TPW 38: The Google Kerfuffle — Edge Caching & Net Neutrality

by on December 19, 2008 · 5 comments

In several of our previous podcasts (see episodes 34, 35,and 37), we’ve discussed what we’ve called the “Comcast Kerfuffle,” which was the controversy surrounding the steps Comcast took to manage BitTorrent traffic on its networks. Critics called it a violation of Net neutrality principles while Comcast and others called it sensible network management.

This week we saw a new kerfuffle of sorts develop over the revelation in a Monday front-page Wall Street Journal story that Google had approached major cable and phone companies and supposedly proposed to create a fast lane for its own content. What exactly is it that Google is proposing, and does it mean – as the Wall Street Journal and some others have suggested – that Google is somehow going back on their support for Net neutrality principles and regulation? More importantly, what does it all mean for the future of the Internet, network management, and consumers. That’s what we discussed on the TLF’s latest “Tech Policy Weekly” podcast.

Today’s 30-minute discussion featured two of our regular contributors at the TLF, who both wrote about this issue multiple times this week. Cord Blomquist of the Competitive Enterprise Institute wrote about the issue here and here, and Bret Swanson of the Progress & Freedom Foundation wrote about it here and here.  To help us wade through some of the more technical networking issues in play, we were also joined on the podcast by Richard Bennett, a computer scientist and network engineer guru who blogs at Broadband Politics as well as Circle ID and he also pens occasional columns for The Register.  Also appearing on the show was Adam Marcus, Research Fellow & Senior Technologist at PFF, who wrote a “nuts and bolts” essay full of excellent technical background on edge caching and net neutrality.

You can download the MP3 file here, or use the online player below to start listening to the show right now.


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