ISP Regulation?

January 12th, 2011 by Potato

I was having an interesting discussion with Netbug earlier about net neutrality and bandwidth caps and the like. He also recently sent me to a standup bit by Joe Rogan:

“If I left you alone in the forest with a hatchet, how long before you can send me an email?”

It’s a funny, poignant point that much of what we use in our everyday lives is basically magic to us. Infrastructure is very important, we basically can’t do anything without the network of tools and facilities around us. But infrastructure covers a lot of things, certainly more than roads and sewers and electricity which may be what first comes to mind with the word.

At some point in the future, perhaps the ability to download large files will be seen as an important infrastructure for a country to have. Without that in place, innovation can get stifled. Maybe soon the government may wake up to the anti-competitive behaviour of the ISPs and the data caps, how it’s crippling the infrastructure, and start to regulate them like the duopoly utility they are. Maybe split the companies up so that the infrastructure company is separate from the content distribution/media company.

An interesting idea to be sure. I don’t think it’ll happen in the near future: the current government seems to have no stomach for smacking down the ISPs or touching net neutrality, but if it’s recognized that these policies are holding back whole sectors of the economy, it may be an issue in the future…

One Response to “ISP Regulation?”

  1. Potato Says:

    And I just saw this article on Netflix having issues with Canadian bit caps right after posting…

    BTW: the article misuses “bandwidth” in one or two places, which is a rate, rather than a summed usage over time (think speed vs. distance). I suspect this is a pedantic point I’m going to lose, as using “bandwidth” interchangeably with bit caps/usage fees is becoming more common. (For the most part they used “bandwidth use” which is I suppose technically correct, but I’m not a fan of that).