This ‘net neutrality’ issue is my hobby horse of the moment, so you’ll excuse me if I stay on the topic for just a little while longer. If you haven’t caught up on the subject yet, it’s been described as a two-tier interne whereby telcos give paying application/content providers a fast-lane on the information superhighway.
Today I noticed a couple of interesting articles on the topic.
VC Fred Wilson thinks the concept has no legs. “Dream on”, he tells the telcos. Meanwhile, the Register quoted Google’s Larry Page at CES as saying such a two-tier internet “would really stifle innovation and be a horrible thing for the world”. Google would probably never have got off the ground if such a thing existed back in its day, according to Page.
Now, Page has to say such a thing. He’s the “no evil” guy, after all. However, we wonder if all the other bigshot application/content providers are going to feel the same way. A few million bucks to a couple of telcos is loose change for a big media or software company while your start-ups would have very little hope of being able to ante up. So by supporting the initiative, it might cost the big boys a bit of cash but it would create barriers to entry or at least give them a clear advantage over your three-guys-or-gals-in-a-garage.
Remember Web 1.0? The big media companies all scrambled to form partnerships with whatever IT companies could be seen to given them a competitive advantage. Why is this time round going to be any different?