Trade

Creating Lanes On The Information Superhighway

A child videochats with his grandfather.

hide captionCould the end of net neutrality keep Grandpa from dissolving into pixels?

iStockphoto.com

The network neutrality debate, which has been burning up the comments section of many a tech blog for several years now, hit mainstream media this week when Verizon and Google released a joint proposal for new legislation regulating the internet. Here's the key bit:

...Our proposal would allow broadband providers to offer additional, differentiated online services, in addition to the Internet access and video services (such as Verizon's FIOS TV) offered today. This means that broadband providers can work with other players to develop new services.

Since its creation the internet has been a kind of economists dream; a place without barriers, where any idea can get a hearing, where the best ideas win. But some worry the dream could be ending, and they cite the recent Google-Verizon proposal.

The debate really boils down to the economics of the internet. How it operates, and who pays. Today, we put on flame-resistant suits and dive in.

On today's podcast, we talk to two economists, both named Scott. Scott Holladay argues this is one market, where maybe the government should get involved, and protect "net neutrality." (Read more about Holladay's stance.)

Scott Wallsten argues that "net neutrality" might actually be getting in the way of important innovation. (Read more from his paper.)

We welcome your emails, even if they're in ALL CAPS. Send them to planetmoney@npr.org.

Today's music: The Guild's "(Do You Want To Date My) Avatar."

Subscribe to the podcast. Follow us on Twitter/Facebook.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

Support comes from: