We encourage you to check our Web site for the registration and advance
>> program as well as up-to-date conference information:
>> 1. Registration. The early registration deadline is 6/4. Please check
>> out the registration online at
>> 2. Hotel reservation. We have reserved a block of rooms at Hilton Garden
>> Inn. The group rate is USD 129 per night, USD 10 per extra person. The
>> group code is "IWQoS". The reservation line is 847/475-6400 or
>> 1-877-STAYHGI (782-9444). Please be sure to mention the group code to
>> get the discounted rate. The CUT OFF DATE for this reservation is MAY
>> That is, the reservations and the rate are valid only till then.
>> PLEASE RESERVE YOUR ROOM ASAP. Note that it will be very hard to get
>> any room after the deadline. For more information, check out the
>> travel page
>> at the IWQoS website:
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>> End of end2end-interest Digest, Vol 39, Issue 32
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