Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Partisanship Around Net Neutrality

Hey guys. Not sure if anyone knows much about this issue but its been popping up more and more recently and it's definitely starting to play a larger role in the Energy and Commerce Committee in the House. Republicans tend to argue that net neutrality is a government takeover of the internet, and that the internet is good and the government is bad and the latter should not be concerned with the former. Democrats, on the other hand, argue that net neutrality gives everyone equal access to the internet, and that without it, companies could take advantage of people by providing some sites, groups, or companies with faster internet speeds than others. Per usual, I tend to identify with the Democratic side on this issue and definitely don't see it as a "government takeover" of the internet. What do other people think? Also, fun fact: All 95 House Dems who publicly pledged support for net neutrality were defeated in the 2010 elections.

Here's the wikipedia page if you need more info:


TJE said...

Critics of net neutrality argue that it's just rent seeking by content providers like Google at the expense of broadband suppliers and that the regulations would produce underinvestment in internet infrastructure.

PBM said...

Good to know. I don't have a very good understanding of the actual issue, just the two sides' talking points and what the wikipedia page mentions.

I do question what kinds of internet infrastructure could be developed without these rules, though. I guess future innovation could be difficult to imagine at this point in time but it seems to me that this is an excuse for broadband providers to charge more for the same high-speed internet. I have a major problem with this assertion:"they might gain customers if they created a model that, for a fee, guaranteed uninterrupted high-speed access to certain services, such as telemedicine, video conferencing, or some other use of the Internet we have yet to imagine." Don't we all already get "guaranteed, uninterrupted high-speed access" to these things just by having and paying for regular high-speed internet?

I also don't think it is that ridiculous to assimilate broadband now to landline telephones in the 1930s. Telephones were a key piece of communications infrastructure then and broadband internet acts much in the same way now.

While I don't agree with a lot of that article, it's useful to read about the other side without seeing the words "government takeover."