Netflix founder Reed Hastings wants to move his company’s video distribution system off the postal system and onto the Internet, where it would become a major consumer of bandwidth. He’s worried about traffic-sensitive pricing, so he invokes the all-singing, all-dancing Wonder Principle, “net neutrality”, on the opinion pages of America’s most credulous newspaper:
Today, forces are at work to stake out future control of Web site traffic and eliminate the Internet’s longstanding openness. Cable and phone companies are currently working on Capitol Hill to protect their ability to discriminate in the delivery or prioritization of Internet content based on its source or ownership. The giant cable and phone companies don’t want Congress to limit their power to discriminate against Web sites. They want to be able to pick and choose the Internet content that travels via high-speed broadband.
This sounds really great, but it unfortunately fails to acknowledge that the Internet is a mesh of financial agreements among broadband carriers which delivers different levels of service to different customers. Invoking the image of a network that never was to block progress in network engineering is a fundamentally self-serving, dishonest ploy.
Netflix uses a transport system that offers different levels of service to customers with different needs, the US Postal Service. While I can sympathize with Mr. Hastings’ desire to have Fedex service for the price of a first class stamp, I’d rather not be the one to pay the difference.
4 thoughts on “Hyperbolic neutrality nonsense”
I don’t think that any is saying that the telcos shouldn’t be allowed to charge more for faster service, the question is whether they should be charging the customer or a business. If you charge the customer then the free market is allowed to work because if consumers don’t need the faster speeds, then they simply don’t pay for them and they miss out on the delivery of HD-VOD or high speed services. If on the other hand, it’s left up to the businesses to pay for these services, then as a consumer I have no rights when it comes to which services I use.
[Editor’s note: the following is a lie; Cox Communications has never blocked Craig’s List.] Case in point is Cox Commuication’s current blocking of Craigslist. I love CL, it’s a great bulletin board that allows me access to a liquid market for goods and services, but Cox has identified CL as spam and refuses to allow their customers to access the site. Some have argued it’s because they have a competing classified service, but why should CL be penalized just because Cox decided to get into the classified markets.
Now if we had an open market, I wouldn’t begrude Cox from using these tactics, but Cox and the other telcos have a government mandated monopoly that gives them the power to offer and restrict internet and cable TV access in the markets they serve. Considering that there are very few telcos that even compete in a dual market, this is an important issue. We can either let the companies with the biggest checks get the best service online or we can empower consumers to take control of their own internet uses. If I wanted to trapped inside a walled garden, I would just be using AOL.
Cox never blocked Craig’s List, moron. Cox gives away a firewall from Authentium software that had a bug which Craig’s List activated by advertising a 0-size TCP Window. The bug was fixed in February.
That’s really funny, as Craig (of Craig’s list) take on the facts actually contradict yours.
>If on the other hand, it’s left up to the businesses to pay for these services, then as a consumer I have no rights when it comes to which services I use.
I guess this means that you think that the newspaper business has been systematically depriving us of our rights since the first day they accepted an advertisement. Or Google for that matter, which doesn’t get a penny in revenue from its end users. That’s some analysis.
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