Alec Ross: U.S. telecom policy not admired abroad

State Department technology advisor Alec Ross said other countries do not see U.S. telecom policy as being particularly forward thinking.

"We think we are the best, but we're not acknowledged as the best in other parts of the world. We're just not," he said while speaking at a conference put on by the University of Nebraska Law School.

"In fact, it's a source of great bemusement that net neutrality is so controversial in the United States. I fundamentally disagree that net neutrality is a regulation. It's about preserving what already exists."

Ross, who was a technology advisor on President Obama's transition team, said other countries admire the U.S. for work done through the dot-com innovations made possible over the Internet--companies like Google and Facebook.

"That admiration does not extend to our telecom policy."

Ross recently visited the African Congo, where the average person earns 50 cents a day. But even in such a poor area, when he stepped off the plane, his "Blackberry chirped to life." He had three different 3G networks to choose from.

"This should call into question the (amount of money) telecom companies say it takes in this country to build and maintain these networks," he said.

After Ross spoke, Earl Comstock, formerly of COMPTEL, framed net neutrality slightly diffferently:

"Regulating behavior is not the same as regulating the Internet," he said.