美国在线和其它公司正要求法院及国会给予他们电缆公司网络通路。他们要求强制AT&T, Time Warner及其它电缆电视以客户付给电缆公司自己因特网服务商（如@Home, RoadRunner）同样的容量价格提供给他们的客户任一个因特网服务供应商（如AOL, Mindspring）提供的容量。
当电话公司，电缆公司及无线公司正致力于建造扩展宽带基础构造，AOL几乎没有投资于基础构造，1997年把它卖给了WORLDCOM。AOL的市场资本总额比Chase Manhattan 银行或General Motors.多一千四百亿美元。这个数字足以使AOL创立自己的设备而不是要求政府强制其它公司让AOL使用他们的设备。
AOL, Mindspring及其它的服务提供者完全可以坐下来与电缆公司就包括电缆公司宽带提供在内的各条款进行协商，其实类似的协商在国家的许多地区都发生过。但AOL及其它公司不是协商一个大家认可的价格而想以他们可以命令的条件逼进国家最大的电缆宽带系统。他们称他们的计划为公开的通路 他们的游说群称之为公开网络联合这个术语用更适合的词就是强制的通路
公开网络联合主张电缆公司准备支配高速居民因特网通路市场，但专家预测他们的优势在范围上受到限制并且不会长久。大多数电缆宽带被电视容量占用，剩下的必须和邻居共享。这就是为什么the @Home和 RoadRunner电缆调制解调器服务不允许他们的用户连续十分钟以上看流动的电视。也是为什么@Home已经多次出现速度慢或服务中断的原因。
电缆网络是共享的网络。因为他们是共享的，所以当多个用户在线时很难控制每个用户使用的实际享用速度。@Home 和 Road Runner从某种程度上能控制宽带分配，确保一些用户不独占整个管道致使其它用户不能用。今天存在着这样一个问题：没有网络管理系统在网络负载的情况下许多服务提供商通过网络直接向终端用户提供服务时做带宽分配。很可能这样一个运行系统为电缆网络而被开发，但不在今天。
容纳强制通路的技术目前还不存在。最近用共有的通路做了两个实验， 一个在澳大利亚包括200个住宅，另一个在佛罗里达Clearwater包括一个服务提供者所准予的通路 。所含的操作范围太小不能证明强行通路的可行性。今天利用强行通路 也就是坚持电缆公司做现在不可能的事：向无限用户提供快速宽带通路。
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Access to the Internet: Regulation or Markets?
Heartland Policy Study No. 92
Author: David B. Kopel
Published: The Heartland Institute
Residential broadband access to the Internet is becoming a reality around the country as long-distance telephone and cable companies spend billions of dollars digitizing the nations cable television network. Competition within the cable industry and among cable and providers of other broadband technologies is intense. Against this background, a group of Internet Service Providers, content providers, and local phone companies is demanding access to cable networks on terms as favorable as those that the cable companies offer to their own Internet affiliates and subsidiaries. Granting their demands would endanger future investments in broadband systems, pose insurmountable technical problems, and harm rather than benefit consumers.
1. Cable companies are making massive investments in broadband Internet access, setting off an explosion of innovation, competition, and growth.
"Broadband" refers to the ability of a single wire, cable, satellite dish, or antenna to carry several channels at the same time. This ability can greatly increase the quantity of data that can be transmitted and the speed it travels. Today, most Internet data move on a broadband network, but the "last mile" to a family's or small business' computer is on a narrowband, usually a dedicated phone line. This significantly reduces the speed that data can be received or sent.
Long distance telephone and cable companies are spending billions of dollars to convert the "last mile" to broadband. AT&T is spending $1.8 billion to upgrade the TCI cable lines to bring broadband Internet to 10.8 million homes, and $600 million to upgrade the lines serving 4.2 million MediaOne homes. Time Warner is spending $4 billion, and Comcast is spending $1.2 billion for its broadband upgrade.
Currently, 106 million homes have cable television; about a quarter of them can obtain broadband Internet access through a cable modem. New cable modems are being installed at the rate of one million per year. By the end of 1999, there will be about 1.6 million cable modem subscribers, and about 7.3 million by 2003.
2. Cable's competitors are not making similar investments, yet they demand access to cable's customers through the new broadband networks.
America Online and other companies are demanding in court and in Congress that they be given access to the networks of cable companies. They want AT&T, Time Warner, and other cable television companies to be forced to offer their customers content from any Internet Service Provider (e.g, AOL, Mindspring) for exactly the same price that customers pay for content from the cable companies' own Internet Service Providers (e.g, @Home, RoadRunner).
While telephone companies, cable television companies, and wireless companies are working to build and expand broadband infrastructure, AOL has invested little in infrastructure. In fact, in 1997 AOL sold its infrastructure to WorldCom. AOL's market capitalization is over $140 billion--larger than Chase Manhattan Bank or General Motors. This is surely large enough for AOL to construct its own facilities, rather than demanding that government force other companies to let AOL use their equipment.
AOL, Mindspring, and other ISPs are free to sit down with cable companies and negotiate terms to be included in the cable companies' broadband offerings. Such negotiations in fact are taking place in many areas of the country. But instead of negotiating an agreed-upon price, AOL and other companies want to force their way into the country's largest cable broadband systems on terms they get to dictate. They call their plan "Open Access," and their lobbying group calls itself the "OpenNet Coalition." This study uses the more appropriate term "Forced Access."
3. Competition, not monopoly, characterizes the broadband marketplace.
The OpenNet Coalition claims cable companies are poised to dominate the market for high-speed residential access to the Internet, but experts expect their dominance to be limited in scope and short-lived. Most of cable's bandwidth is taken up with television content, and what remains must be shared with neighbors. This is why the @Home and RoadRunner cable modem services do not allow their customers to watch more than 10 consecutive minutes of streaming video, and why @Home has experienced slow or interrupted service problems at various times already.
Broadband cable faces severe competition from Digital Subscriber Line (DSL), which converts traditional telephone lines into high-speed broadband lines. By the end of this year, SBC will make DSL service available to 8 million residences and Bell Atlantic to 7.5 million of its customers. By 2002, 94 million phone lines owned by Regional Bell Operating Companies and GTE will have DSL available.
Wireless broadband, another competitor to cable, is likely to be a superior service for millions of rural customers. Motorola predicts there will be one billion wireless users worldwide by the year 2005. Electric utilities, which already have wired access to 95 percent of American homes and to almost 100 percent of businesses, are also poised to enter the broadband market. Electric wires can transmit data nearly 50 times faster than conventional telephone modems, though some technical problems remain to be solved.
Cable's eventual share of the U.S. Internet market is expected to reach only about 15 percent. Far from being a monopoly, cable companies will face stiff competition from the other 85 percent of the market.
4. It is technically impossible for cable companies to accommodate every ISP or portal that demands access to their customers.
Because cable broadband is shared by multiple users, too many users trying to use the system at the same time (especially users of high-bandwidth services like video) cause the network to slow dramatically. As telecommunications analyst Anna-Maria Kovacs testified before Congress:
Cable networks are shared pipes. Because they are shared, it becomes difficult to control the actual speed any user will enjoy when multiple users are on-line. @Home and Road Runner are able to some extent to control bandwidth allocation, to ensure that a few customers do not hog the entire pipe and exclude all others. There is today no network management system that can do that bandwidth-allocation job when many ISPs are providing service over the cable network directly to the end user during periods when the network is carrying a full load. It is likely that such an operating system could be developed for cable networks, but it is not here today.
The technology to accommodate Forced Access does not presently exist. Two
recent experiments with shared access--one in
5. Forced Access would reduce investments in all types of broadband systems, to the detriment of consumers everywhere.
In an efficient economic system, risk and reward go together. If one company
is made to bear all the risks, but the rewards are shared with its
competitors, the company will stop taking risks. This is exactly what would
happen if Forced Access, as upheld recently by the District Court in
If this ruling were to escalate to a national level, the deployment of broadband Internet access is likely to stall on both the cable and the ADSL side, affecting every Internet company under the sun. The biggest winners would be the narrowband ISPs, especially AOL which controls half the market. Under this scenario, the biggest loser would be the average consumer, as the national deployment of broadband Internet access could be delayed by many years....
Cable and long-distance telephone companies are investing billions of dollars in broadband only because they believe they can legally exclude other companies from free-riding off their investments. Should Forced Access become public policy nationwide, such investments would dry up and widespread residential high-speed access to the Internet would be delayed indefinitely.
6. Continued reliance on markets, not new regulations, will insure the freedom and growth of the Internet.
Forced Access isn't necessary. Competition is intense within the cable television industry and among industries using different technologies to provide high-speed access to the Internet. In this instance, markets are working to attract new investors, produce new organizational forms, and drive down prices. There is no case for government intervention.
Forced Access would be counterproductive. It would cripple the growth of broadband Internet services for residential and small businesses customers by discouraging investment. Forced Access would remove the most important competitive pressure on all other broadband providers. And technical problems would degrade the quality of Internet access for many users.
Markets are the right choice. Advocates of Forced Access ask us to choose between a free-market Internet based on willing buyers and sellers, and a public utility model based on regulations and politics. Experience and common sense tell us that markets are the way to go.
Keeping the Internet free and growing requires that judges and elected officials not commit the fatal conceit of believing they can substitute their own judgment for the wisdom of millions of Internet users, entrepreneurs, and investors. That means relying on markets, not regulations.
Based on Heartland Policy Study #92, "Access to the Internet: Regulation or Markets?" by David B. Kopel. Printed copies are available from The Heartland Institute for $10.00 each. You can also download the full text, free of charge, in Adobe's PDF format; click here.
Copyright 1999 The Heartland Institute. Nothing in this Executive Summary
should be construed as reflecting the views of The Heartland Institute, nor
as an attempt to aid or hinder the passage of any legislation. Permission is
hereby given to reprint or quote from this
Executive Summary; please send tearsheets to The
Copyright 2015 David Kopel 柯大為