Argument: Net neutrality impairs development of broadband infrastructure

Issue Report: Network neutrality


Robert McDowell. “Hands off the Internet.” Washington Post. April 9, 2010: “Nonetheless, the FCC may still consider imposing early-20th-century vintage “common carrier” regulations on 21st-century broadband technologies. One result of the new rules could be to make it harder for the operators of broadband “pipes” to build “smart” networks, which offer connectivity and other services or products.”

The rise of multimedia, and video streaming: Residential broadband providers such as Verizon, Comcast, and AT&T claim that as bandwidth-intensive peer-to-peer applications such as BitTorrent become commonplace, the traditional Internet congestion management system, which was not designed to handle continuous, high-bandwidth usage, may no longer be viable, so alternate methods may become necessary. These alternate methods include bandwidth limits and priority-based Quality of Service for voice and video.

Remote surgery bandwidth demand growth: One of the clearest examples of the need for a highly reliable, low latency, high bandwidth connection, is the developing technology of Remote surgery, where a surgeon can use robotics and communications technology to operate on a patient thousands of miles away.[47] Using dedicated circuits is highly desirable in this situation as the penalty for a communications failure could be death, so they are used in all cases; if they weren’t available, prioritized bandwidth would be preferred to normal bandwidth. In a similar category are emergency calls to fire and police.[1]

A Wall Street Journal op-ed described the amount of data produced globally in exabytes, calling the potential bandwidth crunch the “exaflood” [2].

At times internet traffic has already caused internet services to fail (see Wikipedia’s articles on congestion collapse and slashdot effect). In such cases, high latency connections result in interruption of services.