End-to-end is part of Internet history, but so is traffic differentiation. On the one hand, some forms of discrimination at the packet level are constructive. Applications have different needs and it’s good for networks to provide them with the type of service they desire.
If net neutrality is what its supporters say it is – the best overall way of setting expectations and managing Internet service agreements, it should be expected to become self-executing at some point. I think we passed that point about ten years ago, but we will see what we will see.
Our web activity is tracked by “edge services” such as Google and Facebook even if we don’t go to their web sites. This is because they both operate tracking networks with the cooperation of web sites that carry their tracking code.
As a technical matter, it is the case that the Internet is more like cable TV than the telephone network. While the Internet does support interpersonal communication, its primary role is publishing audio, video, pictures, and text. And like cable TV, it’s a platform in which advertising is a very important source of revenue.
Net neutrality is doomed by history and technology regardless of who sits atop the FCC. Neutrality is forced modularity, a losing proposition in every long run. Our reverence for for forced modularity comes from a fluke of history.
The FCC needs a commissioner with close ties to Capitol Hill who can help the members of her party forge alliances with Republicans to address the rural broadband problem more effectively. Improving the rural economy is in everyone’s interest because that’s where our food comes from. Continued advances in high-tech ag depend to a great extent on connectivity, so rural broadband is more important than idling away the hours watching TV reruns can ever be.