Why Is There So Little Honesty In The Net Neutrality Debate?
from the is-it-so-hard? dept
Finally, the article rolls out the bogus argument that a few others have used before that, if network neutrality applied to the delivery of packages, we'd never have FedEx or UPS because they wouldn't be able to offer priority service. That's the wrong analogy, since there's no barrier to entry into that space in the form of a natural monopoly. If the analogy was to hold, it would be a situation where the government sold off the interstate highways to private companies to manage (the Roadcos), in exchange for reasonable rules that since they were given publicly funded infrastructure, they could not discriminate by vehicle owner who drove on those roads. Now, the Roadcos are coming back and saying they need to rebuild their highways to accommodate more traffic, and in doing so, they want to charge FedEx extra to drive in a special fastlane -- while potentially blocking out UPS. Charging more for trucks vs. cars makes sense, and charging more for more usage makes sense. But charging different brands of trucks different amounts raises questions since they have so much control over the network... er... highway. It's quite difficult for someone to plop down a competing highway next door. There may be local roads, and perhaps one other highway choice, but it's nowhere near real competition. Hopefully the future will include flying cars that don't need roads or teleporting or some new technology that wipes out the need for the natural monopoly infrastructure -- but we're just not there yet.
But instead of actually debating the real issues, we get hyperbole about how either side represents the end of the internet as we know it. That link is full of even more ridiculous statements from a pro-telco think tank that even tries to rope in how dangerous muni-WiFi is to the internet. Apparently, the writer believes the argument that mesh WiFi could be the competition needed to keep the telcos in line. However, for a supposed expert in the space, she seems to completely ignore the fact that almost every muni-WiFi deal is really no different than the deals the telcos got. That is, it's not taxpayer supported, but the government is simply giving a private company rights of way. For someone to claim that this somehow is unfair to the telcos who got the same deal (and then chose to ignore the obligations that came with it) suggests someone who is purposely lying to further one side of the debate.