Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Net neutrality: my view

Well I have completed reading a lot of information in favor of Net neutraily and oppossed to Net neutrality. As well as the very dry FCC and FTC information. Government documents, what should I have expected.

I think it might be helpful to sum up the fears that both sides to the argument have.
For proponenets of Net neutrality, the fear is that information could be censored or delivered in an untimely manner due to network restrictions on access. I must say that I am also afraid this might happen.

Opponenets to Net neutrality are firm in their belief that Net neutrality will hamper development and innovation as well as the ability of broadband companies to recoup investments. I can see both of these points as well.

An underlying issue for the opponents to Net neutrality is a view that the bandwidth and resources of the Intnernet are approaching a zenith. And from what I have learned from reading the only way to avoid this limitation is to either add bandwidth to the networks connected to the Internet or provide another means to compress and/or prioritize different types of information( i.e. cramming more information into the same cable). Of course the additional bandwidth to networks is expensive since the netowrk cables and devices would need to be upgraded over a larger area and in several more locations. However, if prioritization were allowed, the upgrade could be done in a fewer number of locations and without the expensive additional cables.

Something that I do not understand is that since the emergence of broadband under the Net neutrality system, broadband companies seem to be doing quite well financially with an increasing number of subscribers. Then again, if the growth of devices attached to the network of networks increases, the potential for network shortages of bandwidth are present.

Opponents to Net neutrality have also brought up the point of quality-of-service, QoS. The idea behind QoS is that without Net neutrality, QoS can be implemented and provide better service to the end user. My concern with QoS is that there is no mention of a definition of acceptable QoS standards. For instance I currently pay for the highest tier of download capacity my ISP offers. Yet, when my download speeds drop to 25% of what the potential download speed could be there is no recourse. There is also no way for me to recoup or ask for credit for only partial service. In fact the only time I have gotten credit for network outages, was when Insight Communications' network went down in Illinois. Even then I had to spend several hours on the phone.

For me is the opponents to Net neutrality want to introduce QoS, then the end user needs to have some assurance and recourse when the ISPs are not able to maintain QoS to the end user. Herein is my solution for the Net neutrality debate. Allow the users to have QoS standards, with recourse for violations of those standards. When that is achieved, then allow Net neutrality to fade out for a set period of time. When the time has expired, a reevaluation of the system would need to be conducted if whether the non-Net neutrality Internet is acceptable or not.

During this period of time, as the opponents to Net neutrality hope, the network of networks can be improved and additional bandwidth implemented. One of the key points of opponents to Net neutrality is that Net neutrality will limit investment, innovations, and limit the ability of ISPs to recoup financial investments. This set period of time will allow the ISPs to recoup the investments and also experiment with a U.S. Internet free of Net neutrality.

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