The best short comment I've read on the mating dance between Verizon and Google is the Great Grimmelmann's About That Open Internet Thing.
I’ve been very confused by this (and in theory I’m someone who should understand it pretty well) but I think things are starting to gel for me. I find the notion that all packets should be treated equally to be obviously ridiculous and I don’t think that’s what’s actually at issue in most cases. The problem here is that wireline networks are heavily overprovisioned – in the backbones, at least, there’s bandwidth to burn. That’s not the case in mobile cellular networks, however, and there’s more congestion and competition for a place in the queues. Traditional best-effort delivery will probably screw nearly everyone – clearly you don’t want “infrastructure” (routing, for example) packets being treated equally with web browser traffic and you probably don’t want real-time voice being treated equally with web browser traffic, either.
I don’t like slippery slope arguments but I suppose they’re unavoidable. So here, the question becomes “once you start making different guarantees about different kinds of traffic, how do you prevent the carriers turning this into a mechanism to squeeze more money out of customers?” Or at least that’s my understanding of the question. I don’t know what the answer is other than to point out that there’s already some traffic differentiating going on, but it’s invisible to users. I just really don’t know here, but the bottom line is that I find the suggestion that there should be no differentiation in traffic policy to be really odd. And I’ll note that it’s *especially* odd coming from AT&T customers .
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