Net Neutrality: A Radical Form of Non-Discrimination: Regulators Should Not Interfere with the "Coming Exoflood."

By Singer, Hal J. | Regulation, Summer 2007 | Go to article overview

Net Neutrality: A Radical Form of Non-Discrimination: Regulators Should Not Interfere with the "Coming Exoflood."


Singer, Hal J., Regulation


Despite the fact that the current net neutrality debate has drawn the attention of many academics and consultants, it is hard to find a precise definition in the literature of what "net neutrality" means. In layman's terms, net neutrality is about the politics of envy: if a website cannot afford certain bells and whistles, then its rivals should not be allowed to acquire such enhancements. In economic terms, net neutrality represents the prohibition of any contracting for enhanced service or guaranteed quality of service (QoS) between a broadband service provider and an Internet content provider.

Such a prohibition would unwind existing contracts for QoS between broadband service providers and content providers. The anticompetitive harms that would be allegedly spared from such a prohibition pale in comparison to the efficiencies made possible by such contracting. Accordingly, net neutrality legislation should be rejected.

CURRENT FORMS OF TIERED QoS

There are two types of customers who are already purchasing enhanced QoS offerings from broadband service providers: end-users (primarily enterprise customers) and content providers. Not all content providers demand enhanced QoS. This option is demanded only by those content providers that supply QoS-needy content. Real-time applications represent an important type of QoS-needy content. Real-time video, Voice over Internet Protocol, and online video game traffic cannot be experienced properly by the end-user if it is subjected to jitter (unevenness in the rate of data packet delivery). Accordingly, real-time content providers demand enhanced QoS. The QoS offerings aimed at content providers are the target of net neutrality proponents.

Net neutrality proponents speak of "access tiering"--that is, offering tiered levels of QoS at different prices--as if it is some hypothetical strategy that will be employed at some future date to foreclose unaffiliated content providers. In reality, tiered QoS offerings are already here at different layers of a broadband service provider's network, and for legitimate technical and economic reasons. Content providers are voluntarily entering into contracts with broadband service providers presumably because content providers (and their customers) value the service enhancements more than the prices for the enhancements.

Enhanced QoS is not forced upon content providers as part of some bundle of services that the providers otherwise do not want, or because the broadband service provider has monopoly power over the supply of one of the products in the bundle. Furthermore, broadband service providers offer enhanced QoS at a surcharge to content providers, not because they are trying to foreclose potential rivals in an upstream market or to degrade the quality for content providers that decline the QoS option, but because it is costly to offer such enhancements and because a managed network ultimately generates benefits for Internet users.

Broadband service providers currently may offer enhanced QoS to content providers in the form of managed hosting, local caching of content in nearby data centers, and prioritization of traffic at the IP packet layer. By purchasing hosting services from a broadband service provider, a content provider can gain immediate access to the provider's network. A content provider can also take advantage of the provider's service level agreements (SLAS), under which the broadband service provider is required to provide proof of a promised level of service. Each SLA contains a technical component, which offers several classes of service. A content provider can request that a broadband service provider offer a fully managed hosting solution or it can manage its own applications hosted in an Internet Data Center (IDC) owned by a broadband service provider. For example, Qwest offers the following commitment to customers that outsource their Web presence: "You receive industry-leading SLAS. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Net Neutrality: A Radical Form of Non-Discrimination: Regulators Should Not Interfere with the "Coming Exoflood."
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.