UK Government Report Says Net Neutrality Threatens Innovation
from the fighting-for-you dept
As Mike pointed out, the British government’s recent “Digital Britain” report is a mishmash of hedges and wishy-washiness that seems to have been carefully crafted to avoid taking much of a stand on anything. But in addition to its musing on file-sharing, it’s worth looking at its recommendations on network neutrality, too. The report says the government should do nothing to prevent ISPs from charging content providers for “traffic prioritization” — basically letting them charge certain providers a fee in exchange for guaranteed service levels. It also says that traffic shaping and other blocking and network management policies should be a-okay. The reasoning is that ISPs have to be allowed to do these things with their networks in order to “promote investment” and not stifle innovation.
It’s hard to see this, as well as the recommendations that ISPs should be copyright cops, as little more than attempts to prop up incumbent (and often ailing) businesses. It’s hard to fathom why ISPs should be forced to do record labels’ detective work, why they should be on the front lines of protecting the labels’ failing business model. And the claim that letting ISPs levy fees to discriminate among different providers’ traffic will promote investment, and not allowing them to do so will stifle innovation seems pretty ludicrous. In fact, it’s completely wrong: allowing ISPs to charge content providers for service levels will stifle investment and innovation — established, big players will pay the fees — not to offer wonderful new services — but in an attempt to hold down competition. It’s not hard to see things get to the point where startups and small companies with new, innovative services will have trouble getting a foothold without making big payments to ISPs. How does any of this benefit the British taxpaying public at large?