Subject: On "Net Neutrality" and HR 5417
From: Seth Johnson <>
Date: Mon, 29 May 2006 18:04:18 -0400

Innovation on the Internet is based on individuals being able to
develop new ways to use communications.

It is not that like "types" of "content, services or
applications" must be treated equally -- it is rather that
anybody can create a new convention.  Any group of at least two
people can decide on a particular interpretation they wish to
apply to a particular arrangement of digits, and mutually agree
to apply these rules on both ends of their Internet connections. 
It's the flexibility of the transport, not the equality of
"types" of stuff being transported, that makes this possible.

HR 5417 mandates equal treatment of similar "types" of "content,
services and applications."  This formulation will do nothing
other than authorize the end of net neutrality.

The thing that assures everyone that nothing in the application
layer will gain priority is the fact that every router in the
transport layer, breaks every transmission up in a manner that is
completely independent of the conventions that are applied above
the transport layer.  This makes the Internet generic and
adaptible to any design or circumstance, while it also functions
as the very basis of the Internet's reliability.

This adaptibility and flexibility, this independence from any
particular design placed on top of the transport, is the essence
of net neutrality.  This design is what assures the equal ability
of everyone to speak freely in whatever manner serves each person
or group's needs.

While networks can be set up with dedicated pathways to carry
whatever sort of protocol (application) one might choose to
devise, the fact that the Internet breaks all transmissions up
into packets, regardless of the structure of the protocol at the
application layer, and then routes these packets independently
through whatever routers are most suitable at any given moment,
not only makes the Internet generic and flexible, but it also
assures that nothing on the application layer controls the
Internet transport.

This gives everyone with an Internet connection the same
opportunity to freely develop new modes of communication.

Whenever we interact with anyone else, on the net or off, we
establish special rules that enable us to interact, understand
each other, exchange information, and work together, and we can
adapt these conventions and create new ones respond to or suit
any given circumstance or eventuality.  Defining net neutrality
in terms "equal treatment" of similar "types" of "content,
services or applications" will only authorize those who seek to
be able to determine the fate of the public's right-of-way, to
end this flexibility.