I sent the below to some friends when asked to join a letter advocating “Network neutrality”:
I am generally opposed to any federal or state regulation of what internet service providers can do vis a vis routing and BGP, packet prioritization etc. I do think that telcos should continue to function as common carriers, and that all commercial ISP’s should be required to reveal their packet prioritization and bandwidth clamping as part of consumer protection regulation, rather than being allowed to use the “up to 1.5 megabytes per second fast” kind of formulation in advertising.
There is no capital-I “Internet”. And there has not been since the NSF backbone shut down April 30, 1995. There is merely a loose association of networks who have agreed to share traffic over RFC-documented protocols. Each of the networks is entirely autonomous and self-governing.
It is the autonomous, voluntary, and self-governing aspects of the internet which are most important to preserve, not “net neutrality”. Internet freedom means that we allow other people to do things on their network which we personally don’t like (and may not allow on our network).
“We reject: kings, presidents and voting. We believe in: rough consensus and running code”
–Dave Clark, “An Input/Output Architecture for Virtual Memory Computer Systems”, Ph.D. dissertation, Project MAC Technical Report 117, January 1974
Networks belong to the people who own them. There is no reason that I, as a person who owns a network, should have to pay for additional bandwidth charges to say, backhaul traffic for AT&T or Google over my network if they are not clients of mine, or that I should route their packets over my net at all if I don’t want to. Nor should I have to give a non-subscriber equal priority on my network as say, medical imaging facilities for a customer.
“Net neutrality” is a shibboleth; I think we should avoid using the term and talk instead about “common carrier” status for the telcos and large ISP’s and voice carriers.
Links to previous stuff I have posted on my blog regarding “net neutrality”:
I am posting the above comment also to my blog,
Autonomous System (wikipedia)
Copyright © 2009 Henry Edward Hardy