MISCELLANEOUS

Net Neutrality Wars

Google Exposes, Cox Shapes
A new chapter in the war between content providers and ISPs for control over content distribution via the ‘Net is taking place right before our eyes today. In a satisfyingly dramatic coincidence, Google is rolling out a tool to help users check if their ISP has been traffic-shaping or bandwidth-diddling in any way just as US Internet provider Cox openly announces that yes, they will be shaping traffic from now on. More to the point, they will be de-prioritizing bulk transfers (such as P2P and other file transfer protocols) and prioritizing “interactive” traffic such as media streaming, gaming and the Web .

Competitor Comcast got slapped with a lawsuit for pulling exactly this kind of stunt last year (but the trial is still ongoing).

It’s hard to tell how the chips will fall – it mostly depends on the convoluted US legal system and the (dubious) capacity of US broadband users to pressure their ISPs into neutrality.

Putting aside the obvious questions such as “Why not just build in more bandwidth?”, it’s easy to predict, however, that the outcome of this battle will have implications for the whole of the Internet, not just the stars-and-stripes-coloured bits.

About the author

Răzvan STOICA

Razvan Stoica is a journalist turned teacher turned publicist and
technology evangelist. When Bitdefender isn't paying him to bring complex subjects to wide audiences, he enjoys writing fiction, skiing and biking.

Razvan Stoica started off writing for a science monthly and was the chief
editor of a science fiction magazine for a short while before moving on to
the University of Medicine in Bucharest where he lectured on the English
language. Recruited by Bitdefender in 2004 to add zest to the company's
online presence, he has fulfilled a bevy of roles within the company since.

In his current position, he is primarily responsible for the communications and community-building efforts of the Bitdefender research and technology development arm.