Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Net Neutrality debate, pro and con, on one page

Erick Schonfeld offers an interesting point-counterpoint on “Tech Crunch”, Aug. 31, 2008, “The Net Neutrality Debate All on One Page,” here.

He pits “Save the Internet” (orange column) against the Cato Institute (red column). The “liberal” side argues that innovation (the kind that led to Facebook) would not occur unless entrepreneurs know that any application will work with any Internet connection, neutrally (more or less). The Cato Institute turns this into a debate about semantics. The free market naturally encourages neutrality as a whole; but in specific circumstances specific provides may have logical reasons to tinker with how they deliver service and with what they permit. Cato gives the example of a local coffee shop as a Wi-Fi “provider”.