Some thoughts on 'Net Neutrality':
1) Just because your business model doesn't comprehend it doesn't mean you can outlaw it.*
2) From a networking and service perspective you, the individual, WANT some traffic to be put in a "fast lane" compared to every TYPE of traffic being treated equally. Video is not voice is not text.
3) If this was really about enabling better service for customers, our ISPs would be structuring it as an uplift to the end user's broadband service - not attempting to hold the content hostage.
I've had a number of friends who've asked me my opinion of the latest round of Net Neutrality noise. Unfortunately, like many issues in today's tech-enabled culture, the issue is more complex than most of the suggested regulatory or anti-regulatory approaches comprehend (big surprise). It's much more complex than I have time to fully write out and way more complex than can be adequately covered by the "argument by scorn" which is so popular currently, even if it was generally on target in this instance Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO): Net Neutrality
(warning: language, crass content).
So forgive me if I jump all of the way to my conclusion. If you want the broader discussion, find a whiteboard and some time and we'll have a chat :-D
I think the fundamental flaw in this conversation is that we're thinking of the Internet like a traditional utility. I'll admit, there are some comparisons. The Internet, much like our power grid, is a massively interconnected set of providers who have agreed amongst themselves to deliver 'service' across organizational boundaries and interconnects.
However, while traditional utilities do so to account for differences in demand and capacity, Internet providers have agreed to do so for purposes of access. Verizon and Comcast aren't interconnected because Comcast has agreed to pay Verizon in order to meet its subscribers' demand for bandwidth. Verizon and Comcast are interconnected in order to meet their subscribers' demand for access - to each other and to services hosted on the other provider's network.
Alternatively, we could attempt to apply a logistics analogy. Consider the last time you purchased something from Amazon. You select your item, proceed to check-out and you are then presented with several delivery options. Applying the analogy:
Your Product = Netflix subscription
Standard Delivery = Standard ISP 'best-effort' subscription
Priority Delivery = Premium ISP 'accelerated' delivery
What's great about the 'logistics' model is that it allows the consumer to determine whether or not the 'accelerated' mechanism, the "Internet fast lane", is a service they're willing to pay for. Those who are interested in a premium service will do so, especially if it improves their experience.
Unfortunately, though, in truth, the Internet is a little of both. Imagine the complexity of guaranteeing overnight delivery before 10am if the seller sent your package to UPS, who had to hand it off to FedEx, who then had to hand it off to DHL for delivery to you, since you, the consumer, were only serviced by DHL.
That's the Internet, and that's the challenge.
What's enlightening is that rather than actually solving the underlying technical challenges which would unlock consumer choice and enable a key set of capabilities on the Internet (which would themeselves unlock an entirely new opportunity space and drive valuable innovation), ISPs are bypassing their actual customers in an attempt at a quick money play by holding the content providers hostage.