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FTC Says 'Slow Down' on Net Neutrality 106

Posted by Zonk
from the whoa-whoa-whoa-there-tiger dept.
Bushido Hacks writes "The Washington Post reports that the Federal Trade Commission has fumbled the Network Neutrality Act, again, as of this past week. However, the FTC defended its actions saying that their decision was not a give-in to the big telecom and cable companies. Instead, the FTC report urges caution on Network Neutrality Regulation. While this news is disappointing, the FTC's decision appears to be thought out and a message to remind people to not let the subject of Net Neutrality be abandoned by the general public so corporations could undermine the interest of consumers. We discussed the row this created, but with constant stalling tactics being employed here how long will it be before net neutrality opponents craft their own legislation?"
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FTC Says 'Slow Down' on Net Neutrality

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  • by Spazntwich (208070) on Sunday July 01, 2007 @03:07PM (#19709283)
    Americans are still consumers, and while we may be a largely unthinking purchasing mass, people can quite easily distinguish "shitty" from "awesome" which is exactly the distinction one can make between a mass media run network with terrible latency and low bandwidth and one run by, say, Google.

    If the networks go to hell in a flaming hand basket, what would it take for Google to start lighting up fiber they already own? Get a few major metropolitan areas wired up, get word out, and consumers will begin switching in droves. It wouldn't take much pressure beyond that to wake up the telecoms and get them right back into the game.

    I'm no free market blind follower, but this seems like a situation when a viable and large enough competitor is sitting in the wings, ready to smack the wannabe monopolists upside the head if they attempt their backwater cousin fucking ideas of raping the connections we pay for.
    • by Capt_Insano_X (802874) on Sunday July 01, 2007 @03:19PM (#19709385) Homepage

      Americans are still consumers, and while we may be a largely unthinking purchasing mass, people can quite easily distinguish "shitty" from "awesome" which is exactly the distinction one can make between a mass media run network with terrible latency and low bandwidth and one run by, say, Google.


      Yea, because Google, who is in bed with the CIA, would be a MUCH better choice. Google will probably be the Internet 2(read Net Neutralized)bringer of doom. What else would they need all that fiber and all those data centers?

      The internet should not be run by a handful of corporations, or one corporation. The Internet should stay the decentralized network that it is.

      Simply giving control to a single company, Google(as you seem to be OK with), is not the answer. if anything it is worse than five companies.

      Just my two cents.

      The Captain
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        I don't think you understood his point. Google wouldn't take over the internet, they would provide a net-neutral alternative. And, given their history, it would be low cost as well.

        So, it plays out like this: Major players start degrading service of non-paying services, Google enters the market and starts providing service that people expect, gaining them an immediate large share of the market. After the major players get told that it's too bad, and that Google isn't violating any anti trust laws, they ha
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Zonk (troll) (1026140)

          And, given their history, it would be low cost as well.
          Not to mention that your every online move will be tracked and logged forever.

          Don't get me wrong, Google does some cool stuff (gmail, google maps (I really like the hybrid setting), picasa, etc), but at the massive ammount of information they log on everyone is very scary.
      • Re: (Score:1, Flamebait)

        by Ash Vince (602485)
        Can we please start shooting moderators?

        Or maybe build something into the new discussion system so that we can see who moderates each message. Anyone who thinks the parent is flamebait is quite obviously both stupid and insane.
    • by ushering05401 (1086795) on Sunday July 01, 2007 @03:31PM (#19709489) Journal
      Your idea of the market players regulating each other seems sound enough.

      My interest lies elsewhere, though. We have an election coming and numerous candidates have already declared intent, raised millions of dollars, and started building their platforms.

      Will one of them have the foresight to make this more than a John-McCain-style-uninformed-soundbyte type issue?

      If so, I am ready to start thinking about actually voting in this election. No one candidate can reverse the course of the war in Iraq, no one candidate can fix healthcare/welfare/the educational system. One candidate can, however, help America understand how high the stakes are for this particular issue.

      Believe me... I would much rather see some sort of movement by all candidates to drop the party lines and attempt to fix the war and all the other issues I detailed above. Failing that, I guess I will consider voting for any candidate that shows an understanding of this issue because the impact on our future can be so incredibly far reaching.

      The candidates now have some added time to weigh in on this issue. I'll be watching.

      Regards.
      • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward
        I was not interested in voting this coming election generally disgusted with the current state of politics in general, Then I stumbled upon a certain congressman who is running for president. You my friend need to check out Ron Paul.

        Visit youtube and search for Ron Paul.
        Google Ron Paul.

        The more you find out about Ron Paul the more you will regain hope in restoring the Republic and participating in our democracy.
        • The more you find out about Ron Paul the more you will regain hope in restoring the Republic and participating in our democracy.

          I voted for Ron Paul in 1988 for president and if I get the chance to vote for him in 2008 I will. Though I'm currently registered "No Party" Preference" I'll even change it to "Republican" just before the primary so I can vote for him. Of course I'll change it back afterwards.

          Falcon
      • by TubeSteak (669689) on Sunday July 01, 2007 @04:14PM (#19709769) Journal

        Your idea of the market players regulating each other seems sound enough.
        I can only attribute your agreement with the GP to ignorance.

        Most people do NOT have a choice when it comes to broadband. In many areas with relatively dense populations, the local cable/telco provider is given a monopoly, either by the town or the developer.

        Ontop of that, the Internet as we know it, is an oligopoly run by a handful of national providers who get their bandwidth from a cartel of 9 Tier 1 ISPs and half-a-dozen or so important Tier 2 ISPs.

        Because of this, no matter what you & the GP seem to think will happen, Google can't fly in and save the day by lighting up dark fiber. The "free" market is not so free.
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by heinousjay (683506)
          The market is perfectly free. It's just expensive to provide the service. I personally think the government should take it over. I'd have a never-ending stream of laughs at how badly they would bobble the whole thing.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by rtechie (244489)

            The market is perfectly free.

            How does "government enforced monopoly" translate to "free market"? The telcoms and cable companies ARE monopolies (by ANY definition of that term) and these monopolies are granted to them by the federal and state government in exchange for providing public interest services, like reduced fees for low income people, public access television, rural telephone service, etc. Much of the infrastructure they use (telephone poles, cable lines, etc.) were/are constructed and maintained by the government.

            It's just

            • Post Office

              I've worked there. It's run like a dungeon. But that's neither here nor there, because the Post Office is only quasi-governmental. They have to keep themselves afloat, and as such, they're much more efficient.

              interstate highway system

              Arguably the biggest cause of the pollution that is causing our home planet to slowly become less and less livable. Not an intended consequence, to be sure, but if you want to make a huge mistake, you need a huge plan.

              Social Security
              It's hanging on by a thread, b
              • by rtechie (244489)

                Arguably the biggest cause of the pollution that is causing our home planet to slowly become less and less livable.

                And you're arguing that private enterprise is doing more in America to fight pollution that the government? I think you're right here in the sense that most of the new technologies that are eventually going to replace fossil fuel are being developed and deployed by the private sector. For example, I definitely think that the EPA should be more stringent with it's enforcement and that Congress should pass tough new emissions regulation. But it's

                It's hanging on by a thread, barely pays out enough to live, ... Yes, the wage cap on the Social Security withholdings means the wealthiest people don't have to support the system).

                I agree. We don't spend enough on social welfare programs and

        • I didn't suggest Google could fly in, only that the major players will continue to battle each other whatever happens. The OP put forward one way in which he thought another player could change the scenario. Really, there are many. Major companies who are in the middle of the pack with regard to market share are not going to stop fighting the dominance of the other players. I just don't want to see this situation go down. There are better ways... like voter education.
          • by TubeSteak (669689)

            The OP put forward one way in which he thought another player could change the scenario. Really, there are many.

            Really?
            There are many?
            Name some.

            ...

            The only viable way to seriously change the market is wireless... because it will break the physical monopoly on the last-mile. However, this assumes that the existing telecom/cable giants aren't the ones rolling this tech out, which isn't a safe assumption to make.

            We can discuss spectrum allocations - part of the spectrum is unlicensed, the rest

        • Google can, however, offer cheap, fast WISP, or Wireless Internet. WISP has been analyzed to hold an additional TRILLION dollars in GNP for the US if it was implemented. WISP is cheap (no wires, no licensing fees, no legislation about right of way), fast, reliable (grid it together and what do you get?), and fast. 802.11 may sound slow, but compared to the pathetic speeds of even metro broadband through cable (which I have) the speed of 802.11 is unbelievable. The average user of broadband gets 600K dow
    • people can quite easily distinguish "shitty" from "awesome"

      Consumers couldn't give a rat's ass about this topic. This weekend millions stood outside mall stores and cheered each other as they consumed AT&T exclusive iPhones. The FTC is foot dragging because on one hand you have Apple and AT&T fostering a real (F)TRADE(C) phenomena, and on the other you have a few activists. Guess who's lobbyists buy FTC bureaucrats the most meals.

      ready to smack the wannabe monopolists upside the head if they attempt their backwater cousin fucking ideas of raping the connections we pay for

      Aim those smacks with care. What fraction of this audience just pwned Net Neutrality with their disposable income?

      and low bandwidth and one run by, say, Google.

      Google i

    • That seems like wishful thinking to me. People aren't stupid, but these companies play dirty. You won't want to switch your ISP because you get it at a discount from the same people you get your cable from, who in turn use said cable to tell you that your other options suck (and, coincidentally, that net neutrality is evil). These ISPs already only give, like, what, 60% of their advertised speed? If a "good" company wanted to step up, the situation for that kind of competition is pretty much as good as
      • You won't want to switch your ISP because you get it at a discount from the same people you get your cable from

        No I don't, I get my net access from a different company than I get my cable from. And when WiMax is widely available and relatively cheap I may switch my isp. Also I don't get my phone service from either one either.

        Falcon
    • by calstraycat (320736) on Sunday July 01, 2007 @04:26PM (#19709831)
      If the networks go to hell in a flaming hand basket, what would it take for Google to start lighting up fiber they already own? Get a few major metropolitan areas wired up, get word out, and consumers will begin switching in droves. It wouldn't take much pressure beyond that to wake up the telecoms and get them right back into the game.

      What would it take? Well, a hell of a lot more money and influence than Google or any other company has.

      Light up some fibers? You think that is all that it takes? It appears you have a poor understanding of the telecommunications infrastructure. Since the telcos and cable companies are no longer required to share their lines, Google (or whoever) would have to dig up every street and yard in the United States to offer a competing service. Google doesn't have that kind of money, the cities wouldn't let them do it and granny wouldn't let them dig up her rose garden. Furthermore, there is currently no wireless technology that can provide competitive bandwidth on a large scale.

      While it's true that Google has bought up some dark fiber, that only allows them to bypass the core network to a certain extent. The key is the last mile and it's locked-up in the hands of the telcos and the cable companies.

      It is very naive to believe there is a viable competitor waiting in the wings. There isn't one. There isn't going to be one tomorrow, next year or anytime in the foreseeable future. No company has the money and influence to duplicate the infrastructure and there are no viable wireless technologies available to bypass the last mile. It's going to be a duopoly for the foreseeable future and free market economics don't apply.
      • by TubeSteak (669689)

        Furthermore, there is currently no wireless technology that can provide competitive bandwidth on a large scale.

        4G (WiMAX and others) is coming.
        Just not in the next 5-10 years.

        Even if Google implemented it tomorrow at the endpoints of their fiber network (to bypass the last-mile), they'll still have to essentially become a Tier 1 ISP with peering agreements to the other big players... and to do so, Google will have to play by their rules.

        I'd love to hear how someone can come in and change the nature of the i

        • I agree. Widespread deployment of WiMAX or similar technologies is way out in the future. And, I believe these wireless technologies will only succeed if the lower frequency spectrum going up of auction soon ends up in the hands of someone other than than the be telcos. I don't have a lot of confidence that will occur.
      • by evlmonkey (898897)

        It is very naive to believe there is a viable competitor waiting in the wings. There isn't one. There isn't going to be one tomorrow, next year or anytime in the foreseeable future. No company has the money and influence to duplicate the infrastructure and there are no viable wireless technologies available to bypass the last mile. It's going to be a duopoly for the foreseeable future and free market economics don't apply.

        Wrong. There ARE wireless technologies available that bypass the last mile. In fact, that bypass the last five, ten, sometimes twenty miles. (This is just one example). http://www.trangobroadband.com/products/point_to_m ultipoint_products.shtml [trangobroadband.com]

        I have a job site currently that is fed T1 speeds over a wireless signal because the wired infrastructure doesn't exist there. The fact of the matter is that no local companies have the resources to put up transmission towers or get licensing for use of water tow

        • Well, you are a lot more optimistic than I when it comes to various up-and-coming, point-to-multipoint wireless technologies. Most of the frequencies currently available for these systems are too high and therefore require line-of-sight paths with little to no obstruction. Maybe if the big telcos fail to acquire all that UHF spectrum the government plans to auction off (say, Google ends up the highest bidder) and the wireless equipment vendors can redesign their equipment to use those frequencies, I would b
          • by evlmonkey (898897)

            Even if that pans out, it's really not equivalent to what the telcos and cable companies can offer in terms of bandwidth. Plus, home owners have to put up with antennas and powered NIDs.

            I agree, in terms of speeds and reliability hard lines will always prove better than wireless. But, if I have to sacrifice my 3Mb/256Kb filtered connection for a 768Kb/128Kb unfiltered connection I will. Once users (even the dumb ones) realize the content they want to access they can't, or that they have to pay extra, they will start looking for alternatives. A great example of this is Satellite vs. Cable. Cable is much more reliable than Satellite but costs more than Satellite on a per channel basis. If

      • No company has the money and influence to duplicate the infrastructure and there are no viable wireless technologies available to bypass the last mile.

        Motorola Canopy. Designed for exactly that purpose. I'm sure there are competing products.

        It's going to be a duopoly for the foreseeable future and free market economics don't apply.

        Rubbish. However the barrier to entry is high and the cable companies and telcos have spent a huge amount of money putting a network in place. Any new entrant to the market is going to have to see long term profitability. If revenue levels are too low they won't bother.

      • Since the telcos and cable companies are no longer required to share their lines, Google (or whoever) would have to dig up every street and yard in the United States to offer a competing service.

        How 1890s of you. They'll simply deploy a wireless comm module, run power and fiber to it, and be in service. The module will consist of a big-ass industrial computer, an Akami-style accelerator, perhaps a local Google Apps cache, two or more redundant refrigeration modules, and a fold-up phased array antenna

        • If you think wireless networks will solve the last mile problem, I've got a really nice bridge to sell you.

          The problem isn't that wireless network technology doesn't exist (although it's not perfect), or even that it isn't fast enough (it's pretty fast), but that in the current legal situation with licensed spectrum - there simply isn't enough legal wireless bandwidth to go around. Trying to use a single 802.11g network with ten or twenty other people sucks. WiMax isn't much faster, but it sure let's a bun

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            ... there simply isn't enough legal wireless bandwidth to go around.

            Exactly, which is why I specified a phased-array system [wikipedia.org], like the ones Vivato [vivato.net] makes. Phased-array systems use multiple antennas and mathematical tricks to transmit/receive narrow beams of radio waves. (Each antenna gets a programmable signal delay. Pick the delays right and you can make a flat antenna act like the dish antenna of your choice.) The neat thing is that radio waves don't interact with each other, so you can run many be

    • If American's cannot distinguish between "awesome" and "shitty" governments, how can they possibly distinguish the difference between high and low latency connections?

      80% of the Americans on the internet would probably still be happy on dialup. The only reason they all have broadband is because advertising told them to like it.
    • people can quite easily distinguish "shitty" from "awesome"

      But they have a harder time saying or doing something about it.

      this seems like a situation when a viable and large enough competitor is sitting in the wings

      We've seen how well this works in other areas, say operating systems, energy, and the media

      I'm no free market blind follower

      ahem...

    • Yes, the market will regular everything.

      And any websites that say different shouldn't be on the web.

      We need net neutrality mandated by law. Period. Telecoms are ALREADY censoring union websites, for example. What is to stop them from censoring websites with political opinions that disagree with the corporate position?
    • They can run their network on private property anyway they like. The second this network is placed on public property it should become subject to certain rules, net neutrality being one of them.
  • by seebs (15766) on Sunday July 01, 2007 @03:11PM (#19709323) Homepage
    Look, I know that everyone here gets regular blowjobs from network neutrality, but I'm just wondering. Having looked at the Patriot Act, and the YES-YOU-CAN-SPAM act, and our "healthcare system" (I use the term loosely), and our current, uhm, whatever it is, but it's certainly not a war, over in Iraq...

    Are you guys SURE you want the US federal government legislating this?

    I have said it before, and I suppose it's time to say it again: Most of the time, when I see someone try to articulate what "network neutrality" means, that they want legislated, they end up with a set of words which, if they were a law, would prevent me from blocking spammers and DDOSers. There are good reasons for which networks are sometimes rather decidedly non-neutral about which traffic they carry, and there are real reasons for which people would like to have the option of paying for guaranteed bandwidth.

    Most of the horror stories come down to "what if I only got the sorta dodgy networking I'm currently paying for, but other people were able to buy a better network." Not all; there's real potential for abuse. I just don't think I trust the US federal government to come up with something better, no matter how smart or good the people advocating it are... And honestly, a lot of the advocacy I see is knee-jerk reactions that haven't even bothered to gloss over the question of whether teergrubing should be illegal, or any of the dozens of other technical questions this raises.
    • by sumdumass (711423) on Sunday July 01, 2007 @03:48PM (#19709617) Journal
      It is quite simple really, all the legislation needs to say is that

      no provider or network owner can distinguish between the traffic on their network based on a payment in access of a normal fees others are charged or charge individual parties additionally or above what it charges to connect the networks together.

      In addition, no Internet Service provider or network connection in the service of the internet can charge more, restrict, throttle or otherwise interfere with the delivery of services and information to the requesting consumer. No network owner or ISP can cause by their own action, any service or information to be delivered to the consumer at data speed rates slower then the implied speed of their connect. Anyone advertising the implied speed of an Internet connection must make an honest effort at providing the services as they advertised it. Taking an action, installing a device or changing settings incidentally or on purpose is evidence of not acting in an honest manor.

      This does not include the hosting company or private side of the network where a server isn't connected to the promise of speed and may be limited by their own service providers limits.

      Each violation when done in mass or multiple instances shall be treated separately from each other and count as a separate and single violation. Each violation found to be willful will carry a $5000 fine and the parties involved are allowed to file suit for the same.


      Something like that should mean that if they attempt to degrade your connection because of a payment a the website or service didn't make and that you are requesting, they are subject to a fine for each instance. So in cases of www.google.com being throttled, if 10,000 people are effected, they can sue for $5000 for each time they are effected, google can sue for 10,000*$5000 for having all those customers effected and the company involved would have to pay 10,000*$5000 to the government.

      Lets say it slowed 5 visits down, that's 50,000,000 per incident or 250,000,000 to consumers, 250,000,000 to the government, and $250,000,000 to google. So unless they can make more then $750,000,000 from the deal in 5 turns, it is going to be a loss every time it is tried. But it allows for problems with the network that get fixed without demanding payment from third party people. The wording could probably be trimmed down a bit too. But it doesn't have to be complicated.
      • by Revotron (1115029)
        o_O How did your fine structure jump from $5000 to $50,000,000? I support enforcing Net Neutrality... but come on, that's just rude.

        Also, what's to stop all the false claims that people will make just to make a quick buck?

        I know it's too much to ask of you all that you just drop your ISPs if they rate-limit a service or become anti-neutrality (imagine a few million nerds screaming "My precious!"), but there are only two things in the US that can stop net neutrality - the free market and the government, an
        • by sumdumass (711423)
          It would be $50000 each time it happened, So if it happened to 10,000 people, that would be $50,000,000 in fines. And then your could even take it on a per instance so it if happened 5 times on those 10,000 people, it would be 50,000,000*5 or 250,000,000.

          I don't find this rationel offensive either. I think the purpose of a fine is to discourage an activity. If they can pay the fine and still profit, they won't be too discouraged.

          Also, what's to stop all the false claims that people will make just to make a

          • this is the problem as well with in my neighborhood at&t. all lines are controlled by at&t and I was talking with someone on the inside the other day about this whole issue because I am looking to switch ISP's off of at&t to a local ISP- what he said is "do it, things won't change here until people start dropping accounts and people have been complaining and doing it at a rate of 5 to 10k a day".
            He also gave me a bit of insight to where these rules are coming down from and as it happens at
        • by quanticle (843097)

          then it is up to us, as the consumer, to stand up and show anti-neutral ISPs that we have a voice and a choice.

          And how exactly am I supposed to do that? Where I live, I have exactly 2 choices for high-speed internet: Verizon (ADSL) and Comcast (Cable). Neither supports network neutrality. Short of moving, is there anything I can do?

          Switching to a neutral provider may be an option on the coasts, but here in middle America (Minnesota), its a bit more difficult than it appears.

      • by cdrguru (88047)
        Why would anyone purchase "broadband" Internet service with a guaranteed speed of 5Kbps? Because that is about all that can be actually promised and delivered 24x7x365 ,day in and day out.

        Why? Because DSL and cable do not deliver "guaranteed" bandwidth. They deliver access to a shared resource. I believe Verizon FIOS delivers access to shared bandwidth as well. None of these can make any absolute guarantees as to what is actually available at any point in time other than taking the total available and
      • by seebs (15766)
        And why do they need to say that?

        What's the problem this legislation is going to fix?

        What happens when I want to run a spam filter, which blocks mail from large spam sources, but one of those sources has a single opt-in list that includes "requested information"? Right now, I can point out to my customers that, well, we have a spam filter. Under your wording, I'm in trouble for "interfering with the delivery of services and information". Sounds like a bad law to me.

        Try again, and this time explain why we
        • by sumdumass (711423)

          And why do they need to say that?

          lol.. If you don't know why we need this then I have some people who wanna talk to you about some prime beach front property in Arizona. Common, are you serious? Have you followed the situation at all?

          What's the problem this legislation is going to fix?M/i>

          Here is a short rundown. At&t, verizon and several other ISPs are wanting to see you internet at advertised speed of 3 megs per secone or faster. They then want to slow certsian websits down based on how popular

          • by seebs (15766)
            Yes, I've followed the situation.

            You haven't made a case for this legislation at all. I am well aware of the alleged problem, and frankly, I don't think it's one that needs legislation. I think this is well within the scope of market forces to fix.

            Every time someone proposes a "fix", it's worse than the actual problem. The mere fact that we don't like something a company might do does not mean we need legislation.

            I am so glad you guys weren't around when New Coke came out. I could see the regular discus
            • by sumdumass (711423)

              You haven't made a case for this legislation at all. I am well aware of the alleged problem, and frankly, I don't think it's one that needs legislation. I think this is well within the scope of market forces to fix.

              Then I don't think you understand how the internet works. That or you do understand and think it would be nice to have random companies artificially degraded based on their willingness to pay an extra fee. Currently, You get access, I get access, our computers can talk to each other as much as

              • by seebs (15766)
                No, no, I understand how the internet works.

                I see no evidence at all that anyone is actually successfully breaking it, or that if they did, that there would be any problem other than people switching providers.

                Your proposed language is dangerously vague, overbroad, and implies a sort of hypothetical world in which all traffic is desired. You have not suggested a way to allow people to block or filter unwanted connections when they have good reasons to do so. You have not convinced me that I don't want peo
                • by sumdumass (711423)

                  I see no evidence at all that anyone is actually successfully breaking it, or that if they did, that there would be any problem other than people switching providers.

                  When your on covads network, I'm on verizons, At&t slows your traffic down because I didn't pay the fee to them when my traffic passes through their network to get to yours, how is either one of use changing providers going to make a difference? Or better yet, who changes providers when it is covad that slows the traffic down? it is me o

      • But it allows for problems with the network that get fixed without demanding payment from third party people.

        I don't know how I stand on this, as it does pose that interesting problem. Maybe just restrict proveably malicious behaviour.

        Your solution doesn't work, though, because it fails on these two points:
        1) You have to trace the money
        It would be easy, for instance, to have a separate agency that does the actually traffic shaping. These "internet optimizers" could supposedly be independent agencies that
        • by sumdumass (711423)

          1) You have to trace the money
          It would be easy, for instance, to have a separate agency that does the actually traffic shaping. These "internet optimizers" could supposedly be independent agencies that just watch traffic and try to maximize the bandwidth of everybody by restricting flow certain services/websites intelligently - maybe, for example, under the guise of stopping spam. Of course, there are plenty of ways that such an agency could be slipped money under the table to support one specific service

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Stradivarius (7490)
      I believe part of the problem is that nobody can even seem to agree on what the heck "net neutrality" is supposed to mean.

      You've got some (like the article) that make the term basically about QoS - whether you can treat streaming video differently than email. I don't really see what there is to get upset about if service providers prioritize real-time applications over non-realtime applications.

      On the other hand, you've got others who make the term about business relationships. I.e. is a service provider o
      • Ideally, an ISP should not be able to abuse it's last mile monopoly to exclude competition, or to extort other businesses.

        If an ISP wants to provide a service to their customers, they should allow any competitor to provide that service. The customer network access and server hosting parts of their business should be completely separate from any additional services they may offer.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by vertinox (846076)
      Are you guys SURE you want the US federal government legislating this?

      Not really, but unfortunately they have been legislating and funding the internet from the get go.

      Most of the telcoms have basically been willing to take millions of dollars worth of tax breaks and tax payer money from back in the 90's when they were basically subsidizing fiber roll out.

      So in reality, telcoms were and currently are basically government regulated monopolies.

      If you don't like net neutrality, they the only real solution woul
    • by timmarhy (659436)
      "when I see someone try to articulate what "network neutrality" means, that they want legislated, they end up with a set of words which, if they were a law, would prevent me from blocking spammers and DDOSers"

      rubbish, you block spammers at the mailserver not at the routers. in fact net neutrality doesn't even apply to YOU, unless you is an isp. DDoS is easy to cover in an unambiguous clause.

      "there are real reasons for which people would like to have the option of paying for guaranteed bandwidth."

      i'm sur

  • The FTC needs to let net neutrality through. If they don't, telecom companies will ruin the Internet.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by CajunArson (465943)
      If they don't, telecom companies will ruin the Internet.
      You mean the same companies that you depend on to actually do anything on the Internet and have relied on since day 1 to do so? Why haven't they already ruined it? Why don't you just stop paying them to ruin the Internet?
      How some things get modded up on Slashdot is beyond me. How about: If we pass the wrong type of network neutrality law, there will be 0 profit in expanding broadband access, and while that will make everyone on Slash
      • On day 1 of my first use of the Internet, it was on a college campus. It was a good thing I was starting college in '94, because we couldn't afford true Internet access from home back then. Having used ethernet from day 1, I don't think modems count, so now I'm a snob. The college campus had Internet peering agreements with several other colleges and institutions, including the local telco. Thus the local telco monopoly benefits from that college's own bandwidth, network deployment, and redundant peers. The
      • You mean the same companies that you depend on to actually do anything on the Internet and have relied on since day 1 to do so?
        Why haven't they already ruined it?

        Because "network neutrality" was the legal mandate until just a few years ago. "Network Neutrality" has been required of the phone system since at least the AT&T break-up. Until 2005, most home broadband services were regulated by the FCC in the same way as voice calls, thus ensuring that internet packets were treated just as neutrally as voice packets.

        So, to answer your question directly - the reason they have not already ruined it is because they've only had about 2 years to reverse some 25 years

  • The problem... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by canUbeleiveIT (787307) on Sunday July 01, 2007 @03:34PM (#19709501)
    The problem is that "net neutrality" sounds so techie and confusing, and the majority of Americans have no idea what the issue is, nor do they care. This is especially dangerous for consumers because in cases where the public is disineterested, lawyers for corporations, unions or special interest groups usually get to write the legislation nearly verbatim.
    • by interiot (50685)

      I don't think there's a realistic chance of "average Americans" becoming more informed about these details. I have a number of friends who are software developers, who have almost what DRM is. DRM has been reported on by mainstream press (~300ghits at cnn.com, ~500ghits at foxnews.com, etc), and DRM is something that people sometimes encounter in their daily lives, yet it's still not widely understood.

      Trying to explain the details of why TCP's end-to-end principle is good, why it's helped jump-start thi

    • by sgt_doom (655561)
      The problem is that "net neutrality" sounds so techie and confusing, and the majority of Americans have no idea what the issue is, nor do they care.

      Wait, damn you! Maligning the American masses again, are we? Yup, it's always those dummies fault!

      Now, just because 53% of Americans polled believe the Cosmos was created only 6,000 years ago, and 49% accept the official 9/11/01 story, and 51% believe the "lone gunman" theory behind the JFK assassination, and 52% believe Bush is the messiah....

      Ooohh...wa

    • The problem is that "net neutrality" sounds so techie and confusing,
      Whoever came up with the phrase should have sacrificed the alliteration for simplicity and just called it, "Network Equality" instead.
  • Well (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Lifyre (960576) on Sunday July 01, 2007 @03:35PM (#19709521)
    I for one welcome this move. Many many problems have been caused by quick to act not very well thought out actions on the part of our government. The FTC said slow down lets make sure we don't fuck this up, that doesn't happen very often these days and should be welcomed with open arms. As a member of the US military I can say I am being directly effected by one of these rushes to judgment, maybe if the morons in the Hill had thought about shit first and made the intelligent rational choice instead of the "patriotic" one we wouldn't be in this mess. Just for the record I'm net neutral by leaning but I understand why they corporations want what they do. Here's the catch though they're very often regional monopolies. I've lived and live in a place where there are one or if you're lucky two broadband providers. If backbone and distribution access was free and open then we wouldn't be having this issue. Time Warner and Verizon etc.. would have already tried this and failed when many of their subscribers moved onto providers that didn't restrict their access.
  • I agree... sort of. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by WK2 (1072560) on Sunday July 01, 2007 @03:37PM (#19709541) Homepage
    I completely agree with urging caution when it comes to regulation. However, the fact that they urge caution with network neutrality, but pretty much nothing else, suggests that they are singling out network neutrality.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    And just who will "net neutrality" laws benefit besides lawyers and those that can afford them?

    Because the thousands and thousands of pages of rules that will have to be written to define "net neutrality" will NOT aid the consumer. Oh, they'll claim to do just that. But it'll be just like the old AT&T monopoly.

    Anyone think today's telcom industry is worse for the consumer than the government-regulated days? Why is there such a push to regulate the fastest-growing part of the US economy?
    • What we need is more competition.
      Why aren't there more WiMax players in the US? I live in a major metropolitan area yet there's no WiMax provider.
      • by cdrguru (88047)
        How many people do you live near?

        How fast can WiMAX run? Let's say that it (or a replacement in the near future) can consume an entire OC3 (48Mb/sec) and provide service for 1,000 homes in a narrow geographic area. That works out to about 48Kb/sec per home at one connection per home.

        You want to call that "broadband"?
  • by u-235-sentinel (594077) on Sunday July 01, 2007 @05:01PM (#19710013) Homepage Journal
    I would have expected they would have gotten a clue that people are being abused these last few years by companies such as Comcast [blogspot.com]. We can't trust them to do the right thing. So why do politicians [blogspot.com] think the market will make sure it's ok? After all, we have very few options unless you live in SunnyVale California.

    Most states don't have 20 or 30 options for highspeed Internet. If a company goes nuts you have to put up or go dial up (like that's an option these days).

    I urge people to contact the FTC and let them know what's on you mind. This needs to be dealt with before Telco's make their own laws.
    • by coaxial (28297)
      It's Sunnyvale. One word. No studly caps.
  • the FTC's decision appears to be thought out and a message to remind people to not let the subject of Net Neutrality be abandoned by the general public so corporations could undermine the interest of consumers.
    Can we please stop referring to ourselves as just consumers. Citizens have rights and responsibilities. Consumers are like cattle to be taken care of by their corporate overlords.
  • so why not do this:

    Allow a tiered Internet to be created, but the Telecomms, by regulation, must keep a certain level of quality of service to the most basic of tiers, and if the market will bear increasing costs of the higher tiers, allow that to take place. Those that want that higher tier of service will subsidize those of you who prefer the usual way of getting your bits across.

    • One side wants to rape the principle that made the Internet great, the other wants to save it. Compromising with evil doesn't stop it, it emboldens it and only delays the inevitable confrontation.
  • The "let the mraket decide" in this case is fundamentally flawed if not just stupid. I live in the suburbs of a major city, and we've only had "high-speed" for 5-6 years. And even so, there is only one provider, so if I don't like comcast my only other choice is dial-up (which would suck since I don't have a phone). All the fiber/cable is on public property, I don't see anything wrong with saying, if you use public property you have to follow net neutrality.
  • by intnsred (199771) on Sunday July 01, 2007 @05:59PM (#19710469) Homepage

    ...the FTC defended its actions saying that their decision was not a give-in to the big telecom and cable companies....the FTC's decision appears to be thought out...
    Given that the overwhelming majority of the public is for net neutrality, of course the decision has to have the appearance of being well thought out. Like duh!

    But make no mistake about it, this is the FCC -- once again -- caving into the large corporations that fund politicians and who more-or-less run the US gov't.
  • I agree (Score:3, Insightful)

    by 91degrees (207121) on Sunday July 01, 2007 @06:49PM (#19710739) Journal
    Net neutrality legislation is a blunt instrument because nobody has any idea exactly what the Telcos want to do. We don't want a law that's too broad just to stop them from doing something that they have no desire to do because there's always the risk of also preventing perfectly legitimate behaviour.
    • by Tuoqui (1091447)
      Net Neutrality legislation would be a pro-active attempt at preventing the Telcos and Cable Companies from abusing their monopoly (or in some instances duopoly) positions.

      We are already seeing the very beginnings in the behavior of the internet companies of the potential or in some cases actualization of things which will be VERY hard to correct if not legislated and soon.

      Packet Shaping is being used in a negative way to impact customer performance on the network already in most cases. These internet compan

  • 'The four simple words "pay up or else" are sufficient to constitute the crime of extortion.'
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extortion [wikipedia.org]

    I would say this is exactly what the consumer telco monopolies are saying when they threaten to throttle bandwidth on any Internet host or service, if some form of additional payment is not provided.
    • the other thing that i wish would get fixed is how they define "unlimited" what that should mean is if i get a 1.5 mbps downline i should be able to download (assumes i peg my connect) in one week 907200 megabits or 90720 mega bytes (90gigs). anything that is not a goodly fraction of this number is not unlimited.

      If an ISP is going to cut off or otherwise impair a connection after a certain amount of transfer over a period of time then this info should be published in simple terms as part of the first page

  • Its not impossible. That's how it got started in the first place. There are other ways to do it, they just require cooperation. And there, I'm afraid, is much of the rub.

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