Internet stuck in “neutral”?

An OpEd in Forbes says net neutrality rules could block innovation that can offers more services at a lower cost. Everett Ehrlich was a former undersecretary of commerce in the Clinton administration. In his piece, he writes that net neutrality could be keeping consumer bills higher than they might be otherwise:

Moreover, getting rid of “neutrality” would lower consumers’ bills. That’s because the Internet is something economists call a “two-sided market.” A newspaper such as USATODAY is such a two-sided market – it charges advertisers to reach its readers, and it charges its readers to see its advertisements.

If a newspaper wasn’t allowed to take money from its advertisers, the reader would have to pay more. It’s the same with the Internet; if a provider can’t charge the big websites for a premium connection (if they want one) then the consumer has to pay instead, meaning consumers subsidize the companies sending big data packets.

Ehrlich is looking for the new FCC Chair to “end this tired debate” in the United States. “The rules that governed e-mail two decades ago won’t bring us the new services that lie ahead, and an Internet stuck in “neutral” isn’t going anywhere.”

What are the implications for Canada? The CRTC imposed the world’s first regulations on what we call Internet Traffic Management Practices more than 4 years ago? Will we retain the quaint principle from the email era dictating that a heart monitor connecting “a patient to an online medical service crosses the Internet no faster than a video of a cat playing the xylophone”?

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