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[ NNSquad ] Re: Comments by American Consumer Institute -- misunderstandings in masquerading as facts.
Brett is very concerned about his private networks. I only care about the faux-public networks. Maybe that explains the difference in our points of view.
There is a very reasonable basis for disagreement with claims and stories masquerading as facts. The fundamental flaw in the facts is the Malthusian assumption of a fixed pie for a fixed purpose served by an omniscient provider.. There is no sense of the Internet be a dynamic rather than a phone system.
Let's start with the idea that we have a tragedy of the
commons! We're not talking about cows fighting over grass. The reason it's a
problem is that you can't divide cows into arbitrarily small pieces – you
have a breakage problem. We’re talking about flows of bits that easily
mixed and with best efforts you get a shot at your portion.
Let's not base policy on foolish zero-sum stories that don't apply!
As I don't care what people do with their private networks or transports. I care very much what people do with faux-public networks that they control to the exclusion of the rest of us. Bandwidth is a result of policy and not fundamental and we must not let those who slice and dice the commons justify their action as if bits were cows.
As to the "facts"
"FACT 1. The Internet has finite capacity at any point in time". This is not true -- we can't determine the capacity unless we lock it down to specific measures. It's a Heisenberg thing. We don't exhaust it -- we chose choose a particular policy and implementation at a point in time. We shouldn’t use bad design decisions to treat scarcity as necessary. See my HD comments for more on this.
"FACT 2. The Internet is a common user network." The current prototype might be a network but overall the Internet emerges from our usage just like the road system does -- any path you drive is part of the system. We do the networking - the network is just a metaphor. We don’t have the physical encumbrances of driving and we don’t use up the Internet.
"FACT 3. There are network externalities." More like a truism but is utterly wrong to use that as an argument to say that the current network operator/owner should be judge and jury.
"FACT 4. Usage is not uniform across all users." Again a truism but the statement that five percent of the users are abusers is just inflammatory. With best efforts we get a shot -- the violators are those who promise too much and then blame users and not themselves for the failure to deliver on the promises
"FACT 5. There is always a potential congestion problem." POTENTIAL! The only solution, when we have a problem, is to find ways to increase effective capacity or to find uses that match the capacity. It's not to pretend to keep untenable promises by picking winners. You don’t punish those whose use you don’t like because of some theory of morality. More important is to take advantage of opportunities and not depend on false promises. Remove the chokepoints, don’t treat them as intrinsic! Better let each of us remove them without depending on a network manager from on high.
"FACT 6. All common user networks are subject to management and usage rules." Not at all true—especially in the US where we’re supposed to have laws to solve problems but the default is freedom. The road laws resolve conflicts between big vehicles and don’t apply to flows.
We can’t manage our way out of self-imposed scarcity – in fact we’ve managed ourselves into scarcity!
Worth reading -- the American Consumer Institute has filed some
excellent comments with the FCC outlining the various positions on
Network Management Facts and the Tragedy of the Commons
American Consumer Institute "ConsumerGram"
The debate over elements of the Net Neutrality (NN) policy platform
promoted by a handful of advocacy groups is now focused on what
techniques, if any, Internet service providers (ISPs) should be
permitted to use for the purpose of managing congestion over their
private networks. This ConsumerGram provides a set of facts on
which there seems to be no reasonable basis for disagreement, shows
how these facts are important in resolving the network management
debate, reviews the main elements of the positions of the
contending parties, and offers a consumer welfare perspective on
the issues and their possible resolution. This ConsumerGram shows
that, ignoring the facts on net management can lead to the wrong
conclusions and policies that ultimately reduce economic benefits
for the vast majority of online consumers.
Issues to Be Resolved
A coalition of advocates united by concerns about threats they
perceive to NN recently petitioned the Federal Communications
Commission (FCC) to find unlawful Comcast's interference with
selected peer-to-peer (P2P) Internet traffic. The interference
involved applications enabled by P2P protocol that permit users to
exchange large files including high resolution movies and other
bandwidth intensive content, but requires so much bandwidth that it
can slow down all traffic on the network. Comcast claims the right
to manage its network and asks the FCC to declare that its
practices are reasonable and fully consistent with the FCC's
Broadband Policy Statement. Dozens of parties commented on the
petition and what follows summarizes some of the main positions and
their implications for consumers.