Thought of the day

An excellent overview of the net neutrality debate and the history behind it was published in the San Francisco Chronicle. The overview is well worth the read.

But what really captured this reader’s attention was the final point:

But as the Senate weighs whether or how to intervene on net neutrality, Andrew Odlyzko, a former Bell Laboratories scientist who now directs the University of Minnesota’s Digital Technology Center, noted that the last time network expansion was driven solely by the market, things did not turn out so well. The irony, he said, is that we might not be having this debate if corporations had not overinvested in backbone expansion in the 1990s.

‘The largely wasted investment in long-haul fiber during the bubble was about $100 billion,” he said. ‘If you took that hundred billion, that would probably be enough to pay for fiber-to-the-home for two-thirds of the United States.’

Some too-big corporations made some lousy business decisions. And now the biggest of them want us to bail them out by allowing them find new revenue sources by killing net neutrality. Let’s not reward incompetence.

7 thoughts on “Thought of the day”

  1. I think I found a compromise that will satisfy the stated goals of both net neutrality sides. Even better, it should actually work, and work in the consumers’ interests. The idea is Tariff Rebate Passthrough — i.e., the ISP can charge by byte for QOS (but only by byte) and the information service provider (Google) can rebate the costs directly to the consumer (but only to the consumer). This works because it meets the need to pay for differentiated QOS, without letting the telecom companies’ control over that payment become actual control over content. I.e., all the good parts of net neutrality are preserved, but there’s no need to give something costly away for free.

    The idea is spelled out at