by Mike Masnick
Wed, Jan 13th 2010 7:23pm
A bunch of folks have submitted this story highlighting a study by a think tank noting that network neutrality makes economic sense. There's nothing surprising in the report -- if anything it seems like direct common sense. Basically, with a neutral net, you have the great competition and economic development happening on top of the platform. Without it, you get an effective fund transfer from the competitive layers (content and apps) to the least competitive layers (network infrastructure). The end result is a less economically efficient market, and a situation worse for everyone but the infrastructure companies -- who already get tremendous benefits from gov't-granted rights of way and subsidies. Pretty straightforward. That said, this doesn't necessarily mean that we should regulate net neutrality. This is really not all that different than Tim Lee's excellent Cato analysis from over a year ago -- which also notes the likelihood of dangerous unintended consequences from mandating net neutrality. Again, the real issue is the lack of real competition in the market. Since it seems pretty clear that the market of users won't stand for a non-neutral network in most cases, if they have a choice, the real way to ensure a neutral net and economic efficiency is to increase true competition.
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