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No one is talking about blocking any sites, let alone sites like the Christian Coalition. Perhaps Mr. Phelan should be paying more attention to the kind of blocking that Google is doing to conservatives. Such actions are not included in the “Net Neutrality” legislation in the Senate, and it’s not clear that it would be enforceable under Rep. Ed “Moshpit” Markey’s amendment in the House.
The reason we put “Net Neutrality” in quotes is that it’s a solution in search of a problem that does not now exist. There was one example of a service provider blocking Vonage down in North Carolina last year. That problem was resolved by the Federal Communications Commission. So right now, we have legislators trying to solve a problem that doesn’t exist with ambiguous policies that won’t solve the problem they think they want to solve. Confusing? You bet.
Consumers do pay for Internet access today. They have many choices to choose from. They can use dialup, pay a bit more for DSL (most services are now under $20 a month) or sign up with higher speed cable modem or fiber networks that move upwards of 10 megabits per second (Verizon has a service available in some parts of the country that moves at speeds in excess of 25 megabits). Consumers pay for that access, and pay for the speeds they use.
The network operators have stated clearly that they will not charge consumers extra fees for access to what most people consider the “Internet” — that space where Google resides and all of the inter-connected websites and networks that form the “Internet” reside.
But the networks have said they would like to be able to offer new services and products to consumers over their broadband networks, which are to some degree separate from the “Internet.” In the case of AT&T, Verizon, Bell South and Qwest, they have all announced plans to offer TV services to compete against cable. AT&T and Verizon are developing online game sites. These services are not part of the “Internet,” but rather their own networks. The companies provide customers with a level of performance and security that the “Internet” simply can’t provide. This is important for things like streaming video and the music downloads.
The question that Congress is now considering in the “Net Neutrality” debate is this: If AT&T built a network and invested billions of dollars to do it, should it be allowed to compete against the likes of Google and Microsoft and eBay? On some levels, this is almost a property rights issue. The telecoms and cable companies have built these superfast roadways for people to get to the Internet. They have invested upwards of $50 billion (perhaps more) to do so. They think that besides Internet access, they should be able to offer other stuff on their networks — which just happen to also provide access to the Internet.
True “Internet Neutrality” doesn’t and can’t exist. For example: on eBay, say Mr. Phelan wants to sell his 20-year collection of American Spectator magazines. He can pay a small fee to eBay to post his item. Or, to gain an advantage over other sellers of magazine memorabilia, he can pay a fee of more than $30 to be given priority and placement above other sellers.
Is that fair? Is that “neutral”? Of course it isn’t. But that is the way eBay makes its money and its return on investment on a pretty good service that millions of people like. What’s wrong with that? Nothing.
Mr. Phelan is right about one thing. Proponents of “Net Neutrality” do want to lock in the status quo. The problem is the status quo — at least when it comes to the Internet and broadband service — is slow and unreliable and can’t handle all of the multimedia applications that are driving broadband deployment nowadays. If Mr. Phelan likes 1.5 megabit broadband, then he’s more than welcome to pay for that service. But a lot of us would prefer the superfast speeds that are being deployed.p> TOOMEY OR NOT TOOMEY?
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?