The Meanings of Network Neutrality

By David Isenberg
David Isenberg

Ed Felten has posted a nice taxonomy of the several meanings people take when they use the term Network Neutrality, briefly:

1. End-to-End Design
2. Nonexclusionary Business Practice
3. Content Nondiscrimination

You can read more about what Ed means on his post.

I've been developing a taxonomy of issues that interact with and are bound with Network Neutrality. So far there are six items:

When I sat down to write this, I had hoped for a simple, straightforward mapping between Ed's taxonomy and mine. Unfortunately, no. All three of Ed's points — about engineering, economics and free speech — bear in different degrees on all six of my issues. But there's one big plausible fourth point — about organizational culture — that's arguably missing. The telephone companies and cable companies are institutions that see themselves as providers of applications, and much of the NN discussion is about adopting the network architecture to this central cultural perception. Put in pro-neutrality language like Ed's other three, it'd be something like Layered Functionality.

By David Isenberg, Principal Prosultant(sm),, LLC. Visit the blog maintained by David Isenberg here.

Related topics: Access Providers, Broadband, Net Neutrality, Telecom