Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Battle Lines Drawn in FCC Net Neutrality Fight

"The gloves are off. Julius Genachowski, Chairman of the FCC, announced new guidelines to formalize the concept of net neutrality. " And so all content needs to be treated equally, emails and videos, small files and large ones get equal attention to the consumers' home. "The FCC is charged with responsibility for managing the airwaves, bandwidth, and communication in this country. Genachowski is simply working to address emerging technologies and the changing landscape of communications to adapt and evolve in a manner that is fair to both providers and customers." So why is everyone up in arms. Clearly it is not as simple as it appears.

What sounds fair at first blush is really quite complicated. Imagine two people trying to sit in an airplane row. Both should have equal rights to their seat, but what if one is grotesquely heavier than the other. The seats may fit both, but one is clearly affected by the other. It creates congestion, slows down movement, and may even create more problems. So is the case with the pipeline for the web and the "clogging of the pipes". Smaller files may be harmed simply because they are sharing the pipe with fatter files.

Perhaps it is more indicative that the size of the pipeline needs to grow or that a more efficient manner of delivery needs to be created so that file size is much less an image. That may be the better approach to making the web equal and open to all. Net neutrality sounds like a short term fix to a longer term problem.