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Wall Street Journal butchers net neutrality issue

by Brandon on October 20th, 2008

I was just reading this article from the Wall Street Journal and was struck by how it butchered an issue very important to everybody who uses the internet.  Mind you, this isn’t a WSJ “blog” post, this is the full-on deal apparently penned by Monica Langley and Jessica E. Vascellaro

Here’s where it started to go wrong:

Congress is considering measures that could have an adverse impact on Google’s business, including laws that could limit companies’ ability to deliver personally targeted online advertisements and rules that would allow telecommunications companies to charge different prices for different levels of Internet service.

At first I thought to myself, “what the heck does that mean?  ISPs already charge different prices for different service levels.”  Oh well, whatever, this article is about Schmidt supporting Obama so one goofy line is forgiveable right?  But oh no, it gets much worse.  Speaking as if she/they were an authority on the matter:

Mr. Obama’s stances on some issues important to Google remain unclear. Both the candidate and the company, however, have said they support limiting Internet service providers from charging different rates for different levels of service, saying it would be discriminatory and stifle innovation.

I’m not aware that Obama or anyone else have supported such limitations.  Such limitations make no sense at all.  What Obama and companies like Google, Microsoft, and others all DO support is what has become known as “net neutrality.”  Net neutrality isn’t about price levels for internet service.  It’s about limiting or banning internet service that discriminates against specific endpoints.  The closest thing I can think of to what the WSJ said is that one effect of this could be an ISP charging a higher price level for somebody else’s service.  

It would be like AT&T charging me extra, or intentionally giving me more dropped calls, if I use my iPhone service to call Dominos pizza instead of Pizza Hut, because Pizza Hut made a deal where they pay AT&T to sabotage phone calls to their competitors.

Price levels?  Come on WSJ, I use to respect you guys.

From → Politics, Technology

2 Comments
  1. Well, the WSJ is now owned by News Corp – do you really expect accurate journalism?

  2. love the analogy.. this is a really complex issue and that analogy puts it across in easy terms :)

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