Last updated: February 21, 2008 - 1:37am
NET NEUTRALITY LAWS WILL HARM FUTURE HIGH-SPEED NETWORKS
[SOURCE: The Spectrum (Southern Utah), AUTHOR: Braden Cox, Competitive Enterprise Institute ]
[Commentary] Do we want the Internet to be stuck in neutral? Congress is getting political heat from powerful interests in the telecommunications industry to create a "neutral zone" for network access. Network owners would be blocked from charging content and application providers to access their network and from offering preferred access for high-bandwidth users. This form of "net neutrality," supporters say, will keep the Internet open. But do we really want legislation mandating neutrality? Not if we want to advance the dynamism of the Internet into tomorrow's networks. The term "network neutrality" is a misnomer -- there is nothing neutral about the policies its advocates want implemented into law. Instead, net neutrality is about government choosing sides. On one side are network owners such as cable and phone companies. On the other side are application and content providers, such as VoIP phone companies and Web sites that make money from advertising and high-volume traffic. It is sometimes hard to be against unfettered "choice." But how - and at what level of product offering - choice is defined is best left up to a competitive marketplace - not federal or state regulators. Network owners should be free to innovate new ways to invest in future networks. We shouldn't want the Internet to be stuck in neutral, but rather, to drive forward.
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