I did a couple hours worth of reading on the subject while writing up this topic, and I still don’t know exactly where I stand on this issue. I may be more confused than I was before.
I’m against "content discrimination", but "traffic shaping" sounds like a sensible idea. The Hands Off The Internet folks say that access providers aren’t interested in the former, but I can’t see how they wouldn’t be — it makes too much business sense to discriminate in favor of one’s own affiliates to NOT do it. That might aggravate consumers somewhat, but since most access providers are near-monopolies anyway, would it matter? I’ve got two choices for broadband access in my area: Quest DSL or Comcast Cable. If they both gave preferential access to their buddies and/or blocked certain competitors, what choice would I have?
I understand that building broadband network infrastructure (e.g., fiber optic lines) is expensive, and the telecom companies have to recoup their investment somehow, but I don’t like the idea of "double dipping" — that is, charging me for access and then turning around and charging content providers again (who, presumably, would then pass those costs on to me).
Bottom line, it’s a complicated issue and I’m flippin’ confused.
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