I’ve been on the handset side a long time, so I’m not fluent on wireless infrastructure challenges. As I read Engadget’s review of the Google / Verizon Net Neutrality Proposal, one section particularly stood out:
Wireless broadband. Possibly the most important provision of the entire agreement, and the biggest compromise. Under Verizon and Google’s plan, wireless networks would be excused from every provision except the transparency requirement. Why? Because of the “unique technical and operational characteristics of wireless networks,” of course. Or… perhaps because Google has an interest in allowing Verizon to do whatever it wants with traffic on its Android-dominated wireless network. Either way, it’s hard to reconcile the stated need for net neutrality in this agreement with a giant exception for wireless networks, which are quickly becoming the most important networks of all.
I’ve been told many operators have suffered with wireless capacity issues for quite awhile, especially as more users move toward more data-intensive smart phones. So with limited spectrum, they have to be careful so as to maintain a decent level of service for all customers. Some of them will massage certain traffic, like torrent downloads, in favor of others. So in a sense, they are doing the common user a favor by keeping possibly illegal file-sharing and such to a minimum. It really isn’t even about censoring or neutrality, it’s just about keeping the network alive.
So I ask anyone reading this, I beg you to correct my thinking. To me, it seems a reasonable position for some wireless operators to take. However, I’d like to know more about this debate. Educate me please.
One caveat: Give me something better than the “slippery slope” argument.