Friday, June 09, 2006

Net Neutrality: What's competition anyway?

Ok, in reviewing what I could about the net neutrality debate, I've surmised a few things. One of the most important things being that not enough people are talking about competition.

First off, all the free market thinkers should exit the stage right now. We're not talking about a free market either way, be it by regulating the internet via legislation, or by leaving the few and powerful telcos with their their lines that the government helped them to pay for in the first place.
If a free market existed, there would be infinite (or at least a good number of) competitors to the Charter @ Home cable internet service I use at home. As it stands, they are the only option. So naturally there's no incentive to have consistant service, no real customer service to speak of, and plans available trail behind offers where there exist at least two cable internet providers in the same area.

And thus lies a problem I see with the debate. Either people claim there competition exists complete with the full benefits thereof, or they claim that it practically doesn't exist at all and presume a monopoly scenario. I hate when two sides of a debate just yell their talking points at each other, so I want to analyze this particular conflict of assumptions by asking...

How much competition is enough?

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