Net Neutrality in One Page

Doesn’t the Internet already have tiers?

  • Yes. Consumers have long been able to choose from a variety of Internet access tiers: dial-up, the “slow lane;" different speeds and prices of broadband, the “fast lanes;" or WiFi access, the often “free" lane.
  • Internet backbone businesses have long “peered" differently with tiers based on size and bandwidth.

Are all bits treated equally on the Internet today?

  • No. For a variety of legitimate reasons internet traffic is treated differently.

Markey Introduces Legislation; NYTimes Supports Net Neutrality

Two things of note on the Net Neutrality front from Tuesday:

Challenging the Foundational Premises of Net Neutrality Thinking

To begin the formal net neutrality vs. net competition debate, let me start by challenging the foundational premises of net neutrality thinking.

  • My first challenge is that the use of the term “neutralityâ€? in this context is very misleading. There is nothing “neutralâ€? about how net neutrality proposals would affect the future of the Internet.
  • My second challenge is to the notion that net neutrality proponents have fostered, that all data traffic has been and should continue to be treated equally. That impression is also very misleading because everyone knows of many legitimate, real-world reasons why data traffic is not treated the same.
  • My third challenge is to another notion that net neutrality proponents have fostered, that a net neutrality policy would just be preserving the long-standing status quo and not be a big change in policy. That impression is very misleading too, because it suggests that people don’t have to consider the broader implications or potential unintended consequences of net neutrality legislation/regulation.