Thursday, June 08, 2006

No Tolls on The Internet

No Tolls on The Internet is a very interesting piece written by Internet guru Lawrence Lessig in the Washington Post. Net Neutrality is a hot button topic, but also kind of obtuse. In order to make it understandable, it's been reduced to simplistic and alarmist sound bites - big companies will be in charge of the Internet and can charge little people way too much - we will have an Internet of the "haves' and the "have-nots" etc.
What is really the crux of the debate is whether the Internet is a public good or just another product that is marketed.
I would argue that the Internet is and MUST be a public infrastructure. It is the infrastructure on which the economies of today run and the future will run. Non-discriminatory access to Internet bandwidth is vital to development of the smaller economies of the world. I hope that the US Federal Communications Commission decides to reinstate the rules that were removed. Laws to promote Net Neutrality require a lot more though and work than they seem to have put in to date, as we don't want to strangle innovation on the Net either.

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