Tuesday, August 22, 2006

FTC chief critiques Net neutrality

The head of the FTC just weighed in on net neutrality and the news ain't good, McGee.

The head of the Federal Trade Commission on Monday expressed sharp skepticism toward proposed laws that would levy extensive Net neutrality regulations on broadband providers... Deborah Platt Majoras, the FTC's... chairman, said extensive Net neutrality legislation currently pending in the U.S. Senate is unnecessary...

"I ask myself whether consumers will stand for an Internet that suddenly imposes restrictions on their ability to freely explore the Internet or does not provide for the choices they want..."

Hmmm. Let's do the math: 98% of consumers have between zero and two choices for broadband. The competitive landscape for high-speed access isn't exactly trench warfare for the carriers.

BellWest's new Internet Service Tiers - click to expandThus, the straw-man argument that consumers won't "stand for" a restricted Internet is weaker than a scarecrow on muscle relaxants.

Consumers have no voice to protest. What would you do if your friendly, neighborhood telco decided to offer its own search engine (and, in the process, also chose to slow down Google, Yahoo and MSN to make its own offering more competitive)?

Some folks might choose dialup... but most would probably shrug their shoulders and put up with the inconvenience.

And things could be expected to get worse as time went by.

Christopher Yoo's paper (critiqued here) is held up by the carriers as academic "proof" that net neutrality isn't needed. Suffice it to say that Yoo points to a future where the Internet has been transformed into cable television. Where the carriers control the content. And pay-per-view toll roads rule the day.

Sound desirable? Hitch a ride on over to Save the Internet now and take action.

News.com: FTC chief critiques Net neutrality

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