Opposing Net Neutrality

“The network neutrality debate, which is expected to surface again this fall, is a faux issue that if mandated by Congress is bound to become a mess. Count me in the camp that Congress do nada about net neutrality,” Larry Dignan writes for eWeek.

“‘Net neutrality’ is a term few can agree on. For Google, Yahoo and eBay, mandating net neutrality means that telecommunications giants will have to treat all Internet traffic equally. For net neutrality’s staunchest supporters, the concept has become a quasi censorship issue (as if Verizon would tell its customers they couldn’t use Google). For those telecom giants like AT&T and Verizon, net neutrality means they couldn’t charge for enhanced services. For Internet users, profiled in eWEEK this week, the end of net neutrality would be downright scary because costs could go up—or not. Perhaps startups would be shut out—or not. No one knows what will happen, since the debate is really a fracas between Net and telecom behemoths battling over their interests and trying to prod Congress to fix a problem that doesn’t exist yet. In other words, the histrionic levels in this debate are high,” Dignan writes.

Dignan’s reasons why Congress shouldn’t get involved:
1. Congress will screw it up.
2. Fast lanes exist today.
3. All traffic isn’t created equal.
4. Telecom giants are already doomed.
5. Laws exist to thwart net neutrality concerns today.

Explanantions of the above five points in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: We don’t presume to know the best way to get there, but we support the concept of “Net Neutrality” especially as it pertains to preventing the idea of ISP’s blocking or otherwise impeding sites that don’t pay the ISP to ensure equal access. That said, we usually prefer the government to be hands-off wherever possible, Laissez-faire, except in cases where the free market obviously cannot adequately self-regulate (antitrust, for example). Regulations are static and the marketplace is fluid, so such regulation can often have unintended, unforeseen results down the road. We sincerely hope that there are enough forces in place and/or that the balances adjust in such a manner as to keep the ‘Net as neutral as it is today.

Related articles:
U.S. Senate committee rejects net neutrality proposal – June 29, 2006
House rejects H.R. 5252 Net neutrality amendment – June 09, 2006


  1. This author is SO far off base. Prices may not go up? There may not be tiered service? Yeah, right!!! I guarantee this would happen. Just like after the Telecommunications Act of 1993 that deregulated the cable industry. “Competition will drive down prices!”, Newt Gingrich and his Republican cronies claimed. My prediction was the more accurate one – cable prices have more than doubled in the last 13 years and 99+% of cable markets are still monopolies with only one provider. So much for the free market!

    This is what we have to look forward to if net neutrality isn’t mandated by federal law.

  2. I learned a new word, “histrionic.” One that I will probably never use. It’s one of those words people use to appear more educated than they really are.

    I vote for the free market approach. Net neutrality should be preserved for the types of internet access most consumers are using. I don’t mind the idea of corporations and research facilities paying more for enhanced services, but they are probably doing that already.

  3. well, in Europe, there’s a lot of lack of freedom of speech when it comes to…

    anything Nazi (pro or con)
    anything not in French (in france)
    anythig not politcally correct (they tried to get a british car show host fired for making a joke about german cars with GPS recievers that only take you to poland)

    when it comes to freedom – governments have been pretty bad about it.

    So far, the internet has seen censorship as damage and routes around it

    I’m willing to stick with that for the moment…

  4. We KNOW it’s important to give more power to corporations. It’s what our 3 branches of Republican government are dedicated to.

    The question here is, WHICH corporations should our leaders get in bed with?

    Lacking the money of any of these corporations, our opinions matter little. But we can discuss anyway–this is the beauty of democracy in action!

  5. Congress should leave the net alone. The net is driven by consumers making millions of choice decisions every day.

    Legislated rules are too inflexible to account for the rapidity that consumers make choice decisions. If you don’t believe that then take a history refresher course in what happened to airline fares and the cost of telephone service, once Congress lifted price controls from the airline industry, and the court system broke up ATT. Those aren’t isolated happenstances. The same thing happens everytime price rules are discarded.

    The market works. The big firms wouldn’t be looking for this legislation if they weren’t interested in thwarting an open and free marketplace.

  6. “…especially as it pertains to preventing the idea of ISP’s blocking or otherwise impeding sites that don’t pay the ISP to ensure equal access.”

    Net Neutrality laws have not been passed, and this hasn’t happened. Therefore, why do we need to have the government screw with it?

  7. To Ray Lane:
    Net Neutrality was needed before. Now it is, since the CEO of a major telecom proposed extorting more money out of high volume content providers, even though both they and end users already pay access fees to the Internet.

    Suppose Walmart took over I-95 down the east coast, and told everyone that they were thinking about limiting the speed to 40 miles per hour, except for the big trucks, who they would let go 80 miles per hour if they pay them an extra $100 bucks for each trip.

    Can you see how maybe in that case, a new law might be proposed in Congress that would run counter to so-called the ‘free market’? Wouldn’t you think such a law was justified?

  8. Since when did a common word like “histrionic” became a “showoff” word?

    Give me a break. Just because they use words with more than two syll-a-bles doesn’t make them “smartypants word nerds”.

    People’s anti-intelligence stances always amaze me.

  9. OK , Cubert,
    tell me how an industry like cable is supposed to completely rewire a town and upgrade amps and replace equipment to digital along with internet sevice and phone service without affecting price. OH-and then pay HBO, Showtime, Cinemax, etc and provide customer support for all of it? you have no clue do you? Just wave your magical liberal wand like you do in the shower and all will be okay. And by the way, my basic cable was $33.00 in 1993 and it is $42.50 now. And while I’m sure some cable systems block access to some sites, I don’t know of any. And as far as competition, a cable system has a franchise agreemant with a town before it pours millions in to it. For another company to try to overbuild , it would need to gain 75% of customers to be profitable. Thats a big gamble. Why don’t you take YOUR money and do it?

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