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Monday, September 21, 2009

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As I've been reading various comments, I agree with some of them where they state they have some mixed feelings about this idea being both good and maybe not so good. As long as it does not interrupt too much of the ISPs. Of course, we may not know that until the basic "trial and error" take place.

DM

Michael,

I disagree with you on several points:

“These management techniques serve to benefit all of a network users, even the ones using the applications consuming a disproportionate amount of bandwidth.”

First, I think that network management techniques are not necessary, even though you and other internet industry figures say that they are. The real solution is upgrading your network to handle the increased traffic. I feel that upgrading the network (to DOCSIS 3, VDSL2, or 4G) would ease the “congestion” of network traffic. Why has this not been a problem in the past? Oh, that’s right, because ISPs have upgraded their networks when demand has indicated they do so.

Second, network management techniques definitely do not benefit all network users. I really don’t know how you define a “disproportionate” amount of bandwidth. A user is limited in the amount of bandwidth they can use by their connection speed. This is the theoretical maximum usage. However, a user that has a higher connection speed may use less bandwidth than someone that has a lower connection speed. So who is considered to be the disproportionate user? To effectively measure bandwidth distribution, you have to make calculations based on the theoretical maximum usage. Since this involves the ISPs own speed decisions, this is a problem that has been caused by the companies themselves.

“Simply allocating the amount of bandwidth consumed by various protocols on the Internet at any given moment doesn't impact the way those protocols function - it just affects how fast particular packets arrive at their destination on the network.”

This is an assumption about bandwidth use before that bandwidth use actually occurs. Netflix streaming is a service that could be affected by this. If an ISP wanted to throttle Netflix speeds, then they could make it slow enough so that the end user experience of the service suffers. And I think that it would just be a coincidence that the same movie on Netflix could be watched via an on demand feature that can be purchased through your television provider, right?

Additionally, I think it is ignorant to state that affecting the speed of data transfer does not impact the way a protocol or service functions. If that protocol or service is dependant on speed for functionality (such as streaming services), then yes, it will be affected.

“Whenever we evaluate new Internet regulations, we need to take care to evaluate whether they will truly improve the online experience for most Americans and ask the question if the proposed new regulations are merely a solution in search of a problem.”

I think that network neutrality principles will improve the online experience for most Americans. Every year it seems that our nation becomes even more absorbed into a digital environment. America is at a point now that is reminiscent of societal integration of such technologies as the railroad system, the electricity grid, and the telephone infrastructure. Those technologies were at one time considered to be luxuries and then transitioned into necessities. The transition process, however, is ripe for industry representatives to shape the business model that will be held and followed for many years. This change opportunity is also an opportunity for corruption and unfair business practices. Network neutrality principles will hopefully curtail and eliminate industry corruption.

“In my view, there have been very few, concrete examples of unreasonable network discrimination practices that some proponents of this initiative can point to as a need for proactive regulation, and in those isolated incidents, the FCC has taken strong action using its existing network nondiscrimination principles.”

I will agree with you that there has not been a lot of network discrimination discovered. However, that does not mean that laws protecting consumers from this discrimination should not be implemented. To me, that would be equivalent to starting your own business but not implementing any sexual harassment protocols. You know, because your business hasn’t had any sexual harassment complaints, so why bother drafting formal policies outlining how to handle those complaints?

I would also not call the FCC response “strong action”. Part of this debate stems from Comcast arguing in court that the FCC has no formal power over network management practices. Comcast is arguing that these are just guidelines but that they are not legally binding. Some of the network neutrality provisions are aimed at giving the FCC legal jurisdiction over this.

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