Akamai Does Not Violate Network Neutrality
from the end-to-end-vs-end-to-middle dept
Many supporters of AT&T’s plans to double dip in internet charges by ending neutrality claim that the internet has never been neutral, and point to systems like Akamai as an example of this. However, as we’ve explained in the past, this is simply untrue. It’s purposely stretching the definition of network neutrality to make a point that isn’t supported by the facts. Services like Akamai help make the internet faster for everyone. It doesn’t discriminate. It holds to the “end-to-end” principle that a connection you buy to the internet entitles you to reach any content across that entire network. That’s not what AT&T is looking to do. It’s claiming that you really only have access to the cloud in the middle, and someone needs to pay for the second half of that connection from the middle out to the server you’re accessing.
Tim Lee (who, like me, does not support net neutrality legislation) has ripped apart a paper that claims that Akamai is an example of why the internet is not neutral. Lee notes that the author of the paper doesn’t even seem to understand how Akamai works, and provides a nice (more technology focused) explanation for why content caching systems have little to do with the network neutrality discussion: “A network is neutral if it faithfully transmits information from one end of the network to the other and doesn’t discriminate among packets based on their contents. Neutrality is, in other words, about the behavior of the routers that move packets around the network. It has nothing to do with the behavior of servers at the edges of the network because they don’t route anyone’s packets.”