John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

This Anti-Net Neutrality Report Would Not Be Possible Without Generous Underwriting From AT&T

When penning a research report that advises against legislating for Net neutrality, there are certain turns of phrase and disclaimers that are best avoided lest someone question the objectivity of your analysis. “The author wishes to acknowledge and thank AT&T for their support for this project,” is certainly one of them. But there it is on the index page of “The Never-Ending Rush Hour,” a report put out by a think tank called the New Millennium Research Council.

No surprise, then, that the report argues that emerging Web video offerings could someday cripple Internet traffic, if Internet service providers aren’t allowed to maximize the bandwidth and efficiency of their networks. “Careful attention should be paid to any new regulation which might adversely impact the business case for Internet investment or set preference for one business model over another,” the report warns. “Regulators should not inhibit Internet service providers’ flexibility to experiment with new traffic-management technologies and strategies in order to efficiently deliver new services with the quality and security options that Internet users desire.”

Regulators should not inhibit Internet service providers’ flexibility to experiment with new traffic technologies and strategies.” In other words, the government should not put Net neutrality permanently into law. Which, presumably, would leave ISPs, like the report’s underwriter AT&T, in a position to create the two-tiered Internet for which they’ve been lobbying–an Internet where the speed and efficiency of data transmission would be determined by who’s willing to pay the most.

Which some say is a frightening thought. ” … I believe a huge amount of the vibrancy of the Internet comes from commercial enterprise,” IOActive’s Dan Kaminsky told eWeek. “If we go to a king-maker model, nobody will be able to safely invest, and all existing models will die on the vine. It doesn’t matter if you create the best system. It doesn’t matter if users really like you. Because someone else will show up and pay more than you will.”

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There was a worry before I started this that I was going to burn every bridge I had. But I realize now that there are some bridges that are worth burning.

— Valleywag editor Sam Biddle