Last updated: April 14, 2008 - 12:35pm
AN ALTERNATIVE TO 'NET NEUTRALITY'
[Commentary] While politicians and MoveOn were busy exploiting Comcast's Internet traffic management practises to push a pro-regulatory agenda, Comcast and BitTorrent were fleshing out a new network management plan. It will allow file-sharers to use Comcast's network without slowing service for everyone else. And it shows that the private sector is perfectly capable of handling these issues on its own. Government's role here, properly understood, is not to tell Comcast how to manage its network. Rather, it is to make sure consumers have alternatives to Comcast if they are unhappy with their Internet service. Today, almost everyone in the country has the choice of receiving Internet service from a cable provider or from a phone company. And the percentage of people who don't have that choice is shrinking rapidly. BitTorrent doesn't want resistance from the Internet service providers that its users depend on, and Comcast doesn't want to lose customers to telcos because of bad service, so both companies had every incentive to work out their differences. And whaddaya know? They did. Maybe someone should tell Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin Martin that markets work.
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