Om Malik posts about an article the issue of network neutrality which appears quite good. Additionally, there’s a much better metaphor than mine here:
Via Om Malik’s Broadband Blog, “Net Neutrality Not An Optional Feature of Internet“:
“The telco and cable companies have in mind creating another type of customer not a class of service. They want suppliers to pay for the right of transit. It amounts to airlines charging Time Warner for the right of readers to take Time magazine on an airplane. It means charging Ford tolls in addition to drivers for the right of Ford cars to use highways.”
Great point about this being a way for companies to buy market results, not just network performance. This seems like my worry about the notion of “postal” charges for routing around spam filters. After all, if a company is paying a large amount of money, the mail provider is incentivized to keep that revenue, not in controlling the content of the messages that would otherwise be filtered.
And, here’s the thing: a source is only likely to pay to be routed around a spam filter if the content of the message is likely to be filtered in the first place. Perhaps there’s a reason it was going to be filtered, and the recipient hadn’t added the source to their whitelist or address book? It’s because that content is or resembles spam, right? Or why pay to be routed around a filter in the first place?
So, who’s the product for then? It’s a way to get questionable content to the recipient, so the product is, in a way, to create a threshold, and economic barrier to questionable content. It doesn’t eliminate the questionable content, but rather gentrifies it.
The network management quality of service argument for ending network neutrality misses the fact QoS does not work outside a private network environment where a single entity controls usage end to end. The implementation of QoS remains limited to private networks, because it makes the negotiation of interconnection compensation intractable.
Or, if the mahor carries are able to create a formal or informal cartel, in which they perhaps become as close as they can towards an oligonomy. With the quickly diminishing number of carriers, there’s very likley to be a time when informally the battle fields for competition are agreed upon by the carriers instead of determined by the market.
I note with interest the “free lunch” meme seen from AT&T’s Whitacre now appears in a report of words from Verizon’s John Thorne as well. Sure, it could have been independent development, but it’s interesting to see both appearing to espouse such similar thoughts. These two nominal competitors have aligned, and that’s not good.
Via Washington Post, “Verizon Executive Calls for End to Google’s ‘Free Lunch’“:
“The network builders are spending a fortune constructing and maintaining the networks that Google intends to ride on with nothing but cheap servers,” Thorne told a conference marking the 10th anniversary of the Telecommunications Act of 1996. “It is enjoying a free lunch that should, by any rational account, be the lunch of the facilities providers.”
The current government is overwhelmingly aligned with large corporate and multi-national interests, so network neutrality could be in clear and present danger.