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by dgatwood (11270) on Monday January 15, @10:14PM (Slashdot.com)
Here goes nothing. Stevens got it ass backwards. The internet IS more like a truck... or really a bunch of them. It's not like a tube. A tube is a continuous flow. A roadway is a bunch of independent bits of flow all moving in different directions, much like the internet.
The internet is a lot like an information superhighway... or more accurately, a highly interconnected network of roads and bridges that span the globe. Some roads are toll roads where people can pay to get somewhere faster just like you pay for a faster connection to the internet. There's nothing wrong with that. Some roads have fast speed limits, some have slower speed limits, and that all factors into how fast the truck gets to its destination. The internet works the same way. Those trucks are called packets, and the roads are called many names---pipes, trunk lines, and so on---but you can easily think of them as being like roadways.
One big difference is that in the internet, you can pay money to your home state for the right to drive in the HOV lane or on other fast roads. People who want to get there faster can do so. Every state cooperates to allow drivers from other states to use those fast lanes because they know that those drivers are bringing things that people from their states have ordered. In effect, those trucks are driving at the request of the local residents. This generally works well; it's a lot like a nationwide, flat-rate version of FasTrak.
However, some companies don't like the status quo. The non-neutral net that they propose can best be compared to Arkansas deciding that they are going to turn some of their faster roads into "special" toll roads. On those roads, they will charge $1 for trucks from Arkansas, but charge $100 for an identical truck from California. Why? Because California provides more trucks. If the truck from California doesn't pay that increased fee, they have take the slower, non-toll road. The people who ultimately are harmed, though, are the local residents who must ultimately bear the cost, either through paying those trucking companies more so that they can pay their state more or through having to wait longer to get their packages.
Network neutrality laws are designed to make sure that the Arkansas states on the internet can't play those sorts of games. Ultimately, without network neutrality, the consumer loses.
"Think of the Internet as a highway."
There it is again. Some clueless fool talking about the "Information Superhighway." They don't know didley about the net. It's nothing like a superhighway. That's a rotten metaphor.
Suppose the metaphor ran in the other direction. Suppose the highways were like the net. . .
A highway hundreds of lanes wide. Most with pitfalls for potholes. Privately operated bridges and overpasses. No highway patrol. A couple of rent-a-cops on bicycles with broken whistles. 500 member vigilante posses with nuclear weapons. A minimum of 237 on ramps at every intersection. No signs. Wanna get to Ensenada? Holler out the window at a passing truck to ask directions. Ad hoc traffic laws. Some lanes would vote to make use by a single-occupant-vehicle a capital offense on Monday through Friday between 7:00 and 9:00. Other lanes would just shoot you without a trial for talking on a car phone.
AOL would be a giant diesel-smoking bus with hundreds of ebola victims on board throwing dead wombats and rotten cabbage at the other cars, most of which have been assembled at home from kits. Some are built around 2.5 horsepower lawnmower engines with a top speed of nine miles an hour. Others burn nitrogylcerin and idle at 120.
No license plates. World War II bomber nose art instead. Terrifying paintings of huge teeth or vampire eagles. Bumper mounted machine guns. Flip somebody the finger on this highway and get a white phosphorus grenade up your tailpipe. Flatbed trucks cruise around with anti-aircraft missile batteries to shoot down the traffic helicopter. Little kids on tricycles with squirtguns filled with hydrochloric acid switch lanes without warning.
NO OFFRAMPS. None.
Now that's the way to run an Interstate Highway system.