Tag Archives: net neutrality

Net Neutrality: All Packets Are Created Equal

The essence of Net Neutrality is “All Packets are created Equal“. No ISP should block or prioritize any traffic based on what the IP Packet carries. That is, no VoIP/Skype, YouTube video, music download or Bittorrent traffic should be processed differently based on its nature. All packets will be equally treated by the network infrastructure.

This week the Net Neutrality debate has been agitated by an article in The Wall Street Journal accusing Google of violating the net neutrality principles with their OpenEdge efforts to locate Google servers in the premises of broadband providers. Google was quick to deny the accusation and clarify their position in their official blog.

Soon many voices, like Larry LessigSave the InternetPublic KnowledgeDavid Isenberg, or Wired, have responded to clarify the confusion created by the WSJ article.

What is wrong with investing in more servers and putting them closer to the users? With Google/YouTube handling such a huge traffic, it is normal that Google wants to cache as close to the users as possible to make their service better. Caching is not a new practice in Internet. Companies like Akamai have been doing it for years, specially for video and audio streaming.

Net Neutrality is not about “let’s forbid anyone to invest more to improve their service over others”.

Net Neutrality should not prevent either that a Telco can build a separate IP network where they can prioritize their own traffic depending on its nature, e.g., to provide IPTV HD multicasts streams. Telcos must be free to build alternative IP infrastructures to deliver innovative services, as long as they also offer a neutral broadband service. If anyone wants to build a new top-notch IP network to provide 3D holographic pictures, no one should forbid it. The only thing the authorities should guarantee is a competitive market for a broadband access service where all bits are treated equal. Public initiatives to incentive investment on high-speed broadband are also advisable as the Internet is a key public infrastructure, as important as roads or railways.

Net Neutrality debate renewed

In US these days there has been a lot of renewed debate on Net Neutrality. See video below from Sen. Ted Kennedy for those not familiar with the issue

The fact that Comcast was throttling BitTorrent P2P traffic, triggered the debate whether Net Neutrality regulations would force the Service Provider not to slow down P2P traffic.Comcast argues, that even with Net neutrality laws, the only thing Comcast was doing was reasonable Network management.

“Comcast does not, has not, and will not block any Web sites or online applications, including peer-to-peer services, and no one has demonstrated otherwise,” spokeswoman Sena Fitzmaurice told CNET News.com. “We engage in reasonable network management to provide all of our customers with a good Internet experience, and we do so consistently with FCC policy.”

Should the Congress approve Net neutrality regulations, even if somehow those are interventionist on private sector business?

Wouldn’t these issues be better fixed by Market laws? The Government should just guarantee competition exists. e.g. users would move from Comcast to other Service Provider that does not throttle their traffic. As long as there is enough competition the open free Internet would survive, wouldn’t it?

I tend to agree with liberal thesis in favor of free market, but a la European, i.e. with exceptions in some areas where the System must intervene to secure equal opportunity for all: Justice, Health, Education, public infrastructures and, why not, Internet.

Internet is a cornerstone of our current society. Governments should take care of it.

Go for Net Neutrality, even if it upsets Service Providers.