Time For Net Neutrality

I’ve spoken about indications of two tier internet before, here are a couple of other articles; one in the same direction and one probably related.

Under the plans they are considering, all of us—from content providers to individual users—would pay more to surf online, stream videos or even send e-mail. Industry planners are mulling new subscription plans that would further limit the online experience, establishing “platinum,” “gold” and “silver” levels of Internet access that would set limits on the number of downloads, media streams or even e-mail messages that could be sent or received.— The End of the Internet?

To ward off the prospect of virtual toll booths on the information highway, some new media companies and public-interest groups are calling for new federal policies requiring “network neutrality” on the Internet.— The End of the Internet?

In theory that’s only carriers in the States but of course, that affects everyone, you can’t really run the internet without them so although a decision of enforcing net neutrality is an American one (in terms of what’s discussed in the article), it’s in large part a decision for the internet as a whole.

Should Google successfully launch an alternative network, it is is theoretically possible for them to block out competitor websites and only allow users to access websites that have paid Google to be shown to their users.—Rumours mount over Google’s internet plan

[Update] Ok. Not sure if I was super slow on this one or if the issue is just dispersed and badly explained by I finally got a new understanding reading this article, right at beginning.

A Verizon Communications Inc. executive yesterday accused Google Inc. of freeloading for gaining access to people’s homes using a network of lines and cables the phone company spent billions of dollars to build. (Emphasis mine)

I always thought “users pay for access, Google pays for access, how can they suddenly want to charge them more?”. Duhhhh. It’s the fact that one has access to the other they don’t like. i.e. Google/ Apple/ Others pay to get on the net but it becomes a distribution channel to end users, not just access to them or for themselves. I still don’t think it’s right but I get where the pipe companies are coming from a lot more than I used to. Actually, in my own comment (!!) I was getting there but got there only now. Again, duhhhh.

[Update 2] Very good analysis of what QoS based tarification means.

Eliminating network neutrality means giving one participant in the value chain a tool to extract a greater share of revenues without delivering greater value. The best effort Internet holds far more promise than the metering of scarcity associated with QoS because “best effort” continues to improve. (Emphasis mine)

[Update 3] Nice article and infographics of the importance of many-to-many linking.


Hoedic February 8, 2006

Frankly I don’t see the big difference between what you thought before and what you understood then (or maybe I’m super-ultra slow :)

To me it’s the same song with the DRM / Trusted Thing & co : industries want to secure their marketshare, they want to be sure that what they deliver is used how they want.

Telcos are the backbone of any content distribution on the Internet AND they are more and more content distributors AND they want to eradicate some competitor that don’t have any pipes and some consumer who cost more than they pay. Do the math…

The Bells & Co are losing power, they prepared during the past years to counter-attack and gain back power. But the Force shall prevail :)

mhp February 8, 2006

I’ve been following the discussion of this dramatic change in how we all will access the Net from Lessig, Geist, other bloggers and some fringe media groups. It is not a shocker that main-stream media (MSM) has not really covered these impending changes because MSM is now owned by the same companies that own the telcos.

In Canada for example, the old Bell Canada telco grew into BCE, which grew by adding media-com to the telecom fold with Globemedia (The Globe and Mail, CTV network, part ownership of Torstar, …)
Similar things have happened in the US, and elsewhere.

So to elaborate more on Hoedic’s comment, the old telco’s mission was to be the intermediary of delivering content from producers to consumers. They had no reason to differenciate traffic, because at the time, bits were bits. But in the new communications economy, mediacom and telecom are one, so it is now it is in the telecom’s best interest to serve itself first (i.e. its mediacom brother) above its competition. So Hoedic was off a little when stating the telcos are losing power… they have always had the power (and will until competition surfaces in the form of Google) and are now starting to flex that power because they need to against competition the other domains against mediacoms and other types of content distributors.

karl February 12, 2006

Interesting post a bit related to your questions.


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