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                       | |_) | | | | | (_) | (_| |
                       | .__/|_| |_|_|\___/ \__, |
                       |_|    ...2017-12-18 |___/ 

On net neutrality

My knee-jerk reaction to this issue is that of every other person who's got half a brain and been on the Internet for more than 2 years. I've not changed my mind about it being inherently bad. However, I've mused on this for a while, and come to believe that the whole debate is the symptom, rather than the decease.

The 8th layer

If you've been involved in networking, you've no doubt come across the 7 layer OSI model, and know well, that the Internet Protocol does not adhere to it. I just wanted to get that out of the way, because, I'll ignore the differing details, and instead talk about the layer which is not mentioned in either of the models. With reference to the OSI model, that'd be the 8th layer. The one that most directly interfaces with "consumers". Okay, rewind. The Internet is not the World Wide Web, and the World Wide Web is the layer beneath the 8th layer. This is relevant to the NetNeutrality debate, because people visit "Facebook", "YouTube", "Wikipedia" and "Netflix". They don't _CARE_ that those services are part of the World Wide Web, that they're using the HTTP protocols on top of the TCP/UDP protocols on top of the IP, on top of whatever may lie below (Ethernet, mostly, and then, magic). They are "using Facebook". This is an important distinction. For someone without any deeper understanding than that, it does actually seem perfectly reasonable to compare Google, Twitter and Vimeo to TV-Channels. They're just "things" you "use", and they just so happen to be delivered via this amazingly capable and flexible Internet tech. Thing is though, they don't NEED to be.. The tech that brings these items to you is irrelevant, and when viewed from this perspective, it's easy to imagine a post apocalyptic/Internet future with "service packages" just like old cable TV. Hell, some rather disgusting suits in Portugal already shows us how that looks, Here's a URL to a tweet of a screenshot (because indirection): https://twitter.com/rokhanna/status/923701871092441088 So, on this "level", there is no Internet, it's become a small technical detail. There are "services" which may just so happen to be delivered through it, but they do not have to. Now. My point is not that this is GOOD. My point is, that as long as people stay ignorant about the inherent value of The Internet itself, that form of argument against the need for net neutrality may be valid (tm).

A series of tubes

Now, Mr. Stevens clearly didn't know what he was talking about (he was against net neutrality, so there is no reason to further elaborate on that). I would, however, like to use his analogy to explain why his analogy is correct and his position is wrong. (Go listen to the speech if you don't recall it). Tubes generally only transport one item, the same tubes used for potable water is not used for waste or gasoline, this fits rather well with what goes on at the IP layer of the Internet.. "Data" flows through the tubes, one kind of data, IP data. The Internet is for IP Data. And, like water, IP Data has a wide, nonspecific range of uses, and the provider (of potable water, or of Internet) should not know or care what their service is being used for, they don't need to know, because they are simply delivering a basic utility (same goes for power). Obviously, a truck is rather different (again, Stevens, if he wanted to argue correctly, should have held the (wrong) position that the Internet is in fact a big truck), trucks have to care a great deal more about the kind of packages they deliver, not maybe so much what is inside the packages, but at least a lot more about their properties, one might (wrongly) argue that "Vimeo" is a box of a certain size with certain properties which need to be handled rather in a specific way to deliver it to the consumer.

What is the good Internet

Cable TV is a very profitable stupid idea. Internet (in its pure, good and true form) is a much less profitable good idea. So it is rather clear why ISPs are generally trying to become "something more" than "bit pipes", deliverers of a basic utility. Don't get me wrong, my ideal ISP is the most raw bit-pipe, they would in the ideal world send me a letter containing the technical details I'd need to know, in order to purchase and configure the equipment in my end of the fiber. My current ISP couldn't even tell me that when I asked, forcing me to let them have a CPE terminal (they don't know that word) here. Now, I understand it may not be for everyone, and sure, they should exist another level of service for those who can't or won't do their own Internet connection. However, it is my opinion that Internet service should stop around that level, they push bits to and from you, nothing else (maybe an IP, since RIPE already gave those away).

How to avoid the Internet of the (past) future

In order for us to "win" this, we need to think different (but not in an apple kind of evil broken way). If the water company tried to split your basic water supply into different categories, basically, took away the water part, and gave you instead different packages, such as "shower water, soap included!", "plant water (with fertilizer)" and "cool-aid (choose 3 of 7 flavors)" you'd be rather more confused as to what the motherfucking hell they've been thinking. This is where you'd yell "shut the fuck up and provide me with water!" but that is not what people are currently doing, and so, the focus is not on the core of the problem, but rather, on whether they can get their favorite flavor cool-aid as cheaply and conveniently as they currently can. So.. stop talking on all the irrelevant stuff (which is amazing, but, in this discussion, of no value) and focus on the primary point: That Internet is a basic utility, to be distributed (bi-directionally so) in even amounts, according to the specific capacity for which the customer pays, no matter who the customer is, and to which ends the service is used.

Projections - At least true for the larger part of the population

The Internet will go the way of the Desktop PC (I'm an odd dinosaur, I don't use a laptop at home, EVER, because I have my Desktop machines, and it is good). Some of the websites will be turned into "apps" and "services" distributed in packages by (Not internet) service providers to customers, in much the same way as Cable TV. Almost all the other websites will die. A hard-core will pay more than is fair to access the true net, the underlying backbone, at least until it is replaced by more specialized transport methods. We're all domed, so let's enjoy the Internet in all the different ways that we possibly can, until we let it slip between our fingers.

This phlog post was sponsored by a sore throat

I'd rather have been at work today and actually do something useful, but I woke up snotty and with a pain in the throat that indicated to me that it'd probably end up infecting my colleagues, and in Denmark, we have this working culture where you shouldn't go and infect your coworkers, as that tends to negatively affect the overall productivity over time. I hope tomorrow is better, there's a holiday coming up fast, with plenty of time to sleep in and be ill. ------ ........ =======================================================================> OUT