With the recent news that Comcast is actively interfering with peer-to-peer services, the debate over net neutrality takes a new turn. What, indeed, is fair in this case? Assuming that the ISP or carrier defines a policy, can the carrier have pretty much any set of rules for users that the carrier wants?
And if you’re of a libertarian or free-market persuasion, what - if any - justification do you have for regulation in this area?
Perhaps the first shibboleth that deserves to be punctured is "bandwidth is free". Much ballyhooed by the Wired Magazine set and others of that viewpoint, in point of fact it simply ain’t true. Carriers spend millions bringing broadband to users, and hundred-megabyte World-of-Warcraft updates shows that demand for bandwidth can and will rise to fill the pipe no matter how big the pipe is.
In this light, do carriers have the right to engage in various types of shaping/filtering/blocking? If so, what types are permissible?
We’ll examine this in a series of follow ups. Stay tuned, and feel free to jump in!-- Oliver
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