Last updated: February 21, 2008 - 1:18am
WHY WE SHOULD THINK TWICE ABOUT 'NET NEUTRALITY'
[SOURCE: Financial Times, AUTHOR: Douglas Holtz-Eakin, Council on Foreign Relations]
Web users around the world may be intrigued to see how members of the US Congress have developed an interest in managing Internet pricing. Under the slogan â€œnetwork neutralityâ€ they propose to legislate to prevent providers of network capacity from discriminating in their charges to customers. â€œOne price fits allâ€ sounds benign Â who could be opposed to ensuring neutrality in a network? A minor glitch in this vision of utopia is that one cannot find a real-world network that operates neutrally. On the Internet, people voluntarily share the fruits of their imaginations and collaborate openly. It is a beautiful vision. But it does not tell us how to cover the costs of connecting billions of computers, laying millions of miles of cable, erecting countless wireless transmitters and building the capacity to ship a film from Beverly Hills to Birmingham to Bangalore. There is no role for government in managing the evolution to new business models and consumer products. Abusive monopolies must be countered whether they operate over fibreoptic cables or at petrol stations. Deceptive consumer practices should be attacked to permit informed choice. But much as the heralded â€œnew economyâ€ of the late 1990s turned out to be the same old economics in new guise -- rotten products found no buyers; the absence of profits spelled doom -- the proved techniques will still work. It is impossible to predict the future scope, diversity and scale of Internet services. But pairing consumer-driven economic incentives with engineering protocols is a proven recipe for delivering a greater social contribution than inflexible, legislatively determined approaches.
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QWEST BOSS LAYS OUT COMMERCIAL GUIDELINES ON 'NET NEUTRALITY'
[SOURCE: Telecommunications Online, AUTHOR: Jim Barthold]
Speaking at the VON conference, Qwest Communications Chairman-CEO Richard Notebaert promised that Qwest would â€œensure thereâ€™s no impediment to anybodyâ€™s ability to utilize the net.â€ But he backed the concept of commercial agreements by which some content providers pay for higher broadband speeds or enhanced quality of service to one-up their competition. â€œWeâ€™re all trying to get a little bit of differentiation,â€ said Notebaert, comparing the tactic to retailers who offer free shipping or other incentives to customers during the holiday season. â€œIt is a competitive edge.â€ Notebaert emphasized that the differentiation would be an improvement for those who pay while those taking a free ride will get the best effort available, which, he said, is a model thatâ€™s worked since the 1970s with the public phone network.
* Taking sides on Net neutrality
* Notebaert calls net neutrality a commercial issue
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