One of the problems with network neutrality is that people outside the technology industry often can't follow the arguments back and forth because of the complexity of the terms involved. On my vacation last week, I found myself discussing this topic with my ~80-year-old grandparents. Now, Grandpa and Grandma have no clue about technology, but they aren't dumb; they are both retired educators and follow current events (especially politics) with a strong interest. In my effort to explain just what the fuss is about, I had a sudden brainstorm and came up with the following analogy, which I post here for anyone who cares to use it:
Imagine that your power company decides that it wanted to open a line of supermarkets. At the same time, it sends out an announcement that supermarkets (due to their refrigeration requirements) are particularly heavy users of the electrical system, and as a result, the power company will add a 15% surcharge to the power bills of any building that it deems to be a supermarket. Of course, the power company's own supermarkets are exempt from this fee. When the existing supermarkets complain, the power company says that they're asking for special treatment and trying to get electricity "for free" and that if they don't like its terms, they should buy their power from someone else.
Obviously this greatly simplifies the technical issues involved, but it's the best illustration of at least one aspect of the problem that I've been able to come up with. I've enabled comments for this post, so feel free to add your own suggestions.
Comment by Decklin Foster at 1:28 PM:
I like this one.
Comment byat 1:16 AM:
Unfortunately, your analogy describes a reality that hasn't even been proposed and therefore isn't accurate.
What would be more accurate to say is that the power company has to continually add more infrastructure to keep up with the increasing electricity use by everyone (likened to Bandwidth in this case). Normally the power company increases the price of electricity across the board for every customer to pay for this but noticed that some customers are utilizing most of their infrastructure. Therefore, they decided to charge the heaviest users (beneficiaries in this case) rather than charging everyone. Additionally, the power companies also own some Supermarkets so there is a conflict of interest in their new plan.
Many won't like this more-accurate modification of your analogy simply because the power company doesn't seem quite as evil.
Comment byat 4:32 PM:
I think your analogy properly illustrates why I'm not convinced net neutrality is an issue.
If a power company would try to strongarm it's way into the highly competitive supermarket industry by overcharging its competitors for electricity, they would simply lose a big customer to one of their competitors that is not run by insane idiots.
Comment by Scott Arthur Edwards at 8:24 AM:
Dear friends, Now you can help yourself take advantage of the huge surpluses of FREE advertising in your spare time, in the comfort of your own home. Hook up NOW with this exiting program. Click here: FREE INFORMATION
Comment by Bruto at 7:04 PM:
100 information mortgage 2nd calculator information mortgage 2nd information mortgage adjustable information mortgage rate application information mortgage arizona information mortgage atlantic center information mid mortgage service services bad credit information mortgage refinance bank email home information mortgage banking information mortgage becoming broker information mortgage brochure information mortgage broker information loan mortgage officer broker information mortgage burbank information mortgage buy information let mortgage buyer first home information mortgage time buyer first information mortgage time calculator home information loan mortgage rate calculator information interest loan mortgage only rate calculator information interest mortgage only rate calculator information loan mortgage rate calculator information mortgage california california home information mortgage refinance california california information mortgage refinance california information mortgage canada information mortgage canadian information mortgage center information mortgage certified information mortgage self close information loan mortgage colorado information mortgage commercial information mortgage company information mortgage starting company information mortgage consumer information mortgage copy information mortgage property send delaware home in information mortgage reverse different information loan mortgage equity home information loan mortgage refinance refinance estate information mortgage real fha information mortgage florida information mortgage free information mortgage free mortgage information grand information loan mortgage rapid refinance guide information mortgage home income information mortgage stated home information loan mortgage online refinance refinance home information loan mortgage second home information loan mortgage home information mortgage online home information mortgage rate refinance refinance home information mortgage in information links mortgage services us in information mortgage rate us in information mortgage spanish index information insurance mortgage information interest loan mortgage only information interest mortgage only information interest mortgage rate information investment mortgage information ki links mortgage services united information kingdom mortgage rate united information lending mortgage information links london mortgage services information links mortgage services us information loan mortgage officer information loan mortgage reverse texas information loan mortgage type information loan mortgage information london mortgage rate information map mortgage refinance site information market mortgage services information market mortgage information massachusetts mortgage information michigan mortgage information mortgage mortgage information mortgage online information mortgage point information mortgage rate uk information mortgage rate us information mortgage rate information mortgage refinance refinancing information mortgage refinance us information mortgage refinance information mortgage refinancing information mortgage reverse information mortgage rugby information mortgage second uk information mortgage second information mortgage service information mortgage services information mortgage source information mortgage stewart information mortgage system information mortgage uk information mortgage us information mortgage va information mortgage mortgage information services inc