Friday, October 19, 2007

Its not a net-neutrality issue

People seem to be all a twitter in the Slashdot world about reports that Comcast is blocking some P-to-P traffic. This is then linked to the net neutrality debate.

I can see how some people would claim a connection but it is absolutely the last argument I would want people to make in support of net neutrality. File sharing networks are not considered a legitimate Internet use amongst lawmakers. While it is possible to use a network that is guerilla architectect in the manner of Gnuetella or BitTorrent, it is more than a stretch to claim that this is their principal use. And in any case it would be pretty easy to support the uses touted as legitimate in a peer to peer architecture that is not as aggressively designed to prevent copyright infrignements being detected.

Linking the net neutrality supporters to the supporters of illegal file sharing is exactly what I would want to do if I wanted to discredit the case for net neutrality in Congress.

As far as Congress is concerned there is a huge difference between blocking an infrastructure designed to promote piracy and blocking competing VOIP services such as Vonage or attempting to shakedown major content providers such as Google for bandwidth the customer has already paid the customer for.

There is also a huge difference between charging the customer for bandwidth they have already paid for and allowing the customer to pay extra to receive a short term premium service on a one-time basis. If the customer has already paid for 10 Mb/s they should get it. If on the other hand they have only paid for a 1 Mb/s connection and they need 10 to watch just one movie I don't see why a mechanism that allows them to pay a premium for a short term boost would be a bad thing.

But thats just my opinion.

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