The Solution To Net Neutrality Is Simple
Okay, this is probably not my most eloquent post, but I hope you all get the point.
So this blog post by Marc Cuban, then Jeff Pulver chastised Marc for his opinion about having multi-tiered access to the net. Then Ted over at the VoIP Weblog says it already exists: we have the PSTN.
Here’s the basic problem: the on-ramps to the Internet are owned by people who also have “content” and “services” they want you to use. Now the Libertarian in me says: hey, if the owners of those pipes want to make their stuff go faster, that’s their right. It’s their pipe after all. If the owner of the pipes make their stuff go faster, it makes it easier to sell their stuff. They have a great economic incentive to do so, in fact. And when there’s lots of money to be made, you can bet that they’ll do anything they can to gain an edge.
Personally, I think the owners of the pipes have no business providing any sort of content over those pipes. If you provide bandwidth, then you have no business providing services over that pipe. The only “service” you should be allowed to provide is “IP Dialtone” (for lack of a better word). Nothing else. Why? It removes the economic incentive to do anything to slow down those bits that might compete with you. In fact, if we had done this with the telcos back in 1996 when we attempted to reform telecom, we might not be seeing the Baby Bells getting bigger and bigger. Instead, we’d see a string of successful CLECs instead of failure after failure.
With the content and service providers not beholden to the owners of the data pipes, everyone gets a fair shot at providing service. Nobody gets “favored nation status.” The bandwidth providers focus on providing bandwidth. Content producers focus on content. I don’t have to worry that my Broadband providers are going to show my bits down.