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11 August 2010

I was unsettled by the Google/Verizon "net neutrality" plan. The media coverage I've seen so far asserts:

"Neutrality should be the rule for all services, and a distinction between wired and wireless not only defies reason, it also abandons the portion of the Internet that is currently most lacking in openness and neutrality."

At first that point seemed so obvious to me and such a glaring mistake that I didn't understand how anyone could have thought it was a good idea. But today this Reddit user's comment resonated with me:

"Unlike cable, where you're locked into whichever company happens to own the local monopoly, you can choose from a number of different wireless providers, which creates competition. The only reason that we 'need' net neutrality is because of the lack of competition among wired internet providers."

Wow-- good counterargument. In San Francisco I have at least five wireless carriers available to me. Where I reside there are two wired ones (DSL and Cable) and they don't really compete with each other (no U-Verse for me). The situation for backbone providers has similar regional bias.

Thus, I'm curious to know: If fair competition is a key goal of net neutrality, will competition in the mobile carrier space be enough to ensure fair access for the last mile?
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