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Sunday, May 28, 2006

Net Neutrality in the New York Times

Just a quick post to share a link to today's op-ed piece in the New York Times about net neutrality.

It's worth a read. The only thing I might add, which is implied in the article but not clearly, simply stated, is: Net neutrality has governed the Internet since Day 1. It is not a new regulation or a new market barrier; it is the principle that has allowed the explosive innovation of the Internet to happen.

The free market rhetoric of telco/cable industry front organizations would have you believe otherwise. But they never tell you this: the Internet and all its innovation to date have occurred under the umbrella of net neutrality.

Think of it this way -- net neutrality ensures that the barriers to entry for Internet content and services remain low. No premium fees for content creators just to "keep up with the Jones" in terms of speed of delivery. No exclusive deals between broadband providers and big content providers like Disney that keep little guys out. The Internet playing field remains somewhat level (for delivery of content), and that fosters competition and innovation.

The telcos/cables like to argue cost. Fair enough. Building tomorrow's superhighway costs money. Billions. But there are other options to finance infrastructure besides allowing the builders additional control over content. All those other countries with much higher broadband penetration (and higher broadband speed) have figured it out. Why can't we?

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