Department of Justice argues for an internet more like the post office
The Department of Justice has weighed in against Net Neutrality:
The Justice Department said imposing a Net neutrality regulation could hamper development of the Internet and prevent service providers from upgrading or expanding their networks. It could also shift the "entire burden of implementing costly network expansions and improvements onto consumers," the agency said in its filing.
Such a result could diminish or delay network expansion and improvement, it added.
Are these the same network providers who already were paid huge government stipends and tax breaks to expand and improve broadband internet?
The agency said providing different levels of service is common, efficient and could satisfy consumers. As an example, it cited that the U.S. Postal Service charges customers different guarantees and speeds for package delivery, ranging from bulk mail to overnight delivery.
You gotta love that. Really, the USPS as a success story? Tell that to all the dead trees that are mailed every day straight through your mailbox into the garbage can (or, hopefully, recycling bin).
"Whether or not the same type of differentiated products and services will develop on the Internet should be determined by market forces, not regulatory intervention," the agency said in its filing.
This is a disingenuous argument, as people already are paying varying rates for varying levels of service. If you want a fast connection, you pay more. If you have a website that has a lot of media files to serve, you pay more.
What the DOJ seems to be arguing is -- to use their analogy -- much like having the USPS tell you that you cannot get mail from Chicago, but you can get similar mail from another sender in Atlanta. The telecoms who were paid by the taxpayer to build the backbone and make it stronger and faster now want to control the content on that backbone. This does not serve competition. In fact, undermining net neutrality would have the effect of undermining the free market. Not when individual access to information is choked off and controlled by middleman companies who are playing for the big contracts.
I'm very disturbed by this development, but I have to confess I'm not that surprised. We live in a political and business climate that is suspicious of individual expression and freedom of speech -- or at least places very little value on it.