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. identicon
    Zonker, 11 Jun 2014 @ 1:48pm

    Re: Re:

    they are just paying to make sure that their clients can have "better than standard web" access to their service.
    On a neutral network (the Internet) there is no better or worse than standard web, it is all equally fast. What you describe is a channel subscription service model (as shown in the parody ads in the article).

    If you pay for 50Mbps bandwidth, you should get 50Mbps bandwidth no matter what content you're downloading (or uploading for that matter). That assumes that your ISP actually built the network infrastructure they promised to deliver that bandwidth, both within their own network and between their network peers.

    That none of the current broadband providers in the US currently support the bandwidth they advertise and we paid for is the problem, not Netflix or YouTube or Spotify or any other web service.

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