It’s the end of the internet as we know it

June 9, 2006

The US Congress today failed to support a vote to enshrine net neutrality into law. Why does this matter to me you may well ask? well think about it this way, who owns the trans-pacific cables? If I visit a page hosted in the states, how does it get there? it’s got to go via the gateways of the big US Telcos, so any attempt to mess with page speeds in the States doesn’t just affect Australia, it affects the entire world. Not only that, this sets a dangerous precedent for other countries to follow: imagine Telstra implementing a similar scheme, we’d not only be bound by Telstra playing gatekeeper, but most likely AT&T as well, a double gateway in which only the rich can benefit, and start ups, like my own b5media stand to lose. The internet as a level playing field is what has made it the wonderful place that it is. Thanks to the US Republican Party, the days of the internet being free for all is soon going to end. Thanks America….f*ck you.

More at CNet.


11 responses to It’s the end of the internet as we know it

  1. Duncan, that’s the hysterical view. For the reasoned view that technology itself has killed net neurtality, click here.

  2. John,
    on this we disagree. For starters, you are talking broadband speeds in the UK that most of the rest of the world can only dream about, but you seem to miss an important point, and that’s the same issue here in Australia as it is in the UK. And that’s that our sites out of the US a routed though the main US Telco’s network. If they go through them, a decision in the States to favour one over the other affects us all.

    As for your argument about grey space, it’s been said and done. Most of the extra bandwidth has been paid for and word on the street is that capacity is going through the roof, because the excess of the boom has passed, there is now a global shortage of bandwidth and this is causing a huge increase in cost.

    At the end of the day, sure, if we could all get 6-8 mb/s who cares? it’s great that you can, but the rest of the world cant, I don’t, my service is 512kbs, and the most I can get is 2mpbs.

  3. No, I’m actually talking about the situation in the States where most internet content comes from. They have a huge shortage of bandwidth to handle the Bit Torrent-like stuff. If the U.S underperforms, we all feel it. 85% of my traffic comes from the U.S. If that end is iffy, so will ours be.

    The extra bandwidth needed is huge and can only be paid for if the main customers for bit haulage, and that now includes Google and Apple(GVideo, Apple iTunes etc) pay the cost of building it. The Feds are not going to do it.

    For small content providers, like Syntagma and b5, we will only be affected to the extent that our server companies warn us they can’t give us such minimal prices as at present if our traffic increases to any extent (see your point on site5). We should take that on the chin, because our fates are intertwined and it’s only normal business, after all. More bandwidth in the States will benefit us totally, even if it’s a dual system.

  4. Where there is demand for bandwidth, there are people willing to pay for it and businesses willing to supply it. I belive in keeping it simple and letting supply/demand regulate the offer.

    Abandoning net neutrality only distorts the pricing model and creates inefficiencies.

    If congestion slows down data transfer and there is enough value in delivering fast high bandwidth content, then the content suppliers will ensure they have the right technology or build the necessary infrastructure for their services.

    The internet has become a public good (like roads) so there should be a clear rule book on what is allowed and not. Allowing the road builders to decide who they allow to drive on their roads or allowing them to charge meat trucks more money than trucks charging hay because of the value of the cargo, is a sure way of creating artificial distorsions in the market.

    Better would be build another “super” highway tailored to high usage. If content companies then find value in the speed and security delivered, they would need to pay for this advantage/service. For example in Portugal, you can drive free of charge on the normal roads, but you are charged relatively high fees for using the brand-new motorway which gets you to your destination quicker.

  5. That’s exactly what they want to do, Swiss. Build high-end super-fast systems and charge the people who pour content down the internet in massive bundles a different tariff for that system. It wshould make the current system much faster whatever the numbers attached to the line. But the tariff has to come first or the highway can’t be financed.

    To extend your road analogy: In Britain we have special bus and taxi lanes to encourage people from driving their own cars in the city. In London, we have congestion charges at peak times, to force people onto buses. In a flat rate system, the roads would be grid-locked for hours each day.

  6. True John. But the internet IS the public transport. Putting tariffs on public transport to finance private roads is definitely the wrong way to go.

  7. Well, that’s the distinction between the telco’s pipes and the ISP’s traffic. The current situation is that the main bulk users, the providers of videos/movies etc,. should pay a premium for a faster lane to distribute their stuff. The rest of us on the normal highway will have a clearer run (in theory) and a better service. The logic is good, but how it will work in practice is anyone’s guess. 🙂

  8. This is just one MORE issue to be angry at our Congress. . . .

  9. What congress should do is go after all these friggin spammers out there. Why not start charging them for sending email blasts and all the bandwith they take up. Its so out of control…its criminal.

Trackbacks and Pingbacks:

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