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WSJ Lies About Network Neutrality

The Wall St. Journal wrote this morning that Google has sold out Network Neutrality.

Naturally we trust Murdoch to tell us the truth in all things.

No, wait. We don’t.

As is typical with the Journal, it turns out they’re lying across the board.

The President-elect denies the claim he is backing off NN:

TPM Election Central

The Obama transition team is reaffirming his complete commitment to net neutrality and is disputing a much-discussed report today claiming that the President-elect is softening his support for it or shifting his position.

Obama transition spokesperson Nick Shapiro told us moments ago that Obama’s position — strong support for net neutrality — hasn’t changed.

Asked if the Obama camp had shifted its stance in any way on net neutrality or softened its commitment to it, Shapiro answered: "No."

There’s more…

Network Neutrality is a fight over the nature of Internet pipes.

The Internet was built on what are called "dumb" pipes, that is, tubes ranging from the modem-sized tubes of some years ago to today’s broadband to tomorrow’s fiber optic cable — small, big, enormous — all of which are based on the same fundamental principle: first come, first served.

The economic wonder of the Internet depends on everyone, world-wide, having absolutely the same equal-opportunity chance of getting to everything else, based on when they entered the system, first come, first served.

If my packets hit a relay junction before yours, I’m going to get the data first. It doesn’t matter if you’re a queen, a king, a president, or a billionaire. The Internet doesn’t know who you are, and can’t be made to care.

Network Neutrality is the fight to keep class-warfare the FUCK out of the Internet.

The people who own the largest pipes — AT&T, Sprint, and so on — believe in their corporate hearts, they should be able to charge more in exchange for different classes of service. More to guarantee your video streams get there without stuttering and breaking up, more to make sure your voice data sounds better than your competitions, more to be certain you can own a category all to yourself because the rates are too damn high for your competition and that’s how we play monopoly.

What can’t be won in the hearts of actual customers, can be won with enough money by simply denying those customers any other choice. Then overcharge the hell out of the newly locked in customers to pay to keep the customers locked in. The people who sell the bandwidth will be happy. The folks locking up the customers will be happy. And even most of the customers will be happy, locked in their snug cocoons of product/advertising slumber.

After all, before the breakup of AT&T, how many customers were truly upset with Ma Bell? Sure, people cursed the phone company; that’s what one did. But everyone got dial tone. Everyone had a phone — black. And when you called, a repair man (yes, a man) was at your home the next day. What’s not to like? Cell phones, answering machines, fax machines, the frigging Internet… what the hell are you talking about?

Let us not confuse NN with caching, with doing stuff to make the Internet’s dumb pipes run faster. It’s fine to take the servers that have the content that gets used the most and stick it in places — the actual physical locations, called "Network Access Points" aka "peering points" — where the Internet physically connects around the country (New York City, LA, Palo Alto, Seattle, Chicago, Dallas) and around the world. That’s smart network management. Everyone from Google to utility companies puts their key servers in the places best suited for them to serve up data. As well as to make sure the data is spread out redundantly.

Google caches and so does everyone else. It’s a "best practice." If Google didn’t, they’d be leaving themselves open to a shareholder’s lawsuit for failing to manage assets properly. Not to mention, searches would be slower.

This entire story is because the Journal has crappy technical writers, and worse, because they’re pushing their politics onto their news page. What do you expect… they’re Republicans. They don’t live in Reality with a capital R. Which is why they support an Internet which would be divided by class.

For grins, let me point out a couple of problems with such a beast. If Channel A is always half a second faster than anyone else, I can arbitrage the hell out of the NYSE, dog racing, video poker, and Halo. Not to mention World of Warcraft, which means I could finally beat my daughters. (This could make the whole thing worth it, actually. Pardon me while I throw over my entire worldview. Just for the chance to win in WOW.) Everyone who depends on real-time results would be forced to delay their results by half a second or more, simply to level the playing field again.

How much fun telemedicine will be when some doctors and technicians are using true real-time and others are on a half second delay. Yeah, that surgery is going to be FUN. "Quick… grab that bleeder…"

We need a smart electric grid, which means bringing true broadband — fiber ideally — to every home in America. Doing so will change the nature of work, education, entertainment, communication, family and friends. It could change everything from banking to the Fourth Ammendment if we’re not paying attention. But all this promise will only work if everyone stays equal. Equal-opportunity means equal for everyone, not some can buy their way to the front of the line.

What we relax about for today at least is this…

President-elect Obama stands strongly with us for Network Neutrality.

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Jesse Wendel

Jesse Wendel

Jesse Wendel, publisher of Group News Blog, and a retired flight & field paramedic, has almost thirty years experience in Information Technology. A writer/director, he is producing "What's Your Pattern?", a documentary asking "why do people date the same types over and over again?" Father of four, he lives near Seattle and road bicycles with his kids.