According to Jonathan Taplin, Net neutrality is about the future of TV--who ends up controlling the pipes. " Today its a battle of the most interesting content wins, but if Comcast decides who gets in the fast lane to the TV, they will once again be in control," Taplin said. Taplin was speaking on a panel at the OnHollywood conference. He was formerly (1969) the tour manager for Bob Dylan and The Band, and was a producer for Mean Streets, The Last Waltz, Until The End of the World, Under Fire and To Die For. He was also a media dealmaker for Merrill Lynch and is a founder of Intertainer, a video-on-demand company.
Taplin's proclaimation is a bit over-amped, like Hollywood, given that more content than ever is being created and it's not coming out of Hollywood, nor controlled by the Hollywood ecosystem--althought every content producer probably yearns for the big stage and bucks. Hollywood is losing control of what people watch, being influenced by the Internet as the "network" and is more clueful at this point than the telco/cable monopoly.
Taplin described how anyone can post video on Google, charge a few dollars and take advantage of the pipes in an open distribution system. Now people (Congress) in Washington D.C. are debating the future of that scenario, and they don't have a clue to what is going on, Taplin said. The notion that five players (big networks and studios) is insane, he continued, and the notion that a similar number of pipe providers (telcos and cable operators) will control access to the pipes in a way that a Comcast could set aside bandwidth and create a two-tiered Internet is an anathema.
As I posted here, Net neutrality is become a face off in which the pipe owners don't want to be told how to run their business, especially not by the CEOs Microsoft, Intel, Google, etc. And, while the milder, formerly more regulated telco guys will likely make the proper capitulation to allay the fears of the Internet at large, the fiercely independent cable guys will not have anything to do with putting on bridle on their efforts to control their revenue pipes. It's a passive/aggressive war of words.
Steve Gillmor also weighs in on Taplin's comments...
Side note: Taplin had a message for News Corp.'s Rupert Murdoch. "It's ironic that Murdoch bought MySpace. He has $12 to $14 billion tied up in satellites and $500 million tied up in MySpace which will make more money over time.....he may have to write off satellites." Agree on the MySpace cash machine, but satellites will coexist with the evolving terrestrial Internet.