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Net neutrality - the great debacle

Er, debate

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Back to Mike Bostrom, who says he sees nothing wrong with prioritising traffic, but adds:

I am not in favour of network anarchy. I just shiver at the thought of using differential pricing based not on services used, but on services offered.

This all naturally relies on the assumption that the current connection is by itself sufficient to power the service(s) in question. It would not, as such, require any new SLA.

What I would really want, is a two-tiered *connection* service: one speed for domestic traffic (real symmetric connection, not DSL; say 10M) and another for foreign traffic (1M/1M). The majority of traffic costs for operators comes from foreign traffic anyhow, so that variable would not change in this equation. On the other hand, having honest, FAST connections within the country would allow to experiment with all kinds of new service types.

Yes, I do realise that what I want is fiber to the curb. Put the dark fiber in use and allow real connections. Hell, with IPv6 and Mobile IP we're going to need that anyhow, so we might as well start now and at least try to get ahead of the pack once more.

In the process the consumers would get more than decent connections to run their own servers on, without paying the current extortionate fees usually associated with anything above 2M/512k asymmetric lines.

And in order to prevent the assholes from ruining the experience for everybody, we need some really smart QoS. Something that works across ISP boundaries too.


But relief that the issue is complex is clearly palpable. Phew!

Bill Nicholls writes:

This is a good writeup. It needs more exposure. I was uncertain about net neutrality, but now I have seen the technical issues laid out, it's clearly wrong.


John Graham adds:

Thank you for writing an article intelligently explaining parts of the other side of the debate, instead of just adding to the endless stream of pro network-neutrality journalism out there.

I think everything you wrote, especially technically was accurate, however, what I don't agree with is your assertion that most people who are pro network neutrality are uninformed. I think most users who care about it dislike the idea that someone is going to shape their traffic, they have been sold a 8mb/s connection with 'unlimited' download and simply want to use it (the idea of contention ratios and fair use not being known to most users, and not something they would appreciate if they did). They (and I) believe that it should be the case that if I want to use VoiP or watch IPTV then I should free up enough of my available bandwidth.

I'm not asking for the perfect service, but I and most other people would prefer a network where we get what our internet package claims to offer (even if that was less than they currently pretend to offer) and can choose for ourselves what to do with it.


And Fred Yontz:

"Coming from an engineering background, I found his technically oriented explanations quite thought-provoking, and a welcome respite from all the sound-bite slogans that seem to obfuscate more than educate.


Last word to a Stuckist, however, for offering the most er... original point of view. Take it away Arah Leonard:

VoIP and Video over IP can go to hell.

Should the anti-neutrality side win, the World Wide Web will be slowed to a crawl and be much more likely to fall apart, even while the internet as a protocol survives. As the VoIP and IPTV flood the network with far more data than it was ever conceived of transporting these services will be boosted in priority while the actual World Wide Web gets downgraded into infamy.

And for what? Cheaper telephones and TV? Telephone services that don't use the internet already exist. They have their own lines. We don't need VoIP to run a telephone. It's only a new fad. Cable and satellite servies already exist. As do local channels on the regular airwaves. They also have their own data lines. We don't need IPTV to run a television. It's an even newer fad. But there's only one World Wide Web, and there is no other service that can provide for it. The internet is the World Wide Web. The World Wide Web is the internet.  So if we destroy the World Wide Web just to create cheaper alternatives to telephone and television, what have we actually accomplished?


The email was written in Comic Sans font. But don't tell me part of you didn't at least twitch in sympathy. ®

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