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[ NNSquad ] Re: Wired: "Did Internet Founders Actually Anticipate Paid, Prioritized Traffic?"

The Lasar article is already out of date. IETF's Housley issued a correction to this previous remarks, which you can read about at:


From the beginning, one of the most prominent arguments for net neutrality, promoted by Lessig, Wu, and their fans, is that regulation is needed to preserve the benefits of the Internet's architecture. Consequently, understanding what the architecture does and doesn't permit is an important question. There's no better source for answering this question than the RFCs. It turns out that there are many exceptions to the "dumb fat pipe" notion in the RFCs, and DiffServ is clearly among them. DiffServ and its RFCs were not simply designed by Cisco engineers as Lasar claims; the initial designers were David Clark and Van Jacobson, two names that should be familiar to all of us.

The Lasar article quotes CDT to the effect that pricing is only mentioned in RFC 2475. That's false, it's mentioned in passing in most of the DiffServ and InsServ RFCs. There's not a detailed discussion because IETF is worried about anti-trust issues that would arise out of a collusion to set prices. All the vendors of equipment and services take part in IETF, and there are some things they simply can't talk about. But there was a clear understanding that pricing would be a part of differentiated services, and this understanding is evident in the RFCs.

The views of the founders of the Internet have played a prominent role in this debate, but they've never been fully expressed until now. Interestingly, now that it's evident that the founders of the Internet didn't envision a dumb fat pipe, we're hearing claims that the history doesn't matter.



On 9/11/2010 11:10 AM, Lauren Weinstein wrote:
Did Internet Founders Actually Anticipate Paid, Prioritized Traffic?

http://bit.ly/bFsVRZ  (Wired)

I remember some of these discussions, and one thing is pretty clear.
None of us -- as far as I know anyway -- really anticipated that
effective competition for Internet access services would continue to
be so limited and manipulated by the dominant carriers in the manner
that has now transpired in the U.S.

The point being, history is extremely important in understanding how
we got to where we are.  It is of far less value in creating
forward-looking technology-related policies.  So to the extent that
there's interest in the opinions of we old-timers to deal with issues
*today*, our views related to these issues in the context of the
Internet *today* are far more relevant than what they were in the
context of the Internet of years ago.

NNSquad Moderator

-- Richard Bennett