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Level 3 & Net Neutrality -- Ignorance Unleashed!

FreePress' latest unfounded accusations that the Level-3 peering dispute with Comcast is somehow a net neutrality violation exposes how embarrassingly ignorant the extreme left is about how the current Internet came to be and actually works.

  • In 1995, during the Clinton Administration, with broad bipartisan support, the National Science Foundation privatized the Internet backbone by encouraging the decommissioning of the NSFNET and transferring Internet transport to three private sector backbones.
    • There are now as many as 4,000 networks in the U.S. that voluntarily and collaboratively peer together to comprise what we know as the Internet in the U.S.
    • These peering arrangements have always been tiered based on the amount of traffic the network carries, routes and exchanges, and the relative amount of traffic that is exchanged, i.e. is it roughly symmetrical traffic coming in and going out, or is is asymmetrical, meaning the side that is doing less work compensates the one doing more work for the trouble of carrying the excess traffic?
  • In 1996, Congress almost unanimously passed the 1996 Telecom Act and established U.S. Internet policy: " preserve the vibrant and competitive free market that presently exists for the Internet... unfettered by Federal or State regulation."
  • In 1997, President Clinton said in "The Framework for Global Electronic Commerce:" “For electronic commerce to flourish, the private sector must continue to lead. Innovation, expanded services, broader participation, and lower prices will arise in a market-driven arena, not in an environment that operates as a regulated industry.

The point here is the Internet backbone has been privatized, unregulated and competitive since its private inception in 1995.

  • It has always been voluntary, the FCC has always stayed out of it, and it has always worked beautifully -- on its own.

For FreePress and others to now try and conflate the fact that Comcast continues to insist that its Internet traffic peering arrangements continue to be done like they always have been done, voluntarily, collaboratively, and competitively -- is somehow anti-competitive, non-neutral, or not open -- is preposterous.

The Internet backbone is not this magical place where any and all traffic is sent, and which never requires any cost of effort to route or deliver -- is pure fantasy.

  • The reality is that an enormous amount of cost, work and effort goes into making the ~4,000 networks that comprise the Internet work every day, and work in an incredibly resilient and reliable way.

Fortunately those at the FCC experienced with Internet peering arrangements fully understand Internet peering is not broken or in need of FCC fixing.