The real purpose of net neutrality

The real purpose of net neutrality

Summary: Net neutrality is only necessary because American carriers have a bottleneck on the last mile.

TOPICS: BT, Censorship, Telcos

Zach Whittaker is very upset over the possible end of net neutrality in the UK.

But America is not England.

Unlike America's carriers, British Telecom wholesales its capacity to others. This gives consumers a choice among ISPs using the phone lines.

Wholesaling was one intent of the 1996 Telecommunications Act, but that act was tossed in the dustbin by carrier lobbying over the last decade. So if an American wants Internet service over their phone line they have one choice. Same if you want it over your cable. Carriers here have a bottleneck on the last mile.

The result is a duopoly, in areas without cable service a monopoly. An end to network neutrality here would put carriers in the position of railroads back in the 1880s, which could strangle producers or whole towns by manipulating rates, and did.

Back in the 20th century, of course, we had many, many choices for ISP service. Some emphasized speed. Others emphasized value. Still others sold censorship.

That's right. There was a market out there for censored ISP content. Religious groups, and folks affiliated with them, wanted someone to maintain a content filter for them. So there were companies that wholesaled Internet capacity from the Bells, filtered out the rough stuff, and resold it.

Such was never my cup of bits, but if that's what you want I don't think the market should deny it to you. So long as you have other choices it's a good thing.

If American regulators simply demanded wholesaling by phone and cable operators, as well as wireless companies, it would not have to act on net neutrality. (If you get your cellular service from Virgin Mobile, you're using a re-seller.) The market would do the job.

If a company like Fox then wanted to offer itself as an ISP, re-selling phone or cable capacity and favoring its programs over others, I would be all in favor of it. If companies were free to wholesale the Bells' and cable operators' wires, I suspect the Bells and cable companies would actually make more money. I think there's an unmet demand here for differentiated services of all sorts, one we should test.

But that's not how it works here. It's how it works there.

So if you give me Britain's present situation and say, "no network neutrality," I'm going to cheer. Bring it to America, guys. Let's have an open, competitive market for bits, one in which ISPs and customers are free to shape services as they see fit.

But first, require wholesaling.

Topics: BT, Censorship, Telcos

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  • Put neutrality aside

    Contract are there and can be enforced by court.

    Anything that sells "internet" cannot be filtered, otherwise it's not internet it's part of it.
    Internet w/o p2p is not internet. It wan be WWW, but not internet.

    Reminds me of the old days of AOL, which required a modified version of IE, but which did not sell internet but a proprietary system.
    • You base you views on what exactly?

      They really do not make any sense. It can be the "Internet" without P2P. Filtering is allowed by the contracts that are signed when you get an Internet connection. P2P could be put under the category of "Serving" that tends to be limited. on most home/personal broadband connections.

      Legally, it has already been established that ISPs can indeed filter and shape the traffic as they see fit.
      • RE: The real purpose of net neutrality

        @Bruizer ''The Internet is a global system of interconnected computer networks that use the standard Internet Protocol Suite (TCP/IP) to serve billions of users worldwide'' ( wikipedia )
        p2p is an application using the internet. A contract labeled Internet cannot prohibit the use of applications except if such restriction is necessary for the proper functionning of the service, and proportionate to it, at least in most countries, and whatever the smallprints. Smallprints are not the essential description of a service, they are just asides.

        Let just have ISP sell not internet but web, but as long as they are selling internet they sell TCP not some port/some applciations/some protocols
      • RE: The real purpose of net neutrality

        @Bruizer I'm sorry but you are very wrong my little friend.
      • RE: The real purpose of net neutrality


        If you're only connected to servers it's not the INTERnet.

        P2P Filesharing is the core principle upon which the internet was founded, not

        Legally, if they sell a pipe, they do not get to choose what goes in that pipe. Otherwise, they are responsible for all of the illegal filesharing and child porn ever downloaded. That would be nice. I'd like to see the board of Comcast go to prison for how many counts of distributing child porn.
    • RE: The real purpose of net neutrality

      @s_souche It's still TV whether it comes via satellite or cable, and you're subject to different, competitive contracts.

      I don't use AOL, but there was nothing illegal or immoral about it. Let the market decide these things -- it worked then and will now.

      But first we need a competitive market.
      • RE: The real purpose of net neutrality

        @DanaBlankenhorn ''there was nothing illegal or immoral about it.'' as long as they market what they sell, I agree with you.
      • RE: The real purpose of net neutrality

        @DanaBlankenhorn It didn't work then and it doesn't work now. Therefore we need net neutrality, but we DON'T need Verizon's version of net neutrality that they forced down Google's throat! We need a high bandwidth open system that is completely incapable by law of giving "priority" to ANY traffic what-so-ever.
  • Where to start?

    1. I'll start here AT&T already uses QoS to favor their broadcast/multicast services(U-verse) over their unicast(internet) services. So, yeah, net neutrality was DOA. Netflix will not work as well if your sister is watching the same program on the AT&T box in the other room.

    2. Both purport to sell bandwidth, not data. If Comcast wants to sell data, fine. If we had a wholesale system and competition, this wouldn't even be a question. It's a stupid idea proposed by MBAs. It's absurd to sell 25Mbps and then complain that people and the market find a use for that bandwidth. Imagine if the interstates were built upon such a principle. In fact, we it's the opposite. Imagine if you were pulled over for carpooling! That's the analogy. "I'm sorry sir, but your passenger does not have valid license and registration. Clearly, he is a freeloader. I'm afraid we're going to have to ban you from the roads."
  • QoS clientside

    All of my NICs and my router support QoS. Let net neutrality stand, tell customers what their ACTUAL GMB is, and let customers choose their own QoS settings. They don't need to set it KB by KB, but how difficult is it to explain? You have 8 queues. Put what you care about most in the queue labeled high in the gui and the stuff you don't care about in the one labeled low.
    • RE: The real purpose of net neutrality

      @tkejlboom technically speaking by configuring those queues all you are doing is shaping your upstream bandwidth. Unfortunately, where it matters the most is the downstream, which either you have to control that peer device or coordinate with who does. I am not aware of any ISPs that will configure download queues. That would be cool if there were as it help me in my job immensely.
  • what was that all about

    I can't understand if the author is for or against it. big business will tell you the same rant and say to vote against net nutrality. what gives.
    the only story I have heard that makes any sense is the one from the FCC and the obama admin.

    Leave the internet alone It works great just the way it is
  • Please have some Cool aid with that.

    The net neutrality regulations will limit free speech on the Internet or have it montiored to the point individuals will not feel comfortable expressing their opinions in public. What are we? The old USSR? Why does our government believe adults cant's tell when someone is biased? Does the government think we're all so stupid that we need an overseer now?

    That is what net neutrality is about the controlling of free speech by enforcing a "balance" view. The question is who decides?

    They're just using the "Business is bad" propaganda to push it on people who are too busy or too lazy to find out what the regulations actually entail.

    Isn't anyone concerned that the FCC is bypassing congress (Which voted it down) to enforce these rules for the "good" of the people?

    I don't like idea of any department of government creating regulations outside the strictures of congress. This habit our government officials have gotten into in the last thirty years is setting this country on bad path. What happened to a representative government? Does the FCC and other government agencies now trump that?

    What's next having the military keep the "peace" in high crime urban areas?
  • RE: The real purpose of net neutrality

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