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Sunday, June 11, 2006

Net Neutrality Debate

Kip Esquire has a thoughtful post on the topic here.

I'm still hesitantly leaning toward supporting net neutrality. It seems to be a choice between two business models. Net neutrality is like the cell phone industry — if I use twice as much capacity (i.e., twice as many minutes), then I pay twice as much for it (give or take) in a market that is (relatively) competitive, and it doesn't matter whom I'm calling and he pays nothing to my provider (he might have to pay his own provider, but not mine).

Anti-neutrality is clearly like the cable television model — both buyers and sellers of content (i.e., subscribers and media companies) pay the gatekeeper for access to the pipe, in an arrangement awarded and protected by government monopoly.

Would anyone dare suggest that innovation in cable television has progressed more quickly than in wireless telephony, or that most people are more satisfied with their cable provider than with their cell phone company? I think not.

History, short as it may be, is clearly on the side of the net neutrality crowd. As is basic economics, I think.