ARS Technica writes about the results of a report which investigated the costs of a tiered vs a neutral Internet:
Recent research suggests the obvious: that building an undifferentiated network requires far more capacity than one in which traffic is prioritized, throttled, and controlled. But when AT&T researchers are involved in writing the paper in question, the results seem a bit more sinister. Is the research just another attempt by a major backbone Internet operator to justify a non-neutral Internet?
Some observers think so. A recent piece in The Register on the paper was titled "AT&T rigs net neutrality study"—tell us how you really feel, gents.
But corporate sponsorship of research doesn't automatically invalidate that research; what's needed is a close look at the actual results to determine if they were done correctly. According to David Isenberg, a long-time industry insider and proponent of "dumb" (neutral) networks, the research itself is fine. In his view, it's simply obvious that a dumb network will require more peak capacity than a managed one.
But extending that banal observation to make the claim that running a managed network is cheaper is, to Isenberg, not at all intuitive. For one thing, doubling the peak volume of a network does not mean spending twice as much money as it cost to build the original network. "The failure of the authors to extend the conclusions from capacity to raw costs of capacity is deliberately misleading," Isenberg says, "especially when the researchers invoked 'economic viability' and 'cost of capacity' in their introduction to the work."