August 16, 2013 at 6:58 AM
Regulating the Internet: Google and net neutrality
Google was right to reject network-neutrality rules
Hopefully Google’s rejection of network-neutrality rules will lead policymakers to rethink other regulatory excesses that put America’s Internet at risk. [“Google accused of betraying net-neutral roots,” Business, Aug. 5.]
The biggest danger is the fringe idea of replacing America’s existing open-competition system with the type of “forced access” currently used in Europe. Under that approach, instead of different ISPs competing to build and offer the fastest, cheapest, most-reliable service, a single incumbent would control the network, and lease it out to competitors at government-determined rates.
It’s a recipe for stagnation, which is why America is leaving Europe in its online tracks, besting Britain, France and Germany in Akami’s speed ratings, and leaving them even further behind in high-speed mobile.
Consumers need strong regulations to protect them on the Internet. Privacy laws, billing disclosure and transparency, and protecting children from dangerous material or individuals are critical areas where much remains to be done.
Revelations about government surveillance dragnets also raise questions about the steps technology companies can take to protect us from an overzealous state.
As Google has discovered, the government shouldn’t be in the business of running broadband networks, whether via net neutrality, forced access, or any other regulatory Trojan horse.
E. Faye Williams, national chair of the National Congress of Black Women, Washington, D.C.
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