Tuesday, August 03, 2010

CED Magazine plays devil's advocate on net neutrality precepts

Patrick Hunter has an interesting, if detailed perspective, about network neutrality in CED Magazine, dated Aug. 1, called “Network Neutrality: Overgovernance in a Digital Age”, link here. A subtitle of the article is "Moving forward, the debate should keep focus on the relevant issues". CED calls  itself "The Greening of Cable".

Hunter makes the interesting point, that telecommunications companies have to practice “ethical” technical “discrimination” all the time in giving different kinds of traffic (technically, such as text when compared to voice or video) different patterns of resources so that the consumer experience is optimized. Modern routers are very good at determining the appropriate level of resources to give traffic of different character (James Martin’s textbooks on telecommunications back in the 1990s went over this in detail).

The practical problems come in assessing the behavior or ISP’s in the last link of their delivery of data (or receipt from) the end users, whether corporate, government or home.

He is somewhat critical of the views of Tim Wu, Vinton Cerf, and Paul Misener.

Generally, large companies have tried to be “neutral’ when it comes to free speech issues, but often there are controversies over some speech that are hard to resolve in an ethically neutral manner.

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