internet lab | Podcast Season: 1 - Episode: 15 / Release date: 2-2-2023

1:1 with Andrew Odlyzko
University of Minnesota

Key Quotes

"People are most willfully misinterpreting the evidence that's available there. I mean, literally, willful blindness to the basic facts of the Internet economy."
1 / 13
"All these plans to try to fund the telecom networks by somehow taxing the distribution of content are delusional."
2 / 13
"Netflix’s annual revenues are around (...) 1/50th of what all the world spends on telecommunications: to say we're going to tax Netflix to support the expansion of the network, that is simply crazy."
3 / 13
"Getting [Big Tech] to pay for the telecom infrastructure is the wrong approach."
4 / 13
"You don’t regulate [Big Tech] by taxing the volume of traffic: Netflix, you just simply can't tax much out of it, because there's not much money."
5 / 13
"If you tax Google on volume of traffic, you're taxing YouTube, and so what Google can then do is (...) separate out YouTube into another company."
6 / 13
"I'm not against taxing Big Tech, I think it's well under taxed (...), but to try to tax them for the benefit of telcos does not make sense."
7 / 13
"[Big Tech] are investing a lot in infrastructure, they are building these giant data centres, they are building quite a bit of fibre, especially if you look at submarine cable construction over the last decade (...). They are doing a lot of what telcos used to do."
8 / 13
"I see telcos and the platform companies as complementary: they should each stick to their own kind of knitting in that sense, and kind of go on."
9 / 13
"Dumb pipes, I mean, it's really profitable. It's really amazing, especially when you look at the transformation of the cable networks in the United States."
10 / 13
"One should (...) avoid the delusion of thinking that the value of the network is in the volume of bits that are transmitted. That is really not where the value is."
11 / 13
"This content is king delusion has been present for centuries. (...) No amount of evidence is going to disabuse decision makers of it."
12 / 13
"My former employer, AT&T, just over the last few years wasted what is probably a few 10s of billions of Euros by getting into the content business: they got out of it."
13 / 13

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About Our Guest

Prof. Andrew Odlyzko | Professor, School of Mathematics - University of Minnesota
Andrew Odlyzko is a Professor at the University of Minnesota. Before that, he spent more than half of his professional career in research at Bell Labs and AT&T Labs. After moving to Minnesota, he was the founding director of the Digital Technology Center, and has been head of the Minnesota Supercomputing Institute as well as an Assistant Vice President for Research. He has three patents and has written over one hundred and fifty technical papers on a variety of topics, such as cryptography and probability theory. He is a Fellow of the International Association for Cryptologic Research and the American Mathematical Society. He started his studies of the economics of the Internet at AT&T in the mid-1990s, and may be best known for his early debunking of the myth of Internet traffic doubling every one hundred days, and for his thesis that connectivity and not content is king. He has since broadened his studies to consider more general interactions of technology and society.