James F. Booth

For more than 25 years, James Booth has provided consulting and legal services to telecommunications carriers and to enterprise companies that manage their own telecommunications networks. Since June of 2009 he has also served as General Counsel of Spread Networks, LLC, which is the industry leader in the construction and operation of low latency high speed networks. Before joining Spread he was General Counsel for OnFiber Communications, a competitive telecommunications provider, and was the sole attorney for Qwest Communications International in support of its construction of an 18,800 mile fiber optic network spanning the United States. Earlier he was lead counsel for U S WEST in its wireless and cable television ventures in the United States, Europe and Hong Kong.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Let's Try Giving 'Net Neutrality' a Less Boring Name

Network neutrality is a very important issue that suffers from terrible branding. “It’s one of those names that kind of glides by you, it doesn’t generate a lot of interest,” says David Placek, founder of Lexicon Branding. “I would really consider thinking about a new phrase.” But what?
Coined by Columbia law professor Tim Wu, net neutrality refers to the principal that Internet service providers treat all content, websites, and platforms equally. It’s a principle that may now be dead: Last week a federal appeals court struck down the Federal Communication Commission’s net neutrality rules, opening the doors for providers to charge companies such as Netflix (NFLX) fees for faster, more seamless streaming. Consumer advocates say those costs may be passed on to customers, and that the ruling may result in a tiered Internet whose providers can even block websites at will.
The court decision has far-reaching implications, but most people aren’t paying attention. ”As advocates, [net neutrality is] a horrible term to organize around,” admits Timothy Karr, senior director of strategy at Free Press, a group that promotes universal, affordable access to the Internet. When Free Press originally began pushing the term in 2006, he says, “even Ariana Huffington wrote and said: This is an important issue, but net neutrality is a horrible term.”