There has been lots of discussion in Internet neutrality circles this week about Monday's Wall Street Journal article
claiming that Google, in seeking to enter caching deals with ISPs, is departing from its stance in favor of Internet neutrality. Google
and a number of commenters (here
) by now have explained why the article is off base.
Like so many arguments in the Internet neutrality debate, the article is based on fundamental misconceptions about what Internet neutrality, properly conceived, would require. In effect, the article takes aim at an exaggerated, straw-man version of Internet neutrality. But maybe it offers a "teachable moment." Specifically, clear thinking about this issue requires recognition that:
(1) a neutral Internet does not require some kind of utopian "equality of results," in which the resources of different speakers have no impact on the prominence and technical sophistication of their communications or services; and
(2) a neutral Internet does not in any way preclude or conflict with the use of caching and content delivery networks (a la Akamai).
Regarding the first point, it is true that caching confers an advantage on those who can afford to pay for it.