Michal Migurski's notebook, listening post, and soapbox. Subscribe to this blog. Check out the rest of my site as well.

May 26, 2006 4:42pm

tiered costs

Courtesy of CNN and Slashdot, another reason Net Neutrality is a good thing:

"I'm going to pay my $29.99 a month for access, and then I'm going to pay higher prices for consumer goods all across the economy because these Internet companies will charge more for online advertising."

Gem and I visited a mushroom farm last week for one of her classes. Each batch of mushrooms (shiitake, oyster, etc.) are cultivated in bagged blocks of sawdust and nutrients. Each plastic bag holds about a gallon of substrate, and has a small filter attached to it, allowing flow of air when the bag is sealed. These bags are single-use, and historically cost the farm 18 cents apiece. As a result of rising fuel costs (the bags are shipped from Texas), the price has gone up to 19½ cents apiece. Every day, they start 2,700 bags, so an extra $40 isn't going to break the bank. But I bet that extra cost is going to be passed on to the buyer, on top of all the other gas-price micropayments piling up across the rest of the items at the checkout counter.

I understand fuel costs—high demand, low supply, etc.—but these "preferred routing" fees proposed by AT+T's lawyersharks are purely artificial. They have no reason to exist, and they add no new capacity to the lines. As I understand it, performance across the board may actually drop, because of the additional overhead of looking at each packet to determine its priority instead of passing it off like a hot potato as quickly as possible.


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