Is it a good idea to enforce ‘Net Neutrality’?
Some claim an actual smoking gun hasn’t been found, though Comcast seems to be under somewhat pressure from different sides as a California court and complaints to the FCC from Public Knowledge and Vuze.
In Canada the debate is intense as well, when Matt Roberts writes about VPN, Canadian law and why some management is sensible:
“Its a bit of misnomer that if your neighbour gets QoS [Quality of Service] guarantees you’re loosing bandwidth… but I digress. Lets just say how will you know if your email is ever delayed 62 ms (milli-seconds)? You won’t, thats packet prioritization, a delay of your email in microseconds just doesn’t matter. Will you notice it during a VoIP call? possibly – again depending on how you encode it and what protocols you use. but thats why packet prioritization or what Rogers is doing, makes sense to me. QoS goes beyond just shaping and raw data guarantees. I’d personally love for Rogers [an ISP] to turn off all network management on the network for 2 days… just to see what happens.”
On VPN: Hughes is the third largest provider of IP VPN, 17.9 US market percent share, close to AT&T and Verizon (25.3% and 18.4% respectively) and, “surpassing traditional telecom heavyweights such a Spring and Qwest.” source. And this mainly by Internet over satellite.
See also VoIP VPN.
As the debate on Net Neutrality is raised to presidential candidate level in the US, Viviane Reding, from the EU Commission, presents a broad and comprehensive telecommunications policy reform. Of course they are addressing the Net Neutrality issue:
To prevent telecom providers (often the ISP’s owning backbone material) to band (or slow down data packet transfer for) certain websites – for own commercial interest – it is to put to law, that the “internet service provider must clearly inform you [the consumer, it is all about empowering the consumer!] in advance if they impose limitations on accessing certain sites.
This information will make it easier for you to decide whether you want to switch to another provider or not. National regulators will also have powers to intervene when the quality of service for transmission (which grants access to online services such as TV, telephony, internet, etc.) could be at risk.” (reference).
In the UK this regulation will probably be enough (and not too intervening in the market), because the individual resident in the UK has the option of picking among many different internet providers in the house, he is living in. But in the US, the situation is a bit different. In many areas you have only one internet provider (practically a monopoly!) which make it very hard to choose another provider, obviously. So maybe that legislation would not be enough in the US.
Another question I would like to get answered: How are we able to track these incidents of discrimination? Is it technological possible to send out packages in the network to test a raised concern in a specific relation?
Added Nov 15: Just found this article “Tracking Anonymous Peer-to-Peer VoIP Calls on the Internet” , haven’t read it yet, the abstracts says this though:
“In this paper, we present a watermark technique that could be used for effectively identifying and correlating encrypted, peer-to-peer VoIP calls even if they are anonymized by low latency anonymizing networks. This result is in contrast to many people’s perception.”