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Government The Internet United States

FCC's Net Neutrality Plan Blocks BitTorrent 303

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the well-of-course-it-does dept.
master_p writes "The FCC's formally issued draft net neutrality regulations have a huge copyright loophole in them; a loophole that would theoretically permit Comcast to block BitTorrent just like it did in 2007 — simply by claiming that it was 'reasonable network management' intended to 'prevent the unlawful transfer of content.' The new proposed net neutrality regulations would allow the same practices that net neutrality was first invoked to prevent, even if these ISP practices end up inflicting collateral damage on perfectly lawful content and activities."
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FCC's Net Neutrality Plan Blocks BitTorrent

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  • Well... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Logical Zebra (1423045) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @10:36AM (#30932958)
    Obviously, the only use of Bit Torrent is illegal file sharing. /SARCASM
  • by HungryHobo (1314109) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @10:39AM (#30932982)

    Is this just protocols or also destinations?

    Could your ISP block websites which it considers to be involved in copyright infringement?
    Might it even only allow you communicate with a whitelist of IP's?

  • We told you. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MindlessAutomata (1282944) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @10:39AM (#30932996)

    We told you that any government-mandated net neutrality was going to be a lot of fun.
    But alas, people continue to live with their idyllic, dog-like trust of government, politicians, and bureaucrats, and didn't listen.

    Not to mention the whole net neutrality debate was mostly paranoia anyway. The real solution is for local governments to do something about the monopolies they grant telcos, but it's always easier to pray that god (the government) saves the day.

  • Re:We told you. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ShadowRangerRIT (1301549) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @10:41AM (#30933012)
    Right... Because if the gov't didn't do anything, this would somehow be better?
  • by Attila Dimedici (1036002) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @10:41AM (#30933014)
    You expected "net neutrality" regulations to call for actual neutrality? Of course it was going to have some caveat in it to allow ISP's to regulate traffice the government doesn't want to flow.
  • Re:Well... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 28, 2010 @10:41AM (#30933018)
    US Postal system shut due to the ease of transfer copyright material as anonymous.
  • Re:Well... (Score:0, Insightful)

    by robinstar1574 (1472559) <robinstar1574@nosPAm.gmail.com> on Thursday January 28, 2010 @10:43AM (#30933044) Journal

    That would be incorrect. Consider many of the major linux distros. They distribute via bit torrent. It makes things a lot faster.

  • Re:We told you. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sinning (1433953) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @10:44AM (#30933056)
    If there were true competition in the market, the government wouldn't need to do anything. People would flock to the ISPs that give them the best service rather than flocking to the monopoly that offers service in their area.
  • Re:We told you. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by fusiongyro (55524) <faxfreemosquito AT yahoo DOT com> on Thursday January 28, 2010 @10:49AM (#30933124) Homepage
    Actually, it was better. Consumers put up a big fuss and Comcast changed their policy. Do you think they're likely to respond that well to their customers' rage once they have governmental backing for their anti-consumer policies?
  • by Z00L00K (682162) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @10:56AM (#30933220) Homepage

    Of course the ISP can block whatever they want, but they can't control everything or they will have no customers.

    Bittorrent will if blocked be replaced by something more sneaky when it comes to filtering data. So it's not really useful to block it.

  • Re:We told you. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ShadowRangerRIT (1301549) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @10:58AM (#30933244)

    I don't know about you, but I live in NYC, have a choice of at least three different providers (two cable, one DSL, maybe more since I last checked). The policies imposed are nearly identical between the three, and, as in the case of Comcast, I have no doubt that the stated policy and the de facto policy differ. Exactly which one am I supposed to "flock" to?

  • by Midnight Thunder (17205) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @10:59AM (#30933258) Homepage Journal

    The irony in all this is that legal file sharers will be harmed, while people torrenting stuff illegally will simply find solutions that are harder to distinguish from normal traffic.

  • Re:We told you. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by blueg3 (192743) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @11:01AM (#30933288)

    You're supposed to flock to the theoretical Libertarian ideal that provides exactly what you want at a reasonable price. Barring that, stick with something you don't like and complain on the Internet that government regulation must be responsible for the situation.

  • Re:We told you. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by gad_zuki! (70830) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @11:05AM (#30933328)

    They already have the right to block all torrents if they pleased. They are privat companies with very few regulations. Companies already block copyright materials via DMCA take down requests. These guidelines change nothing, except put in some sane rules regarding the payola tiered web companies like Comcast want to put in. Im sure your anti-government screed is very convincing to young republicans, I mean libertarians, but this all looks like a lot of fearmongering from the eff.

  • by PolyDwarf (156355) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @11:07AM (#30933342)

    Let's do a little thought-excercise here.

    Comcast Guy 1 : Oooh, I see User Joe is running BitTorrent.
    Comcast Guy 2 : Why, I think you're right. Let's ban his ass.
    Comcast Guy 1 : Now, wait just a minute, Comcast Guy 2.. We don't know whether it's legal or not.
    Comcast Guy 2 : Hmm... You may be right about that. Let's ban him anyways, and see if he complains. After all, he might be pirating valuable NBC programming, like the Tonight Show with Jay Leno! And if we don't stop him now, we will cease to be!
    Comcast Guy 1 : My God... you're right.

    Seriously, do you think, in any plane of the multiverse, that Comcast would do the research to find out if the torrent the user was sending was legal, as opposed to block now and ask question later? Especially with them getting into content ownership, as well as being a content deliverer?

    Let's take a look at the DMCA, and see how often companies that send DMCA notices really care about doing the research, and how often it backfires on them. Well, it does backfire on them from time to time, but are there actual consequences beyond Slashdot laughing at them?

    No.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 28, 2010 @11:07AM (#30933354)

    Well the old argument was that consumers who use a lot of bandwidth were pirating content.... But the world has changed, For example I only watch TV via the internet now. All 100%, paid for, legal content.

    So if they think blocking (slowing down etc) p2p will fix their network problems, think again.

  • by Ant P. (974313) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @11:08AM (#30933360) Homepage

    If they block bittorrent, they'll suddenly have millions of WoW players at their main offices with pitchforks and torches demanding to know why they can't update...

  • Re:We told you. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gad_zuki! (70830) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @11:09AM (#30933374)

    >People would flock to the ISPs that give them the best service rather than flocking to the monopoly that offers service in their area.

    Newsflash - this isnt happening. Turns out no one wants to invest in another set of wires to your home, so ISPs tend to fall into basic duopolies or monopolies. When both Comcast and AT&T decide to slow down torrents or competing VOIP, which they have done, then there's really no one else to go to. Thus, the demand for legislation.

    What the "free market over all" kiddies dont understand is that there are natural monopolies and duopolies. Not everything falls into the 'marketplace' model of having lots and lots of competitors fighting over your dollar.

  • Re:We told you. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Abcd1234 (188840) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @11:17AM (#30933474) Homepage

    If there were true competition in the market...

    And if magical fairies existed, we could all fly to never-never land.

    Hint: If the world doesn't work the way you want, passing laws and regulations as if it did results in *broken laws and a broken system*.

  • by hh4m (1549861) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @11:23AM (#30933546)
    Nothing will happen to torrents, relax. The market is always controlled by the consumers, in some way. So if there is demand for it, someone will come around and make providing it their business model. Just look at cannabis...
  • by jgreco (1542031) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @11:24AM (#30933568)
    If we assume a generalized policy of allowing interference with traffic where piracy is suspected, the logical evolution is that end-to-end communications on the Internet is eventually doomed. BitTorrent is just one technology used to get information directly from my IP to your IP. What happens when an ISP realizes that IRC DCC SEND exists, and that some piracy happens that way? Or that encrypted VPN's have been used for this purpose? What happens as encryption becomes ever more prevalent? Do ISP's block all encrypted traffic between end-user endpoints just because there might be piracy going on?
  • by Bakkster (1529253) <(moc.liamg) (ta) (nam.retskkaB)> on Thursday January 28, 2010 @11:26AM (#30933594)

    Of course the ISP can block whatever they want, but they can't control everything or they will have no customers.

    Competition only works to prevent this kind of stuff when it exists.

    This is the cruz of why America needs regulation like this. Because of the local monopolies, you may not have another choice for ISP. At best, you have the choice of DSL, Cable, and Fiber and each from exactly one provider. At worst, you may have only cable provider for broadband internet. Thus, the providers know that they have a captive public, very few users would voluntarily forego all internet access overall to protest their ISP blocking some of their usage. They can do whatever they want, their customers have nowhere to go.

  • by hany (3601) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @11:32AM (#30933706) Homepage

    If I understand and remember correctly, regulation is the culprit of your current local monopolies. So you want more regulation to solve that?

    If you want "customers" to be able to "go somewhere else", you need to create some competition. I think you can get that if you allow anybody to put fiber in the ground with only regulation being "do not destroy our property" and "the net gain for us - customers - have to be positive too".

  • by perlchild (582235) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @11:34AM (#30933748)

    The way I read this, net neutrality means they not only can't block traffic without proving that it's unlawful, but traffic not proven unlawful should be allowed to block other presumed lawful traffic(pipe saturation). I mean I've not seen anything in there that's not just a fancy way to call QoS. Of course QoS with a 1kb/s class is no fun, and almost blocking it... but unless the legalese actually defines a minimum QoS as "blocking" it's not legally blocking... Also, if a provider like comcat can give a QoS of 10kb/s, and assign all youtube traffic to it unless youtube pays, we're back to the "paying twice for the same traffic" case.

    On the other hand, the FCC cannot do what network neutrality proponents most want it to do: mandate network (mostly backbone, but also edge in some cases) upgrades.

    So it's mostly a catch-22.

    I think the only thing that would work is a law that says a network cannot discriminate by source, target, protocol or source/target ports without proof of wrongdoing is the only thing that would work. Of course, the providers would scream that they can't. What they mean is that they can't without admitting just how poorly provisioned their networks really are.

    As per your arguments they can't block... The idea is for a law to tell them what they can't do to unknown traffic. Known unlawful traffic, well they already have other laws for them, they don't need to QoS it, except to protect other customers. If they send the FBI to the tracker's location, you can be sure the torrent won't be on long, in that case though, they need to have(well so far, although they've been exceptions) a lot more evidence than just an overloaded network...

  • Re:We told you. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MindlessAutomata (1282944) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @11:34AM (#30933750)

    And if only we vote hard enough, we'll get a benevolent government of the people!

  • Re:We told you. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by JWW (79176) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @11:36AM (#30933816)

    Yes it would be. We are now faced with ALL ISPs being FORCED to block bittorrent.

    Before some companies were choosing to block bittorrent and getting bad press because of it.

    Now government regulation could screw everyone and there will be nothing we could do about it.

    It appears that the government getting involved in net neutrality could make things much much worse.

    It never ceases to amaze me how incredibly adept the government is at taking something the people want, working on it, and then delivering something that is EXACTLY what the people DIDN'T want.

    Net neutrality goes from allowing a free internet to mandating ISP filtering.
    Cheaper health care goes from actually trying to lower health care costs for most people to increasing them for most people.

    Be careful what you wish for because the government will screw it up. This net neutrality thing is becoming our worst nightmare....

  • Re:We told you. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by MindlessAutomata (1282944) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @11:44AM (#30933954)

    And you flock to your theoretical government ideal of government for the people, by the people. Now THAT'S something to laugh at. A business can be dealt with by mass consumer action. A government can only be dealt with [censored by Department of Homeland Security]

  • Re:We told you. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by socrplayr813 (1372733) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @11:52AM (#30934140)

    And the 11.5 million New York State residents who do not live in NYC all have the same (or similar) options? I think not. Not to mention all the people that don't live in on the (densely populated) east coast. A huge portion of this country lives in suburbs or even the so-called country. Cities are not the beginning and end of discussion.

    I live in upstate New York (for you folks that don't know what that means, I'm roughly a 30 minute drive north of Albany, near Saratoga Springs). Personally, I have the choice of Time Warner cable or the local DSL. Time Warner has somewhat reasonable service and is overpriced. The DSL is crap (and not much cheaper than Time Warner). No tech person with half a brain would choose it. Even non-tech people can easily tell the difference in service once they try them both.

    The companies that control the infrastructure should be different from the companies that sell service to the customers, which should both be different from the companies that provide the content. Actually, it's not that they SHOULD be different. They NEED to be different. This is ridiculous.

  • by roju (193642) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @11:53AM (#30934176)

    That won't work at all. It is expensive to lay fibre and silly to have dozens of fibres running to every house. A better solution would be to recognize the natural monopoly in last-mile connectivity: have one regulated fibre provider, and allow anyone to create an ISP at the other end.

  • Re:We told you. (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 28, 2010 @12:02PM (#30934338)

    Or perhaps you could consider the fact that not everyone lives in a metropolitan area with access to multiple ISPs, and that the ISPs in the metropolitan areas and rural areas are still often owned by the same company.

    I used to live in not-so-rural Florida. We had one choice for an ISP - Comcast, an option that is available in your area as well. Our Comcast service routinely went out for hours at a time. I would have been glad to have an option between three ISPs, even if their policies were similar, simply because it would afford me the chance to try another one and see if their service was truly just as bad.

    Don't confuse the "Libertarian ideal" that you so love to complain about with reality. Having more choice is always a good thing, even if those choices are still between services that suck. There are plenty of people who would be happy to have those choices at all, and when you bitch and moan about the fact that the "Libertarian ideal" that you like to bad mouth isn't providing you with PERFECT options, you sound like a fucking jackass to those of us who have NO options.

  • Re:We told you. (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 28, 2010 @12:05PM (#30934392)

    Jesus you 'free market fixes everything' people have never had to live in the real world have you? You can't exactly flock to the ISP that gives them the best service when they all have shitty service. Right now my options are DSL and cable one from ATT and the other from TimeWarner. That's it. There is no other ISP to flock to.

    You're free market ideals may work best for a purely service based product where the startup costs are next to null but when it's going to cost an ISP most likely into the billions to get freshly started the free market falls apart pretty fast.

  • Re:We told you. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tlhIngan (30335) <(ten.frow) (ta) (todhsals)> on Thursday January 28, 2010 @12:14PM (#30934580)

    If there were true competition in the market, the government wouldn't need to do anything. People would flock to the ISPs that give them the best service rather than flocking to the monopoly that offers service in their area.

    I don't know about you, but I live in NYC, have a choice of at least three different providers (two cable, one DSL, maybe more since I last checked). The policies imposed are nearly identical between the three, and, as in the case of Comcast, I have no doubt that the stated policy and the de facto policy differ. Exactly which one am I supposed to "flock" to?

    I've come to the conclusion that competition fails once an equilibrium has been reached. Take a competitive market, say, gas. In most urban areas, gas stations are a dime a dozen, and each intersection probably has two or three. Yet, you'll find for blocks on end, every gas station has the exact same price, maybe wavering a tiny bit. And that prices always seem to jump in unison, and fall very slowly. Yet this can exist without any form of price cartel among stations.

    Simply put, what happens is a station wants more profit, so it bumps up the price. Each station nearby sees that, then decide they want more profit, so they bump up their price in short order as well. There may be times when one station refuses to cooperate and keeps prices low, but the other stations get business simply because the price difference isn't worth having to drive to the other station when you're already at the more expensive station. But eventually they'll give in and raise their price too since there doesn't seem to be any harm to business.

    Same goes for Internet service. One ISP comes in, implements stupid policy. Other ISPs see stupid policy, also see no mass exodus, and end up implementing same stupid policy to increase profits.

    Instead of the ideal that everyone gets the best price and best features, we end up with harmonization of competition - everyone has the same policies, everyone has the same speeds, and there's not much to be gained by dropping prices or increasing service, so you might as well go and enjoy the same profits everyone else does.

    Seems to have happened with other products, like netbooks. Other than clearance, netbooks seemed to hover around $300 on the low end, yet you can get netbooks more expensive quite easily. Even counting the fact that a third party artificially limits the specifications, the price on netbooks hasn't seemed to have dropped, other than getting a better one for $300 now than $300 got you last year.

  • by harl (84412) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @12:32PM (#30934966)

    They could but they will fail. The list of perfectly legitimate destinations will always be longer than the white list. Their customers will continuously be bounced from sites. The word of mouth and PR would be disastrous. Sure you can

    If you block protocol they just tunnel it through a different protocol or encrypt the protocol.
       

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 28, 2010 @12:36PM (#30935056)

    stop telling me what i can do on the interent and where I can go, I paid my $40 this month

  • Re:We told you. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by gumbi west (610122) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @12:57PM (#30935568) Journal
    libertarians don't really talk about monopolies much--especially situations where the obvious optimal policy is for one company to have a monopoly. That is situations like electricity distribution, firehouses, et cetera. It is not even clear to me that the optimal policy in telecom isn't for the government to run the whole show because while this ologopoly system we have now does make for faster connections, it also makes for crazy high bills.
  • by sjames (1099) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @01:06PM (#30935798) Homepage

    Of course the ISP can block whatever they want, but they can't control everything or they will have no customers.

    Unless they are either the only game in town (common) or the other ISP in town is just as bad (nearly universal in the U.S.).

  • I told you so (Score:4, Insightful)

    by bonch (38532) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @01:12PM (#30935894)

    Every time a net neutrality article comes up, I ask the same question--how is handing control of the internet over to the government somehow better than what we have today, as if the government is some incorruptible entity that does everything right? Giving it to the government makes it susceptible to lobbying from groups like the RIAA, and I knew torrent traffic would be the first on the chopping block.

    This is sad but funny. Out of some alarmist political agenda scaring people about a problem that doesn't even exist, naive people were demanding that we give the government control of the internet, taking it away from ISP sysadmins based on the usual anti-capitalism arguments. Well, have fun, because you're getting what you want...government control of your once-free internet.

  • Re:Well... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by digitalunity (19107) <digitalunity@yahoo . c om> on Thursday January 28, 2010 @01:14PM (#30935956) Homepage

    There are a number of custom downloaders which silently use BitTorrent in the background. You wouldn't know it unless you monitor your traffic.

    I think this is a dangerous direction. The telecoms insist on using an unlimited bandwidth price model because if they charged based on bandwidth per month, their income would go down dramatically. The cost for maintaining their network is primarily a fixed cost.

    I have no problem with them trying other price models, or using overage charges for people who consume obscene amounts of bandwidth. I will never support filtering of traffic based on content though. Singling out any particular protocol is bad.

  • by bonch (38532) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @01:16PM (#30935998)

    Uh, so what competition does the government have? You want to replace a few choices with one giant one?

    No, we don't need regulation like this. We need less government interference in our lives. Say bye to torrent traffic and hello to government lobbying from the RIAA and MPAA to block all kinds of things, with the cooperation of the current pro-DMCA administration.

    Seriously, are people fucking dumb? You want to give the government the power to regulate the internet? How could that end any other way but badly?

  • Re:Well... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by lgw (121541) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @01:29PM (#30936276) Journal

    Well, this was the objection to "net neutrality" all along - once the government get's its fingers in the pie, the net will eventually be regulated to the benefit of the most successful campaign contributers.

    This, of course, happens every single time government regulates a business. It may start out strongly pro-consumer, but it always ends up favoring the largest entrenched businesses being regulated. This will continue until perfect the non-corruptable governemnt, by replacing campaign contributions with rainbows and unicorn giggles.

  • by Limburgher (523006) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @01:33PM (#30936330) Homepage Journal
    FOSS can be for pay. See RHEL. The F in FOSS is Free as in Speech, as well as in Beer. Yes, ideally, we all want "as in beer" as well, but it's not required for it to be FOSS.
  • by manicb (1633645) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @01:45PM (#30936562)

    It got messy. [wordpress.com]

  • Re:I told you so (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JPLemme (106723) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @01:52PM (#30936710)
    The alternative is an Internet controlled by the ISPs, which can simply be paid by the RIAA and their friends to shape traffic as they see fit. The only way to prevent people with deep pockets from controlling your network access is to own the network yourself. Hell, if I remember correctly your "naive people" were demanding government interference BECAUSE the ISP sysadmins were blocking paying customers from using P2P protocols -- with no government involvement at all. When you're paying to use somebody else's network you're at somebody else's mercy, period, full stop.

    P.S. Don't interpret this post as a defense of government involvement.
  • by Bengie (1121981) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @02:27PM (#30937540)

    Or ma'b it's because pushing a 400MB patch to 12 million players is almost 4.5 petabytes. That doesn't include their web hosting or battle net or the fact that you can now download any game from their website now. Ohhh, I want to re-install D2, time to download 4GB from Blizz. Opps, need to re-install WoW, time to download a 2.5GB installer then another 1GB of patches. Hey, you should try out WoW, you can download the client from Blizz. Now there's 10 more people downloading and patching almost 4GB of data from them just to "trial" it.

    If you want to be anything near practical and scalable, you need to use P2P.

    oh, and that 400MB patch pushed out to 12mil clients would completely hose the internet backbone for about 1 month unless they spend a few trillion dollars to replace all those crappy OC192 connections with something that can handle that much data.

  • by roju (193642) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @06:00PM (#30942144)

    It doesn't make sense to me though that Google etc wouldn't be spending an equal and opposite amount in lobbying to encourage FTTH. The lobbying should cancel out and leave municipalities to do what they want. WTF are the tech companies doing letting telecom companies pass regulation to harm their businesses? If I was a shareholder, I'd be upset.

  • Re:Well... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by scdeimos (632778) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @06:35PM (#30942728)

    I'll start out by saying I don't use BitTorrent or any similar product. I will say that I don't buy the "BitTorrent is harmful to networks" crap I regularly see, either.

    I'm paying my ISP a sum of money to get an uninterrupted stream of bits down my internet connection. They're using that money to invest in their network infrastructure and pay their employees, with any excess being declared "profit" and divided-up amongst their shareholders. It shouldn't matter whether my uninterrupted stream of bits is FTP, HTTP, HTTPS, BitTorrent or any other protocol - it's meant to be uninterrupted.

    If my stream of bits is overtaxing the network then the ISP has underprovisioned the network and they need to upgrade it - even if that means increasing subscriber fees to all of their customers.

    ComCast (and other ISPs) should come out and say they're scared of being dragged into copyright infringement suits and cut the nonsense that it adversely impacts their networks.

  • by SanityInAnarchy (655584) <ninja@slaphack.com> on Thursday January 28, 2010 @06:39PM (#30942792) Journal

    Nothing will happen to torrents, relax. The market is always controlled by the consumers, in some way.

    Indeed it is, so long as we don't relax. If we do relax, just assume it'll all go our way, and go back to our couch-potato existence, it'll be controlled by the corporations, not the consumers.

    Just look at cannabis...

    Yes, look at it. Look at the basic human rights which are robbed of people whose only crime is partaking in a substance which may, in the very worst case, harm only themselves. Ask yourself why that is, especially if the consumers are in charge.

  • Natural monopoly (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jonaskoelker (922170) <jonaskoelker AT gnu DOT org> on Thursday January 28, 2010 @07:19PM (#30943308) Homepage

    If there were true competition in the market, the government wouldn't need to do anything.

    Right. But there won't be.

    Last mile wiring is a natural monopoly: there's a high cost to burying the fibre that goes to your house. Most likely you're only going to be a customer at one ISP. If you want, say, five competitors, that means four unused wires.

    That means each ISP has to charge each customer on average at least five times what it cost to bury the fibre.

    It would be much more effective to bury one set of wires, have one organization maintain that set of wires, and then let different companies compete on delivering different services (telephony, internet, television) over those wires.

    And if you're the first company to connect a wire to Joe's house, when the first competitor shows up, you could offer Joe free internet until the competitor goes away. Then you could jack up his rates to make up for the lost profit when he's back to being locked in to your service.

    If there were true competition, the government wouldn't need to step in. But there isn't. So "We The People" need to step in, using the government as our tool.

    Unfortunately, our tool apparently doesn't always obey our commands or do what we want.

  • Re:Well... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968@@@gmail...com> on Thursday January 28, 2010 @08:05PM (#30943792) Journal
    The ISPs are just pissed off that we paid them 200 billion [newnetworks.com] for fat pipes, which they then stuck in their pockets (and if you want to read the bill which gave them the $$$, look up "telecommunications act of 1996" and see for yourself) and now we actually want what we PAID FOR they might not get to keep stuffing money in their pockets and might actually need to roll out some lines. The horror!
  • Re:Well... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by digitalunity (19107) <digitalunity@yahoo . c om> on Thursday January 28, 2010 @10:47PM (#30945102) Homepage

    Blizzard Entertainment is probably the only gaming company right now with that kind of clout. Basic math and publicly available statistics seem to indicate the company and Vivendi have made $1.5 billion or more. Thats big money.

    I wouldn't count on them though. They might be willing to invest a bit of money for preferred treatment from ISP's and leave their competition behind.

  • Re:We told you. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Chowderbags (847952) on Friday January 29, 2010 @03:43AM (#30946772)
    Huh? I'm leftist because I don't want a centralized entity regulating my or anyone's lives. Yes, government regulation can be bad, but I fear the limited concentration of power in a small handful of corporations far more. If people don't like it they can elect a new government. If the top 5 ISPs (which is ~50% of the marketshare) in the US got together and said "we're going to do x", who can realistically stop them besides the government?

    Sure, you can try to boycott all you want, but is that going to help when most people out there just want to get pictures of cute cats in their email? The government is "the people", and while we should be careful not to abuse the power, we still need to be able to use it to protect ourselves from concentrations of power that might threaten the rights of the rest of us. The real problem right now is that we let the corporations get so big (and people have let themselves get so dumb) that the people now really only rubberstamp the same politicians into office who then go off and listen to big business instead.

APL is a write-only language. I can write programs in APL, but I can't read any of them. -- Roy Keir

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