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The Podium

Friday, September 10

“A Broken Concept”

By Brad

From an opinion piece in The Tech (“MIT’s oldest and largest newspaper & the first newspaper published on the web”):

If “neutrality” sounds like something a fat person in an Ayn Rand novel would think of, then brace yourself — the rationale behind net neutrality is not much different. The distribution system is finite. There is content that requires priority delivery — streaming video or VOIP. There is content that doesn’t — that 10GB torrent, or an iPhone app download. And finally there are a group of people who claim free markets are just a licence for corporations to restrict your choice and that a new economic system is needed.

Of course, few net neutrality advocates claim that their logic should be extended to trucks or trains — we are told that the net is different, and thus must play by different rules as the rest of our economy. But most of the arguments as to why the net is different are hokum — goods are goods and content is content. Appeals to free speech, apple pie, and motherhood notwithstanding, it doesn’t matter whether they’re being delivered by a kid on a bike or through a fiber-optic cable.

The entire piece is highly recommended.