Monday, December 5, 2005 - The Progress & Freedom Foundation Blog

It's About The Profits, Stupid!

Without net neutrality rules, the concept of an open, go-where-you-want Internet is at risk, said representatives of Vonage Holdings Corp. and TiVO Inc. "Net neutrality means the Internet keeps working like the Internet works today," said Chris Murray, vice president of government affairs for Vonage, a VOIP provider. "It's about a larger issue than how much profit network operators can extract."

The above statement appears in a story that ran in Infoworld Nederland, PC World Magazine and ComputerWorld Austrailia. Chris Murray is on to something, of course, in a back-handed way. Whatever else the net neutrality issue is about, it is also about profits. I assume that Vonage would like to make ("extract"?) some too, but please correct me, Chris, if I'm mistaken. I think what Chris is really saying is that a net neutrality regime would allow Vonage to extract more profits than it otherwise might at the expense of the network operators.

Well, I'm not against anyone making a profit, certainly including Vonage, if they can do it without getting the government to unfairly shackle competitors. What's really going on with the net neutrality issue is an attempt, through regulation, to keep the government in the game of picking winners and losers in the new competitive broadband world. This made more sense in the more monopolistic narrowband world, but not any more.

And let's not forget that without profits--or at least the prospect of profits--network operators like cable and telephone companies won't have the capital to build out the facilities that Vonage likes to ride on.

posted by Randolph May @ 10:03 AM |