Well, it looks like the CEO of Virgin Media Neil Berkett has taking a stance on the Net Neutrality issue. That stance is, “a load of b****cks” (I’m not sure what that’s suppose to actually mean since I’m not British). Essentially he revealed in an interview that Virgin is already in talks with companies to ensure that their content gets higher priority on Virgin’s broadband network (which is apparently the second largest in the United Kingdom).
Kinds of Net Neutrality
Before we go any further we need to consider the fact that there are two kinds of net neutrality in existence. The first is the kind described above where service providers can make deals with the content makers to ensure that the content is delivered faster than those that don’t pay the premium for this “advantage”. The other kind of net neutrality (which is not really net neutrality) is the QoS-ing (Quality of Service) the proverbial “pipes” to give less priority to certain kinds of traffic (ie BitTorrent).
In my opinion the first kind of net neutrality is bad, wrong, and just plain stupid. It should be stopped at all costs. However, the second kind is something I could be in favor of, as long as it was done correctly. I mean, lets face it, more and more people are using bandwidth hogging kinds of applications, like bit torrent. There needs to be some level of prioritizing these bandwidth hogging protocols during peak usage hours. It should be done, but it should only be done where network resources are scarce and it should only be done to offset load during peak hours.
Why Net Neutrality is Bad
Obviously you can see why the first kind of net neutrality described above could be bad. If the service providers are controlling what content gets to us faster then they are controlling the flow of information even more. Several of these service providers also own television stations, news corporations, and so forth. If they can control the news and information we get, this has populace control written all over it. Of course that view is rather extreme but do not think for one second that that this couldn’t be used to push an agenda.
There are other reasons it is bad. The main is a freedom of choice issue. I should be able to use my internet as I want to, not as someone else decides I should. I should be able to access all data fairly equally and with little issue. The idea that someone can pay to have their data delivered to the internet users at a faster rate, is really just asking to be spoon fed information. Yes, you could still go to other websites, but people will naturally gravitate towards those sites that have quicker response times, it’s just human nature. We live in a world now where whatever site gets me the information I need more quickly, is where I’m going to go. This is mainly because, as a society we have become accustomed to the instant gratification the internet has come to offer.
I think that if we start letting the service providers decide what content we should get and at what efficiency is just asking to let people tell us how to think and what opinion we should side with.