This interview would be funnier if Senator Stevens wasn't involved in crafting Internet regulation. Stevens does an amazing job (jaw-dropping, really) of explaining how the Internet works and why network neutrality is a bad thing.

Choice quotes:

But this service isn't going to go through the interent and what you do is you just go to a place on the internet and you order your movie and guess what you can order ten of them delivered to you and the delivery charge is free.

Ten of them streaming across that internet and what happens to your own personal internet?

I just the other day got, an internet was sent by my staff at 10 o'clock in the morning on Friday and I just got it yesterday. Why?


They want to deliver vast amounts of information over the internet. And again, the internet is not something you just dump something on. It's not a truck.

It's a series of tubes.

And if you don't understand those tubes can be filled and if they are filled, when you put your message in, it gets in line and its going to be delayed by anyone that puts into that tube enormous amounts of material, enormous amounts of material.

And one from the audio:

People who are streaming through 10-12 movies at a time, or A WHOLE BOOK at a time for consumers use, those are not you and me, those are the not the consumers!

You can also listen to the full audio (mp3) here.

I guess the problem is that the telecom companies couldn't buy any Senators who actually understood what net neutrality meant, so they were stuck with this guy and his tubes.

The ironic part is that his argument, even if we accept its flaws, doesn't even make the case against network neutrality. The point is that users and service providers have already paid for the bandwidth. What network neutrality attempts to curb is the ability for providers of the critical infrastructure (private companies) to discriminate over potential competitors.

The real-world analogy would be allowing FedEx to charge more for shipping Amazon books after it has gotten into the book business itself.  The difference is that the roadways - the critical infrastructure in the shipping industry - are already open to all, and all pay the same tolls. With shipping, we can turn to over providers, because the roads are public. Without network neutrality, the same can't be said for the Internet.

Curiously, three of the biggest proponents of network neutrality - Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo! - are the three service providers who might actually benefit most (other than the AT&Ts of the world). Yet all three understand the the importance of why the infrastructure should remain neutral and open. Google stated a position that, should high-speed providers abuse the new powers promised by the bill, they would not hesitate to file an anti-trust complaint (via furd).

In related news, Google has reportedly been buying up (or talking about buying up) dark fiber from the dotcom days.  With WiFi and soon WiMax, the last mile isn't as big of a problem. Though they've denied any intention on becoming an ISP, I can all but guarantee this won't be the case if the Telecoms abuse this power.

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