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The argument against Net Neutrality February 8, 2007

Posted by Al in : educational,interesting,Internet , trackback

You may have read a lot of articles recently arguing for Net Neutrality – how it would be unfair to start charging people depending upon their usage, and how large corporations would get more control over the Internet. However this article argues from a different viewpoint, and makes a convincing case for Net Neutrality possibly causing an immense bottleneck in the backbone of the Internet. Currently Internet traffic is growing at a phenomenal rate, as more and more people switch to broadband, Skype is running on virtually every PC alongside other P2P software, and more people just use the Internet generally. To cope with this demand it is likely that the main backbones of the Internet will need upgrading soon (as in this year) to cope with the increased demand – however this is a very expensive operation and Net Neutrality doesn’t offer the telecommunication companies much hope of increased revenue. Given this it is likely that they will sit back and do nothing (in the US at least) until Net Neutrality has been decided, and if the government vote in favour then these large companies will make little, or no investment at all. This will cause US based traffic to crawl to a near standstill and then excess traffic will start to route elsewhere killing the rest of the Internet.

Working in a telecommunication company I can understand the immense investment that is required to get a measurable increase in Internet speed for customers. Just working on a very local level can involve digging up roads, buying land for equipment to stand on, and a lot of very expensive equipment. When you come to the connection to the backbone then you are looking at considerably more expense as you head into units that have figures like 256Gbps in their description. And when you see what these units need to do then you realise why they cost so much. However the cost of the units is nothing compared to ensuring that the fibre optic network they connect to has the capability to carry the volume of data required – quality fibre optic cable is not cheap at all. So if a telecommunication company cannot realise any major revenue from upgrading these expensive items what do you think it’s going to do? Spend and be damned, or wait until it has to spend and then spend as little as possible? As you can see, offering the telecommunication companies an opportunity to charge the service provider companies that use the most bandwidth might be the only way that the Internet can get a chance to expand to have any redundancy and spare capacity. So it might, actually be worth voting against Net Neutrality from now on – at least if you hope to get speeds above a couple of Mbps.

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1. Al B Sure!--Hands off the Internet - February 22, 2007

[…] guy named Al, and that Al definitely works in the telecom field. One other thing we know is that he makes a great case about why “net neutrality” legislation would be a bad deal for consumers: Working in a […]