Watch: Burger King explains Net Neutrality with Whopper sandwiches


Originally published at:


“Stupid but true”: describes everything about the regime that placed Ajit Pai on the FCC.

I know people might nitpick the details of the metaphor, but the ad is an effective enough explainer of the policy and its outcome. The $6.33 Wifi sign in the background is a nice touch.


well this was a pretty simplistic way to describe it. The problem here is that the content (the burger) and the delivery method (the cashier) are the same company. Unfortunately, that misses the mark. That would be like you buying your internet service from YouTube. Let’s pretend instead the content are groceries and the delivery method is the grocery store. Now, with net neutrality in place, the company selling milk through that grocery store decides to sell it in 50 gallon drums at a price that’s too good to be true. So everyone is buying that milk now (that can afford it, because even though it’s a great deal it’s a large up front cost). So the guy that can’t afford it has to still buy it by the gallon. But he can’t because everyone else is in line with the big 50 gallon milks. there’s nothing the grocery store can do because they are not allowed to make a special checkout lane for the 50 gallon milk buyers. Having that special checkout lane would actually help everyone. This folks, is net neutrality at work. Removing it can actually be a good thing for the consumer. It can also be bad. It will be up to providers to decide if they want to abuse what they have now.


To be fair in my example, I should state the effect that the 50 gallon milk buyers have on the people buying other groceries, not the guy buying the 1 gallon milk. Because even with net neutrality in place, the store could create a ‘milk only’ lane and stagger the 50 gallon milk buyers and the 1 gallon milk buyers. but they would need to provide several checkout lanes as to not make it seem they are trying to limit the amount of milk being bought, leaving the lane for other grocery buyers longer and longer because there are only so many checkout lanes. The milk is video traffic. YouTube and Netflix are the 50 gallon drums. Pretty much every other video service is the gallon milk. The other groceries are things like email, pictures, texts, etc.




This is a pretty terrible analogy. First of all, gallons≠bits. Secondly, the “one lane” that is the physical structure of the net can easily handle both 50 gallon and 1 gallon increments as-is (it already is). That’s the whole point of net neutrality; the ISPs are arbitrarily creating preferential “lanes” simply because they can a) milk more out of the 50 gallon buyers (pun intended) and b) deliver preferred content, whether their original content and/or that of subsidiaries and affiliates, at full speed while throttling those that don’t or can’t pay to play.

How, exactly can this be advantageous to the consumer, other than the ones willing to shell out for the preferential speeds?


Except that’s NOT how the internet works. There is no “one line” or “one fiber-optic cable.”

To use another well-worn analogy of the “internet superhighway,” consider the following:

Regardless of the type of vehicle you drive (semi or subcompact), it can use any roadway to reroute to its destination even if the others get blocked by accidents.

Now if you’re saying that suddenly a whole bunch of data semi-trucks are going to break down and clog chokepoints, this is mostly impossible.

Because again, distributed P2P networking, torrenting, and even email use packet distribution.

This would be like if everybody took a box from the back of the big data semi-truck and loaded it into their own car, hauled it so far, and then exchanged it with someone else at the next gas station.

The server farms are like giant intersections of packet “movement” and “parking.”

No net neutrality simply helps large intelligence agencies (like Facebook and the NSA) to slow speeds to control packet direction so that pieces can be re-routed through government servers that filter, monitor and record content.

Kind of like pulling a truck onto a weigh station scale along the highway.

Without net neutrality, there will be more truck “weigh stations.” Except, because everbody’s data is in similar chunks, everybody will have to go through various levels of “weigh stations.”

Soon, the entire internet would be nothing but “weigh stations” that collate data between each other, with service roads connecting them where you have to pay to drive every 5 miles.

It’s extremely inefficient to the driver (gas mileage), and inefficient to the tollbooth collector (receipt validation), because the payments per tollbooth have to be matched to traffic volume, adding another layer of accounting complexity where usually none is needed.

Which is why tolls are usually found near specialized infrastructure like bridges and tunnels, or areas that are geographically-difficult to traverse.

Try driving around Chicago’s interchanges near the Eisenhower expressway and tell me how you like it. We are NOT running out of internet infrastructure.

This is exactly OPPOSITE of how the internet was originally designed.

FACT. Full stop. I have the RAND study to prove it.


Read this, especially pages 22-31.
I’m not going to quote everything from the paper …

Paul Baran, “On Distributed Communication Networks,” RAND Corporation, 1962.:

LOWEST COST PATH (pages 37-38)


We seek to provide the lowest cost path for data to be transmitted between users. When we consider complex networks, perhaps spanning continents, we encounter the problem of building networks with links of widely-different data rates. How can paths be taken to encourage most use of the least expensive links? The fundamentally simple adaptation technique can again be used. Instead of incrementing the handover by a fixed amount, each time a message is relayed, set the increment to correspond to link cost/bit of the transmission link. Thus, instead of the “instantaneously shortest non-busy path” criterion, the path taken will be that offering the cheapest transmission cost from user to user that is available. The technique can be further extended by placing priority and cost bounds in the message block itself, permitting certain users more of the communication resource during periods of heavy network use.

In other words, it is real-world physically expensive to run data from New York to Los Angeles via India, instead of via Chicago. Even if this were the fastest path available at the moment, it is possible to prioritize traffic based upon the type of message protocol: for instance, email uses less bandwidth per bit than a digitized movie.

Since each type of data comes in its own data format, it is possible to prioritize traffic based upon the packet type. This is what we ALREADY do.

Heavier data loads are prioritized and exchanged with certain pathways through the internet backbone to maintain consistent loads.

Net neutrality declares all packets equal routing consideration. Data is prioritized based upon both type and network availability.

It means that it is routed based upon its exchange-protocol, not its content.

What companies opposed to net neutrality are saying is that they want to prioritize traffic based upon what’s inside the box, rather than how the box is labeled.

This is extremely inefficient in terms of reliability and the energy used to exchange packets.

It’s like a customs officer searching your luggage and charging you for everything on a sliding scale:

“So you said you were shipping socks to grandma, and now we find you were actually sending her pictures of grandkids. It doesn’t matter than they weigh the same. The fee is different for socks versus photos.”


Based on the average order-delivery time, our local Burger Kings have been trying to teach people about the evils of net neutrality for years.


@Carla_Sinclair scoops @doctorow, but @mr_raccoon scoops them both!


Don’t think we didn’t catch that thing with the big mug at the end Burger King. Maybe nobody will be able to find your web site for a couple of days. How do you like that?


Nicer brief explanation.


What preferential speeds are you talking about? You mean how today you can buy a 5 Mbps, or a 50, or a gig? That has nothing to do with net neutrality. Net neutrality is all about treating all traffic the same. With it in place, a provider is required to, for example, treat all video traffic the same. That was the point of my analogy. So when YouTube starts making 4K their preferred video method, the Internet provider has no choice but to support that. They can throttle all video traffic under the net neutrality rules, and many mobile providers do that today. But if YouTube started eating up all that providers bandwidth on a given tower, they are not allowed to throttle down Youtube just a little bit for the sake of all the other traffic.

Everyone is quick to jump and make an example of how providers will now screw us all. And I do agree that they could use the retraction of net neutrality to do bad things. I have not heard of anyone doing that yet but I suspect some will, especially in areas where there is no competition. But everyone seems to be missing the point on some of the reasons net neutrality makes it harder for a provider to give everyone good service. They are not all bad companies. There is some good that can be done with the rules lifted. That was the point of my example.




nope. nope. nope.

a video provider is already buying whatever bandwidth they need to serve their content, and consumers are already buying whatever bandwidth they consume. The necessary bandwidth is already being sold twice. Either sale more than covers cost and all peering agreements in the middle which is why isps make so much money even with the high cost of infrastructure investment.

There isn’t any extra bandwidth in play that wasn’t sold, paid for, and explicitly purchased TWICE. Just because someone chooses to use their purchased bandwidth on 4 4k movies instead of 4000 word documents doesn’t change anything. The internet doesn’t care, they can use their purchased bandwidth on whatever they want and that is a great thing.

The USA is already far far behind many countries as far as speed/price/quality of the internet and it started here. We pay far more for lesser services, we could be getting a lot more for a lot less and they’d still be making a killing.

Also, losing Net Neutrality basically drops the USA to the bottom of the list of countries tech companies want to locate in. It isn’t like technology and clean energy are big economic markets important for the future of any economy, smdh @ the usa.

The Internet already has and uses QoS packet routing and shaping under NN, just not vender/source discriminatory QoS. We don’t need to gut NN for QoS that is a lie or misunderstanding on the anti-NN camp.

If an ISP sells you bandwidth, you should be able to use it as you choose.
The power company doesn’t and shouldn’t be able to charge you more to power your GE fridge than your Kenmore fridge, they just sell power at a price and you use it as you see fit. That is how the internet is designed to work, bandwidth at a price that you use as you see fit.


Unfortunately that’s not how it works and that has nothing to do with net neutrality. Bandwidth is oversold. Just because everyone bought 50 Mbps doesn’t mean they can all have that at the same time. If they tried it would bring the provider to their knees. this is more evident with a mobile provider. They all work this way. There are whole organizations in these companies that work on models to determine how much network equipment (i.e. bandwidth) to have available to their subscribers. Also, every bit costs money. It’s called tonnage and network models, equipment purchases, buildout, etc. are all built based on tonnage usage and costs. This does not make the companies bad companies, it’s the cost of doing business. No one builds a network to serve all their customers using 100% of their bandwidth allocation all the time. That’s a huge waste of resources sitting unused for most of the time. Think back to the old PSTN days. When everyone picked up their phones to call 911, it was called a mass calling event and it brought networks down. Same shit happened during American Idol voting nights, it was a mess. So, while saying ‘if an ISP sells you bandwidth, you should be able to use it as you choose’ sounds great and would be great if possible, net neutrality makes it even worse. Because net neutrality means YouTube could use up more resources than planned for and it ties the providers hands on what they can do, they are even less able to make that guarantee.


This is the fundamental issue right here. You’re talking past everyone, and you’re confusing the issue.

No matter what YouTube does, even if they go to all 8K and include garbage extra frames just to increase the size of a video stream, YouTube can NEVER eat up all of the bandwidth sold to me. YouTube isn’t even a party to the transaction. I could use up all of the capacity sold to me by accessing YouTube, but that’s on me and has nothing to do with YouTube at all. I could use up all that capacity by accessing anything with the exact same impact.

When I buy an Internet service, it’s exactly that, service to connect to the Internet. To ANYTHING on the Internet. Neutrality makes sure this is true. Without being neutral, it’s not really Internet service anymore but some curated content instead.

If the ISP’s usage model for over subscription capacity is invalidated over time, they have a few options that are all available to them. They can charge consumers more, because they’re aggregating less consumers into the same usage. They could sell consumers less access or slower access, or whatever else let’s them re-balance the over subscription. All the way up to not overselling and just charging everyone for full committed service.

Neutrality says that what they cannot do, is pick winners and looser for content providers and charge them for the same thing they already sold consumers.


I’m not talking past anyone. I’m explaining my original point.


yes it is and yes it does. i build these solutions out regularly, i know exactly how they work.

you are conflating two different bandwidth concepts, throughput and data caps, while they are both being discussed as bandwidth they aren’t the same thing.

sure speed through a node might slow when over capacity. When a node is overcapacity QoS will reroute nodes if possible, if not it will evenly downgrade speed per channel across the node. without NN, Netflix might indeed take up the entire nodes capacity, it can’t under NN, that isn’t possible because everyone’s and every service’s traffic gets the same priority no one can monopolize a node. if a node is regularly over capacity it needs to be upgraded because they’ve sold more than they can provide in that area, same as any other service.

they can’t eat it all up because they aren’t being given packet priority over other services. thanks nn. without nn they could be given a higher packet priority and indeed eat up all the throughput through a node. there is a very good reason things currently work the way they do.

every single country that has better internet than the USA manages capacity for lower prices just fine. american ISPs are making really good profits already and charging more than anyone else.

changing the way the internet is designed to work doesn’t fix a non-existent problem, but it does make a lot of real problems.

again …

this is exactly correct.



Also server bandwidth, peering, and consumer bandwidth are three distinct pieces each charged for and sold separately but all utilized in a single connection. NN affects the entire path. With NN the traffic is handled equally across the entire path, without NN, the fast lane has to be purchased on both ends and for every single peer. It breaks how the internet works.

just an fyi…understanding what they are saying and if they understand but disagree with your point is the first step in not talking past. If you just keep saying anything else anyone says isn’t NN and then just repeat your point while ignoring their counterpoints is the very definition of talking past, imho.


No, this is not true. NN only ensures that a provider treats similar traffic types the same. go buy an unlimited plan right now, you’ll see the provider will throttle all of your video services all the time if you buy the cheapest plan. Without NN, a provider could potentially throttle just YouTube. I know on the surface that sounds really bad. And I’ve been very clear that providers could do bad things here. But YouTube traffic makes up close to 50% of all video traffic to mobile devices and can cause severe congestion. All from one app. My point in all of this is that without NN, a provider could employ some tactics to throttle down YouTube across that entire node, possibly causing a couple extra seconds of loading time to those subscribers, while drastically improving throughput of all other traffic types to all other users on that node. That’s my point. If trying to clarify my point is considered talking past people that want to talk about something different than what my point is, then so be it.