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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Net Neutrality in Healthcare

Net Neutrality is a topic that is heating up the interwebs.  Just Bing It (Google not being an impartial observer of trends here), or read this report from the Guardian.  Just a wee bit of thought and some recent experiences dealing with limited access due to my cell-phone carrier makes it pretty clear to me that I'm very much in favor of Net Neutrality.

The sheer audacity of Google to propose that: "Fourth, because of the confusion about the FCC’s authority following the Comcast court decision, our proposal spells out the FCC’s role and authority in the broadband space" has me flabbergasted.  I'd love to be in the position to tell a federal agency what to do or how to do it (and do quite a bit), and so would every other company in this country.   But I also expect regulators to take me with a grain of salt, and I expect them to take Google even less seriously than that.  Quite honestly, I feel much better about the FCC as a regulator than I do about the industry if Google and Verizon's response is any indication of what I'd get from the latter.

The "wireless/innovation" argument simply doesn't fly for me.  We've got more bandwidth and power today with cellphone/wireless than I had ten years ago with wired at home.  And, I know what can be done with that much bandwidth.  Wireless innovators have enough bandwidth to play with, without giving preferential treatment to anyone.

Favoring one content provider over another isn't the kind of "innovation" that I want.  Could you imagine not being able to effectively access your health records online because they are "second tier" content?  Would you like it if your wireless provider favored FOX or NPR for news content? 

I don't want my healthcare content impeded artificially in any way through the web.  I want my family, my healthcare providers, and my customers to have the same level of access to that content.