Neutrinos point to a four-year-old experiment with QoS at Internet2 as proof that QoS can never work. The report on this experiment is very critical of the network equipment of the day, and clearly biased in favor of over-provisioning as an alternative to QoS. Yet the report’s author doesn’t support current efforts to enact network regulation in the name of Net Neutrality:
I have not seen the bill that is reportedly shaping up. However, what I know of it indicates that it is likely to do much more harm than good. A good bill needs to have two things: (i) sunset provision and (ii) possibility to price the network in an economically efficient way. It appears, from what we know so far, that the bill will permanently prohibit economically efficient pricing and mandate a flat pricing structure, where users pay a monthly fee only. This would be extremely harmful, as it would instill the incentive to regulate the amount of traffic a user sends by giving him a tiny straw instead of a fat pipe. It would be tragic if we started with the belief in fat cheap network pipes and ended up outlawing them.
[Update, May 2, 2006: It appears that the draft Steven’s bill satisfies both conditions: it does have a five-year sunset provision and does not prohibit economically efficient pricing. It appears to be very good, at least for now.]