Tom Nolle: Killing Net Neutrality Might Save You Money

The DC Court of Appeals voided most of the Neutrality Order, and whatever it might mean for the Internet overall, it might mean better and cheaper Internet VPNs for businesses.
1/16/2014 | 16 comments
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Sara Peters   Killing Net Neutrality Might Save You Money   1/28/2014 2:46:56 PM
new angle
Tom I've read a lot about net neutrality over the past couple weeks and I haven't seen anyone take such a different angle on it. So thanks for that. Do you think that anyone but you has considered the impact on VPNs?
Tom Nolle   Killing Net Neutrality Might Save You Money   1/28/2014 2:58:45 PM
Re: new angle
It's possible that they've not considered it, Sara.  The problem is that the concept of "Net neutrality" is overloaded by Internet service emotion, even though the actual impact of the FCC's order may well have been much broader and even much different.  When the order was issued, I pointed out that "intra-cloud" communications was exempt, for example, which could encourage providers to move the cloud on-ramp closer to the user to move more of the service out of the range of neutrality.  That was also not talked about much, but it was there.
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Sara Peters   Killing Net Neutrality Might Save You Money   1/28/2014 3:05:15 PM
Re: new angle
@Tom  Another great point:  ""intra-cloud" communications was exempt, for example, which could encourage providers to move the cloud on-ramp closer to the user to move more of the service out of the range of neutrality." It sounds like another example of how IT and the legal department need to stay friends.
Sara Peters   Killing Net Neutrality Might Save You Money   1/28/2014 3:06:08 PM
for more
Also, to anyone who isn't entirely clear on what net neutrality even is, the best explanation I've seen is over at CNET. Good stuff: http://news.cnet.com/8301-1035_3-57617242-94/why-you-should-care-about-net-neutrality-faq/
Tom Nolle   Killing Net Neutrality Might Save You Money   1/28/2014 3:15:51 PM
Re: new angle
It probably goes deeper than that, Sara.  For example, if you bought a cloud service from a provider who had an on-ramp in each city and a couple regional cloud data centers, the portion of the connection between the place you first touched the cloud in that metro on-ramp and the cloud data centers would be immune from neutrality so you could be sold QoS there even if the neutrality order were upheld.  The cloud is like a CDN, which by the way is also exempt.  Thus, neutrality policy would increase the value of "big-provider" clouds who could afford local on-ramps.
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Tom Nolle   Killing Net Neutrality Might Save You Money   1/28/2014 3:19:24 PM
Re: for more
It has plusses and minuses.  One notable problem is the implication that the striking down of neutrality would open the door for consumers paying for gold, silver, and bronze Internet.  That, in fact, was specifically allowed by the order so nothing changes there.  The difference is that the order implied that the content provider could not pay for premium handling, only the consumer could.
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Sara Peters   Killing Net Neutrality Might Save You Money   1/28/2014 3:25:18 PM
Re: new angle
@Tom  Quiet! You're going to give them ideas for all sorts of ways to charge us more money!  :)
Sara Peters   Killing Net Neutrality Might Save You Money   1/28/2014 3:27:57 PM
Re: for more
@Tom  Well the thing that worries me to most about bronze, silver, and gold Internet, as you put it, is that to get decent security you may need to buy the "gold" standard. I wonder if they'd add new rules mandating some fundamental security be part of all options 
Tom Nolle   Killing Net Neutrality Might Save You Money   1/28/2014 3:33:18 PM
Re: for more
I think we can assume that security, which has always been a "feature" available with some services, will increasingly become an architected part of premium online models.  SDN and the Internet may intersect there!
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zerox203   Killing Net Neutrality Might Save You Money   1/29/2014 9:53:33 PM
Re: Killing Net Neutrality
Thanks for this coverage, Tom. It's nice to get the general perspective that something good can come from this. Nothing is black and white, and you would think that after a while we would get used to that, but it seems that we don't - certainly, the outcry on the internet has not been hesistant to label this one as close to 'all black' as possible. Whether we're talking about one specific issue or another, your point is very well-taken; the order isn't a single sheet of paper that says 'ruin net neutrality' stamped ''approved'' with cheesy red ink. It's a complex issue with many subsections to consider.

Net neutrality notwithstanding, we're moving towards a time of increasing complexity and interconnectivity for the internet - as you point out, VPNs and various cloud interactions are just two issues that shift us pretty far from the 'customer pays a flat rate and receives a static service' model anyway. It's up to us to decide what that means as an industry and as a culture - everyone from enterprises down to consumers ought to make their voice heard.
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