Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Keeping Net Neutrality

From Slate:

What we're ultimately asking is a question that Adam Smith struggled with. Is there something special about "carriers" and infrastructure—roads, canals, electric grids, trains, the Internet—that mandates special treatment? Since about the 17th century, there's been a strong sense that basic transport networks should serve the public interest without discrimination.This might be because so much depends on them: They catalyze entire industries, meaning that gratuitous discrimination can have ripple effects across the nation. By this logic, so long as you think the Internet is more like a highway than a fried-chicken outlet, it should be neutral in what it carries.

I'm a fairly free-market minded sort of guy. But, I think the proposals that the phone and cable companies have before the FCC to allow them to "prioritize" internet traffic are a step in the wrong direction. There are not 2 or 3 internets for me to choose from if I don't like the way AT&T makes me wait 10 minutes to bring up Google and Yahoo comes up instantly because Yahoo pays an AT&T mandated fee. I see it more like a highway and should be open to all and unprioritized until someone can show a good reason that prioritizing traffic would serve more people (like delivering TV or movies for instance).



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