Net Neutrality and In Flight Wireless

April 8, 2011

I'm on a Delta flight equipped with GoGo in-flight wireless, and they
have an interesting campaign going on: free Twitter for all. It's a
pretty slick campaign, but I think it raises interesting net neutrality
issues because, in essence, Twitter is paying for preferred access.

Personally, I'm ok with it: I don't have any problem with an internet
carrier creating a "fast lane" that either side of the connection can
pay extra to use, so long as the lane is made equally available to all
comers, on the same terms.

That's not to say that all advertisers are required to accept
advertisements from all organizations — I'm not excited about it, but I
wouldn't outlaw GoGo from accepting an ad for the Catholic Church on the
GoGo website while refusing an ad for atheism. As a publisher, GoGo can
choose what message to put on its own website, even if that message is
discriminatory.

But as a communication medium, GoGo shouldn't be allowed to grant free
access to websites hosted by the Catholic Church, while simultaneously
refusing the same deal to an atheist organization.

I understand it's a tricky and totally arbitrary line, but I think
content-discrimination should be legal (to enable free speech), while
communications-discrimination should be outlawed (to prevent restriction
of free speech).

I think too much of the NN debate is wrapped up in thinly-veiled
anti-corporate fearmongering (the little guys need to be protected from
the big guys!!). Even if it's a fine goal (and I don't think it is), it
doesn't seem to have any Constitutional or free/fair-market basis that I
can see.

Net neutrality shouldn't be about mandating equal performance, but equal
opportunity.

I'm curious what you think?

-david

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: