The web’s greatest shortcoming, as well the greatest shortcoming of the Internet before the web, is the absence of tools for commerce in the plumbing. The web needs to provide each user with a persistent identity – or more, and they don’t need to be real – and a dance card for all the permissions we’ve given for data collectors to record our activities.
Net neutrality does not promote competition, it leads to monopoly. In reality, a radically neutral Internet favors companies willing to build private facilities over those that invest in open, public facilities available to all. In large part, Amazon and Netflix owe their dominance to the relative neutrality of the Internet.
So yes, 5G is over-hyped the same way that all breakthrough technologies are over-hyped. The market will ultimately shape it, and we will also find new applications that the marketing folks do not anticipate yet. So in that sense, 5G is also under-hyped, just as breakthrough technologies always are.
The disconnect between the way the Internet really is and the way neutrality advocates wish it were came into stark relief today: while some Congressmen were outside the Capitol giving speeches on the importance of net neutrality, those inside the building voted to make significant, harmful changes to Section 230, the real protector of Internet speech. And they didn’t even notice.
Consumers were easy to get wound up about their ISPs ten years ago, when the Internet was new to them and their access to it was gated by a high-priced broadband plan. But I’m not so sure consumer rage is to easily channeled today
We need IA, the ISPs, Congress, and the regulatory agencies to come together and draft a new section for the Communications Act addressing privacy, security, fraud and other criminal conduct, and market concentration.