Abolition of net neutrality not needed for internet video

Important technical essay by Andrew Odlyzko, which explains why Net Neutrality needs not be abolished to enable widespread video distribution on the internet.

Excerpt from the introduction:

“”Even if we allow video the dominant role in shaping the future of the Internet, we have to cope with the second delusion captured in Cicconi’s quote, namely that movies should be streamed. This is an extremely widely shared assumption, even among networking researchers, as is discussed in Section 4. However, there is an argument that except for a very small fraction of traffic (primarily phone calls and videoconferencing), multimedia should be delivered as faster-than-real-time progressive downloads (transfer of segments of files, each segment sent faster-than-real-time, with potential pauses between segments). That is what is used by many P2P services, as well as YouTube. This approach leads to far simpler and less expensive networks than real-time streaming. And there is a noticeable minority of the technical community that regards this approach as the only sensible one. A truly astonishing phenomenon is that this group and the far larger streaming advocacy group do not seem to talk to each other, or even be aware that the other alternative is to be taken seriously. This is discussed in Section 3.

Section 4 outlines why the faster-than-real-time transmissions of video (or music) are the best solution, and require a far less expensive network that requires neither any fancy new technologies, nor any fancy new network management policies. Section 5 sketches out a particular view of the history and present state of data networks, which suggests a scenario of future evolution that supports the vision of faster-than-real-time multimedia transfers in preference to the streaming mode of the evolution of data networks The general conclusion is that the story presented by service providers, that they need to block net neutrality in order to be able to afford to construct special features in their networks for streaming movies, is simply not credible. If lack of net neutrality requirements is to be exploited, it will have to be done through other, much more intrusive means. This is discussed in the conclusions section.”

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