All Circuits Aren’t Busy

Network neutrality came from the telephone business. With electronic phone switching (analog, not digital) it was possible to give phone company customers who were willing to pay more priority access to trunk lines, avoiding the dreaded “all circuits are busy, please try your call again later.” Alas, some folks almost never got a circuit, so the FCC put a halt to that practice by mandating what it called “network neutrality” – first-come, first-served access to the voice network. When the commercial Internet came along, network neutrality was extended to digital data services, lately over the objection of telcos and big ISPs like Comcast, and the FCC is now about to expand those rules a bit more, which was in this week’s news. But to give network neutrality the proper context, we really should go back to that original analog voice example, because there are more details there worth telling.

via I, Cringely All Circuits Aren’t Busy – I, Cringely.