BitTorrent Shows You What The Internet Looks Like Without Net Neutrality; Suggests A Better Way

from the change-things-around dept

If you've been following the whole net neutrality fight for a while, the following graphic may be familiar to you -- showing what a potential "cable-ized" world the internet would become without strong protections for net neutrality:
At some point, someone created a similar version, that was specific to AT&T:
A little while ago, however, someone took the joke even further, and set up a website for a fake broadband provider, asking people to Join the Fastlane!, and it was pretty dead on in terms of what such a site might look like:
I particularly like this bit:
It's now come out that this campaign (along with some associated billboards) has been put together by BitTorrent Inc., not all that different than the company's billboard campaign against the NSA. Along with this, BitTorrent has put out a blog post explaining, in part, how we got here, but more importantly how we need to start thinking about a better way to handle internet traffic to avoid the kind of future described above.

The key issue: building a more decentralized internet:
Many smart researchers are already thinking about this problem. Broadly speaking, this re-imagined Internet is often called Content Centric Networking. The closest working example we have to a Content Centric Network today is BitTorrent. What if heavy bandwidth users, say, Netflix, for example, worked more like BitTorrent?

If they did, each stream — each piece of content — would have a unique address, and would be streamed peer-to-peer. That means that Netflix traffic would no longer be coming from one or two places that are easy to block. Instead, it would be coming from everywhere, all at once; from addresses that were not easily identified as Netflix addresses — from addresses all across the Internet.

To the ISP, they are simply zeroes and ones.

All equal.
There's obviously a lot more to this, but it's good to see more and more people realizing that one of the fundamental problems that got us here is the fact that so much of the internet has become centralized -- and, as such, can be easily targeted for discrimination. Making the internet much more decentralized is a big step in making it so that discrimination and breaking net neutrality aren't even on the table.

Filed Under: centralized, decentralized, discrimination, fast lane, innovation, net neutrality, open internet, spoof
Companies: bittorrent


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  1. icon
    PaulT (profile), 11 Jun 2014 @ 8:58am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "I can't imagine many people considered what would happen, at least not as fast as it did."

    I work in networking, and I've been aware since at least 2007 that this was the way things were going. YouTube's popularity, increased demand for HD, larger downloaded of various types of content, much higher bandwidth demands were inevitable. That's why you plan your network for future expansion, not panic when things suddenly start reaching capacity.

    "It takes a long time to build new roads to handle increases in traffic, it doesn't happen overnight."

    ...nor does the demand for new and upgraded roads. Planning is paramount, something very much lacking here. No analogy is perfect, but your city has people planning and surveying for new transport requirements, not blaming the business park that opened up across town because they made some routes too popular.

    "Their 4K is 15mb a second:"

    So? How many people are using that right now? We're mainly talking about standard HD content here. 4K is what they have to plan for in the future (and should already have been planning for, along with requirements for console game streaming, etc.)

    "Netflix usage was not easy to foresee."

    Bull. If your entire argument is based on this lie, it's no wonder the rest of your argument is so far off base. they just didn't want to do it either because they could just cap and pretend that only pirates used higher bandwidth, or because they didn't want fair competition with their own services.

    Also remember - it's not just Netflix that's the issue here. US broadband speeds are woeful across the board, and that applies whether you're streaming music, downloading iTunes apps or streaming HBO. Netflix are the biggest and most visible service affected right now, but don't fool yourself into thinking this is the only service affected.

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