An Op-Ed about net neutrality in last week’s Seattle Times by Avis Yates Rivers makes all the obvious points: solution in search of a problem, treatment worse than the disease, etc., including this one:
Because a network’s bandwidth is a finite resource, the management tools function like traffic lights and yield signs. They seek an orderly way to allow heavy P2P-like traffic to flow without interfering with other users. At peak times, these tools send a signal to a high-bandwidth user that they will find the requested content when a lane opens on the information highway.
But wonders never cease, and David Isenberg found it wrong and offensive:
So mostly Yates Rivers is wrong when she says that bandwidth is finite. Where it is finite, the blame lies at the feet of the telcos . . . well, not really, they wouldnâ€™t be so stupid as to build such abundance that they have nothing to sell anymore. The blame lies with our limited vision â€” we have affordable, mature technology that would make bandwidth scarcity as obsolete as horsepower from horses.
Can Isenberg really be this stupid? He worked for Bell Labs for 12 years, presumably doing something more technical than sweeping floors, but he still makes bonehead statements like this. I can only conclude that he’s lying deliberately.
Yes, Virginia, bandwidth is finite and it always will be. Even when we have gigabit access connections, we’re still counting on everybody not using theirs full-tilt at the same time. For every consumer of data there’s a producer, and for every pair of consumer/producers there’s a carrier, and every link has its limit. Beef up the core, and the access network becomes a bottleneck. Beef up the access network and the core becomes a bottleneck. That’s life.