Four Tenets for a National Data Policy

Andy Kessler in op-ed on the 19 August 2009 _Wall Street Journal_ assumes that AT&T killed the Google Voice app for the iPhone. Apple disagrees, but his essential point that Google Voice is feature-rich while current telephony is feature poor remains. His argument: *AT&T is dying and it’s slowing us down as it goes*. I’m not one for such grand rhetoric, but what I think is crucial is his argument that we need to do away with regulation of telephony and television, with the national communications policy altogether and focus on a National Data Policy with the following assumptions:

> * **End phone exclusivity**. Any device should work on any network. Data flows freely.
* **Transition away from “owning” airwaves**. As we’ve seen with license-free bandwidth via Wi-Fi networking, we can share the airwaves without interfering with each other. Let new carriers emerge based on quality of service rather than spectrum owned. Cellphone coverage from huge cell towers will naturally migrate seamlessly into offices and even homes via Wi-Fi networking. No more dropped calls in the bathroom.
* **End municipal exclusivity deals for cable companies**. TV channels are like voice pipes, part of an era that is about to pass. A little competition for cable will help the transition to paying for shows instead of overpaying for little-watched networks. Competition brings de facto network neutrality and open access (if you don’t like one service blocking apps, use another), thus one less set of artificial rules to be gamed.
* **Encourage faster and faster data connections to our homes and phones**. It should more than double every two years. To homes, five megabits today should be 10 megabits in 2011, 25 megabits in 2013 and 100 megabits in 2017. These data-connection speeds are technically doable today, with obsolete voice and video policy holding it back.