Is Network Neutrality Costlier? Not Really, But Some Will Pretend A New Study Says So
from the not-necessarily dept
Over the weekend, someone anonymously sent us an announcement about a study, co-authored by some folks at AT&T, suggesting that network neutrality is a lot costlier than a non-neutral network. This seemed to go directly against the experience of many others, but it's still an interesting read. The problem is that the report doesn't quite say what AT&T wants it to say, but that won't stop people from pretending it does. It doesn't actually say that neutral networks are more expensive. It says that they require more bandwidth to deliver equivalent traffic speeds and delay. That's not news. Everyone already knows that. What's implied is that this excess bandwidth makes things a lot more expensive, but that's not necessarily the case. The paper doesn't bother to explore the actual dollar costs between the two setups, just the amount of bandwidth. It also doesn't consider all the costs associated with a non-neutral network. As David Isenberg points out in the link above, provisioning additional bandwidth isn't directly proportional to the amount of bandwidth. In other words, requiring 60% more bandwidth does not mean 60% additional cost. Furthermore, Isenberg notes that the cost of bandwidth keeps dropping, so it actually gets cheaper and cheaper over time. However, the cost of labor associated with setting up and maintaining a non-neutral network is likely to increase over time. It doesn't appear that the details in the report are wrong or biased, but the implications suggested by those pushing it seem to fall into the same old propaganda positions that are all too common in this debate.