Rag-tag band for net neutrality?

by on March 23, 2006 · 2 comments

Some people just can’t resist a David and Goliath storyline. That’s especially true of “consumer advocates” who see an underdog in the mirror no matter how big the hound is. Case in point: A site called consumeraffairs.com yesterday ran a story on the net neutrality battle with this lead paragraph:


There’s nothing virtual about the battle lines being drawn in the fast-developing
Net Neutrality War. Disney, Verizon and AT&T are among the superpowers developing
a shock and awe strategy intended to annihilate the rag-tag band of consumers and
non-profits working to keep the Internet playing field level.

Just for the record, the pro-regulation “rag tag band” at last count included the following: Amazon.com, Google, e-bay, Yahoo, the Consumer Electronics Associaton, Sony, and of course a small start-up called Microsoft. This band is not rag-tag. It’s an orchestra.

Opponents of regulation, of course, also have some heavy-hitters on their side, including Disney and Cisco in addition to phone and cable companies. But its hardly a David and Goliath struggle. Its more Goliath v. Goliath. Oh, and by the way, there are non-profits and pro-consumer groups on both sides (unless you believe you have to be pro-regulation to be pro-consumer).

Ultimately, the game of “who’s the underdog” simply obscures the real issues in policy debates. The real question is what is good for consumers. And, even wearing Underdog’s cape, net neutrality rules just won’t fly.

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