Why net neutrality is long gone ... and why that's nothing to worry about

While it's clear that net neutrality is a Good Thing(TM) in the context of the Internet, it's not at all clear that legislation will help, or that the legislation can even be effective.

For a start, most telecommunications providers prioritize Internet traffic over their pipes already. As one example, if you pay Telstra for a Virtual Private Network (VPN) which allows two branch offices of your company to securely connect to each other -- that traffic is likely to receive higher priority than "regular" Internet traffic. This is simply because Telstra will have an agreed Service Level with your business and delays or dropouts in service will cost it money. Is that a loss of "Net Neutrality"?

Really, people are getting excited over one idea -- that commercial Internet sites can be effectively held to ransom by telecommunications providers threatening to withhold bandwidth. I'll belive it when I see it.

My favourite quote about the Internet is by John Gilmore:

The Net treats censorship as damage and routes around it. (1993)

Quite aside from the storms of negative publicity any company discovered to be behaving in this manner will face, the Internet provides so many mechanisms for bypassing such crude behavior, including proxies, anonymizers, encryption, roaming DNS hosts, renamed aliases, selectively set cookies ... it's a fool's errand.

Sure, some companies might try. But in the long run, I'm confident that they won't have any significant impact.