Wall St. Journal gets it

From the mountaintop, straight talk on Internet regulation:

Don’t kid yourself that the issue here is “censoring” the Web. The issue is Internet survival. AT&T talks about the coming Multimedia Explosion as new forms of video traffic rapidly overtake Web-surfing, file transfer and email as the prime users of backbone capacity. Literally, “net neutrality” would result in an increasingly unreliable Internet as more and more high-bandwidth applications contest for space on networks that nobody would have an incentive to expand.

The real issue is where will the big bucks come from to create an Internet capable of handling the services now envisioned, let alone those not yet dreamed up. BellSouth’s Chief Architect Henry Kafka told an audience in March that a typical broadband user today consumes about two gigabytes of data a month, at a network cost of $1. Once TV has gone high-definition and on-demand, a typical user will consume about 1,120 gigabytes a month at a cost of $560 (that’s in addition to the administrative, sales and service costs that today make up the lion’s share of the user’s bill). “Clearly that’s not what the average user is going to pay per month for their video service,” Mr. Kafka said. “That’s why we need help.”

Think back to the beginnings of radio and TV: Those business models would never have worked if consumers had had to foot the bill directly for programming. It’s clear today that giving consumers the kind of Internet that will support high-definition video and gaming will require the bill to be shared by companies with a stake in putting the new services in front of consumers.

Amen, brothers and sisters, and a tip of the hat to Turk for this fine link.

8 thoughts on “Wall St. Journal gets it”

  1. Yes and no. Consumers did foot the bill for TV programming, and it strains credibility to say that it was “efficient.”

    But it’s also clear that the high quality network must be built.

    The amusing thing for me is your post above about Cisco et al. – in their Wi-Fi business they’re pretty much hemmed in by the business model of certain chip companies. That model will have to change, if Wi-Fi is ever to acommodate high QoS applications.

    I suspect they won’t be able to with the current unlicensed spectrum model.

  2. Of course the WSJ gets it – they are all about business and they really know their stuff because they actually research it (wow, big shocker in today’s MSM!). Thank goodness we have a widely read publication taking a stand against Net Neutrality. Microsoft and Google are doing a good job of making consumers scared about AT&T and Verizon entering the Internet fray and this piece really puts it into perspective. Let’s keep fighting!

  3. WSJ does NOT get it. Other technology companies are coming forward to say this is NOT going to benefit the Internet. Why is this type of regulation needed right this second? How is NO competition good for ANY industry?

  4. It’s tough to argue against upgrading our current infrastructure, what with the services that are on the way and the fact that we’re falling back in the international broadband race. Anything that would prohibit that, including NN legislation, is not a good idea. The Journal has its finger right on the pulse of this issue – great find.

  5. The demand for reliable, high-quality data is only going to grow, and the infrastructure is going to have to grow with it. If network neutrality legislation passes, then the brunt of that upgrade is going to fall to the consumer. The WSJ has it right; NN will slow growth and hurt out ability to keep up with our ever-growing data needs.

  6. The WSJ is correct in my opinion. At the current point in time, net neutrality laws would be a bad idea. Since their are no serious problems to be caused by companies buying up bandwidth, the only effect that we can guarantee is not having networks that can handle these new video services. As the WSJ says, the main concern should be figuring out how to fund a new tiered internet in a way that doesn’t crush the consumer not involving the government in the internet based on hunches.

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