Monday, October 5, 2009

Net Neutrality

OK class, repeat after me, what is the free market antidote to evil businesses doing harm to consumers? Competition, competition, competition! Our latest exhibit is "net neutrality" regulations coming out of the FCC. For some reason this issue really lights up the Daily Kooks. A quick primer, net neutrality says that your internet provider has to treat all traffic equally. Sounds great right? What about SPAM vs web browsing? What if some new application like Skype is hogging all the bandwidth and other users suffer? Under net neutrality, tough beans. It's sort of like socialism for the private sector, (answering previous question.) (Also the Kooks always think they know best what shape the economy should take.)

Google wants net neutrality because they can deliver all sorts of new services and don't risk building out any infrastructure. (As an IT professional, I know the big expenses come with putting boots on the ground, which your cable company or DSL provider must do.) Interestingly, though Google Voice doesn't obey the rules they want the carriers to live by. Google Voice allows you to have all of your phones ring simultaneously. EXCEPT... if your phone is in a rural area or it is a conference line or if they just charge Google too darn much for the service.

So what if evil carrier Time-Warner let's you watch Warner Bros movies but blocks offerings from Universal, what's a poor consumer to do? If you were paying attention you know that Captain Competition is on the way to save you. Go with AT&T U-verse or DSL or satellite or ... you get the picture.

I wonder if any of this logic applies to health insurance.

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