BellSouth voted for network neutrality before they voted against it

BellSouth has somewhat humorously agreed that network neutrality is important in principle but the company then went on to say that no legislation is needed to ensure that because, "We're a big telecom company and would never do anything bad."

Okay, I made that last quote up--BellSouth did not actually say that in exactly that way, but read the article [link no longer available] and see what you think.

Network neutrality is the concept that your Internet access provider (i.e. your DSL or cable modem provider) cannot block services coming from other vendors. This issue is rapidly coming to a boil because the telephone and cable companies want to block third party VoIP providers. The telephone and cable companies want to sell that service to you themselves.

But there is something bigger at work in all this than clumsy efforts to preserve old-style monopolies. Our current system of charging for a broadband connection is badly broken. There is very little relationship between the fees we pay for broadband and the amount of bandwidth we actually use. And new services like VoIP and IP TV have turned the heat up. The current system is unsustainable.

Network neutrality is important, but it's awfully hard to make it work when some service providers get a free ride on part of the Internet, which is what happens now.

The solution is to make broadband connections free, but to charge for services, and to split those fees among the several entities that are involved in both providing the service and providing the infrastructure that the service uses. By doing so, the market forces prices to rise or fall based on demand for the service, rather than the made up cost of an empty or partially full "pipe."