Net neutrality is just like bog roll – source

Net neutrality has been thrown down the toilet, metaphorically speaking, by our in-the-know source, codenamed Bernard.

Our source has plied his trade in the trenches of the networking biz for 13 years with telecoms companies, banks, government ministries, airports, law firms and all that jazz, so we trust him. Bernard reckons the net neutrality debate has been properly overblown to the extent that network admins can’t twitch without a regulatory bod having palpitations and sweating profusely.

Net neutrality has its place, probably, but last week we wrote about Virgin Media’s gamer-friendly network bundle. In our ensuing podcast it was mentioned again, to which our brother-from-another-mother Ray Le Maistre of Light Reading shouted “net neutrality alert!”.

After listening to the podcast, from which his codename was derived, Bernard got in touch to share his rather candid views, and it was magnificent.

“Alright, Bernard here,” he began. “I got bored so I started looking up the gaming packages we spoke about last week. Looks like EE has been doing it, along with VoIP, at peak times for a year or two.

“In my opinion, net neutrality can f*ck off here. If links can’t handle real-time traffic quickly, and still provide a decent service to non-real time traffic the providers need to upgrade their links. Net neutrality should really only be an issue among competitors of a type of service – like Netflix vs Amazon or Skype vs FaceTime or Whatsapp vs Viber.

“So long as ISPs aren’t prioritising Ubisoft games over Blizzard or a new gaming startup, net neutrality supporters can shut their commie mouths.

“It’s like a line at a supermarket. If I’m standing with a trolley (of web traffic, say), then I’ve got no problem with the guy running full tilt at the checkout with one solitary pack of bog roll going first. He’s clearly got bigger problems. But if you and I are both running to the checkout with bog roll and nothing else, then you’re let in front of me because you’ve got Andrex but I’ve got Charmin, then that’s not fair on me or on Charmin.”

Expertly done Bernard, see you soon.


  1. Avatar Andy Tiller 07/09/2016 @ 5:09 pm

    OK, so I’ve got Andrex and Tim has got Charmin. Suppose I have paid for a Priority Pass at the supermarket which allows me to go in the fast lane – then I’ll go quicker than Tim because he can’t use the fast lane without a Pass, but that seems fair enough.

    Then what if Andrex rewards its loyal customers by subsidising their Priority Pass. That also seems fair enough to me – Andrex should be allowed to use its marketing money to reward me for loyalty in whatever way they like (as long as Charmin can do the same).

    Then what if Andrex has a deal with the supermarket so that anyone with Andrex in their shopping cart can automatically use the fast lane at the checkout? Personally, I don’t mind that as a marketing promotion – again, as long as Charmin is free to make the same deal with the supermarket.

    But what happens if Andrex wants an exclusive deal with the supermarket for the Priority Pass promotion? Actually that also seems fair to me, if they have the idea first and strike a deal with the supermarket before Charmin.

    What if there is no dedicated fast lane, but the Priority Pass just allows me to cut in front of Tim in his existing checkout lane? That might be rather annoying for Tim, but I think it’s somewhat justified since I (or at least Andrex) did pay for the privilege. I think it’s up to the supermarket whether they make a deal with Andrex which could annoy some of their customers.

    So, what does all this have to do with net neutrality? Well, I say nothing at all – operators should be free to price their services however they like. But others would disagree (for example the Indian regulator which banned Bharti Airtel’s sponsored data proposition; to my mind that is just bog roll).

  2. Scott Bicheno Scott Bicheno 07/09/2016 @ 5:22 pm

    …and then there’s Velvet, Cushelle and countless store-branded options, not to mention niches like quilted, moistened and enbalmed.
    Joking aside there is a very good argument against telling operators what they can do with their networks, just as there is in favour of regulating utilities.
    For me it should be about transparency – i.e. do people in the slow lane know they are?

  3. Avatar Mike Fritsch 17/09/2016 @ 6:59 pm

    For once a decent analysis of the net neutrality debate.
    There are toll roads where people pay more to get there faster and they work fine.
    There is business class for people who would like a few more frills during the flight for some more money.
    And there are countless examples where differentiation via the price works perfectly to distribute limited resources.
    Isn´t net neutrality just a massive lobbying event of those who want their netflix and youtube gigabytes subsidised by other, less intense users (like me) or, even better, socialised and paid for by the taxpayer (like me). Cunningly enough, they disguise this under “undisputable” arguments like free speech etc. to make people think of them as the new Robin Hood…
    Well, I won´t have any of it. I am perfectly happy to pay more if I want more. Or use my loyalty points that I have collected – guess what – by paying more, to get some benefits. I don´t expect others to pay for my flight upgrade and I don´t expect others to pay for my data usage either. And if there were an express cash register with a guaranteed maximum checkout time in the supermarket that costs a little extra – well, I might decide to use it if I´m in a hurry with my bog roll and might not if I´m just on my weekly supply run.

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