Which Interests?

I'm surprised at the number of people who see "net neutrality" as the default position for people who want the internet to remain independent and decentralized. As I see it, non-neutrality is a valid consumer choice. Not all content is equal. I don't want the federal government to regulate it. If that means having corporations decide which websites should be accessible, so be it. I can choose a different corporation from which to get my internet content; I can't choose a different federal government.

Regulation to ensure "neutrality" doesn't sound exactly neutral to me, as this animation by Hands Off the Internet tries to show.

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While I’m on the hands-off

While I’m on the hands-off side, the cartoon seemed disingenuous in places.

First, it implies that Google, Yahoo!, etc., freeride on bandwidth provided by telcos, which is wrong for at least two reasons: they pay for their internet access, and the telcos would have no product to sell if it weren't for the rest of the internet being out there and accessable.

Second, it presents what strikes me as an economically ignorant argument that somehow additional fees charged by, say, AT&T to Google won’t result in higher prices for customers of Google. (That's the part about how Google "wants consumers to foot the bill instead of them.")

My big problem with net

My big problem with net neutrality advocates is that a lot of them don't understand the current technical or legal landscape, and advocate vague proposals that can easily be interpreted to have bad unintended consequences. Although I'm no fan of local telco monopoly (indeed, that itself is one of the root causes of the problems that have led to the net neutrality debate), many net neutrality advocates are advocating regulations that prohibit various kinds of voluntary contractual relationships as well as methods of network engineering (QoS) and standards of acceptable use (most of the bills in Congress require allowing customers to send or receive any "lawful content", which means ISPs can't prohibit spam beyond what is illegal). I've also seen numerous erroneous statements by net neutrality advocates.

I've posted numerous articles at my blog and comments on other blogs about this subject.

The best pro-network neutrality arguments are at Susan Crawford's blog and David Isenberg's blog. The best anti-network neutrality arguments are at Martin Geddes' blog (and he's also an excellent commentator on Susan Crawford's blog). "Save the Internet"'s blog seems to be more emotion than fact.

You're right. If anything,

You're right. If anything, the animation was too biased in its portrayal of non-neutrality. Not surprising considering that many telecos make up the sponsorship of HOTI. But at least it points out that there are corporate interests on both sides of the debate, not merely "corporations vs the little guy" as much of the blogosphere has portrayed it.

Hmm, how many around here

Hmm, how many around here remember Compuserve?

I remember Compuserve...

I remember Compuserve... Never used them though (or AOL, or Prodigy, or any of the other "big" providers). Although I can imagine what would have happened if they'd gotten government involved at that time: we'd all still have dial-up through AOL, Prodigy, or Compuserve...

For all the hoopla, I can't for the life of me understand what Net Neutrality actually does... The people pushing it talk big game about "saving the internet", but they don't tell you what their proposal actually does. That raises a big red flag for me...

Good points on all fronts.

Good points on all fronts. I work with the Hands Off The Internet coalition myself, and have to agree that many on the pro-net neutrality side of the debate are misinformed about the issues. There's certainly a lot of confusion surrounding the issue--it's not a simple one. But at the end of the day, for me, at least, is the simple point you bring up. The federal government getting involved will bog down advancements in technology and create more problems than we face already. Let the free market continue to work!