Friday, June 16, 2006

Andrew Kantor changes his mind on net neutrality

USA Today technology columnist Andrew Kantor has changed his mind, and no longer supports net neutrality regulations:

Not too long ago, I was very much on their side. "Imagine you make a phone call to a friend," I wrote then, "but instead of hearing it ring, you get a recording: We're sorry, but the person you are calling has not paid Verizon to carry his or her conversations.

But I was wrong.

I did what's easy to do: I blew things out of proportion and borrowed trouble. As I learn more, I realize that Net neutrality — at least the way it's being touted today — is a bad idea.

It pains me to say it, because many organizations I respect are fighting for a law. But I'm not.

Kantor now says that net neutrality doesn't force Internet traffic into the slow lane, it prevents the building of a fast lane, and that there is little risk of telcos blocking competing services or content because of the principles in the FCC's August 2005 policy statement (the "four freedoms"). He concludes that
The most a Net neutrality law should say is that A) network providers must carry any legal data regardless of the content or who it comes from, and B) network providers must offer the same services at the same prices to any customer — i.e., they couldn't charge YouTube more for a connection than they charge Disney.
Hat tip to Richard Bennett's Original Blog.

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