NYT Editorial on Net Neutrality

20 Feb ’06

The NYT has come out in favour of net neutrality rules, noting the problem of an uncompetitive marketplace:

If access tiering takes hold, the Internet providers, rather than consumers, could become the driving force in how the Internet evolves. Those corporations’ profit-driven choices, rather than users’ choices, would determine which sites and methodologies succeed and fail. They also might be able to stifle promising innovations, like Internet telephony, that compete with their own business interests.

Most Americans have little or no choice of broadband I.S.P.’s, so they would have few options if those providers shifted away from neutrality. Congress should protect access to the Internet in its current form. Senator Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat, says he intends to introduce an Internet neutrality bill, which would prohibit I.S.P.’s from favoring content providers that paid them fees, or from giving priority to their own content.

Some I.S.P.’s are phone and cable companies that make large campaign contributions, and are used to getting their way in Washington. But Americans feel strongly about an open and free Internet. Net neutrality is an issue where the public interest can and should trump the special interests.

Meanwhile, Susan Crawford lays out the contra arguments.

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