Net Neutrality: Back to the Drawing Board

Public Knowledge has been one of the knuckle-draggers puffing the net neutrality issue out of all sane proportion, so it was surprising to read a rational article on the subject on their blog. Written by guest blogger Phil Weiser, it valiantly attempts to separate fact from fiction. See Net Neutrality: Back to the Drawing Board:

The real concern of net neutrality advocates should not be insisting on a single tiered Internet that—at least for those who have heard of Akamai already know—is a fantasy. (For those who are unfamiliar with Akamai, its caching services provide enhanced performance to the big companies who can afford to pay for them.) The real concern is that with only two broadband providers offering service, there remains a risk of anticompetitive conduct that understandably makes policymakers nervous. The question is thus, in an environment where there are real benefits from improving network performance and possible efficiencies from alternative pricing strategies, what should policymakers do. For Rob Atkinson and I, the answer is embrace a third way—i.e., a course different from the “do little” approach of the Stevens bill and the “no tiering” approach of the Wyden bill. In particular, we advocate transparency requirements (to enable consumers to be their own protectors); a competition policy based regime that would provide after-the-fact oversight of non-discriminatory conduct (evaluating whether a legitimate business reason existed for it); and a requirement that the best efforts Internet continue to evolve (in bandwidth) so those unable to pay for prioritization are still able to develop and deploy new services. For the details on our proposal, see here.

Comments are predictably bone-headed, of course, except for mine.