The network neutrality debate is only in part about economics and technology, despite what you might surmise from various pro-competitive statements by academics and the shape of the US and European debates. The extent to which even lawyers have been drawn into an open-ended debate regarding the merits of duopoly versus inset competition in telecoms, or the relative merits of open interoperable software environments versus proprietary property rights-based or corporate developments, or the benefits of end to end ‘dumb’ networks versus intelligent networks, displays the capture of the subject by economists and corporate technologists. The issues at stake are more fundamental to society than that. As a lawyer who has written for over a decade in favour of pro-competitive telecoms and media policy, I am not ashamed or abashed to state that I emphasize that communications policy is about fundamental rights of citizens as well as public welfare for consumers, and that it is about educated and informed users as well as optimally priced access networks. [Emphasis mine.]Strongly recommended.
Friday, January 29, 2010
Net Neutrality book now out
I've been looking forward to reading Chris Marsden's new book Net Neutrality and am glad to see that it's now been released by Bloomsbury - with a free download (PDF) under a CC licence being the icing on the cake. This passage gives a sense of the perspective he takes: