Net Neutrality Links
I’ve added these links to the Net Neutrality Page today.
Imagine a world where Internet performance is controlled by the company who owns the cables and where speed is sold to the highest bidder. Imagine a world where some Web sites load faster than others, where some sites aren’t even visible and where search engines pay a tax to make sure their services perform at an acceptable speed. That’s the world US Telecommunications companies (telcos) such as AT&T, Verizon, Comcast and Time Warner are trying to create. . . .
To the lay person, it may seem like a laughable proposition. As Cory Doctorow (FreePress) put it, “It’s a dumb idea to put the plumbers who laid a pipe in charge of who gets to use it.” And yet the US congress is swaying towards the view of the telcos, so what’s going on?
Imagine trying to cope with today’s world without blogs.
On second thought, it’s too painful.
Yet, it may happen sooner rather than later:
Blogs have gained a growing cultural and political impact in the United States and worldwide. In the United States, theyÃ¢â¬â¢ve been credited with playing a key role in the resignation of a U.S. Senate Majority Leader and the public repudiation of a longtime TV news anchor. Merriam-WebsterÃ¢â¬â¢s Dictionary of the English language deemed Ã¢â¬ÅblogÃ¢â¬Â its word of the year in 2004. The Technorati website boasts that it keeps track of some 28 million blogs worldwide.
Undeniably, blogs and their collective identity known as the Ã¢â¬ÅblogosphereÃ¢â¬Â have become an extraordinary phenomenon. And no matter what topics they may discuss or what political leanings they may espouse, they are all under grave and immediate threat.
Fundamental changes have already taken place in the InternetÃ¢â¬â¢s traffic load. In the good old days when the Internet was a private club for elite Universities and defense contractors, traffic was light even for the primitive pipes of the day. When congestion collapse appeared it was viable, just barely, to manage it with an end-to-end system that relied on good behavior on the part of the community, because there was a community. The overloaded Internet of the mid 80Ã¢â¬â¢s got new life from exponential backoff and slow start in TCP, because the most aggressive consumer of bandwidth was ftp, the files it transferred were short, and users were patient. They didnÃ¢â¬â¢t have spam, viruses, worms, or phishing either.
Now that the Internet has to contend with a billion users and multi-gigabyte file transfers with BitTorrent, the honor box model no longer works at all. When BitTorrent is slowed down by backoff, it simply propagates more paths, creating more and more congestion. In another year, the Internet is going to be just as unstable as it was in 1985.
This being the case, the carriers have to implement traffic limits inside the network, building on the mechanisms established as far back as the 1980s with RED and its progeny. This is the only way to control BitTorrent. There is no community and weÃ¢â¬â¢re not patient people.
And while theyÃ¢â¬â¢re doing that, it makes perfect economic and technical sense to implement voice- and video-oriented QoS. Even Berners-Lee acknowledges this, heÃ¢â¬â¢s just on the neutrality bandwagon because heÃ¢â¬â¢s exercised about third-party billing for web content, a very obscure concern. So whether the phone company manages its links or not, whether they offer third-party billing for QoS or not, and whether the phone company competes with Akamai by offering content caching or not, the Internet will either change or collapse.
–ME “Liz” Strauss
NET NEUTRALITY PAGE