What’s wrong with this headline spotted on Ars Technica today?
“Australian ISPs offer US advice, smugness, on net neutrality”
If you guessed, “Australian broadband is in such an shithouse position that ISPs shouldn’t be giving advice to anyone ever”, you’d be right.
Of course as always, headlines only tell half the story. Reading the Ars article, you quickly learn that it is in response to this article from ZDNet AU, where the heads of local ISPs BigPond, iiNet and Internode were interviewed on what Net neutrality means for Australians. The answer? Not too much, because our systems are very different, at least for the moment.As anyone who’s been watching the US Giz’s coverage of the whole ‘net neutrality‘ issue knows, the US currently has a system that includes unlimited downloads for a set price. The problem is that since P2P and video have become such big components of the web, they’re running out of bandwidth and are looking at ways to free up some bandwidth, without scaring off consumers.
In Australia, we’ve never had that problem because we’ve always been limited by how much we can download, either by being throttled when we exceed our limit or being charged extra.
The ISPs in the ZDNet article are actually just explaining how our system works for us as Australians. They do suggest that the way they do things would solve some of the problems US ISPs are suffering, but they clarify that by explaining the differences in the markets.
It’s a really interesting read if you’ve wondered what the inherent differences between the two countries are in terms of broadband. Still, despite the relative strengths of our system, the fact that (most) people are forced to pay twice to download movies (and music) legitimately in this country is disgraceful.