Thursday, October 4, 2007

Open Internet Coalition Opens New Network-Neutrality Front

The internet has become a vast playground of words, music, video, personal thought, and sharing. And until recently, most people assumed that anything goes. But when last week, Verizon made a business decision to block a text message because of content, it opened up a Pandora's box once again. And not just about blocking, but also about determining which piece of content gets priority.

Should the company providing the pipeline be allowed to decide what it allows and thus charge perhaps for premium access, or should the consumer expect that every piece of data, no matter in what form, gets the same level of access and flow across the pipeline?

Private business will argue that they built the pipe and should have control over enabling its use. Consumers argue censorship or anti-consumer behavior for what was created to be an open pipe. And how much government regulation is needed when an open market would allow the consumer to economically decide which provider to use based on service, access, etc. It seems that one rule begets another and the FCC, through cable franchises, has limited competition in the marketplace. Open access to all communication outside government regulation. Stop treating it as a utility and let the consumer decide with their pocketbook which service best serves their need. Not happy with Verizon, switch to another provider. Open cable and wireless spectrum up and let the economy shape the landscape.