Tim Berners-Lee on NPR losing the net neutrality debate

Just heard TBL on “Talk of the Nation” on NPR on the network neutrality issue, Berners-Lee was arguing in favour of it, David Farber was arguing against.

I must say that unfortunately Berners-Lee is doing a terrible job of explaining his point of view, as are many advocates of net neutrality. The contrary point of view, which sells itself as a “don’t let the government screw up the Internet with unwarranted regulation”, is frankly more persuasive purely by virtue of the fact that it is much easier to understand.

As with proponents of software patents in the EU, opponents of network neutrality don’t have to win the argument, they need only persuade people that it is too complicated to understand, and therefore it is best left alone (in the case of EU software patents, leaving it alone meant not changing the Directive).

As I see it, there should be a bias against regulation, however the problem is that the Internet, or rather then infrastructure on which it is built, is itself a product of regulation and government subsidy – which is why most people in the US have very few choices about where they can obtain broadband service.

Update: There is a great debate between Vinton Cerf and David Farber from earlier today that looks like it is much more informative (I’m watching it now) – link to real video file.

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