Friday, April 13, 2007

On why Net Neutrality is stillborn and there will be no funeral.

I've come to the conclusion that the impassioned "Net Neutrality" topic is not only mutual hubris (from both sides of the issue) but a dead horse.

My gut feeling was validated last night when Robert X Cringely dropped his latest column, "We Don't Need No Stinking Best Effort: Net neutrality may have been just a fantasy all along."

In a nutshell, ISP's already give priority to certain packets (DNS for example, as they should -- we all want our pages to load faster), the cable company has already configured their network to give priority to VoIP (as they should -- you don't have to buy VoIP from them to get Net access, or television.) Beside that, the ISP's have a number of other tricks up their sleeves to throttle bandwidth either way- even in a ways that might seem to enforce Net Neutrality, but in reality might make the web slower!

Before you think I've lost my mind and turned trust over to the telco's & ISPs let me back up and put the whole "argument" in perspective: There is NO Neutral Ground in this battle. The players aren't even speaking to the same issues half the time. At the end of the day...It's all about who pays. The Content Providers or the Users. The content providers don't want to pay. By wrapping the issue up in emotion (and even legislation) safeguards are added against efforts to make them pay. My question, since this has become an emotional & misunderstood issue for the public at large is, how concerned are they about us paying more?

Google and it's faithful got spooked to shit, when they heard that Ed Whitacre, the CEO of AT&T, wanted to make Google pay him for generating traffic that passed over his wires. This comment was pure success (revenue) envy - it's a big stretch for AT&T to try and extract money from Google just for being a destination of their customers! If Google or any other content providers are cause for network congestion on a carriers network, it stands to reason that the carriers customers (you know, the ones already paying for the service) are the ones generating that traffic - regardless of what kind of traffic it is!

Packet Prioritization will find a way be neutral enough for the corporate proponents of Net Neutrality as long as they don't have to pay for it. We will, and we always do.

That's just the way it goes.

1 comment:

HOTI43 said...

spinchange, Net neutrality was only made up to scare unknowing citizens into action.

I work with Hands Off the Internet Coalition and thanks for discussing Cringely's post. The UK's The Register recently pointed out that net neutrality could lead to the death of web 2.0.

"Badly written legislation that tries to implement the Apple Pie ideal of "Net Neutrality" threatens such advances, however. Last year's amendments to the Telecomm bill had the unintended consequence of outlawing for-fee QoS. A "neutral" net ensures there's one slow lane for everyone; that's something the net's most distinguished engineers - including Robert Kahn - think is insane."