Understanding “last mile,” “middle-pipes” and the global interest in who controls what

Perhaps the best way to analyse the issues is to view it as a triangle involving three parties: the providers of internet content and applications, such as Google, Yahoo, HBO, and Vonage; the end-users of that content (some of whom are also providers at the same time) like you and me; and the electronic pipes that connect between them and transport the information packets, such as Comcast and AT&T. These pipes come in two different sections: ‘last-mile pipes’ that reach individual end-users, and ‘middle-pipes’ that constitute the local and national network system and serve numerous users simultaneously. It is important to distinguish between those two different pipes.

The question then is what kind of control the pipes can exercise over the content, prices, and quality of information packets that are sent by providers to end-users, and over the access of end-users to the providers.

Read A third way for net neutrality from the Financial Times.  Plus, The New Network Neutrality: Criteria for Internet Freedom from blogger and community Internet activist Sascha Meinrath.

What is Net Neutrality?  Learn and contribute what you know to the Whats New Media Wiki.


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