Net Neutrality. What good is a free operating system without a network?

Glenn Shaw irlp.4237 at
Wed May 10 18:43:01 EDT 2006

Well said Ben.


-----Original Message-----
From: gnhlug-discuss-admin at
[mailto:gnhlug-discuss-admin at] On Behalf Of Ben Scott
Sent: Wednesday, May 10, 2006 8:42 AM
Subject: Re: Net Neutrality. What good is a free operating system without a

On 5/9/06, Greg Rundlett <greg.rundlett at> wrote:
> The information super highway must not be made into a censored 
> toll-lane.

  I'm gonna dust off my "There is no Internet" mini-essay for this:


  There is this myth that "the Internet" exists as a single, cohesive
network. It does not, and never has. "The Internet" is a network of
networks. What that means is that a bunch of independent network operators
have agreed to exchange traffic with each other because it benefits them.
When you dial in to your ISP of choice (or plug in your Ethernet cable or
whatever), you're not connecting to the Internet. You're connecting to your
ISP. Your ISP probably connects to their ISP. Their ISP (if you're lucky)
connects to several other ISPs, who connect to other ISPs, and so on.  All
these independent network operators form "the Internet".

  To put this in more immediate terms: If I am your ISP, you are not
connecting to "the Internet".  You are connecting to *my* network. 
You and I might have an agreement that in exchange for a monthly fee, I'll
pass on your packets to someone else, but you're still using *my* network.
If you don't like what I do with your packets, you're free to stop using my
network, but you don't get to tell me how to run my network.

  So, "the Internet" exists as an abstract concept (and a useful one), but
not as something you can touch. Not even as something you can route traffic
through. All you can do is connect to some other guy's network and hope for
the best.  The idea that the Internet is this utopian cyberspace where
everybody is equal is a myth, and always has been.


  I say this not because I think the big telcos should be allowed to do
this, but because this "the free Internet" thing needs a reality check.

-- Ben "There is no Internet" Scott

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