Category Archives: net neutrality

The Debate Over Net Neutrality Has Its Roots in the Fight Over Radio Freedom

By Clive Thompson – The idea of transmitting sound waves through the air caught on especially after the experiments of the Italian inventor Guglielmo Marconi [2, 3, 4, 5, 6] in the late 19th century.

With relatively small amounts of power, someone at home could broadcast for dozens of miles. Magazines printed schematics. “Any boy can own a real wireless station, if he really wants to,” urged The Book of Wireless.

The early amateurs had no fixed schedules. They’d broadcast a song—and then go silent for minutes, even hours, because they had nothing else lined up.

At first, the idea of making money off radio seemed profane.

This attitude did not last, however. By the mid-1920s, larger and more professional stations and networks, such as AT&T’s National Broadcasting System, were emerging. They realized advertising could be a gold mine. On August 29, 1922, the large Manhattan station WEAF ran one of the world’s first radio ads. more>

Financialization in telecom

By George Mattathil – With all these things going on, one would think that there would be an earnest effort to find out what is wrong.

Instead, the preoccupation in the media and industry is with “net neutrality” confusion, which the FCC Chairman summed up: “the idea of net neutrality has been discussed for a decade with no lasting results.” more>

Net neutrality sounds good, but it’s worse

By Ev Ehrlich – Think about a newspaper – it works the same way. The Chronicle attracts readers so it can attract advertisers. It also attracts advertisers so it can attract readers. What if The Chronicle weren’t allowed to accept money from advertisers because “newspaper neutrality” made it impossible to let some stores advertise and others not? The price of the paper would go up, because the reader would have to carry the entire cost of the paper.

The Internet works the same way. Users – you and I – carry more than our fair share, while the mega-sites pay less than they should given the congestion they cause and the value of a connection to them.

That’s part of the reason why the profit margins of companies like Google and Facebook and Yahoo are six to eight times those of the companies such as Verizon or AT&T or Comcast.

When you get right down to it, you and I and Selby are subsidizing these behemoths; no wonder they’re the biggest proponents of neutrality. more>


Internet Fast and Slow Lanes

By George Mattathil – Now the economics regarding retail and whole connections. The cost involved in the retail connection is on a per subscriber basis. But the cost of wholesale connections is distributed over all the potential users of the wholesale connection. So wholesale connection is very cost effective, while the retail connections are very cost sensitive.

About performance, which is what the “fast lane” and “slow lane” controversy is about. Depending on the technology, the performance (peak speed, sustained speed, average speed) vary widely. more>

An Internet Transit Map

By George Mattathil – To help clarify the issues, I created an Internet Transit Map. The Internet Transit Map is a simplified logical diagram (“reference model”) of the Internet to provide clarity for discussions about regulating the Internet. more>

Recommendations to the FCC for the path forward

By George Mattathil – The intrinsic dilemma with Internet access is cost per connection is not a constant, but varies with technology and the “deployment distance” for each termination.

Result is higher cost in less populated areas (disregarding the affordability factor.)

Hence, some form of network deployment subsidy is necessary in the current market configuration. more>

How the internet works, and why it’s impossible to know what makes your Netflix slow

By Tim Fernholz and David Yanofsky – Things change — and a growing series of business relationships that come before the last mile might make the net neutrality debate obsolete: The internet problem slowing down your Netflix, video chat, downloading, or web-browsing might not be in the last mile. It might be the result of a dispute further up the line.

All these different kinds of companies work together to make the internet, and at one point, they did so for free—or rather, for access to users. ISPs would share traffic, a process called settlement-free peering [2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10], to increase the reach of both networks. They were worked out informally by engineers—”over drinks at networking conferences,” says an anonymous former network engineer. In cases where networks weren’t peers, the smaller network would pay for access to the larger one, a process called paid peering. more>