Net Neutrality – Reality vs Imagination

What is the issue with Net Neutrality?

Here’s an analogy:

Internet backbone contracts between the big players that move the bulk of data between cities and nations, all assume something called “Balanced Peering” or “Symmetric Data.” Think of it like a two-way street between towns. Both sides cover their own costs for a two way street, and don’t charge each other a dime based on the assumption that both will benefit equally.

Now, what happens when a little village “Small” starts mining tons of rocks and sending them out all over the nation, but nobody’s sending traffic their direction? Yes, they need one road that can handle the traffic, but their big neighbor “Big” ends up carrying huge volumes of truck traffic on many long roads, passing the traffic on to others, causing wear and tear, etc. Costs skyrocket for their neighbor “Big”, which suddenly is pushing unbalanced traffic to its other neighbors as well. Yet, by contract, “Big” can’t charge “Small” a dime… except for the fact that the terms of the contract have been broken.

So, “Big” offers to set up extra lanes that can handle the traffic, and asks “Small” to cover the cost.

Hopefully you can see where this is going. What I described above is what the “Fast Lane” internet issue is really all about. It has nothing to do with politics. Nothing to do with good/bad content. It’s a simple business contract issue.

Unfortunately, activists and politicians have turned it into a political issue.

So, down to real vocabulary, real facts, real references.

The key issue: Unbalanced Peering. Sounds pretty technical but not actually hard to understand. This is basically all about Netflix (and the partners they use to push data onto the Internet.)

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