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[ NNSquad ] FW: [IP] Net Neutrality: A Radical Form of Non-Discrimination by Hal Singer vs Hal Singer

I guess this is also appropriate for NNSquad since it’s an attempt to redefine NN so that the idea can then be refuted.


From: Bob Frankston [mailto:bob37-2@bobf.frankston.com]
Sent: Sunday, June 22, 2008 11:25
To: dave@farber.net; ip
Subject: RE: [IP] Net Neutrality: A Radical Form of Non-Discrimination by Hal Singer vs Hal Singer


I was curious to read the entire paper (or article) because, judging from the abstract, the claim doesn’t make any sense. This is akin to arguing that monopolies are far more efficient because they can provide guarantees that you can’t make if you had to compete. What is the definition of QoS and what kind of control do you need over the entire network path in order to make such promises? This claim would seem to deny the orders of magnitude price and performance improvements we’ve gotten by constraining solutions to those which didn’t depend to billable promises by carriers.


I found a full article at http://www.cato.org/pubs/regulation/regv30n2/v30n2-4.pdf. It makes arbitrary statements like “Real-time video, Voice over Internet Protocol, and online video game traffic cannot be experienced properly by the end-user if it is subjected to jitter (unevenness in the rate of data packet delivery)” which are simply untrue as those of us who’ve watched HD video over our IP connections can attest or, for that matter, the many millions who’ve watched YouTube.


It also says “Net neutrality proponents speak of “access tiering” — that is, offering tiered levels of qos at different prices” which may be true in the sense that some say but selecting such statements to quote doesn’t mean they are representative or even makes sense. It also says “Content providers are voluntarily entering into contracts with broadband service providers presumably because content providers (and their customers) value the service enhancements more than the prices for the enhancements.” And perhaps some are paying based on the same misunderstandings or because the term “voluntarily” is used in the sense that paying ransom is voluntary. But from what I know they are more interested in bypassing the gatekeepers than paying them off.


I could go on with a detailed analysis or rebuttal but it seems pointless when the premises are so obviously false. It’s disingenuous to misstate the other side and then “win” the debate by defeating a straw man.


The key fallacy is that the carriers have something valuable that they can withhold if they aren’t paid – in other words they can act as gatekeepers or monopolists. That’s the very constriction that the Internet’s end-to-end approach defeats. I often refer to the end-to-end constraint as opposed to the “argument”. The argument says we can create solutions at the end points. But when we are forced to do so it’s akin to evolving our immune system. We don’t need to theorize or come up with fanciful models. We have years of experience demonstrating the counter-intuitive results that with such a constraint we can do far better in a few years than the QoS-constrained telecommunications service business was able to do over more than a century.



From: David Farber [mailto:dave@farber.net]
Sent: Sunday, June 22, 2008 09:07
To: ip
Subject: [IP] Net Neutrality: A Radical Form of Non-Discrimination by Hal Singer





"Net neutrality represents the prohibition of any contracting for enhanced service or guaranteed quality of service (QoS) between a broadband service provider and an Internet content provider. Such a prohibition would unwind existing contracts for QoS between broadband service providers and content providers. The anticompetitive harms that would be allegedly spared from such a prohibition pale in comparison to the efficiencies made possible by such contracting."