Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Excellent paper on Network Neutrality by Andrew Odlyzko

[Another excellent researched and well thought out paper on the subject of Network Neutrality by Andrew Odlyzko--BSA]

"Network neutrality, search neutrality, and the never-ending conflict between efficiency and fairness in markets,"

"providing morefunding for current operators is likely to be wasteful, in that it would either be pocketed as extra profit, or spent in wasteful ways. The one thing that has been well documented (...) is that established service providers are terrible at innovation in services. Their core expertise is in widespread delivery of basic connectivity, and they, and
their suppliers, have done well in innovating there, introducing DSL, cable modems, wire-less transmission technologies, DWDM, and so on. But they have
failed utterly in end-user services.
In conclusion, the basic conclusion is that for pervasive infrastructure services that are crucial for the functioning of society, rules about allowable degrees of discrimination are needed, and those rules will often have to be set by governments. For telecommunications, given current trends in demand and in rate and sources of innovation, it appears to be better for society not to tilt towards the operators, and instead to stimulate innovation on the network by others by enforcing net neutrality.

But this would likely open the way for other players, such as Google, that emerge from that open and competitive arena as big winners, to become choke points. So it would be wise to prepare to monitor what happens, and be ready to intervene by imposing neutrality rules on them when necessary.