Monday, February 28, 2011

Net Neutrality: I’m for it, but...

Right now, I believe I am suffering from a lack of net neutrality. I can’t be sure, but I believe my Internet connection is being managed in an un-neutral way. I’ll tell you about that in my next post. First, I want to explain what I think about net neutrality:

I do not think the government, or any governing body, should make laws to regulate net neutrality. They will never get it right; there will be awful loopholes in any such law; and the law will be ten years out of date, causing awful damage, before it gets amended, to bring it almost up to date, with new loopholes.

Good network management, even the most benign, requires an internet provider to adjust priorities for the various streams it handles. That makes it really hard to define exactly what neutrality is.

The way to achieve a nearly neutral internet is to make sure that the internet providers do not have a conflict of interest over the data they are carrying. We’ve got it wrong in the US. Why shouldn’t Comcast try to crush Netflix, since Comcast has its own ways of delivering movies to us? Why should a company that delivers both cable TV and the internet, hobble its internet connections to make us use our TVs more, since TV costs a lot more than personal internet connections?

Legislate us away from these conflicts of interest, and then hope for the best.

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