Net Neutrality...

Barry Shein bzs at
Tue Jul 15 18:19:45 UTC 2014

Re: Net Neutrality

In the past all attempts to create a content competitor to the
internet-at-large -- to create the one true commercial content
provider -- have failed.

For example, AOL, Prodigy, various "portals", MSN, Netscape, on and
on. We can split hairs about who goes on the list but the result is
clear since if even only one qualifies we know it failed. The point

To a great extent "net neutrality" (or non-neutrality) is yet another
attempt to create a content competitor to the internet-at-large.

This doesn't prove it won't work but the track record viewed this way
is bad: 100% failure rate to date.

Mere bandwidth can foil any such nefarious plans, assuming an
enforceable zero bandwidth (or nearly so) isn't one of the choices.

But just somewhat less bandwidth or as proposed prioritized bandwidth?

Maybe not a problem/advantage for very long.

  Note: I'm using bandwidth measures below as a stand-in for all
  possible throughput parameters.

For example if the norm "have-not" bandwidth were 100mb/s but the
"have" bw was 1gb/s I doubt it would make much difference to many,
many business models such as news and magazine distribution. Those
services in general don't even need 100mb/s end to end (barring some
ramp-up in what they view as service) so what do they care if they
were excluded from 1gb/s except as a moral calumny?

Do you think you could tell the difference between surfing at 100mb/s vs 1gb/s? I don't.

And if have-not-bw was 1gb/s and have 10gb/s it would make little
difference to video stream services except perhaps when someone tried
to ramp up to 4K or whatever. But, etc., there's always a new horizon,
or will be for a while.

So the key to network non-neutrality having any effect is bandwidth
inadequacy for certain competitive business models. It only can exist
as a business force in a bw-poor world.

Right now the business model of concern is video streaming.

But at what bandwidth is video streaming a non-issue?

That is, I have 100mb/s, you have 1gb/s. We both watch the same
movie. Do we even notice?  How about 1gb/s vs 10gb/s?

There exists a low and high (practical) bandwidth range within which
it simply doesn't make any difference to a given business model.

56kb dial-up is sufficient for displaying 512kx512k images, and 1mb/s
is luxurious for that application, you couldn't gain a business
advantage by offering 10mb/s modest-sized image downloads.

There's simply no such open-ended extrapolation. Adequate is adequate.

  The internet views attempts at content monopoly as damage and routes
  around it.

to paraphrase John Gilmore's famous observation on censorship.

P.S. I suppose an up-and-coming bandwidth business model which vastly
exceeds video streaming is adequate (i.e., frequent and complete)
"cloud" backup. With cheap consumer disks in the multi-TB range, well,
do the math.

        -Barry Shein

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