Net Neutrality Yes, But Not for Phones

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.

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One Response to Net Neutrality Yes, But Not for Phones

  1. Melinda says:

    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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