Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Surrender the Net or we'll kill Grandma

The Washington Post, rising to its self-assigned task as defender of the indefensible, offers an OpEd by Brookings Fellow Robert Litan arguing against our silly and parochial battle to keep Big Telcos from permanently shutting our yaps. His missive, Catching the Web in a Net of Neutrality, is a a perfect bookend to the incoherent nonsense spewed by Mike McCurry over at the Huffington Post (where his spew was neatly thrown back as well).

The bulk of Litan's apologia is the same old claim that we need to let the telcos charge the big, bad Googles of the world for all that bandwidth they are using -- which of course, they already do, as do we at the other end of the pipe.

But the amazing part of his argument is this:
Remote disease monitoring -- and telemedicine more broadly -- cannot use broadband networks unless they are reliable. Even more important than not having your streamed movie interrupted by heavy traffic from other Internet users is not having your vital signs transmitted without interruption to the individual or computer that is remotely monitoring your health.

I'm guessing that Litan is about the right age to have gotten this argument from the same place I remembered it from:

(I couldn't find a larger version of this picture on line, so for the presbyopic among you, it is a 1973 National Lampoon cover that said, "If you don't buy this magazine, we'll kill this dog.")

For shame, Mr. Litan. This tactic started as farce, but you have brought it back as tragedy. Did someone buy you, or are you really stupid enough to think that allowing the telcos to price-discriminate between bits will make price-inelastic communications (such as telemedicine) less expensive?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, just the same old fear tactic that has worked so well for far to long. Thanks for saving me the trouble of looking for that damn magnifyer.

3:01 AM  

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