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Richard Bennett on why Net neutrality gets it wrong

I have only so far read the 5-page executive summary of Richard Bennett’s argument against Net neutrality, but this looks like a piece to be reckoned with by all in the Net neutrality debate.

Here, for flavor and substance, are two key paragraphs from the summary:

The legitimate concerns of network neutrality take place at the network edge, where the network interacts with the user; what goes on inside the network is largely beside the point, and has typically been misstated by network neutrality advocates in any case. The Internet is not a “level playing field” in which each packet gets equal treatment; the design of the Internet, the facilities that users purchase, and the location of servers all cause varying degrees of inequality. The Internet also discriminates by design for and against various uses; structural discrimination can only be mitigated by active management within the network.

It’s more productive to make a diligent effort to understand the Internet’s dynamics, its structure, the challenges it faces, and the tradeoffs that circumscribe the work of network engineers before trying to constrain the Internet’s ever-changing nature. If we do this, we can avoid creating a program of regulation that’s more likely to retard genuine innovation than to nurture it.

I look forward to learning from the discussion this look at the history of the architecture of the Net is going to engender…

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