Some pro net neutrality arguments that make no sense

Summary:I've been doing a lot of reading around this whole net neutrality debate, and what really surprises me are some of the strange, and ultimately bogus, arguments that are used to justify net neutrality.

I've been doing a lot of reading around this Add a cup of propaganda, a dash of FUD and a pinch of zealotry and WHOOMPH! The whole thing does up in flames.whole net neutrality debate, and what really surprises me are some of the strange, and ultimately bogus, arguments that are used to justify net neutrality.

To be fair, I don't blame anyone for having a view.  The problem with the whole net neutrality debate is that a small number of big corporations turned a technical issue into a political one.  Add a cup of propaganda, a dash of FUD (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt) and a pinch of zealotry and WHOOMPH!  The whole thing does up in flames.

Let's take a look at some of these bogus arguments:

  • Content providers are already paying for bandwidth, why should they pay twice ...
    Who said that content providers aren't paying for bandwidth?  Yes, they pay for their bandwidth, but that doesn't take into account the huge impact that their ability to pay for their bandwidth has downstream. 
    The problem with keeping a system where net neutrality exists is that a small number of content providers are able to dominate, and degrade, user experience on the net downstream.  If someone had the cash to build a thousand mile long, five-lane highway, and that ended at your street, you'd feel it.
  • Prioritization of traffic is a bad thing
    It already exists.  If you don't like it, get off the Internet.
  • Prioritization of traffic would have a huge detrimental effect on the Internet
    Prioritization of, say, VoIP, would have no detrimental impact whatsoever on service.  If you're worried about detrimental impact, then worry about all your neighbors downloading beta copies of Windows Vista.
  • A tiered Internet would lead to censorship
    Rubbish.  Not only are there fines in place for such behavior, it doesn't make sense anyway.  In any case, the Internet is already tiered - compare the experience of a DSL user to that of someone on dial-up. 
  • The customer should have to pay more so that service providers can upgrade
    This is where the arguments fall down totally.  I'm always amazed that a few individuals are willing to say that because a small number of multi-billion dollar corporations have the cash to pay for their bandwidth, the little guy should pick up the tab downstream for upgrading the infrastructure.  Why is the consumer paying more for the fact that there's more content going over the Net?  What's this all about? 
    OK, I'm happy with the idea of charging the biggest users more, but charging everyone more amounts to nothing more than an Internet tax.   
  • Why should content providers have to pay more?
    Why should the customer pay more?

As I said before, the bottom line is that more content is going to mean that someone, somewhere, is going to have to pay for the growth in traffic.  There are also going to have to be ways to sensible prioritize traffic.  But even prioritization is only a small part of the answer.  I think that ISPs are also going to have to start being more transparent and publish more details on things such as subscriber ratios.  Companies that supply content are going to need to think about the impact this is having on the network as a whole and invest in technologies to counter the problem.  But one thing's for sure ... the end customer is already paying enough.

Topics: Browser

About

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes is an internationally published technology author who has devoted over a decade to helping users get the most from technology -- whether that be by learning to program, building a PC from a pile of parts, or helping them get the most from their new MP3 player or digital camera.Adrian has authored/co-authored technic... Full Bio

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