Net Neutrality

Net Neutrality / Featured Blogs

Net Neutrality - A Good Step Forward But There Is More to Come

The recent decision taken in the USA makes total sense. It has been ridiculous that the incumbent telecoms operators there could present themselves as ISPs and claim that broadband was a content service rather than telecoms infrastructure - by doing this successfully for 20 years, they have not been subject to a range of telecoms regulations. This in turn has stifled competition, innovation, good quality customer services and the development of fibre optic networks in the USA. more»

"Non-Discriminatory" Broadband: Just Carriage, or Miscarriage of Justice?

The foundational idea behind "net neutrality" is one of fairness by constraining ISP power over network mechanisms. The theory is this: if there is "non-discriminatory" local traffic management, then you have "fair" global outcomes to both users and application providers. There are thousands of pages of academic books making this assumption, and it is the basis of recent EU telecoms law. more»

The Strange Structure of ISP Service Semantics

I have been having a number of conversations recently with several clients and colleagues about "semantics". It's clear that there is not a lot of clarity on this philosophical subject! Whilst is may be an obscure issue, it is a very important one. Our ideas lead us to take actions, and if we want those actions to have the consequences we had in mind, then we need to have done our epistemological homework. more»

Why You Should Demand 'Net Morality' Instead of 'Net Neutrality'

I have come to the conclusion that "net neutrality" is an ethical issue at heart, one about the appropriate constraint of unfair ISP power. Some people are (I pray unintentionally) on the wrong side of a now-clear moral divide. They are claiming to prevent harmful abuse of power, when in reality their actions create fresh harm. A central issue is one of technical competence to comment. If your beliefs are disconnected from how the world works, you cannot evaluate whether you are espousing something sensible or silly. more»

Welcome to Notflix! Your Streaming-Free ISP with the Best Quality of Experience!

It has been widely taken as "obvious" that a "no blocking" rule for ISPs is a good regulatory policy. Is this really the case? Does it save consumers from harm... or cause harm? Netflix has reached the point of being well over 30% of Internet traffic at peak time for some ISPs. This places three costs on the ISP and its users... So for someone who isn't a streaming video user, they are paying a share of the direct costs. more»

Beyond 'Neutrality': How to Reconnect Policy to Reality?

I have some bad news: the published literature on 'net neutrality' fails to grasp the stochastic nature of broadband and its implications. This means that the relationship of traffic management to QoE is universally misunderstood and/or misrepresented. As a result the whole policy process is being placed into opposition with nature! Nature isn't changing to accommodate the policy process. So the policy process has to change. more»

India's Net Neutrality Win: Lessons for Developing Countries

On 8th February, 2015, Internet users celebrated news that the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India had passed regulation prohibiting ISPs from discriminating access to data services based on content". This directive follows similar developments in the U.S, E.U, Chile et al, and is a huge milestone in the fight for Net Neutrality: the principle that ISPs should treat all Internet traffic the same way. Meanwhile, Net Neutrality issues are not unique to India. more»

The Real Reason Why Network 'Neutrality' Is Impossible

In "Net Neutrality: Discrimination, Competition, and Innovation in the UK and US", Alissa Cooper and Ian Brown explore the relationship between two broadband regulatory regimes and their practical outcomes. The paper is of (paradoxical) interest as it (unintentionally) demonstrates how policy is being made without sufficient understanding of packet network performance. This paper contains many common fallacies about performance. These fallacies are fuelling misdirected conflicts over broadband regulatory policy. The underlying (false) assumption is that 'neutral' (aka 'non-discriminatory') networks exist. more»

The Appeal Against Broadband Reclassification

A British perspective on a very American process... As a new member of the the "Tech Elders", I was invited to join yesterday's hearing in Washington, DC on the reclassification of broadband Internet access services. The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has decreed that Internet access should switch from being lightly regulated as an 'information service' (Title I) to a more heavily regulated as 'telecommunications service' (Title II). I'd first like to say that the process and content was a credit to the rule of law in the United States. more»

Zero Rating: Something Is Better Than Nothing! Or Is It?

One of the primary purposes of global Internet Governance Forum (IGF) is to introduce a wide range of topics to newcomers and provide them with the opportunity to take back what they have learned in the hopes of establishing an understanding of the Internet Governance philosophy at the community or national level. As a first time participant at the 10th Global Internet Governance Forum (IGF 2015) that took place in Joao Pessoa Brazil, in early November of 2015, I felt the burden of being a representative from a developing country, a place where discussion of important issues is limited to a small group of individuals, often in informal settings, over coffee or in my case, green tea. more»