Net Neutrality Is Neutral: AT&T Says Wireless Internet Access Is Different Than Wired Internet Access. Yes, We Know, But That's Not The Point At All.

Add AT&T to your list of companies to dislike vis-à-vis Net Neutrality. The company said, in a blog post, that “wireless is simply different,” and that Net Neutrality rules, however they finally manifest themselves, should be different for wireless providers than they are for wired providers. Well isn’t that convenient?

The post is long and windy, and says generally what you’d expect AT&T to say.

Pitted against this insatiable demand are wireless networks of finite and shared resources. Wireless networks simply cannot provide the same amount of capacity as wireline networks (i.e., DSL and cable). Fiber is to a wireline network what spectrum is to a wireless network, and as a transmission medium, the two simply do not compare.

I don’t know if anyone has made the claim that wireless and wired Internet access are the same. I believe the claim is that both wireless and wired Internet access connect to the same Internet.

There is only one Internet, right? Unless AT&T is trying to say that we’re dealing with two separate Internets, which would be crazy talk.

What people want when they speak of Net Neutrality is simply for their ISP, whether that’s wired or wireless, to treat their bits equally. Whether I’m using AIM or Skype, or playing World of Warcraft or Team Fortress 2, or streaming music from Spotify or Rdio, or browsing Fox News or Daily Kos… you get the idea, that every single bit should be treated equally.

If AT&T (or any other ISP) wants to charge a premium for more bandwidth, fine. I honestly don’t have a problem with that. Well, I sorta do, but not enough to make a big stink about it. If someone wants to sit there run and BitTorrent till his or her router burns out, fine, but they should be prepared to pay for that. There’s no reason why someone who uses the Internet solely to see pictures of their grandchildren on Facebook should pay the same as someone who’s seeding all day long to boost his private BitTorrent site ratio.

But AT&T (and others) shouldn’t have the power to arbitrarily say, “Wait a second, this person is using Application A, we need to throttle that connection ASAP. Oh, and let’s not even tell our customer why we’re doing this”

That’s hot garbage, I think you’ll agree.

The beauty of all of this is that all it takes is a little bit of lobbying money from your AT&Ts, your Verizons, your Googles, etc. to ensure they get whatever they want. Lovely system.