Received another comment on the FCC and net neutrality via a friend on Twitter.

The Internet Splits in Two

I’m still trying to figure out exactly what part of what he’s saying that is new, that will suddenly create this bifurcated internet.

Paying more for higher speeds? In 1997 I could pay more to use 56k rather than 33.6k. In 2001 I was paying $120 per month so I could have 128kbps internet instead of 56kbps at $40. When DSL became available, I had the choice of paying $20 a month for 256k/256k internet, or I could pay $50 for 1.5m/384k internet. On my current line, I can pay $46 for 8mbit/384kbit, or I can pay $56 for 15mbit/1mbit. Multi-tiered internet has always been the norm, and I don’t see how that is going to suddenly be the death of free information. If people find that higher speed valuable, they’ll find a way to budget it in.

The other argument I’ve seen was the complaint about multiple services in parallel going to the home. I posted about this in detail along with an email I received here.ECA Email on net neutrality, and my response

The thing is, we’ve had multiple services alongside internet since the advent of DSL and Cable modems. DSL and Voice comms both go over the same network, and the phone company is free to prioritize the two as they see fit and in accordance with their contracts with users of both services. The Cable internet and TV shows, DVR services, video on demand, phone, and many other services go parallel on the same network with cable providers. It’s the height of ridiculous absurdity to think that having more sideband things running alongside the internet will hurt the internet. We’ve had that model for as many as 12 years, and even longer if you count things like AOL and Compuserve, and it hasn’t lead to that. As far as the whole walled gardens idea goes, we already have that, and HAVE had that in the past, and their either underfeatured in the case of the modern ones, or not economically viable in the case of the old ones. All of the companies that had those walled gardens either went out of business or went into the business primarily of providing internet access.

As I see it, there are currently two threats to the internet today, and one of those threats has been created in response to the other. One is monopoly status of DSL and Cable providers in their respective areas. Often there really is no true choice in providers because of local government granted monopolies and franchises given to these providers. The other is that because of these pseudo-monopolies and the potential for abuse (but very little actual abuse,) and pressure from the net neutrality folks, the government has decided to step in and meddle with the internet, rather than destroying the regulations and franchises that created these monopolies.

The solution is to free up the market and eliminate these franchises and government granted monopolies and allow any company to build out their own networks.

Another way would be to have the government put in fiber cable, but instead of what has normally been happening with government fiber and the slow deterioration of the quality, make that cable be owned by those who own the houses or rent the apartments and allow them to pick which provider links into the fiber lines going to their residence. While they’re at it, put in 5-10 separate fibers to each house. Fiber is much cheaper than the cost of digging up the streets, so it makes sense to plan ahead. 5-10 fibers means they could hook 1 fiber up to comcast for their TV, hook 1 up to Qwest for their phone, and hook 2 up to Speakeasy for internet access… Or any other combination they choose. It also means they would have backups in case one was damaged.

An ideal situation would have those lines be buried and run to street-side vaults where any company can climb down in and link them into their network, also run through a common set of conduits. That way anyone can build infrastructure out to these lines. I believe France uses a similar situation, and they have some of the cheapest and fastest internet around. They have the benefit of already having underground tunnels running everywhere though.