Net neutrality is not net neutrality

Obama pledges Net neutrality laws if elected president | Webware : Cool Web apps for everyone via Boing Boing

Net neutrality, of course, is the idea that broadband operators shouldn’t be allowed to block or degrade Internet content and services–or charge content providers an extra fee for speedier delivery or more favorable placement.

Actually, net neutrality is a problem that would just go away if we had real broadband competition in the United States. Techdirt repeats this ad nauseum. Broadband operator_ should_ be able to offer different levels of service for different prices. In fact, they do now. No one seems to think that Verizon offering a cheap DSL connection, then a more expensive fiber optic connection, is a horrific affront to the fundamentals of the internet. And broadband operators should be able to prioritize content.

If people really had choices in the broadband market, this would cease to be an issue. Provider A could degrade whatever they wanted, and Provider B would step in and take all their customers. Look what’s happened in Japan, when they forced sharing of infrastructure. OMG, fast cheap internet! And competition! Without net neutrality laws!

I won’t blame Obama for this – I imagine he has good intentions, but isn’t getting the whole story. The rest of the Democrats are right in line with him on this, too, so it’s not just his mistake. It’s just funny how people want to promote the freedom of the internet by adding regulation to it.  And, frankly, I think the Republicans are mostly against it as a knee-jerk “no regulation is good regulation” sort of thing.  I doubt they actually took any more time to understand the issue than the Democrats did.

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