Feeds

A monkey hanger's guide to Net Neutrality

El Reg goes Westminster

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Intelligent flash storage arrays

How could so many people get it so wrong?

As Ofcom correctly recognises, there are very different market conditions here in the UK to the United States. The concerns expressed in "Save The Internet" were based on experience of local cable monopolies, and a confused and contradictory history of regulation.

But "Save The Internet" wouldn't have reached Congress without several local factors, too.

The campaign reflects three unique things - which make it so interesting for me.

It reflects popular disillusionment with American institutions: the regulator, the Federal Communications Commission, was not felt to be trusted.

Paranoia and conspiracy theories play a large part in the American political dynamic, as Richard Hofstader recognised in his Harpers essay in 1964, entitled The Paranoid Style In American Politics.

Conspiracy theories have always thrived in digital culture too - the internet is full of them.

But while the good people of Hartlepool 200 years ago may be forgiven for not knowing what a Frenchman looked like - through lack of information - these conspiracy theories flourish because of a a super-abundance of information.

Andrew on Net Neutrality: Slide20: how the Neutrality mania took hold

In the internet age, people turn to a narrowing spectrum of information sources to reinforce their views.

This leads to problems.

American politics is fought throught symbolic gestures: prayer in schools, for example, or the display of the Ten Commandments in public buildings.

"Net Neutrality" became one of these symbolic gestures - a proxy war for progressive activists who had lost faith in the Department of Justice's Anti-trust Department, and the ability of the FCC to regulate effectively.

Paranoia and Groupthink did the rest.

It's a pity we don't look at some of the real, and profound problems with our computer networks.

Andrew on Net Neutrality: Slide21: the net has real issues

There are several of these.

With no "internet" and a network of networks, work to fix video and voice is slow.

The author of End-to-End Arguments in System Design David Clark, now believes: "We are at an inflection point, a revolution point - we might just be at the point where the utility of the internet stalls - and perhaps turns downward."

Most of the bandwidth laid lies unused - because it's not economically viable to use it.

An internet that fails to raise revenues necessary for continued investment will die - another model will take its place.

All of these concern me much more than "Neutrality".

Thank you for your time. ®

Further Reading

Crowcroft

Kahn

Bennett

Geddes

Farber, Faulhaber, Katz & Yoo

By this author:

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Download alert: Nearly ALL top 100 Android, iOS paid apps hacked
Attack of the Clones? Yeah, but much, much scarier – report
Broadband sellers in the UK are UP TO no good, says Which?
Speedy network claims only apply to 10% of customers
Virgin Media struck dumb by NATIONWIDE packet loss balls-up
Turning it off and on again fixes glitch 12 HOURS LATER
Yahoo! blames! MONSTER! email! OUTAGE! on! CUT! CABLE! bungle!
Weekend woe for BT as telco struggles to restore service
Fujitsu CTO: We'll be 3D-printing tech execs in 15 years
Fleshy techie disses network neutrality, helmet-less motorcyclists
Facebook, working on Facebook at Work, works on Facebook. At Work
You don't want your cat or drunk pics at the office
Soz, web devs: Google snatches its Wallet off the table
Killing off web service in 3 months... but app-happy bonkers are fine
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
5 critical considerations for enterprise cloud backup
Key considerations when evaluating cloud backup solutions to ensure adequate protection security and availability of enterprise data.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
How to simplify SSL certificate management
Simple steps to take control of SSL certificates across the enterprise, and recommendations centralizing certificate management throughout their lifecycle.