In a new report, Broadband Connectivity Competition Policy, the FTC routed the empty arguments of the “net neutrality” crowd, marking a significant victory for those who believe in competition and freedom on the net.
Robert Kahn, the inventor of the TCP/IP protocol has referred to “net neutrality” as nothing more than a regulatory slogan. In a piece in The Register Kahn is quoted as saying “I am totally opposed to mandating that nothing interesting can happen inside the net.”
What kind of interesting stuff “inside the net” is Kahn referring to? One example is managing traffic, called packet prioritizing, so that emails and websites are brought from servers to our displays quickly. This does mean that peer-to-peer network traffic and mp3 downloads are slower than they would be on an unmanaged network. Some call this unfair, but many customers and ISPs seem to think it’s very sensible.
ISPs also think its a good idea to ask Big Content (Ebay, Amazon, and Google) to pay their fair share. Of course Big Content doesn’t like this idea and has allied with activist groups to push the neutrality agenda and “defend the little guy.” Like so many initiatives offered up in Washington, neutrality regulation is just another attempt to hurt one industry in order to support another.
But this type of favoritism in Washington is what really hurts the little guy, because it means that those who use the internet very little will suffer the same high bills as those who are avid downloaders of music and movies. To make matters worse, outlawing smart networks would reduce the internet to a dumb pipe — meaning slower speeds for everyone.
For an in-depth look at how net-neutrality reduces our “bandwealth” be sure to check out my colleague Wayne Crews’s comments to the FCC, the other agency looking at web regulation.