Unless you’ve been stuck in an ice storm this week, you probably saw the Wall Street Journal article pronouncing Net Neutrality dead (and claiming that Google and Obama were dancing on its grave). The authors seemingly mixed up Net Neutrality with edge caching; it’s the difference between holding subscribers hostage â€”by charging creators for access to consumersâ€”, and storing multiple copies of your website (or content) on servers around the world, so viewers can quickly fetch the nearest copy. The latter is not a violation of Net Neutrality principles.
Google shot down the WSJ article in a blog post, claiming that the article was just plain wrong. Much of the blogosphere joined in the fight, the majority being none too happy with WSJ’s article or their condescending response to the fiasco.
While the dispute received little mainstream coverage, it was still of use to the Net Neutrality movement. We reaffirmed the importance of Net Neutrality, reassessed our definitions, and made it clear that if there’s ever a serious breach of Net Neutrality, a lot of people will hit the ground running.
Meanwhile, over in the UK, Net Neutrality is mocked wholesale by the ISP’s themselves. Neil Berkett, CEO of Virgin Media (an ISP), has been quoted as saying, “This net neutrality thing is a load of bollocks.â€ Torrent Freak reports that Virgin Media, along with a slew of other British ISP’s, have opted to filter, throttle, or otherwise degrade certain protocols, notably Bittorrent.
This belligerent attitude, by the very people we pay to run our internet, is very disturbing, especially as the market becomes more consolidated. It’s one thing to be able to boycott your provider if you have a viable alternative, but entirely different when you’re dealing with a powerful duopoly or monopoly. Should UK internet users revolt? Seek regulation? Move to where the internet flows free (I’d like to go there too)?
Anyone from the UK (or elsewhere) care to weigh in here?