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[ NNSquad ] Re: L.A. Times Biz Section/Lazarus: "We can't be neutral on net neutrality"
Thanks for proving the point, Lauren. From your LA Times article:
That's the argument for "all packets are equal" in black and white.
[ No Richard, you're misrepresenting the argument. Nobody of note that I know of on the "network neutrality" side of current debates is saying that customers should be able to buy OC-192 speeds for the same price as a consumer DSL line, nor that time-sensitive payloads (like VoiP) shouldn't be able to have appropriate priorities over, say, conventional browsing. But the question is, do all comers have access to these facilities at a competitive price and on equivalent terms, or do the ISPs favor their own content and services and those of their partners?
The dominant carriers, most of whom now have highly valuable content (mostly video) that they want to deliver "out of band" in relation to other traffic, are also the ones who are able to arbitrarily set the pricing, TOSes, restrictions, and virtually all other parameters for access services which allow for competition with these ISPs' own content. Bandwidth caps, which would only affect external Internet traffic (including all Internet video competitors) but not cable-company provided video fed (via the same protocols in most cases) on the companies' own video on demand and pay per view systems, are an obvious example of the problem.
In other words, in the absence of reasonable regulation, the major ISPs not only may have a direct conflict of interest in terms of content, but also control all the balls relating to the ability of potential content and service competitors to compete in terms of speed and pricing.
With the appeals court ruling a couple of days ago voiding the FCC rule limiting the size of the giant cable companies, this situation can only be expected to become far worse in an unregulated Internet access ecosystem.
-- Lauren Weinstein NNSquad Moderator ]
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"We can't be neutral on net neutrality"
"The snooze-worthy phrase is about something vital to all: whether the companies that control the pipes through which data flow can dictate terms to the websites that originate the data ..."
Full Article (8/30/09): http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-lazarus30-2009aug30,0,3436552.column
-- Richard Bennett Research Fellow Information Technology and Innovation Foundation Washington, DC