[discuss] Network neutrality language [wascFINAL VERSION OF THE DOCUMENT - FOR PRINTING]

Mike Roberts mmr at darwin.ptvy.ca.us
Fri May 2 21:40:24 UTC 2014

If there is to be progress on net neutrality, the advocates for it need to take a full stop and review the technical reality of what is before us. The search for convenient one-liners is leading many astray, including legislatures.

Brian’s note touches the tip of the iceberg.

Reality also includes legal and regulatory reality.  Enforceable good behavior by providers involves more than arm waving.  Especially since the law of unintended consequences is almost guaranteed to operate in such a fast changing environment.  

Remember how certain we were in the US about how breaking AT&T into intra-lata and inter-lata halves was going to be the perfect cure for monopoly?  Funny how it didn’t turn out that way.  Billions were spent driving wedges through switching centers in search of competition.  What actually happened was that packet switching on fiber links destroyed circuit switching and the empires that had grown up around it. 

The FCC has lost twice in the courts trying to find a statutorily acceptable solution to Open Internet challenges. And consumed a half dozen years in the process. Chairman Wheeler is getting it from all sides as he seeks a fresh approach that will not be turned around in court yet again. A “feel good” solution that is reversed in 2018, leaving us then where we are now doesn’t sound exciting, does it?

Let’s not give ourselves credit for more knowledge about how to deal with net neutrality than we possess.

- Mike

On May 2, 2014, at 1:44 PM, Brian E Carpenter <brian.e.carpenter at gmail.com> wrote:

> On 02/05/2014 02:17, Adam Peake wrote:
>> I agree with Markus' comments.  NETmundial identified a number of issues the IGF could pick-up.  Net neutrality: there's already an active IGF dynamic coalition working on network neutrality <http://www.intgovforum.org/cms/dynamic-coalitions/1330-dc-on-network-neutrality>.  It has produced substantive work.  A starting point for a working group perhaps.
> Unfortunately the very first sentence of its "Model Framework on Network Neutrality"
> sets off in a false direction:
> "Network neutrality is the principle according to which Internet traffic shall
> be treated equally, without discrimination, restriction or interference
> regardless of its sender, recipient, type or content, so that Internet
> users’ freedom of choice is not restricted by favouring or disfavouring
> the transmission of Internet traffic associated with particular content,
> services, applications, or devices."
> How many times must we explain that users need different types of
> traffic (voice, video, web text, web images, instant messages, email,
> etc.) to be treated differently, not equally? It's highly desirable
> that voice packets be delivered promptly and it really doesn't matter
> if email packets are delayed by a few seconds, to take two obvious
> examples. Differentiated services according to type of traffic are
> strongly in the users' interests. The above text shares the same
> mistake as the recent EU Parliament text. Differentiated services
> according to traffic type don't restrict "users' freedom of choice".
> We need network neutrality text that supports fair competition and
> consumers' rights, but not language like the above that restricts
> correct provision of good quality of service to all users.
>   Brian
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