The just released FCC proposal for new rules governing broadband traffic management is a clear victory for the Telecoms/ISP political lobby. This proposal is aimed at starting to unravel the net neutrality principles that made Internet a reasonably democratic environment. The ultimate irony here is that that lobby is financed by the Internet users themselves through payments to the ISPs. So, the anti-user proposal is financed by the user. This makes the Iran-Contra affair look like child’s play.
From a technical perspective there are two issues here. One is band usage per se, and the other is the content/protocol discrimination. The cost of bandwidth is going in the same direction as the cost of computing power and memory: down and fast. On the other hand, the demand for bandwidth is going to taper off – a user is unlikely to watch more than one movie at the same time. The two curves are going to cross at some point and then there will be an excess of bandwidth.
Furthermore, the proposed content /protocol discrimination can be easily defeated by obfuscating the traffic content and protocol, using methods such as VCC – Variable Cyber Coordinates. This means that attempts to discriminate the net traffic can be only marginally feasible in the short term, and are economically infeasible in the long term. The Telecoms/ISPs are smart enough to recognize that.
This leaves us with a very interesting question: why are the efforts to control Internet traffic so persistent? The only reasonable answer is that they are motivated by the desire to control the content of Information travelling through the Internet. The Telecoms and ISPs are mandated to provide clear communications channels amongst all kinds of Internet users. The content of our communications is none of their business. They are keen to “throttle” traffic, but throttling the speed of communications will inevitably lead to throttling the content.
It is imperative to defeat any and all attempts to attack the principle of net neutrality. Given the number of Internet users and its fundamentally democratic nature, we should be able to do that.