Anthony J. Pennings, PhD


Two Great Debates on Net Neutrality: Cerf-Farber and Lessig-Gilder

Posted on | December 30, 2010 | No Comments

With the FCC releasing its latest rulings on Net Neutrality just before Christmas I thought I would go back to two very good debates about it. The first one at the Center for American Progress on Monday, July 17, 2006 featured Vinton G. Cerf, the creator of TCP and David Farber from the University of Pennsylvania. Vint Cerf is representing Google here but also making the case that he is speaking for a wide number of application and content providers on the Internet. David Farber, formerly of the FCC, makes the argument that the Internet is going through major changes and cautions against “hazy” legislation/regulation. The transcript can be found at The Great Debate: What is Net Neutrality?

I’ve also been reviewing some of my notes on George Gilder’s book Telecosm: The World After Bandwidth Abundance in light of recent developments on net neutrality and found this interesting debate between him and Lawrence Lessig. Gilder gained notoriety during the 1980s as one of Ronald Reagan’s favorite authors and particularly his Wealth and Poverty (1981) became a favorite of supply-siders at the time. I don’t really agree with his line of thinking but he entered a conversation about postmodern capitalism that I was interested when Jean-Joseph Goux of Symbolic Economies fame wrote a critique of his ideas which derived a significant amount from theories about expenditures, gifts, and sacrifices. He is known for his defense of Michael Milken and for his ideas about entrepreneurship.

Lawrence Lessig is a Professor of Law at Stanford University and founder of the Creative Commons. His books include Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace (2000), The Future of Ideas (2001), Free Culture (2004), Code: Version 2.0 (2006); and Remix: Making Art and Commerce Thrive in the Hybrid Economy (2008).

This debate on Net Neutrality was part of panel at the The 10th Annual Gilder/Forbes Telecosm Conference
TELECOSM 2006: The Telecosm at Ten
October 4 – October 6 , 2006
The Resort at Squaw Creek, Lake Tahoe

You might want to refer to the August 2005 Policy Statement by the FCC on Net Neutrality that is referred to in the discussion.

Things heat up a bit here when Gilder responds:



Anthony J. Pennings, PhD has been on the NYU faculty since 2001 teaching digital media, information systems management, and global communications.


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    Professor at State University of New York (SUNY) Korea since 2016. Moved to Austin, Texas in August 2012 to join the Digital Media Management program at St. Edwards University. Spent the previous decade on the faculty at New York University teaching and researching information systems, digital economics, and strategic communications.

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