Internet Freedom: It’s the principle, stupid!

June 23rd, 2006 | by ian |

More excellent blogging about the “net neutrality” debate, this time from Tim O’Reilly discussing Chris Savage’s insightful comments:

“Net Neutrality” is a principle, not a rule. Without getting into endless and mind-numbing discussion of how the FCC might or might not classify this or that IP-enabled service, what Net Neutrality is basically about is the principle of non-discrimination. The principle of non-discrimination doesn’t say that you cannot make any distinctions at all as between customers, services, what you charge, etc. It just says that whatever distinctions you make, have to be reasonable.

The fact that it is hard to formulate non-discrimination as a rule may make it difficult to regulate, but the right to non-discriminatory service could still be protected by legislation which would need to be interpreted on a case by case basis. I continue to argue that while there may be advantages to legislation, it should not be required to save the ‘net, but I may underestimate the power of money in usurping control of the network.

Fanning the flames of the fire (ignited by VoIP competition with telcos) which got this debate really rolling in the first place, Skype upped the ante of their “free calls in North America until the end of the year” by offering 60 minutes free of international calling. This should be interesting…

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