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You are here: English WTF Editor's Soapbox: Give Thanks for Well Routed Packets

Editor's Soapbox: Give Thanks for Well Routed Packets

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It’s Thanksgiving here in the US, so we’re taking a long weekend. In lieu of a more traditional “from the archives” post, I’m going to give thanks.

You know what I’m thankful for? I’m thankful that data packets on the Internet are routed and handled the same way, regardless of which network originated them, nor which network is their destination, nor what they may contain. You could say that networks are… neutral about packets.

A parody of the Gadsden flag that is an ethernet cable poised like a snake

A few years ago, the FCC enshrined this common sense into its regulatory framework. We were all pretty happy about it, and were optimistic that it was done. Unfortunately, it’s never over, and the new management at the FCC wants to reverse that, and plans to vote about it in a few weeks.

Remember: prior to making Network Neutrality the regulated standard, network operators largely (but not completely) followed the rule anyway. Network Neutrality was the default, and then the bean-counters recognized an unexploited revenue stream (why should Netflix get to send data to our customers without paying us for the privilege?). The Internet worked under Network Neutrality, and the FCC only needed to enforce it by rule because network operators wanted to change the playing field.

In any case, if you’re thankful for an Internet that works, between gorging yourself in typical American fashion and arguing with your racist uncle, take a few minutes to do something about network neutrality.

I’d be ever so thankful if you did.

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