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Splinternets

Title

Splinternets

Contrary to the network neutrality agenda presented in this Newsforge article by some anonymous individual going by the name of James Glass, there is no such thing as one network that is suitable for all the disparate functions that are increasingly being demanded today (porn, national defense, financial transactions, massive uploaded video, kid-friendly environments, secure video-conferencing, etc.) Future, wealthier, generations will "surf" networks--not sites on a network. Think of them as "Splinternets" rather than just the "capital-I" Internet. There are good reasons for wireless phone networks to exclude all the services noted below by Glass-not-his-real-name; the cell network couldn't function otherwise; it'd be as polluted as Kazaa and unsuitable for its purpose of making reliable calls. Better to accord to networks the same respect as property that we grant to the services hawked over them; of the range of networks that exist in the future, some will assume a proprietary stance, others more open, driven by the profit motive. (And there will be wireline and wireless options, so the idea of neutrality on one network already can't apply; there are at least two realms already.) Also, as bandwidth becomes cheaper (which is less likely to happen in a "neutral" world where those costs can't be recovered by premium services) and as the apps prove themselves not to harm the ability of the network owner to operate a secure or profitable business, it would become easier to simply "copy and paste" functionality and even content from one network to the other---to, let's say, copy the non-owned Internet's functions and content over to the more proprietary networks like cell. Ultimately, rather than raising costs for third party developers, the existence of a proliferation of duplicative, redundant networks creates massive new wealth, as well as subsequent new profit opportunities for them to tailor services to needs which are demonstrably not harmonious if lumped on one network, as neutrality as a concept fails to acknowledge. It is not good to be connected to everybody in all instances; only when we want to be. Neutrality precludes that; property rights will foster it. Net neutrality proponents can't credibly claim that it's ok for them to sell their proprietary services while at the same time denying that right to the infrastructure owners that they, and we, depend on. --Wayne Crews