In this week’s podcast we talk about the big topic of Network Neutrality. We define the term and talk about the differences between neutral and biased (or ‘diverse’) networks. We cover the history of the phone network, the Carterfone, and neutrality regulations in the U.S. We also cover the two major reasons to prefer a neutral internet: the more commonly mentioned threats to innovation and free speech that biased networks engender, and the less commonly discussed technical reason that dumb networks are more efficient and therefore faster. With the FCC in the process of gutting what’s left of net neutrality in the U.S. right now, it’s important to understand this seemingly dry issue that, as the internet takes over more and more of our lives, gets more and more important. Will we wake up and require network neutrality through our political process? Is it possible to create neutral mesh networks through unlicensed spectrum? Will we simply accept the costs to freedom and innovation that biased networks will bring?
- Tim Wu’s Network Neutrality FAQ
- Lawrence Lessig’s Code v2
- Christopher S. Yoo’s Beyond Network Neutrality
- NYT article on Netflix and Comcast deal
- Marc Andreessen on net neutrality
- Wikipedia article on Internet Transit
- Flash Boys by Michael Lewis