Net Neutrality- Road analogy isn’t a good one

The concept of Net Neutrality has been explained by activists using the analogy of roads. The explanation – Internet network is like a road, a utility and hence the operator shouldn’t indulge in discrimination against different types of users.

The erudite Rahul Raushan too gave a variation of this argument in his post on the issue although he maintains an ambivalent stand on the issue.

So what is wrong with this?
It turns out that different kinds of traffic do end up paying a different usage charges for roads. Roads are non neutral. They DISCRIMINATE !! Proof –
Here are the road taxes for commercial passenger vehicles in Delhi which not only discriminate in terms of kind of traffic (normal, commercial passenger, commercial goods ) but also in what the vehicles carry.

Type of Passenger Vehicles Amount in Rs./year
Not more than 2 excluding driver 305.00
More than 2 & Upto 4 exc. Driver & Conductor. 605.00
More than 4 & Upto 6 exc. Driver & Conductor. 1,130.00
More than 6 & Upto18 exc. Driver & Conductor. 1,915.00
More than 18 & above exc. Driver & Conductor. 1,915.00+ @ 280/- per passenger.

Another part of the road’s analogy is the comparison of spectrum licencing with tolled roads. Apparently, since government’s have given permission to infrastructure providers and similarly licensed spectrum to telecom service providers for a fee, both are subject to similar obligations of non discrimination.  If so, why do you have an animus with private players discriminating between different types of traffic if the ‘highway’ used is the Optic Fiber Cable ?

The spectrum argument further falls apart when you consider the fact that spectrum can be auctioned completely and was originally allocated among telecom pioneers by a method similar to homesteading . Such a method is difficult in roads and therefore incomparable.

Guys, come up with a better analogy !

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Shreyas Bharadwaj

Author: Shreyas Bharadwaj

Shreyas Bharadwaj is a student at BML Munjal University. He is the campus coordinator of Students For Liberty. He is a young conservative who tries to spread conservative principles among his fellow students