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Readers Weigh In on Net Neutrality Investment Debates

Arguments are heating up over how net neutrality rules could impact investment in networks and other technologies. In e-mails and in comments on this blog, readers are sounding off. (Love the e-mails, but would to see those lively insights put out there as comments for everyone to see.) Here's a sampling of what readers have to say:

"Empiricist1," cites Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer's opinion in the 1999 AT&T Corp. v Iowa Utilites Board case. Forced sharing, which Empiricist associates with net neutrality, "may diminish the original owner’s incentive to keep up or to improve the property by depriving the owner of the fruits of value-creating investment, research, or labor."

Reader "Ancaeus," meanwhile calls the investment debate a red herring. "The argument seems to be that net neutrality (i.e. regulation) will discourage investment. Well, let's consider an analogous situation: the electric power transmission and distribution networks. These are widely acknowledged to be in very sorry condition. They are deregulated, and have been so for about 15 years. There is close to zero investment in this infrastructure, and nearly zero spent on R&D by industry."

By Cecilia Kang  |  October 13, 2009; 9:00 AM ET
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...and actual ISP Brett Glass, who logs in under the user name "squirma" (a character from a children's story), has some real life experience with investors departing and declining to invest. I lost investors after the Comcast Order (the FCC's first shot across the bow indicating that they were going to try to regulate the Internet), and Julius Genachowski's recent speech was a "deal killer" for my attempts to procure new ones. This is actual experience, not speculation.

Posted by: squirma | October 14, 2009 1:08 AM | Report abuse

And actual professors have cases of actual application developers who were unable to get investments because of the LACK of net neutrality.

Ssee van Schewick's testimony before the FCC, where one of her graduate students had startup funding, but was turned down b/c of concerns about ISP throttling.

Killing good potential apps does not help innovation.

Posted by: VirginiaGal2 | October 16, 2009 7:28 AM | Report abuse

And, BTW, the analagous situation would be the phone company.

And of course you haven't seen any investments there (heavy sarcasm) - just virtually unlimited long distance, more features, etc - most of the improvements since they DECOUPLED AT&T.

Posted by: VirginiaGal2 | October 16, 2009 7:35 AM | Report abuse

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