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Are there to be any regulations to prevent ISPs from artificially degrading delivery of low-priority content providers? Prioritizing content is one thing, but artificially withholding or delaying delivery of content is quite another.

There's no difference.

TCP/IP works by gradually increasing transmit speed until packets are lost. Making traffic 'faster' for one set of connections is accomplished by dropping packets on others.

Fair enough, but what about periods where there is little or no competition between connections of different priorities? Could low-priority transmissions be throttled well before they begin to experience packet loss?

Packet loss is the way that TCP/IP transmissions are throttled by the network. It's beautiful in its simplicity that way.

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