Columnist Brier Dudley wrote that continuing with Internet neutrality is like taking general traffic lanes away for buses, making traffic worse for everyone [“Net neutrality more myth than reality?” Business/Technology, May 19]. In the Internet world, his analogy goes, the traffic comes chiefly from the demand for high-quality video delivered over the Internet.
This is not a fitting comparison. A bus rider is choosing to help make traffic more manageable for everyone, along with helping the environment, and that choice is open to everyone.
This analogy does, however, lend itself to a solution that Dudley did not consider. Some electric utilities give discounts for customers who voluntarily install a device that reduces air conditioning usage during peak times, shifting their loads into non-peak times. Internet service providers could take this approach, and partner with content providers and consumers to reduce the image quality (resolution, frames-per-second) of the content they’re viewing during peak times, offering a discount for this service.
This could provide the free-market solution Dudley is looking for, and lessen the need for high capital investment in the ISPs.
Skylar Thompson, Seattle