Say NO! to Net NeutralityPosted: 2010/08/14
I would like to keep this blog primarily technical, but it looks to me like the majority of IT land is in favor of net neutrality and I think that’s a mistake.
Any attempt to regulate the internet means we are all less free. More rules & restraints, less free. Even if the worst case happened and an ISP (Internet Service Provider) throttles every site outside a chosen few, I still have the freedom to take my business to another ISP or start a new ISP if none of the existing
ones are suitable.
But that situation could only occur if all ISPs colluded to offer inferior service. In a free market only one ISP needs to play fair because customers are not stupid and will migrate. And if customers are stupid, and they prefer poor service, why expand regulation to address a non-problem?
What is the solution to this ISP cartel? We are told it is a single central rule setting organization that all ISPs must adhere too, formed to control the distribution of internet service. That is the very definition of a cartel.
How many years has your ISP served you? It may not have always been the best service, but you stayed with them or switched as you wanted. But now you want to sick the government onto them for net filtering; something you perceive as a crime, and something they have not yet committed.
Let me tell you how this road ends; To make ISPs comply with your vision, you create a regulatory body. The new regulatory jobs costs money which raises costs. It does a poor job and people try to game the system. The added regulatory burden scares away new ISP startups, which is just as well because the regulatory body favors a few big ISPs anyway because they are easier to manage.
This leads to more scare mongering: The lack of competition and chummy regulatory body is evidence of a trust. The gaming is evidence of corruption. The ever-increasing regulatory cost is evidence of price-fixing. That only a few large providers remain is taken as evidence that ISPs are a ‘natural monopoly’. The feds use these threats to finally scare us into nationalizing ISPs outright.
But it doesn’t have to be this way; Your ISP is run by real people, give them the benefit of the doubt; if you don’t trust your ISP that much, why are you in business with them at all? And above all refuse to be drawn into a dumb war with your longterm neighbor and business partner who has done you no wrong: your ISP.
I try to write one technical article per week. Since this isn’t a technical article it won’t be this weeks article.