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What’s the big deal with Netflix and Comcast?

Let’s use the Interstates as an analogy. Those Interstates are the backbones of our country. Metropolitan areas (say Memphis, Dallas, Atlanta, Knoxville, DC) are datacenters. The states are the ISPs since they provide the connections (the on ramps) to the backbones (the Interstates). We’ve all had relatively free access to those roads. Yes, there are so toll roads but let’s talk about those later to help facilitate the analogy (because the toll road fits the current Internet analog…the tolls are NOT the Netflix deal). The vehicles on the road are packets of information.

So, monitoring traffic, we noticed that UPS has increased its traffic from Dallas routing along I-40 in Tennessee to make deliveries to Atlanta. Now, we know that UPS has other alternatives. There are highways and more minor roads through Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama that will lead to Atlanta but UPS likes the speed of using our larger Interstate. So, should Tennessee start charging UPS a surcharge to use our Interstate? If UPS pays enough, can they monopolize that Interstate with so many trucks that there is no room for my car? And if so, will the state tell me that I don’t have access to the Interstate anymore because I can use Hwy 70 and Hwy 11 unless I want to pay the same price that UPS is paying?

That’s the problem. The small guy, the innovator, is going to lose access to the Interstate.