by Mike Masnick
Mon, Dec 17th 2007 1:26am
Before we get accused of all sorts of incorrect things (as per usual when we post about network neutrality), let's start off with a few clear points: I think that the concept of network neutrality is important for creating conditions that enhance innovation. However, I don't think that means we should mandate network neutrality through legislation. I think what it means is that we should look for ways to increase competition in the connectivity space, as that would make network neutrality a non-issue. Anyone who violated network neutrality would pay for it in lost customers. Unfortunately, with many people having very few connectivity choices, companies can get away with things. However, these firms aren't stupid. They're not randomly blocking stuff just for the hell of it. And, yet, every time a minor technical problem pops up -- such as T-Mobile having problems delivering SMS to Twitter, suddenly everyone makes it out to be a net neutrality violation. Unfortunately, it appears that the phrase "network neutrality" has now become a catch-all for any connectivity provider that has trouble delivering any particular service. While that generates headlines for advocates and politicians who want to keep "network neutrality" in the headlines, it actually does a great disservice to the actual concept of network neutrality. It changes the debate away from one that concerns the actual issues (competition and what is best for innovation) to one that involves lots of needless finger-pointing and blind accusations. So, next time there's a problem on the network, before shouting "network neutrality," at least wait until the details come out.
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