Posted by: crudbasher | August 11, 2010

My Thoughts on Net Neutrality

I have a belief about people that has served me well over my life.  I think that ultimately, people are driven by self interest. Companies are run by people, so that applies there too.  I think companies do what is in their own self interest. In fact if they don’t they won’t survive very long.

What about governments?  I think the same applies there too. So I am having some trouble with this whole net Neutrality thing.  Let me explain why.

In a nutshell

I don’t trust any of the players involved to tell the full truth.  The whole issue started because ISPs, which currently provide broadband internet access have a business model like a utility. They charge their users a flat fee per month for unlimited usage to anything on the net.  However, they want to change their business model to one like the cable companies.  That is, provide a basic set of internet options and then charge more for ‘premium’ content, like HD video and such.  The way they would make this happen is to watch the internet traffic you are downloading and for certain types of content from certain sites, they would slow it down or speed it up.  They would charge the consumers for faster and better access and also charge the companies (like youtube) for fast access to the consumers. Basically it’s a shake down as I see it similar to protection money in the mob.  “Oh, that’s a very nice new web site you have there, it would be a shame if it became too slow for my customers to use.”  Now to be clear, I support the ISPs right to try to do this. I don’t like it, but they make their own business decisions.  As long as I have a competitor to switch to who has a better deal, I’m happy.  They lose customers and then they learn.

Government makes things worse

What I don’t like is the government stepping in and telling these private companies how to run their business. I have no faith in the government.  Right now I see government as a tool being used by large companies and special interests to club their opponents.  The ideal business model is to have the government outlaw your competition and make you a monopoly. We aren’t there yet but I can see a time in the future where there is only one ISP per market because they got the regulations to go their way and drove their competitors away.  At that point, when there is no more choices, the service will suck.  Nobody can tell me a company like Verizon would be against having a monopoly.

The Wild West

I think the reason the Internet is as diverse as it is is because it is the wild west.  Anyone can make a site, or a tool and anyone else can access it.  It’s a true free market place.  People can take risks.  Many times those risks fail, but sometimes they succeed and it’s often the little guys that are the innovators.  Twitter was not made by Microsoft. In fact no big company would have started that project.  It had no business case. Same with Facebook.

Freedom is what I like.  I like a wild west atmosphere.  That allows the maximum innovation and creativity. As soon as you start having regulations, inevitably, someone will try to mold those regulations to favor themselves.

As I said in the beginning, everyone acts in their own self interest. I just suspect those interests don’t match mine!

I don’t have an answer to this one right now, but I am interested in what you think!

  • More story on net neutrality

    tags: technology neutrality

    • Google and Verizon announced a joint proposal on Monday that would allow ISPs to offer premium content bundles over an unspecified global network — an unexpected gambit that would seem to call for separate and unequal internets.
    • The two companies say the guidelines would ensure that no internet traffic of any kind is prioritized over any other kind
    • “Our proposal also includes safeguards to ensure that such online services must be distinguishable from traditional broadband Internet access services and are not designed to circumvent the rules,” it continues. “The FCC would also monitor the development of these services to make sure they don’t interfere with the continued development of internet access services.”
    • to avoid creating tiered access on the internet and dealing with associated governmental red tape, Google and Verizon have proposed creating a second, paid-access-only internet — and mobile networks are exempt from the proposal, so the concept of net neutrality wouldn’t necessarily apply there.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.



  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by, Andrew Barras. Andrew Barras said: New Post: My Thoughts on Net Neutrality #edtech […]

  2. I have to say, listening to the issue of net neutrality on the news is leaving me with a bad taste in my mouth. I couldn’t put my finger on it but I think it comes down to the same thing you are saying. I like the wild west, I like the freedom, the successes, and the failures. It is what makes the online world great!

    • That’s a good way of indicating how I feel too. It’s a bad taste in my mouth. Everyone is saying they are doing what is best for the public, but I don’t trust them. *sad*

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