Monday, May 15, 2006

Neutrality at Gunpoint

I'm confused about "Net Neutrality." The gist of the nn argument, from my observation, is that all packets are created equal and that a law must be passed to ensure that all packets receive equal protection. Basically, a law to prevent ISP's from throttling packets of a particular type or from a particular source. Similarly, laws like the "Communications Opportunity, Promotion and Enhancement Act" seek to prevent laws like nn laws from being passed.

Personally, I think it's hogwash. The more I read about it and the more I (gasp) think about it, the stupider both sides sound. There is no net neutrality now, and the nightmare scenario of all little sites being crushed by the big ones just hasn't happened. ISP's have all the technology they need to do it, too. They won't do it because it's not good business.

Imagine a cable company. One day you notice that about half the channels they offer are being shown on a 1/4 screen size area in the middle of the TV screen, while the other half are full-size. You call the cable company, and they reply that half the channel providers opted to pay a "premium delivery" price, while the others opted to not pay the elevated fees. What would you do? It may be a little absurd of a comparison, but I think it's somewhat on target.

Let's skip the passing of the laws in an attempt to prevent problems that aren't really problems, and just let the market decide for now. If it's really broken and people are upset about it, congress will act. Rule #1 for politician is "stay in power" after all. (And please let's leave off the lobbyist money arguments...)

No comments:

Post a Comment