Hugsies Blog!

September 8, 2007

Net Neutrality what?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Hugsie @ 12:08 pm

I’m getting rather sick of hearing about Net Neutrality.  Mostly because everyone seems to have thier own idea as to what Net Neutrality is.  As well as the notion of what a “Tiered Internet” is, and often mixes these two together, among other issues that are in reguards to how people use the internet, and what sites they want to use.

First to make it clear, a “Tiered Internet” is simply how much you pay a month to your ISP to how much services you get (i.e. faster bandwidth).  If you wanna pay $10 a month, then you’ll get dialup access.  If you want home broadband you’re going to pay more for that. Cable and DSL providers often have several levels (or tiers) of service depending on how much you’re willing to pay, and you’ll have more bandwidth.  Many services offer “tiers” of servies and this notion of different service levels isn’t limimted to just ISPs.

What is NOT a “Tiered Internet” is when your ISP is restricting your access to sites, or services on the internet.  If this was a “Tiered Internet” then that would imply that if you paid your ISP more money then they would allow you to use those site and/or services that they would otherwise ban you from accessing.  For people living in the free world (i.e. not China) ISPs do NOT restrict you on what sites you vist, or what applications you run.

About a month ago there had been stories about Comcast slowing down Bit Torrent seeding.  I had local friends saying he noticed his downloads were slowing down.  And I had just recently switched BACK to Comcast (from AT&T DSL that kept craping out on me at least once a day if not hourly).  This one guy posted on his blog, and after reading the stories about comcast blocking Bit Torrennt, it went on an idiotic rampage claiming how this was the “Tiered Internet.” Like I said before, if Comcast was creating a “Tiered Internet” when it came to how you USE it, then that means Comcast would allow you to use Bit Torret if you paid them more money.  But that can’t POSSIBLY happen since piracy is so heavily associated with Bit Torrent, then that would imply that Comcast supports bit torrent, as long as you paid them extra money.

Real  “Net Neutrality” is about how freely you’re able to use the internet, as we currently do now.  And I don’t just mean your ISP having the ability to block certain websites like China already does.  ISPs are able to “packet shape” data flowing though their network.  They can see what type of data is flowing though their network and give priority to some data packets over others.

Actually ALL ISPs are already doing this, but not necessarily in a covert “screw you” way.  If they can tell the diffrence from a data packet(s) that’s from a spam e-mail to another one that for your online gaming session, they will likely “packet shape” the data so the e-mail spam will have less of a priority.  They could do this to all “email” data packets since it’s not latency/time sensitive like multiplayer gaming is, or for that matter streaming video or audio.

Another issue about net nutrality that I belive is the root of it becoming an evil, is ISPs making deals with companies and bussiness.  For example, Comcast has it’s own VOIP telephone service, exactly like Vontage.  Comcast could easily make it so that the performance of Vontage is poor.  they don’t have to cut service to Vontage, or that would be considerd “anti-compeditive” and would get Comcast into serious legal problems.  All they have to do is set a low priority to “vontage data packets”, while at the same time making thier own VOIP service run perfect.  This could cause the customer to think Vontage sucks and then switch to Comcast VOIP service instead.  Sneaky eh?

This could also work if say your ISP made a deal with Google, and your ISP made using iTunes a pain in the ass, while Googles Music and Video marketplace ran smooth.

The best analogy I can think of is say that your local power company had a deal (or perhaps was bought) by a well known Electronics appliance company, lets say G.E . (General Electric) for this example.  What if your local power company made it so you can only use GE house hold products to work on your power?  If you wanted to watch TV on your new Sony widescreen HDTV it wouldn’t work, or you’d have to pay your power company more money to make it work.  Or you’d be foreced to buy a G.E. made widescreen HDTV to see your shows.  It could get worse too, since G.E. ownes NBC, you could only watch shows and cable networks owned by NBC.

Sure this sounds way out there but it is possible.

Net Neutrality covers a lot of bases here.  It’s about who controls what, by it government influences, corporate business influences, and where the money flows.

It would be nice if they just left it alone and kept it “naturally neutral” which is how the Internet started out. Rather than FORCED to be neutral by legislation or end up twisted by corprate greed, and their (lack of) sense of fair play.

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