Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Court Strikes at 'Net Neutrality' - WSJ.com

Court Strikes at 'Net Neutrality' - WSJ.com
Verizon Communications Inc., Comcast, AT&T Inc. and other Internet providers oppose the idea of the FCC changing how they're regulated. They also argue that government regulators shouldn't be getting into the details of how they manage their networks.

Good thing too.

Can you imagine the bureaucracy it would take for the FCC to monitor every packet going over the Internet for violations (or the alternative for them to "spot check" the companies they don't like)?

It would be better (and I'm not saying this is a good idea) for the FCC to just "own" the Internet (all the tubes, trucks, roads, or whatever you choose to call them based on your party preference). Some I would guess think this is a good idea, back to the "good old days" of AT&T whether you like it or not.

What I'd much rather have is more competition. Rather than the two (one cable and one phone based) carriers most of us have to choose from why not five, or ten? I might even be in favor of a government program to spur on such competition. It's hard to know for sure whether our current limited choice is a failure of free enterprise, or a failure of government meddling. To get wires into peoples homes local governments have essentially granted monopolies to cable and phone companies. But shouldn't these monopolies have some sort of expiration date (that we'd be well past by now)?

Long distance WiFi, satellite and other similar over the air transmission of signals in theory opens the door for more competition. But I've always suspected that out best connections will always involve some sort of physical wire. Imagine a few thousand people in a small area simultaneously downloading an HD version of the World Series or Olympic coverage or any other extremely popular content. There just isn't the bandwidth to do it (although there are better WAYS to do it using existing bandwidth, and those should be explored). Tinkering at the packet level by the FCC can only slow down such innovation, but I don't rule out the possibly that the FCC, especially with the cooperation for local governments (notice I said cooperation, not coercion) can improve the situation.

The more important thing about his decision is that at least someone is paying attention to the Constitution (even if individual congressmen think it is unimportant). The ends *do not* justify the means and if there is any deliberative capability left in our congress, rather than fiat law making, we will be hearing more about this on C-Span. Let's see if our current elected representatives can walk and chew gum at the same time.

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