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Why net neutrality would block cloud computing innovation; computers must prioritize/schedule apps

It's becoming increasingly obvious that net neutrality proponents have not thought through the logical and practical implications of their call for mandating net neutrality. 

  • Practically, net neutrality is about codifying Internet architecture design rules for the first time, which would have the real world effect of blocking, degrading and impairing innovation to allow the Internet to support "cloud computing" -- the future of computing according to Google, IBM and many others.

Why does net neutrality theory not work in practice?

First, net neutrality is really backward-looking, trying to take the Internet back to the dial-up/pre broadband days when there was monopoly telecom regulation and not inter-modal broadband competition like there is today.

Second, consider net neutrality's definition by its primary proponents:

  • Tim Wu, the Columbia Law professor who  coined the term "net neutrality in 2002: "Network neutrality is best defined as a network design principle. "end-to-end design" principle." 
  • SaveTheInternet states: "Net Neutrality prevents Internet providers from speeding up or slowing down Web content based on its source, ownership or destination."
  • The Open Internet Coalition states: "Simply, net neutrality guarantees that broadband networks cannot use their networks to give preferential fast lane access to any content provider, nor can they slow down content or services that are unable to pay."
  • The FreePress/Public Knowlege petition asking the FCC to declare that Comcast's network management of Bittorrent P2P traffic illegal stated: "...degrading an application does not fit within the reasonable-network-management exception."
    •  In a nutshell, net neutrality proponents are arguing that the design and practices of the Internet should not allow any network intervention, prioritization, preference, or timing advantage of any bit over any other bit.

Third, these proponents, in their definitions and actions, have not thought through the real world implications that a backward -looking policy has on the future of cloud-computing innovation on the Internet.

  • Their "guiding principle" of the Internet is like a miles-wide fishing dragnet that captures everything in its path, intended and unintended.
  • Now think about how most all computer operating systems operate today.
    • Per Wikipedia, operating systems routinely need to employ:
      • "preemption" or prioritization of processing: "... the ability of the operating system to preempt or stop a currently scheduled task in favour of a higher priority task."
      • preemptive multi-tasking: "Preemptive multitasking allows the computer system to more reliably guarantee each process a regular "slice" of operating time."
      • Scheduling: "Scheduling is a key concept in computer multitasking and multiprocessing operating system design, and in real-time operating system design. It refers to the way processes are assigned priorities in a priority queue.

Fourth, my point here is that most all operating systems, even open source Linux, must intervene, manage, prioritize and schedule computer processing.

  • Under a strict net neutrality view, a computer operating system routinely is designed to not be "neutral" but give "preferential treatment" to one application over another. But not allowing prioritization would be ridiculous. Precisely my point.
    • Computers must manage, prioritize and schedule to function at all and to function efficiently.
    • It's not unfair or nefarious; it's simply essential.

Finally, take this point to its logical extension, and net neutrality would block, degrade and impair the Internet's evolution and innovation to "cloud computing," the reported future of the Internet.

  • Cloud computing  "The architecture behind cloud computing is a massive network of "cloud servers" interconnected as if in a grid running in parallel, sometimes using the technique of virtualization to maximize computing power per server."
  • Logically, for cloud computing to work over a network, it will require network managers to manage, prioritize and schedule the network. Net neutrality would not allow cloud computing management, prioritization or scheduling.

In conclusion, if net neutrality were applied to cloud computing as net neutrality proponents are urging the FCC apply it to Comcast's network management of p2p traffic, cloud computing innovation could not occur.

  • What net neutrality proponents apparently don't understand is that if something is truly a principle, it is applied uniformily and completely, true principles are not riddled with exceptions to make them make sense in the real world.
  • Net neutrality taken to its logical extension -- makes no sense.
    • That's because common sense tells us all, a world, or an Internet, without some reasonable management, prioritization, or scheduling is chaos that benefits no one.