Net Neutrality

I very rarely blog on politics, since they seem unrelated to Everquest 2, or even online gaming as a whole.

However, I urge you to sign the petition for net neutrality. Or, if you are uncomfortable with MoveOn.org, simply call your Congressperson or Senator, or drop them an email.

Why do I think that net neutrality is important? Well, the large telecom companies want to create tiered Quality of Service, to enable better video streaming and so on. But this would also give them the ability to give priority to internet messages (called packets) based on the orignator of the packet.

When a company such as SOE puts up game servers, they go to an ISP and buy bandwidth from that ISP. And, of course, you pay your ISP for your connection, as well. But when the packets go from your computer to them and back, they travel along the most convenient route through the internet, which can often take them across some part of a third-parties backbone.

These third parties get paid already. But it’s mostly barter. “I’ll carry your packets if you carry mine.” Well, they look at, say, Google traffic and want to charge Google a premium. Would they want to charge SOE a premium too? Probably. But that would raise our monthly rate.

And consider the startup MMORPG. They are poor and maverick, and decide not to pay. What happens to their traffic. Well it doesn’t “get priority”. By the proposed law, they can’t simply drop it on the floor. But suppose that they do, because they have their own MMORPG company sweetheart deal and want to restrict competition. The startup would have to sue the company, and such a lawsuit might take years to resolve, at which point the game would long since be dead, since the players would be experiencing constant linkdeath, have no fun, and go play a different game.

I really don’t see why we should be giving telco’s more gifts. Common carriers are a longstanding tradition in this country. That’s how our phones work, for one thing. And trains and trucking companies. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

One thought on “Net Neutrality

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