The Art Of “Kicking The Can”—Uncertainty Rules When It Comes To Net Neutrality

This would make Vetinari so very proud. If this were Ankh-Morpork.

Amplify’d from
. In its rule the FCC has successfully put off almost all of the hard Net Neutrality questions that have been buzzing around since 2000 or so. It is a remarkable feat to write a rule that actually creates more uncertainty than no rule, but by golly, the agency has done it.

If you’re the type that prizes certainty and clarity (i.e., most engineers, business people and investors), then manufacturing confusion may sound like insanity. But welcome to law school: good lawyers know that uncertainty has a power all of its own. So to really understand the Net Neutrality rule is not to bother understanding the rule itself, but rather the effects the uncertainty will create over the next 5 years or so.

The difference between wireless and wireline doesn’t necessarily make technical sense, but it is more about which Internet is a happier home for various business models. Discriminatory platforms favor old-school commercial content, which suggest that the Net Neutrality rule will probably foster a continued migration of commercial services to wireless. Meanwhile, the Internet that arrives on your computer will remain a happier home for social, advertising-based, amateur, and non-profit projects, like Wikipedia or, frankly, Facebook. Whether that was the intent of the rule is, of course, impossible to say. But seen through the mists of uncertainty and vagueness, the message is nonetheless clear: so much for “One Web.”



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