ZDNet comes under political attack in net neutrality fight

Who will have the courage to fix the broadband gap? Who will campaign on a demand that we free the bits?

ZDNet has come under political attack from proponents of network neutrality.

Matt Stoller (right), writing at MyDD, today accused George Ou and David Berling (it's Berlind, Matt) of deliberately misrepresenting a recent violation of neutrality by Cox Cable, which lost access to Craigslist for a time.

What's fun, from the point of view of a neutral (who is only hoping to generate traffic and debate) is the aggreived tone of Stoller, starting with his headline, "Lies and the Lying Liars at ZDNet," a take-off on the title of an Al Franken book.

The idea of George and David as part of some great right-wing conspiracy is really pretty funny. I should add that on the merits of the debate I agree with Matt, that the Bells can't be trusted not to use their monopoly in broadband access to shake-down big Web sites, to the detriment of all small sites (including ZDNet). The heads of the companies have so much as promised to do this.

What the exchange actually reveals, in my view, is just how partisan, angry, and political this issue has become. This should not be. If broadband access were a more competitive market -- if users had more than two choices (and some don't even have two) for what amounts to paltry speeds of 1.5 Mbps downstream (the FCC defines "broadband" as anything over 200 Kbps) -- this would not be a partisan issue.

That's what we need to look into and fix, no matter what happens in the present debate. The Internet, its commons and its values, are at the heart of open source, and of 21st century economic development.

Who will have the courage to fix the broadband gap? Who will campaign on a demand that we free the bits?

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