Thursday, July 13, 2006


By now, many have seen, heard, or read Senator Ted Stevens' (R-AK) opinions about net neutrality. He is against the proposed net neutrality act currently being proposed in Congress. To a great extent, commentary on Stevens' opinions has focused on his seeming lack of *any* understanding of how the internet works. If you would like to hear his full statement (it is worth it), has done a good job of archiving it for all to hear.

I admit that Stevens' opinion is hilarious. However, there seems to be a tendency in the press (and now the Daily Show is part of this) to cover the issue as if it's simply a case of Stevens being a nut. What we're not getting is a decent sense of what arguments are involved in all sides of the net neutrality dispute. Stevens doesn't really make arguments, but he does allude to arguments. Having read about this issue for a while, I'm struck by how rarely one comes across any carefully assembled arguments against net neutrality. I've heard decent arguments about how difficult it might be for the Federal Gov't to implement any kind of net neutrality. There's also the notion that net neutrality will undermine the companies that supposedly built the information superhighway. I think internet service providers are unwilling to use this argument too much, because they know they're piggybacking on public spending as it is, what with the infrastructure and software having come largely out of research institutions and the military.

In a weird way, I'm frustrated by this. I would love to hear a good argument against the idea of net neutrality. I'm finding nothing terrbily compelling, yet. Let me know if I'm missing something. Please. Until then, we're left with Stevens 'series of tubes' reasoning.


Blogger Steve Macek said...

The most cogent argument against Net Neutrality turns out to be neliberal boilerplate about government regulation impeding market innovation. See, for instance, the comments of Matt Kibbe, head of rightwing think tank Freedom Works:

“The debate over net neutrality is a fundamental choice between free market innovation and top-down government regulation. The conservative position should be to promote the development of new technologies that will provide consumers better service and more choice, not regulate the Internet in a snap-shot of time. The Internet is still evolving and government regulation will interfere with innovation by penalizing investment in the Internet backbone. The Internet has developed free of government interference, and this is a classic example of government not being able to resist the temptation to create new regulations.”

This outfit, founded by archconservative and former House majority leader Dick Army, has set up a satirical website ( to counter the net neutrality campaign.

5:40 PM  

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