Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Net Neutrality

Lemme see if I've got this straight.

One side says unless Congress acts, cable and other telecom companies will monopolize the Internet and make broadband less accessible and more expensive to acquire. The other side says unless Congress doesn't act, content providers like Microsoft, Yahoo!, and Google will monopolize the Internet and make broadband less accessible and more expensive to acquire.

Do a Google search on net neutrality . . . and you'll be just as confused as me.

I'm reminded of Woody Allen:
"More than any other time in history, mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness. The other, to total extinction. Let us pray we have the wisdom to choose correctly."

In this article which seems to bear Woody out, Andy Kessler asserts that U.S. telecom companies are overcharging for paltry bandwidth as it is, when compared to the rest of the world. I had not known this. If that is true, the telecoms are without a leg to stand on, and they seem interested in keeping the status quo. Am I right?

Speaking of telecom, I would also like to know why there is so little competition in the cable market. Where we used to live, there were two cable companies in the county, and that kept rates down. Here, they're approaching $50/month for Extended Basic, most of which we wouldn't watch anyway. (Anyone remember when VH1's positioning statement was "Music First?" Me neither.)

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