Who pays the pipes?

What is the net neutrality debate all about? Nick Schulz provides a clue at Forbes.

Expensive networks need to be built and maintained. And networks need to
adapt to new uses and demands. Great risks must be taken at great
expense. The only question is how it will all happen.

Up to now, it has been the free market. The problem is that the I’net has matured from a new technology to a commodity where people start taking things for granted. Rather than let private interests invest capital and innovate to find ways to make money from their investment, the pressure is for governments to treat the I’net as a public utility. That means using taxation as the billing method.

Of course, when taxation comes into play, it is not symmetrical. The end user tends to get off light and the heavy hitters get all the attention with the guys in the middle, those actually providing the pipes, getting trod upon with regulation.

It is kind of like governmental medical care where the hospitals are supposed to underwrite costs for the patient while the doctor in the middle, who actually provides the service, gets buried in paperwork and regulatory nonsense.

The best way to ensure the networks of the future get built is to rely
on the market’s unique power to experiment with new business models and
technologies. Can we?

The problem here, of course, is that people disagree about what is the “best way.” Sometimes the hardest part of raising children is to be able to stand back and let them do their own thing. It may be a difficult task but it will be done one way or another. Socialist countries try to put it off as long as possible and they fail eventually. Look at how long it took the Soviet Union, for example. The question is why people choose as ‘best way’ a way of demonstrated failure than one of demonstrated success.

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