February 28, 2015

No Tim Harford. On a train it is the passenger who takes the decision which class he travels.

Sir, Tim Harford might have seriously confounded us explaining some downside of net neutrality for us with his splendid train allegory in “Battle for the web’s ‘last mile’” February 28.

But, the web’s ‘last mile’, still ends up in my TV or my computer. And I should not be forced to have the services I want, to have to travel third class just because the railway company, behind my back, without me having a chance of bidding for it, sold out the whole first class to a content provider that is of no interest to me.

Let instead cable companies put that power into us their customer’s hands, and so that we can decide in what class different content providers should travel to meet us. Is that an optimum solution? No, but better. Currently on the last mile of the electrical transmission line to my house in Maryland I, at least in theory, decide who the generator of the electricity reaching my lamps is to be. By the way perhaps I should perhaps get to know that generator better… you cannot let anyone into your house.

And, while Harford is at it… as I have a feeling I own my own preferences and myself, perhaps he should think about whether Google should pay me a royalty whenever it sells to an advertiser an access to me. But of course, since some consumers are worth more than others that could perhaps lead to an increase in inequality, and we would not want that in these Piketty days, would we?