Thanks Ben… a great synopsis of “how we got to here.” Afew comments in response:
“The DOCSIS standard is set up for this use-case and makes it technically difficult to provide symmetric speeds. Cable companies are locked into that architecture, to the detriment of customers who use applications requiring symmetric speeds (non-exhaustive list: online video games; peer-to-peer systems; video conferencing; etc.).”
Exactly. Are the proponents for Net Neutrality talking about the expense that re-architecting things? Who will pay for this expense? You guessed it, the little guy a/k/a the consumer.
“Then under the Bush administration, those requirements were killed, and overnight we wound up with local monopolies (or for the lucky minority, duopolies).”
I don’t have statistics, but most people live in areas that have two or more service providers. I live in one of the smallest urban markets in the U.S., and even here there are two service providers. People in remote rural areas have a challenge, and that’s true across the country. I don’t think the government should force Walmart to put stores in every remote rural town, but as a result the people in those towns often have to drive miles to get the things they need to sustain themselves. That portage is an additional expense (gas, tires, car wear) that must be addressed.
“Within a few years there were numerous reports of abuses — not just poorly thought out prioritization schemes, but interference and tampering with Internet traffic. One of the most prominent was Comcasts’ interference with BitTorrent, something people are still wary of even a decade later.”
I agree that this is an issue, and full transparency is needed. That can be done through existing regulations if properly enforced.
“(the mobile Internet is not at all neutral, but there we have a competitive market that is slowly correcting the abuses of dominant players).”
Exactly why Net Neutrality is not needed. The market corrects itself over time, even if the timeline of our expectations does not match the timeline of reality.