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Monday letters: Let markets sort out Internet neutrality

Net neutrality is in jeopardy | April 10, editorial

Let markets sort out Internet fairness

Anyone reading this editorial should be concerned, but not about the Internet or innovation on the Net being in jeopardy. Rather they should be concerned that people are so confused.

In case you missed the editorial, a federal appellate court ruled that the Federal Communications Commission had overstepped its authority when it said Comcast could not slow down the transmission of large files and videos, whose appetite for bandwidth diminishes service quality for other customers. The article claims that Comcast's management of bandwidth use violates a principle called Net neutrality and that this principle is necessary to protect small, innovative Internet content providers from being nudged out by the big guys. This claim resonates with those who want regulation of the Internet. Unfortunately for them, the claim isn't true.

It is simply wrong to think that today's Internet is neutral, by which I mean that it treats everyone the same. The fact is that big content providers use the way the Internet operates today to their advantage and to the detriment, and maybe even demise, of smaller rivals. For example, big companies such as Yahoo and E*Trade can distribute servers across the Net or use the services of Akamai to improve service delivery. Other big providers are said to buy their own bandwidth and use it as they see fit. Little guys cannot afford these options, so they lack economic access to the service enhancements that the big guys use.

But suppose that network providers, such as AT&T and Verizon, offered a fast lane option. Could this help? According to research by me and other academics, the answer is "yes." A fast lane option gives the little guys an opportunity to differentiate themselves, so more of these smaller content providers thrive. Contrary to the claims of the Net neutrality advocates, the result is more innovation, not less.

What's the bottom line? There may be situations where treating all Net traffic the same is a good idea. But there are situations where it is a bad idea. For now the best idea is to let those who know — the network and content providers — work this out. Regulation by Washington, D.C., is useful only if markets fail us. Right now, the evidence indicates that markets are doing just fine.

Mark A. Jamison, director, of Public Utility Research Center, University of Florida

7-day-old baby killed by pit bull | April 15

You can't blame a breed

First, my sincere condolences to the family.

I volunteer at many animal shelters in the Tampa Bay area. I have worked with many pit bulls. I have found them to be among the most affectionate, loving and intelligent breeds.

Good training right from the start is imperative. As always, spay/neuter is a must. There is a Web site, I have no affiliation with them, but they have a lot of information about this breed. Did you know that during the Civil War these dogs were known as nurse dogs? They were there to take care of the children. During World War I, the ads supporting troops and selling war bonds show a soldier and his dog, a pit bull.

This is a loyal and loving breed. Yes, they are strong. That is why owners should know what is expected of them with any dog they choose to adopt. Research the breed and make sure you have the time and resources to give the dog what it needs. Many people take dogs home and think "just add water." That does not work.

We will never know what caused this tragedy. What I do know is that every situation is different and you cannot single out and blame a breed.

Richard Bialor, Dunedin

7-day-old baby killed by pit bull | April 15

A ban is best

I am having a very hard time with people and their stupidity regarding pit bull dogs. All people think that their dogs are trained properly, and then we have incidents like what happened in Pasco County. People sometimes receive these dogs and have no idea how closely the dogs have been interbred.

My husband and my bichon were attacked in February and my dog nearly lost its life. We were taking our dogs (which were on a leash) for an evening walk when out of a neighbor's yard comes this pit bull.

I have been so angry about pit bulls that I refuse to even do anymore volunteering at the SPCA due to the fact that they have so many pits bulls there for adoption. We can't judge who is going to train the dogs, so I feel justified in saying that pit bulls need to be banned here in the state of Florida. Then maybe a 7-day-old infant won't be mauled to death.

Susan Harbuck, Largo

Fears unleash bill targeting pit bulls | April 11, Floridian story

Laws, but not a ban

In regard to the idea of a pit bull ban, I liked the way you identified that it is not the only breed that has had incidents with mauling and death. I believe the answer is strict breeding laws, enforcement of spaying and neutering if you are not a breeder, and strict fines for dog fighting.

Once again the masses of responsible pet owners are going to pay for the irresponsible ones. Let's put the efforts where they need to be. Let's face it, if you make the breed illegal, all it does is make it more desirable.

Rose Mays, Tampa

Space program needs a lift from the president | April 14, editorial

NASA needs better PR

I think the space program could help itself by getting a new PR department. For all we hear and read about lift-offs and landings, NASA never seems to tell us much about what they are accomplishing up there. I presume they are conducting experiments, but to what end? If they are learning anything, is it relevant or even interesting to the average citizen?

We seem to hear all the time about medical breakthroughs from the New England Journal of Medicine, but rarely about the latest accomplishment or innovation from the space station. If NASA is losing support it could be that they are not, in fact, accomplishing much of value up there. However, if they are, then they need to publicize it better not only to the public but also, apparently, to the president.

Jeff Lahm, St. Petersburg

Monday letters: Let markets sort out Internet neutrality 04/18/10 [Last modified: Sunday, April 18, 2010 4:30am]
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