How Neutral Is Your Network?

from the interesting-questions dept

It's certainly not a new argument, but the Washington Post is running a very good overview concerning the issues of network neutrality that are constantly being debated. The main issue is whether or not broadband providers should be required by law to be neutral to any services that go across their network - not blocking any particular service or boosting their own offerings. For example, if they wanted, they could slow down Vonage and then promote their own VoIP offering as having higher quality of service. The broadband providers claim, truthfully, that (1) there's no evidence that this has ever happened and (2) that they would be crazy to do so, because the negative publicity associated with doing so would be incredibly damaging, and customers would head to other providers that promise neutrality. Still, the issue could get slightly more complex as broadband providers are offering more advanced services themselves - and can try to optimize their own network for those particular services. In other words, they may not weaken competing services, but may make efforts to make their own services much stronger (which some may say is really the same thing).

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 May 2004 @ 7:52am

    Meaningless claims

    The internal operations of broadband providers, and ISP's in general, are not open for public examination. So even if they do discriminate against some traffic or services, any "evidence" can be eliminated. So claim (1) is meaningless. Without evidence, they can claim "neutrality" regardless of their actual practices and their customers will be none the wiser. So claim (2) is also meaningless.

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