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."
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Filed Under: cdn, end to end, net neutrality
Companies: akamai


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  1. identicon
    Liquid, 18 Jan 2008 @ 8:23am

    Thats all thanks to our money grubbing capitalistic American society. Everyone here has to make money some where any where no matter how shady or greedy it is. The fact still remains that at some point the Major ISP's of America are going to segregate us from the rest of the world in terms of the global network... We are going to be stuck paying them double what we pay now... The interesting thing is like AT&T stated last week that they are going to start throttling network traffic that they think is illegal right when it was announced that Comcast is under investigation for that very same reason... It's going to be interesting when courts decided that throttling network activity is wrong, and makes it illegal... AT&T is going to get screwed on that point... Hopefully at some point someone steps in and says "hey it should be illegal for a company to charge someone twice for a service..." Especially at both ends since you have to pay for an internet connection, and the company that you are connecting to has to pay for their connection they are already get that money... Its just F***ed up... Since no one is really fighting this type of activity we are going to be stuck with slow bandwidth speeds because they find that HTTP traffic is malicious...

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