07 November 2006

Verizon, YouTube and network neutrality

This article reports a pending deal between Verizon and YouTube, which was recently purchased by Google. What is notable here (to me) is that these two firms were on opposite sides of the network neut* debate. In fact, I could probably make the case that YouTube is the kind of service that serves as a kind of "canary in the coal mine" for this debate. On the one hand, it is an innovative service that seems unlikely to emerge if transport and content is exclusively linked (so it serves the pro-regulation side of the debate). On the other hand, it is a high bandwidth service (being streaming video) that the carriers are concerned with (so it serves the pro-market side of the debate).

So, what do you make of this? Is this an indication that these content/carrier issues can be sorted out by private contracting in the general case? Does this suggest that "network neutrality" regulation is unnecessary?

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Pat said...

This is similar to one of the previous posts about HBO and its on-line presence. It seems fine to me in the sense that customers have a choice of subscribing to Verizon’s premium contents. It may also be possible that there will be many private contracts emerged in the telecommunications business even without such regulation as “network neutrality.” But without this, broadband carriers could possibly censor or slow down some contents without prior agreement with end-customers or contents providers.

So, "network neutrality" regulation should be necessary and sufficient to ensure customers’ freedom of consuming contents.

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