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Thank you, George

By suirauqa ·
Your excellently written blog posts helped me understand a lot about this 'Net Neutrality' business. I noticed that a lot of situations that you visualized had to do with home users, VoIP and online gaming applications. You have repeated the word 'sensible' many times in support of your arguments; as we all know, in the real world, unfortunately, 'sensible' and 'logical' and 'reasonable' do not often come up and score much as opposed to, say, 'greed'.

Anyway, my first question to you is this: in your version of Net Neutrality, can a broadband service provider create a tiered network structure based on the customer's ability to pay, so that even with 'broadband' access, a lower paying customer is essentially saddled with a slower network, a la the difference between dial-up and DSL?

I know a part of your argument - the fact that for most bandwidth-intensive applications on the internet, content providers have long been doing this. For example, in online file sharing or transfer using rapidshare etc, the paying customer gets higher bandwidth and zero delay, while the free service has delays and lower bandwidth. So, now the customer has to pay the content provider as well as the ISP, in order to get a fast network for his/her purposes - isn't that the outcome?

Your argument that consumers will reject as ISP that offers them slower service does not wash really, simply because the consumers may not have a choice at all. Just to take an example, about 3 years back, in the area that I live, you could not get any company other than Verizon for land line phone services (despite the fact that their service was horrible), because they had all the equipment and had laid down the pipes, so to speak. Later, when other companies started trickling in, their prices were higher because they had to pay Verizon a fee for using their equipment and wiring etc. It is easy to visualize the same situation with ISPs. And now with the major telcos all merging into groups, the consumer is left with precious little choice - don't you think? Believe it or not, George, there are consumers out there, who do not earn as much as you do... :)

My second question has to do with corporate customers. Wait, before you jump to it, I especially mean the non-profit organizations, private educational institutions and the like. With their ISPs dictating bandwidth-for-money, what do you think will be the outcome for these customers? They are not all rolling in money exactly, even universities, particularly since our beloved president has seen it fit to drastically reduce funding through the federal agencies.

So, in the final synthesis, doesn't it amount to what your fellow blogger, Dave Berlind, has mentioned? Not quoting him verbatim - that the 'Geek (with deep pockets) shall inherit the earth'?

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