Re: An open question to the anti-net-neutrality crowd:
And yet, I can answer the question of "what is net neutrality", Andrew. And I even have spelled it out. Comprehensively, in fact. I'm sorry if you neither like the answer nor the fact that I loudly and proudly support it.
"What is net neutrality?" Net neutrality is the assurance that all packets sent from me to another party on the internet are treated the same. It is the assurance that the data I request from all parties on the internet is treated the same. That ebay packets are treated as no different than "bubba bob's shit shack" and above all else that no internet provider is allowed to prioritize packets from services they own above those of services from competing providers.
Now, that's a pretty damned absolute statement and we all know absolutes don't work in the real world; some flexibility is required. This is where content delivery networks come in. CDNs place the content closer to the end user and thus - by some definitions - treat some content differently than others. Overall, I don't think anyone has a problem with the idea of CDNs, even the most died-in-the-wool net neut advocates, so long as access to those CDNs is treated neutrally on both sides of the equation. I.E. that the ISP doesn't discriminate against CDNs that host competing services and the CDNs don't discriminate against content providers.
Everyone treats everyone else "blindly". Nobody peeks at anyone else's traffic to see what it contains and nobody degrades traffic based on destination or origin. That's net neutrality.
Net neutrality doesn't mean we can't develop new technologies and take advantage of them. It means that we must develop and implement these technologies in such a manner that they do not constitute a barrier to entry for any party seeking to use what has become absolutely vital shared social infrastructure.
Thus the intent of the regulation is this: that companies which own vital pieces of the internet - be they content, CDNs or infrastructure - are not allowed to exercise control over their piece of the pie to make it harder for others to compete.
This means that ISPs should not be allowed to degrade Netflix or Youtube without similarly degrading their own offerings, and shouldn't be able to degrade anyone at all if they own a non-internet-based content delivery service (such as cable). No screwing the competition and yoru customers in order to prop up another segment of your business.
It means CDNs should not be allowed to refuse "bob's shit shack" because they host content for ebay. Nor should they be able to engage in predatory pricing for smaller sites.
Google and other content sources shouldn't be allowed to discriminate against competitors either. They do Bad Things regarding how they rank competitors on their site, and I think the EU is right to slap their wrists on this.
That said, their competitors attempting to use such proceedings in order to get Google's proprietary ranking algorithms revealed (and thus most of Google's value as a company destroyed) is bullshit too. That's a trade secret and we can legislate on the results, but shouldn't be able to force them to open the kimono.
Lastly, content hoarders who demand ransom payments for stuff people long dead made shouldn't be able to cut better deals with services they own/operate than they do with third party content services. I don't give a flying fuck if $content_service is owned by Universal, Google, Netflix or the local Linux User's Group. The cost of licensing that content should apply to everyone.
In this manner content services like Netflix can compete on merit by providing business models that suit the demands of customers. Content hoarders can charge outrageous prices, but only if they charge them to everyone; thus if they charge too much more than the next content hoarder nobody will watch their content and they'll wither away and die.
ISPs can invest in anything they like, but they can't behave in a manner different than "dumb pipes". With, of course, the acknowledgement that there will be some (read: emergency services) exceptions to the "dumb pipe" rule, but those exceptions should come with a "public good" rationale, not a commercial incentive rationale. (E.G. by all means prioritize telemedicine and 911, but do not prioritize Skype over 3CX or Cisco over Asterix.)
I don't give a rat's ass about righteousness, and I give less than that about being viewed as moral. As for upvotes, the server says "In total, your posts have been upvoted 10125 times and downvoted 1599 times." I passed my "10,000 upvotes" mark days ago; I'm actually trying for 2,500 downvotes now. Because arbitrary numbers make the nerd in me happy.
So how about we put away the personal fooferah here, hmm? I don't give a shit if every single person in this forum, or every single person on earth disagrees with me about this. I am not writing for the masses. If I were, it sure as hell wouldn't be in the comments section, it would be in a 2500 word feature handed to Lewis with added emphasis.
No, I'm angry. I'm venting my spleen. There is a thing that I believe is just, and that is treating my traffic the same as your traffic...and that's getting trampled on here. I don't believe that might makes right and I sure as hell don't think that having more money than the next guy give you the right to screw him around either.
So that's what this is about. This is about the little guy. About regular joes like me who, like me, want to create an internet startup. We want to create and publish content and we want the right to do so on equal terms with everyone else. As a business owner I want low barriers to entry. As a citizen I want the same thing, because low barriers to entry encourage competition, which in turn encourages innovation and drops ultimately results in the commoditization of goods and services so that I can get them cheaper.
I don't want a tiered internet and I don't want a tiered world. I don't want an "us" and a "them". I don't believe money is speech or that anyone else should have a greater say than me (or me than them.) One voice, one vote. Not one dollar, one vote. From politics to packets; equality of opportunity and and moderate attempts to regulate the system such that we have lower disparity of outcome.
I am not trying to say "equality of outcome". I'm not a complete nutbar. Equality of outcome is not only impossible to achieve, it goes against our very nature as a species. We need to be able to achieve some form of stratification and hierarchy or we become very, very upset.
What I don't want is an internet that mirrors the wealth gap. I certainly don't want an internet that encourages said gap.
I'm flexible in my beliefs. When there is a reason rooted in the common good to make exceptions to equality then I'm all ears. But I don't - and I won't - accept that we should allow (let alone enshrine!) barriers to entry. Not at the infrastructure level, the CDN level, the content service level or the content licensing level. Equal access by everyone to all levels and equal treatment of all competitors by all other levels of the stack.
That, to me, is net neutrality. If you want to fling poo at me, go right ahead, but hey, hit the downvote button while you do it? I'm trying to hit 2500.