Did Internet Founders Actually Anticipate Paid, Prioritized Traffic?

Valdis.Kletnieks at vt.edu Valdis.Kletnieks at vt.edu
Mon Sep 13 14:50:59 UTC 2010

On Mon, 13 Sep 2010 09:28:09 EDT, Rodrick Brown said:
> Its unrealistic to believe payment for priority access isn't going to happen
> this model is used for many other outlets today I'm not sure why so many are
> against it when it comes to net access.

Sure - I would have to pay $$/mo if I wanted satellite radio.  But failure to
do so doesn't interfere in the slightest with my ability to receive local
free-air stations, or impact my neighbor's radio. If 15 of my neighbors pay
extra each month to watch HBO or other premium content, I still get a
reasonable level of performance watching MSNBC in the basic-cable package.
That's the way it works for many other outlets now - you pay extra, you get
extra, but if you don't, other people's choices don't affect you. But it's
*not* how it works for the Internet.

Think about it for a moment - if the net is uncongested, then paying for priority
doesn't make economic sense.  If it *is* congested, then the only way to give
priority to some traffic is to screw the non-paid traffic. That's the dirty little
secret of QOS.

For the sake of argument, let's call TCP's current implementation of window
management and congestion avoidance "the fairest and most equal we know how to
build". I don't mind fighting for bandwidth with 30 (or whatever it is)
neighbors on my cable feed on that sort of an equal basis.  Yes, I recognize
that I'm actually sharing resources upstream, so my "6M" pipe may get sluggish
because I'm sharing with 15 people watching some live pay-per-view event.  I'm
OK with that.  What I'm *NOT* OK with is some media conglomerate literally
coming along and buying 4M of that bandwidth (that *I* *already* *paid* *for*,
remember?) out from under me, and using it for that pay-per-view event.

It's the difference between how mad you get at the supermarket when the
person in front of you has a full basket and was already in line when you got
there, and a person with a full basket slipping the cashier a $20 to cut in
line in front of your half-full basket.

Does that explain it better?

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