The Neutrality Debate

There's frothy debate taking place about regulation and its impact on broadband providers and web publishers.

Lawrence Lessig has an interesting take on regulation, saying those who oppose neutrality regulation should also oppose regulation for the last mile.

In a recent Wired column, Lessig asks: "Can last-mile broadband be developed in a way that doesn't rely on the incentives that drive current providers toward innovation-stifling business models?"

Whether regulation or market forces drive things, we see real publisher challenges ahead without net neutrality.

If neutrality vanished, web publishers might have to "pay to play." This is an old cable industry term, used when cable networks (aka publishers) made payments to access cable systems (aka providers).

If faced with additional costs, publishers would start finding other places to scale back. It's not a big leap to say they'd examine their discretionary marketing spends -- and that impacts the whole search industry.

More Net Neutrality Postings: The Internet Freedom Preservation Act Returns; Neutrality and Consumer Fees; Without Neutrality, What Happens to Search?