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  • Dec 15th, 2014 @ 5:26pm

    Re: A Rose by Any other Name

    Thinking about it some more, it seems to me that Pai's implicit position is that "net neutrality" means something more than just "treating all bits equally", and means something more like "making all content equally accessible", and that as such, "net neutrality" should address things like CDNs.

    I can sort of see the logic there. I mean, it's not like "treating all bits equally" makes any sense as a policy objective in its own right; it has to be in service of some higher-layer/more-socially-relevant objective (encouraging innovation/free-expression/etc...), and "making all content equally accessible" (that's my overstated version of it) sounds about as good as anything else.

    Personally, I wouldn't want the FCC weighing in on how CDNs ought to work, or who should deploy them, or where. The market / industry / the Internet (whatever we want to call it) is in the middle of adapting to the relatively recent avalanche of streaming video traffic, and CDNs seem like they'll play an important role in that. But the FCC stepping in now and making decisions (assuming that this issue gets past the FCC/Netflix pen-pal stage) about what role CDNs will play, and what technical architecture they'll use reads like exactly the sort of "gub'mint FUBARing emergent technologies" scenario that (my kind of) net-neutrality opponents worry about.
  • Dec 15th, 2014 @ 12:32pm

    A Rose by Any other Name

    It seems to me like Pai's complaint was that Netflix was implementing its own proprietary CDN, rather than participating in development of an open-standards-based CDN, which would (possibly?) leave Netflix in control of if/when/how its content gets CDN-improved delivery (preventing non-Netflix-sanctioned networks from giving netflix-content a performance boost via CDN.)

    Granted, the "fast lane" metaphor has to get stretched pretty-much beyond recognition to cover both a proprietary-CDN *and* last-mile packet prioritization, but the conceit that the Internet and the Interstate are all that similar will only get you so far before it falls apart anyway.

    That being said, Pai's concerns seemed fairly clear ("hey, aren't you guys basically going out and building a different kind of 'fast lane' for yourselves by embracing CDNs that only you can create, and only your traffic can benefit from?"), and Netflix's response seemed pretty clear too ("don't call it a 'fast lane', but yeah, we're pursuing the CDN solution that we think will work best for Netflix.")

    A fair question might be, "if we want the FCC to ensure a 'level playing' field for content creators to get their content delivered to the masses, and regulating last-mile traffic prioritization is a reasonable way to do it, why *shouldn't* the FCC also jump right in and steer the industry towards a maximally equitable CDN technology?"

    (For me, the answer to that last question would be "have you *met* the FCC?!")

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