Monday, February 13, 2006

Net Neutrality Roundup

This story seems to have legs.

Smart Mobs points to an article from the BBC by Bill Thompson and commentary from Lawrence Lessig.

Bill Thompson:

"I'm a market socialist, and I believe that regulated markets are the best way to create social value. I have also been using the net since 1985 and I have seen it evolve and grow thanks to the balance between regulation and market forces. That balance has to be maintained.

Social justice is best served by ensuring that public utilities, of which the network is surely one, are regulated in the public interest.

Markets fail, and they do so in ways that any humane society must address. Ensuring that network access is available to all and that the network itself carries all lawful traffic is the only way forward.

We must just hope that the US government recognises that this is the case, and sets a good example to the rest of the world."

Lessig's testimony to the senate can be found here (PDF.)

"It was in large part because the network respected what Saltzer, Clark and Reed called "the 'end-to-end' principle" that the explosive growth of the Internet happened. If this committe wants to preserve that growth and innovation, it should take steps to protect this fundemental design."

Techdirt points to a Cringely post and concludes;

"The key point, though, is that the arguments for why the broadband providers claim they need to end network neutrality are bogus -- and it's time to call their bluff. The problems they're claiming are all fixable via technology (though, not necessarily the technology from Cringely's friends at, which is what he suggests). And, if the telcos really think they're going to go out of business by continuing to offer the internet as is, then let's see it happen. The internet won't die if those companies go out of business, so why should we protect the business models of a few companies who can't see far enough ahead to make their business models work in a space where there's tremendous opportunity?"

The Cringely article:

"I asked Bob Kahn, the father of TCP/IP, and he made the point that the Internet is a Best Effort network and if you change that, well, you no longer have the Internet. Remember when Compuserve and AOL and other network providers existed in parallel, providing access to the Internet for their users but only through a kind of protocol translation gateway? Remember how terrible that was? Well, that is effectively what Congress is being asked to mandate.

This is lunacy."



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