Net Neutrality a Hides Costs

Published June 23, 2006

Dear Editor:

An Associated Press story on network neutrality you recently published (“All online traffic may not be equal,” June 20) was terribly one-sided.

While groups like the Center for Democracy and Technology point to the concentration of bandwidth in the hands of phone and cable companies, they ignore the impact that content aggregators like Google, with more than 450,000 Web servers, and Microsoft, with 200,000, have on today’s Internet.

Network neutrality wistfully assumes everyone on the Internet is on equal footing. In fact, within five years several million Web servers will be controlled by a handful of very large companies. In this environment, do we really want an Internet with no gatekeeping? A “two-tiered” Internet would let service providers create special lanes these huge companies need for high-definition video, multiplayer gaming, interactive advertising, and other sophisticated and largely commercial applications. Companies like Google may have to pay more, but they are the ones putting management strain on the network–predominantly to maximize their own profits.

With major commercial traffic partitioned, managed, and prioritized, the great majority of Web users can continue to enjoy the continued level of service they receive today without being run off the road by the giants of Web commerce.

Steven Titch
Sugar Land, TX

Steven Titch ([email protected]) is senior fellow for IT and telecom policy with the Chicago-based Heartland Institute and managing editor of its monthly publication, IT&T News.