Andrew Odlyzko of the University of Minnesota makes a withering analysis of the arguments of network service providers concerning why (real-time streaming capabilities) they oppose net neutrality. Odlyzko's analyses frequently challenge flabby assumptions with hard data and this one is particularly valuable.
Two of Om Malik's blogs today provide an overview of this important paper. In Streams Won't Pay for Themselves, Chris Albrecht writes:
... Video can be delivered more efficiently and less expensively using downloads over streaming, says Oldzyko, and these downloads can be more accommodating to the viewing habits of online audiences and just as secure as streams. ¶ Oldzyko thinks the belief that we need real-time streaming is a holdover from broadcast and phone networks. ...
Then, in Hulu Bad For the Net, Video Still Not Clogging It, Stacey Higginbotham writes:
... the largest part of the paper is devoted to data that supports his conclusions that content, such as Internet radio and video, is worth less than connectivity such as voice or Twitter. People don’t pay for content, they pay for connectivity, says Odlyzko. ...
Here's the abstract of and link to Odlyzko's paper:
Abstract. Service providers argue that if net neutrality is not enforced, they will have sufficient incentives to build special high-quality channels that will take the Internet to the next level of its evolution. But what if they do get their wish, net neutrality is consigned to the dustbin, and they do build their new services, but nobody uses them? If the networks that are built are the ones that are publicly discussed, that is a likely prospect.
What service providers publicly promise to do, if they are given complete control of their networks, is to build special facilities for streaming movies. But there are two fatal defects to that promise. One is that movies are unlikely to oer all that much revenue. The other is that delivering movies in real-time streaming mode is the wrong solution, expensive and unnecessary.
If service providers are to derive significant revenues and profits by exploiting freedom from net neutrality limitations, they will need to engage in much more intrusive control of traffic than just provision of special channels for streaming movies.
Link: University of Minnesota [pdf]. --Dennis