Net neutrality should be about user experience

stopI just read this article about how Cisco believes that net neutrality rules need to allow for bandwidth shaping.

I believe they’re missing the point entirely.

Right now the issue is that infrastructure owners are playing games with the prioritization of bits, in order to provide leverage for charging tolls to content providers (I’m coining the word “trollboothing“, if it doesn’t exist already, to describe this). The result is a loss for consumers of content, because their internet experience is degraded (sometimes severely).

When talking about net neutrality we need to remember the user’s experience, first and foremost. Whatever laws are written need to prevent trollbooths from deliberately degrading the user’s experience, because – from a purely pragmatical standpoint – that will wind up breaking the internet.

If it is possible to draft laws that can prevent trollboothing while still allowing bit prioritization in a way that actually enhances the user’s experience, that would be okay.

However, we’re all aware of the dichotomy between the spirit and stated intent of laws. It is impossible to legislate common sense, no matter how hard lawmakers may try.

I’d rather have net neutrality than arcane and over-complex laws that make things impossible for businesses to operate.