Net neutrality: down the tubes

01 Aug 2006

One of the biggest stories on the Web last month was about the Internet itself - as described by a US senator making a case for opposing legislation on Net neutrality.
Senator Ted Stevens (Republican-Alaska) - who heads the Senate Commerce Committee that oversees telecoms legislation and was considering an amendment to a telecoms bill that would make Net neutrality a legal requirement - gave a now-infamous and bizarre ten-minute speech describing the problem of Internet congestion thusly:
'[T]he Internet is not something you just dump something on. It's not a truck. It's a series of tubes. And if you don't understand those tubes can be filled and if they are filled, when you put your message in, it gets in line and its going to be delayed by anyone that puts into that tube enormous amounts of material.'
The Net community responded in the usual manner: with a slew of parodies, including a t-shirt, mock PowerPoint slides featuring all sorts of tubes, and even a song called 'The Internet Is A Series Of Tubes' (which, sadly, has since been deleted from MySpace where it first appeared).
Even more ironic than the fact that Netheads are on the same side of the Net neutrality issue as Sen. Stevens is the possibility that Stevens may have gotten his information from telephone companies that try to explain their broadband services to consumers. Exhibit A, recently paraded on tech/pop culture Web site BoingBoing: a page from Singapore's StarHub
illustrating its MaxOnline broadband service as 'a fat green pipe'.

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