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The Telcos' Secret Anti-Net Neutrality Strategy 457

Posted by kdawson
from the net-brutality dept.
NoMoreHelio writes "The political blog ThinkProgress lays out big telecom's plan to attack net neutality. The blog obtained a secret PowerPoint presentation from a telecommunications industry front group (PPT) that outlines the industry strategy for defending against regulatory attempts by the FCC. The industry plans to partner with two conservative 'astroturfing' groups, best known for their work seeding the Tea Party movement. Today's revelation from ThinkProgress comes as Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-FL) joined various telecom-funded front groups to unveil an anti-net neutrality bill."
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The Telcos' Secret Anti-Net Neutrality Strategy

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  • It's no secret (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Monkeedude1212 (1560403) on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @06:48PM (#32176136) Journal

    This isn't so much about Net Neutrality as it is about them not wanting the government to have control of the situation. It wouldn't matter what the government wanted to do, the Telecoms want to be the ones in charge.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @06:57PM (#32176212)

    They favor small government when it helps big business. They favor new legislation when it helps big business. They are experts at fooling average hard-working folks into voting against their own best interests.

  • Oh, joy. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by magus_melchior (262681) on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @06:57PM (#32176228) Journal

    I wonder what completely wrong definition they'll assign "net neutrality" to?

    Given that their first 2 scare lines involved the phrase "government takeover", I think they'll take a similar route...

  • Re:A La Carte (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Reason58 (775044) on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @07:01PM (#32176270)

    Dear AT&T, How much for the Slashdot / Reddit / Gmail / Gaming Bandwidth package? Just planning ahead...

    A la carte? You wish. Be prepared to pay for a package of 500 sites you do not want to access Slashdot.

  • Re:A La Carte (Score:5, Insightful)

    by click2005 (921437) * on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @07:03PM (#32176292)

    Dear loyal customer,

    Slashdot is now part of our classics package which comes with Geocities, ICQ and
    Reddit is available as part of our social notworking package along with facebook,
    digg and twitter. Unfortunately Gmail is only available a pay per view service as
    we couldn't strong arm Google into subsidizing it.

    The gaming bandwidth service is not available in your area. We can however sell you
    our gaming plus package which offers upto 44% lower ping times (*) and a free subscription
    to Steam.

    The total cost of your service will be $71.99 or only $70.49 if you sign a 60 month contract.

    (*) Based on off-peak usage

  • Re:Hooray! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Darkness404 (1287218) on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @07:05PM (#32176302)
    It isn't smaller government. The telecoms still use public land and got a -ton- of funding from the government.

    All net neutrality should be, is the people who had their money taken from them by the government and given to the telecoms receiving what they paid for essentially.
  • by Darkness404 (1287218) on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @07:08PM (#32176344)
    Conservatives != Republicans today

    Similar to how Liberal != Democrats.

    Both the Republican and Democratic parties of the US simply favor government to the highest bidder, they really -have- no consistent ideology other than to oppose the other side if it is politically convenient.
  • Re:Hooray! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by diamondmagic (877411) on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @07:09PM (#32176354) Homepage

    You can't give someone money and then later impose conditions on what you must do with it, that violates rule of law and the very idea of exchange and contracts. Government cannot go around telling people what they must do with their property, that's central planning, and it makes it impossible for private owners to regulate how their property is used efficiently.

  • by h4rr4r (612664) on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @07:09PM (#32176356)

    They elected GWB twice, it seems they can get plenty done.

  • Re:Hooray! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @07:14PM (#32176400)

    Yes. Just like we had bureaucrats mandate the seat belt, fire alarm, and safety elevator.

  • Re:Hooray! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Darkness404 (1287218) on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @07:16PM (#32176418)
    Yes, but the entire point of giving them money is to provide internet access, so long as we define that the internet is by definition neutral, and has always been, it doesn't add any new restrictions.

    Government cannot go around telling people what they must do with their property, that's central planning, and it makes it impossible for private owners to regulate how their property is used efficiently.

    And I never said that they should go around telling people what they can do with their property. I'm absolutely opposed to government control, however, if they are going to take my money, I should have a say what it is used for. The internet implies neutrality by definition. When we paid these millions of dollars to telecoms we weren't wanting non-neutral internet connections because such things were nearly impossible with the technology level. However, with deep packet inspection and the like, its becoming a threat.

    If a company wants to not use public land and public funding, fine, do whatever you want. However, the moment you use public land or public funding, you should be subjected to the will of the people. The will of the people is pro-net neutrality, and the lack of net neutrality has almost no positives and many negatives.

  • Re:It's no secret (Score:3, Insightful)

    by CyprusBlue113 (1294000) on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @07:18PM (#32176446)

    Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it, some of us are trying to fix it earlier than that, you are not helping.

    The reason the internet exploded like it did, is not because of government stand off, far from it. If you believe that, go Google the story behind ISDN, and the telecommunications acts.

  • Re:Hooray! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by h4rr4r (612664) on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @07:20PM (#32176478)

    No, but we sure can impose conditions on future money or land use rights. If the telcos want to lease the space for each and every pole let them do what they want. If they want to use right of ways provided by the public they need to learn to deal.

  • here is a clue - Don't offer unlimited bandwidth if you can't handle it.

  • by CyprusBlue113 (1294000) on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @07:28PM (#32176588)

    No, it is pure propaganda that network neutrality would affect any of the above very reasonable engineering decisions.

    That being said, you should really re-examine your business model if p2p is filling your transit from a small percentage of your customers. That is an engineering problem with your sale of unlimited services without adequate feed.

  • Re:Hooray! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Bing Tsher E (943915) on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @07:35PM (#32176664) Journal

    I'm absolutely opposed to government control, however, if they are going to take my money, I should have a say what it is used for.

    That kind of tenuous reasoning could lead to people organizing and shutting down big corpulent wastes of money like HEW, the EPA, etc.

    And if public money has gone to National Public Radio (a certain amount has and can be documented) where's my open mike?

  • by lord_mike (567148) on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @07:37PM (#32176708)

    ...the video gamers who are the ones who need net neutrality legislation the most to prevent ISP's from choking off their bandwidth... Clever, and probably very effective, too. No one ever seems to challenge their lies, and the general population is more likely to believe lies than they are the truth (i.e. death panels). Amazing that they can get away with this, but these guys are good. They've been taking away the livelihood of the middle class for a generation and yet people are still cheering them on!

  • by alieneye (86920) on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @07:38PM (#32176722)

    1. Create sea of regulation preventing competition from entering telecom business.
    2. Achieve government-sanctioned monopoly on said services.
    3. Screw over users.
    4. Prevent users from regulating against being screwed in the name of freedom.
    5. Profit

  • Re:Hooray! (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Bing Tsher E (943915) on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @07:42PM (#32176778) Journal

    Should the bandwidth on the thin-net (10Base-5) in your moms basement connecting all your Linux boxes together be under government regulation like the other bandwidth is? How about the wire leading to your doorbell button? And don't get me started on that electric fence out there surrounding that cornfield...

    Why should any of it be under government regulation? We're not a socialist State.

  • by diamondmagic (877411) on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @07:43PM (#32176798) Homepage

    Did anyone notice where this story came from? Think Progress, the far-left-liberal group.
    Recently a bill was introduced in the House that would provide the FCC the ability to regulate ISPs, it was written by Free Press [nationaljournal.com], a badly misnamed organization dedicated to regulating an over-use of free speech, and, among other things, criminalizing private media ownership in favor of "democratic" collective ownership, regulating bloggers, reporters, instituting government-funded reporting and journalism, and re-introducing the fairness doctrine. Woa! And government doesn't want to regulate ISPs, they just need to? Nothing bad could come of this? Seriously?

    Since when were ISPs bad? They provide a great service to many people. Remember what the Internet is. It's a network of privately owned computers, linked together. Each individual has the say as to what happens with their computers and their network, each individual has every right to say how to route their data. Engineering and internal self-regulation has always solved more problems than outside regulation done by force. This is how the Internet has always operated, why are we now criminalizing this idea of Internet freedom?

  • by Bing Tsher E (943915) on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @07:44PM (#32176812) Journal

    Never, ever, ever, believe what you hear anybody say about a particular group when they call it 'the teabaggers.' You might as well be talking about the Mario Brothers or Elmer Fudd. They're made-up parodies, too.

    On the other, hand if you like teabagging why skirt around the issue. Suck it in, dood.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @07:49PM (#32176876)

    You're wasting your time, they don't believe in society. If someone wants a nuclear waste dump in their backyard then by god they should have one!

  • by thethibs (882667) on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @07:51PM (#32176894) Homepage
    They didn't turn the Internet over for the common good. It was dragged from their bleeding hands by thousands of BBS sysops turned ISP and their subscribers. Aided by rogue backbone networks like UUNet and whipped into action by Jack Rickard, we tore up the Internet Acceptable Use Provisions and stopped paying the outrageous amounts they charged for admission to their exclusive little club. Since then the Internet has been ours, not the government's or that of the government-funded academic and research groups that we took it from. Internet 2 is a way for them to get back control. So is Net Neutrality. If you think the telecoms are a problem and government management would be an improvement, you need to find a friend who'll lend you a few grey cells.
  • Re:Hooray! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by HangingChad (677530) on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @08:08PM (#32177108) Homepage

    You guys seriously want to have a bunch of bureaucrats go in and regulate something that has been so successful and has provided so much information and knowledge...

    I've been involved with the internet since the very early days when it was a government project. A big part of why the internet has been so successful is because the military and government did a pretty decent job building it. So you're okay letting government design and build it, but suddenly they can't handle oversight.

    Corporations are not the solution, corporations are the problem. Without the government having the ability to enforce fair dealing, corporate interests are going to stomp all over consumers. Maybe you remember what happened when we let the banking industry self-regulate. Or did that little episode not make it on to Fox News? It'll be that on the internet.

    What's really interesting is how often corporate interests are lining up with the "grassroots" organizers of the tea party.

  • Seeding? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by darkpixel2k (623900) <aaron@heyaaron.com> on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @08:10PM (#32177128) Homepage

    best known for their work seeding the Tea Party movement.

    All these retarded terms related to grass are getting annoying.
    I'm not astroturf grass roots anything.

    No one 'seeded' me to think we should be hanging senators for their crimes.

  • by StopKoolaidPoliticsT (1010439) on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @08:11PM (#32177144)

    They are against government doing things for other people. Note that they blaim Obama for the rescue plan, that was enacted by Bush and the result of republican policies, the neo-conservative movement started with Reagan.

    First, the name calling makes you sound like a five year old... I know you think you're being funny, but it just comes off as snarky, at best, every time it gets used.

    Second, learn some history. The neo-con movement didn't start with Reagan, it started in the 1950s and 60s, as international interventionalist Democrats split with their own party and joined in with the Republicans. In fact, that's where the whole "neo" part about them being conservatives comes in... they were a "new kind of conservative."

    Third, I'm sure you're up on your talking points, but most Tea Party people are as just as opposed to Bush's role in the bailouts as they are Obama's. In fact, many Republicans who voted for TARP are facing a similar backlash to incumbant Democrats (see McCain getting a serious challenge from Hayworth, Bob Bennett getting the boot in the Utah Republican primary last week, Crist leaving the GOP in Florida when it became apparent that Republicans wouldn't support him in the primary, etc).

    But also, let's not forget that Obama voted for TARP himself (which makes him as bad as Bush), and then he went on to create even more bailouts and a giant new entitlement that we obviously can't afford (CBO projections continue to increase as of this week /shock), which, yeah, pissed off fiscally conservative people even further. The last few years of Bush pushed them over the edge, causing them to turn on Bush... but where are the Bush fiscal policy bashers from the left now that Obama is in power? Seems as though they disappeared when their side "won" even though Obama is exacerbating Bush's bad fiscal policies that they supposedly disagreed with. For as much as the left criticizes the Tea Party people for being, uh, late to the party, it seems as though the left has completely abandoned it once they gained the White House.

    It is like financial regulation, the banks are dead against that, but want very strict laws that enable them to collect on debts. Freedom is me telling you what I can do and you can't.

    Big banks are all FOR financial regulation. It raises the bar on new competition trying to get their foot in the door. You don't think the big banks actually suffer, do you? It's kinda like how Microsoft is all for software patents (which are another type of government regulation) - it makes it harder for the little guy to compete and does absolutely nothing to hinder the big guys, whom generally take a Mutally Assured Destruction approach with each other (I won't sue you for violating my software patents if you don't sue me for violating yours).

    Look at the SEC and what good their regulation did. They totally ignored Bernie Madoff (under Bush) and Enron (under Clinton), giving regular folks a false sense of security in the market. If there was no SEC, people wouldn't have a default assumption that the market isn't rigged and they would invest more carefully. Likewise, that FDA stamp on your meat doesn't mean the FDA inspected that piece, just that the facillities met requirements the day the FDA showed up. Ditto for your local health departments inspections of restaurants. In fact, "crappy" chain restaurants like McDonalds are FAR more rigorous than your local Dept of Health when it comes to food safety inspections (at least back when I was a manager in the mid 90s, corporate inspects 4 times a year, one of which is a surprise inspection, compared to once a year for the state, which notifies you that you'll be inspected "sometime this month" before showing up). BigChainFood wants to protect its brand from bad franchisees, the Health Department wants to do the minimum to meet their job requirement.

    Back to the topic of Net Neutrality, I've never seen a single definition th

  • Re:Hooray! (Score:1, Insightful)

    by BlueStrat (756137) on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @08:19PM (#32177214)

    The fact that this guy can get on TV and have people believe his shit makes me sad for this country. Honestly this will lead to America becoming a "developing" nation in short order.

    First, the GP's links are to uber-partisan sites that exist to attack ideological opponents of Progressiveism, and have their own problems with facts, accuracy, and context.

    As far as Glenn Beck, fortunately people don't need to believe what *HE* says, as most of his TV show consists of videos of Progressives stating their plans and goals *in their own words*. Even if you ignore anything except the videos, audio clips, and other sourced & verified facts, those alone should be enough to start numerous Justice Dept. special investigations if there weren't powerful Progressive political forces protecting these people and organizations.

    The problem that conservative Republicans (and anyone else that believes in freedom of speech) has with the net neutrality legislation proposed so far is not the actual network operations regulation concerning routing/peering/QoS/etc, it's the other included stuff that effectively hands over control of the internet to the whims of partisan elected officials & their bureaucratic minions. If you think they won't use this to shut down dissent, you haven't been watching what's happened/is happening in Venezuela with Chavez.

    Will you feel the same way when a Republican POTUS uses these powers the Progressives are attempting to usurp?

    Strat

  • Re:Hooray! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Requiem18th (742389) on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @08:25PM (#32177292)

    Government cannot go around telling people what they must do with their property, that's central planning, and it makes it impossible for private owners to regulate how their property is used efficiently

    Yay! So I can ban all those filthy niggers nips and spics from my Quikkkie*Mart!

    Except no, we know this is wrong and there are laws against it.

    For the same reason telcoms shouldn't be allowed to arbitrarily throttle traffic based on who is sending it to who and for what purpose.

    Telcoms can state that I can connect at 2Mb/s for up to 100GB up, 20GB down a month with bursts of up to 1GB/hour up, 500MB down. (And they better should be serving me that! No excuses.)

    They shouldn't be able to say what I can do with that bandwidth, if I want to spend all day watching youtubes video or chatting over skype is my business only.

    And don't bring the "free market", most people have no choice of ISP or only 2 ISP that are equally bad.

  • by grcumb (781340) on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @08:31PM (#32177364) Homepage Journal

    There have been many times in the United States where our government will push something like Social Security, saying "This is to help the widows with children", which, yes, is a noble cause that many can't argue with. But look at it now, it is a system used to hook the societal leeches and give paychecks to fat-asses who are too lazy to get up and work.

    [What follows will seem to be flame bait to some. That's because the subject seems to have so warped some people's perspectives that they cannot conceive of any error in their logic.]

    This may amaze you, but proponents of the welfare state knew all along that helping 'widows with children' would also help 'social leeches' and 'fat-asses who are too lazy to get up and work'. Not only did they know that, but they knew that the system would be wasteful and inefficient. They knew that your hard-earned tax dollars would get thrown away by semi-human middle managers unqualified to work in the private sector. They knew that big, meddlesome government sticking its fat, greasy fingers into every part of the pie would get things wrong just as often as it got them right.

    You know what else? We don't fucking care. Well, okay, we do care. We don't care about the shitheads in society, because every society has them; they exist at all stations in life, in every culture. But we do care about the widows with children, the elderly and the indigent. We even care about the lazy, fat-assed ones who won't lift a finger to help themselves.

    You know why we care? Because the alternative is a crime- and poverty-ridden society with huge inequities of privilege and power. A society where someone can park their $100,000 car beside a homeless man in rags and never see him. Because the alternative is that the shitheads of the lower class, instead of hanging on the steps and waiting for the pogey check, are coming in through your back window to steal your things and, possibly, terrorise you and your family. A society where the wealthy minority simply run away from the problem, fleeing to gated suburbs and blissful ignorance of just how harsh life in that society can be. (Sound familiar?)

    But you know what? Caring about everyone (including the the shitheads) works. Go to Vancouver's east side some day. It's a hellhole, the end of the line for a lot of people. But it would be so much worse if it weren't for a few national and local policies that reduced crime and public health care costs just by making sure people got clean needles and a bite to eat occasionally. This is one of the worst neighbourhoods in Canada, but you can still walk it end to end in near-complete safety.

    Now, to bring things back on topic: Your view that government is innately inefficient, as prone to failure as to success, as likely to benefit those who (according to you) don't deserve others' help... that view isn't entirely inaccurate. But you're dead wrong to think that that point alone is enough reason not to want government to do what it was established to do: In this case, to mandate certain minimum standards of conduct in order to ensure a relatively level playing field that won't be subverted by external influences.

  • Re:Hooray! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by fustakrakich (1673220) on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @08:31PM (#32177366) Journal

    Well yeah, they have to appease the telcos. They have to look after their future employers

  • Re:Hooray! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by gangien (151940) on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @08:32PM (#32177370) Homepage

    For the same reason as other government regulations.

    along with all the unintended consequences.

  • Re:Hooray! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Shakrai (717556) * on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @08:37PM (#32177436) Journal

    is that it is a multi-billion dollar proposition to enter that market

    Sure, if you want to build a nationwide network. I live in a city of 50,000. It would not cost billions of dollars to enter this market. The only thing stopping someone is the fact that the local government doles out the right to sell service in the form of exclusive franchise agreements. Good luck outbidding Time Warner when the contract comes up.....

  • Re:It's no secret (Score:3, Insightful)

    by OnlineAlias (828288) on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @08:46PM (#32177484)

    "All government did was allow other companies into established Central Offices so they could drop DSL equipment at the end of the copper lines."

    This HUGE step, which would have completely stopped the internet in its tracks if it hadn't happened, was because of direct intervention by the government.

  • by cybrthng (22291) on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @08:47PM (#32177494) Journal

    "We the people".. The government is us. Not sure why people forget this..

  • Re:Hooray! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Shadow of Eternity (795165) on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @09:04PM (#32177630)

    Why? Because it was built using taxpayer money and with the expectation that it would be a neutral and uncensored... waitaminute

  • Re:Hooray! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Shakrai (717556) * on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @09:07PM (#32177652) Journal

    However, remove that, and you still have the market problem of building a network - even a regional one.

    So what? That's a perfectly solvable problem, even with a saturated market. The market for grocery stores is mature and well established but new ones still crop up from time to time. They haven't all merged into one mega "Food Store, Inc." The difference of course is that I generally don't need to outbid a national corporation to receive a license to operate a grocery store.

    Finally, it is not tied to Net Neutrality, nor to any regulation around it.

    I didn't claim it was. All I said was that regulation tends to protect the status quo and that it gets in the way of innovation. Do you dispute either of those claims? Do you think the internet would have grown into what it is today if the entrepreneurs working in garages had to worry about seeking regulatory approval for their activities?

  • by thule (9041) on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @09:09PM (#32177662) Homepage
    It is an engineering problem. And it is easy to solve with QoS and traffic shaping! That way this theoretical ISP can penalize bulk p2p traffic for the benefit of the majority of subscribers. But net neutrality won't allow that -- go figure.
  • Re:Hooray! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @09:09PM (#32177668)

    "Government cannot go around telling people what they must do with their property, that's central planning, and it makes it impossible for private owners to regulate how their property is used efficiently."

    That's a pretty big generalization, and -- at least in some cases -- provably untrue.

    When the "telephone industry" was in its infancy, the Federal government decided that telephone service was a "natural monopoly", which could -- and should -- be tightly controlled. As a result, the United States developed a single, nationwide, interoperable telephone service. On the other hand, the countries that allowed "open competition" in the marketplace (parts of Europe for example) ended up with multiple, incompatible phone services operating within the very same smaller country. Sometimes person A could not call person B, even though she was just down the street. Calling between phone systems became a prohibitively expensive nightmare. And the maze of wires was many times the size it was in a comparable area of the U.S.

    It was a clear case of a situation in which "open competition" was counterproductive to society.

    That is not to say that there were not abuses. Of course there were. That's why Ma Bell got broken up, in the long run. But when the technology was new, and the essential infrastructure was being laid, history shows that a "regulated monopoly" was far and away the right answer.

    And many people in the U.S. have been experiencing a very similar situation, when many of what were once tightly regulated utilities became increasingly privatized and less regulated. The prices did not go down, they went up. Way up. Much faster than inflation or expenses would have caused.

    History is pretty clear: there are cases in which the idea of a "limited, regulated natural monopoly" works best.

    Right now, the U.S. is lagging far behind many other countries in communications infrastructure. Why? Statistically, the answer is equally clear: in nearly every case where another country had, on average, faster and cheaper network communication than the United States, it was correlated with 2 things: (1) "net neutrality". To be clear about that, it meant the telecom industry acts as a simple carrier of bits, like a telephone company, and does not get entangled in content, policing, or tiered pricing structures. (2) Shared backbone: other companies were allowed to lease infrastructure at competitive rates. By law, that is.

    Those 2 things drove REAL investment, innovation and competition in the REAL market (bits per second per dollar). The result was both better infrastructure and better service.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @09:17PM (#32177724)

    Here's the thing about people that hate social security, there's really only one other option. The system that came before it. Your parents move in with you and live with you until they die.

    And yes, they will probably wander out into traffic, forget who they are, and occasionally even poop on themselves. You will have to deal with all of this while maintaining your job, social life and raising your own kids. You will be paying for all their expensive medications and doctor visits as well, so you better not let that job thing slip.

    All the freedom you enjoy comes at the expense of portion of your paycheck. Deal with it.

  • by mjwx (966435) on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @09:23PM (#32177794)

    Okay... so let's say I'm an ISP. I don't shape any traffic. A small percentage of my customers are slamming my transit connection with p2p traffic.

    The solution is simple, do not filter traffic at all. Instead put a reasonable limit onto all traffic and count all traffic. At 200 GB/m on most households will not use a quarter of that. After 200 GB, offer additional blocks of bandwidth at $1 per GB or such (or offer shape the entire connection speed down to something like 512 Mbit, but give customers the choice). Paying for your actual usage is the only fair system. There is no point selling all plans for $60 when 30% of people only want 10 GB a month which will cost $20, whilst 10% want 500 GB a month and are willing to fork over $100, the other 60% fit somewhere in between.

    A service provider should never be permitted to interfere with your traffic, its akin to the supermarket determining what I am and am not permitted to buy from their stock, "Sorry sir, the Brie is reserved for our Premium customers, only Cheddar is available for all. Perhaps you would like to buy a Tesco Plus subscription for $49.95 a month". Right now, the only limits the supermarket can put on my cheese consumption is governed by how much money I want to give them. However bandwidth is not free (especially international bandwidth) as we start to use more and more you will have to adapt this system. Intra American bandwidth is pennies on the dollar, international bandwidth starts to cost.

    But get rid of contracts, put a flat installation fee and possibly an ETF if the customer leaves in less then six months.

  • by CyprusBlue113 (1294000) on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @09:27PM (#32177820)

    You sold the users unlimited bandwidth, either deliver it, or change your business model. The mistaken belief that your profit margins are your right, and that you have the retroactive authority to restrict what your users do with what you have sold them, is the reason that this whole mess has started. Business changes, if you are unwilling to adapt, that is one thing, but coming back and trying to force after the fact restrictions on what you have sold your customers is unethical at best.

    Why do you get to decide that some users traffic is less important than others? Did they get any say in the matter? Are they currently under contract?

    If you cannot provide what you have sold, tell your customers that and let them find other providers, but to deceitfully and silently degrade some customers service because they are lower margin than others, is reprehensible.

  • by David Jensen (1987) <david@dajensen-family.com> on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @09:28PM (#32177824)
    Remember that the companies that are whining about this are companies that have a long history of government support to allow them to lay the copper, cable or fiber. From the day that Alexander Graham Bell won a questionable patent, telephony, cable and internet have always relied on government help to get what they wanted. Minor levels of regulation are not oppression, nor would they interfere with the companies' abilities to exploit the market. Until the providers show that they are being hurt by net neutrality, they need to offer it.
  • by David Jensen (1987) <david@dajensen-family.com> on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @09:43PM (#32177930)
    The rules were in place. The monopolies were traded for certain standards of service and public service when regulation first went into place. AT&T was happy to be regulated and block out local competitors. The (partial) deregulation of telcos and cable companies was a windfall to these companies. What did we get for it? A pocketful of mumbles -- empty promise from the telcos that we would all have fiber to the door by now.
  • by Dr. Donuts (232269) on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @10:15PM (#32178160)

    Perhaps if the infrastructure were not owned by monopolies, your points would have more validity. However, when companies lobby for and are granted monopolies over infrastructure *and* services, they then become subject to greater regulation and scrutiny, because normal market forces such as customers switching to another provider often are no longer possible.

    From an ordinary user standpoint, once upon a time you actually could choose between many different ISP's because *you* dialed *them*. Can I dial any ISP I want over Cable, or DSL, or fiber, or whatever?

    That's the problem in the US today. Infrastructure has been tied to service, leaving most folks with very little choice and the market forces hogtied by government granted monopolies.

    There are plenty of examples throughout the world where there is good competition at the ISP level, with consumers benefiting from better infrastructure, services, and prices. And the great majority of it is from introducing competition, not allowing monopolies to get larger and larger.

    Net Neutrality probably wouldn't even be on the radar if infrastructure and services were not tied together in government granted monopolies.

  • by StopKoolaidPoliticsT (1010439) on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @10:46PM (#32178354)
    and I've spent the last 12 years (from 21-33 and going) of my life doing just that after my dad had a series of brain injuries... Is it easy? Hell no. But I do it because it is the right thing to do. It's rather sad that we've lost all respect for our elders in much of western society. When someone ceases to be productive, we throw them in a nursing home where they wait to die, so we can selfishly do all of the things we want without the bother of, you know, actually caring for other people. The same is true when it comes to spouses (they grow apart because they never do anything together anymore, so they tend to abandon the marriage), kids (sorry, gotta work overtime to pay for our lavish lifestyle, can't teach you to read tonight!), etc.

    Sure, you get freedom, but you lose your humanity in the process. The typical state of mind these days is to put ourselves first at the expense of everyone else because, you know, "the government" will take care of them anyway. Hey, who needs to feel guilty that your parent sits alone drooling on themselves in chronic pain, tortured and remembering the days when they felt like they were loved, you paid your share!
  • Re:It's no secret (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jmorris42 (1458) * <jmorris@[ ]u.org ['bea' in gap]> on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @10:55PM (#32178408)

    > Think back to how the phone networks were handled before various regulations were placed on it.
    > You couldn't even own your own phone!!

    No, it was totally regulated even then. AT&T was a government granted monopoly with regulation at both the State and Federal level. AT&T had just achieved regulatory capture.

    Yes, monopolies are bad. But so will government control of the Internet. We get screwed either way. Since I don't like getting screwed why don't we try something different? How about the Free Market? It is the one solution that works every time it is tried.

    Break up the monopolies one last time, this time doing it right. The last mile is the natural monopoly so admit that and let it remain a government regulated utility. But forbid the monopoly from offering ANYTHING on the pipe, instead force them to sell access at the same rates to anyone who wants in.

  • Re:Hooray! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Gerzel (240421) <brollyferret&gmail,com> on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @11:23PM (#32178534) Journal

    Your open mike is with several call in shows that NPR hosts.

  • Re:Hooray! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Shakrai (717556) * on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @11:25PM (#32178544) Journal

    I'm pretty sure this past month BP has polluted more than the US government ever has.

    Are you sure about that [wikipedia.org]?

  • Re:Hooray! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jedidiah (1196) on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @11:34PM (#32178602) Homepage

    It proved you're a moron. The Jungle demonstrated with clear examples from our own history
    the need to prevent companies from running amok. The Gulag Archipelago is about what happens
    when governments run amok. You have to be really quite dishonest (or stupid) to connect one
    with the other.

    It takes a really long slippery slope to turn a somewhat free market economy to a total command economy.

    You could equally as well use Gulag as an excuse for anarchy in general rather than just anarchy for Robber Barons.

    See how that works... someone will be coming over to harvest your organ momentarily.

  • by Tancred (3904) on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @11:40PM (#32178626)

    1. crooksandliars.com and mediamatters.org are sites whose main purpose is to document the outrageous behavior of the right so we don't have to rely on hearsay and wacky conspiracy theories. They actually do what you claim Glenn Beck does.

    2. Glenn Beck is one seriously troubled and paranoid man. Or else he's morally bankrupt and just acting nuts so he can make truckloads of money by whipping people into a frenzy.

    3. You've got the "hands over control of the internet" idea exactly backwards. Net neutrality is about preventing any entity from having control of the Internet - whether that is the government or corporations. It's the opposite of shutting down dissent - it makes it illegal to shut down dissent. And that's a good idea under any administration.

  • by lawpoop (604919) on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @11:57PM (#32178728) Homepage Journal
    It's true that democrats get the lion's share of their funding from Big Corporations, but they actually create legislation in the interest of the people from time to time, whereas the Republicans create legislation that (IMHO) is a great travesty against the people from time to time. But most of the time it's business as usually.
  • Re:Hooray! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Wednesday May 12, 2010 @12:01AM (#32178748) Homepage Journal

    Most of it is on private property however.

    I don't know. There have been AT&T trucks blocking my alley for the past week and all their work seems to take place on poles standing in the alley, not on people's property.

    And to me it has less to do with the public property that the telcos have appropriated than the fact that they have glommed onto an internet that was developed entirely with public money and turned it into their own private playground.

    Just remember, private industry would have never created the Internet that we use today. Can you even imagine for a second how that conversation would have gone? "How much will we charge per email? You want to use an open source what?"

    It's a shame so many people seem to have forgotten where the Internet came from. They think it's some great gift that AT&T has given us so we can subscribe to U-Verse and play World of Warcraft.

  • Re:Hooray! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by PhreakOfTime (588141) on Wednesday May 12, 2010 @12:06AM (#32178782) Homepage

    Conservative Republicans believe in THEIR right to free speech. They could care less whether anyone else has it, let alone what they are saying. It takes one heck of a persecution complex to say that the government is trying to censor you, ON YOUR OWN NATIONALLY BROADCAST SHOW!

    And for you to try to make a comparison between Venezuela and here, by saying you have been 'watching' whats happening, well thats just completely laughable. Unless by watching, you mean reading web sites and watching documentaries. I highly doubt you have ever set foot in that country, lived or worked in the community. I doubt you have ever talked to a resident there in their native tongue. Until you have done that, you haven't watched anything, you just read someone elses opinion or presentation of it and latched on to it because thats easier than getting the experience yourself and forming your own thoughts on the situation.

    You dont seem to understand how simplistic you sound to those with other experiences than yourself. I would bet a substantial amount of money that you cant name the leader that was in power in Venezuela before Hugo Chavez, without looking it up.

    Whether you like it or not, Chavez was democratically elected, twice. I imagine if your way of thinking matched the way of thinking of a native Venezuelan, he wouldnt have been elected again 4 years ago. Which brings us right back to conservative republicans only caring about their own freedom of speech and not about the rights of anyone else.

    In a funny way, that's whats great about the thoughts you just presented. When push comes to shove, all you are going to do is sit back and let someone else take care of it and tell you what to think, just like you always have. Just go back to watching the teevee, that way you can keep out of the way of those people who are actually being productive.

    In a way, I feel sorry for you. The world is so much larger than you will probably ever experience.

  • Re:A La Carte (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mapkinase (958129) on Wednesday May 12, 2010 @12:34AM (#32178948) Homepage Journal

    Not logging in was a wise choice for you.

  • Re:Hooray! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by inKubus (199753) on Wednesday May 12, 2010 @12:46AM (#32178986) Homepage Journal

    Just to clarify, NPR relies on the listeners to pay the majority of the tab for operating expenses. Yes, they have gotten grants from the government. But grants are not equal to subsidies. Furthermore, they are a non-profit charity acting for the good of the people whereas ISPs, as you said, are for-profit. I don't like certain for-profit companies getting an unfair advantage from the government, unless it's something we're really falling behind the world in. As of now, we're doing pretty good with broadband, and the companies are making money finally. At this point, they need to expand access and make it faster. Otherwise the government (we, the people) WILL have to step in and say "what are you doing with this money, even though it was no-strings money, we can make your life hell with taxes and such?" or collectively boycott their services, which is difficult even after deregulation since only a few companies control the copper..

  • Re:brutality (Score:3, Insightful)

    seriously, who writes this crap?

    People who have been trained and have practised for years in the field of sophisticated propaganda.

  • by 2obvious4u (871996) on Wednesday May 12, 2010 @10:00AM (#32181828)
    It hasn't been "We the people" since about 1865. The imperial federal government decided that states could no longer rule themselves and took over. Since then the imperial federal government has been at war with "We the people". They started taking our money in 1913 with the addition of the 16th amendment. Then they tried to subdue us by removing our booze in 1920 with the 18th amendment. This failed but then they succeeded later in 1972 when Richard Nixon started the war on the people. Then in 2001, Bush gave us the Patriot act. Finally in 2010 they completed the assault on "We the people" by making it so that if you were to rebel or even think about it and propagandize about it they would revoke your American citizenship and strip you of all civil liberties including your Miranda right and label you a combatant and keep you imprisoned indefinitely. That being the "terrorist expatriation act [senate.gov]".

    So no, the government hasn't been "us" for a long time. That and the fact that all the Supreme Court Justices are from NYC and attended either Harvard or Yale should tell you something about the ruling elite in this country.

    So I'm going to get back to work so I can pay my taxes which pay for two foreign wars I don't believe in, an auto company I think should have gone under, the mortgages of half the people in this country and the police force that makes it so I can't even smoke a joint on the weekends without fear of being put in jail. Oh and if I miss report my taxes they'll also put me in jail. Oh and if during my commute I get into the music on the radio and don't watch my speed I'll end up in court as well. Luckily when I get home I can watch TV and play video games; well censored TV with no expletives because my government doesn't think its appropriate. Oh and nothing with skin, because the human body is so offensive. Oh and no salt or sugar either.
  • Re:Hooray! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by 2obvious4u (871996) on Wednesday May 12, 2010 @10:18AM (#32182076)

    If you can point to an example of a place where unregulated industry led to a healthy, prosperous, happy society, please do. Otherwise, you are just spouting nonsense.

    The Internet
    If that doesn't meet all your requirements nothing will.

    Now if you want a list of failed government projects:
    Social Security
    Postal Service - which should just be converted into an indexing service maintaining addresses and zip codes, while privatizing deliveries
    Amtrack
    Prohibition
    War on Drugs
    Prison System
    Education System
    Medicare
    Medicaid

    Don't get me wrong, government does do some things well and we should improve on those, but it really has a hard time admitting when something sucks and trying to fix it.

    Some things it does right:
    Interstate Highway System
    Building Codes - although there should be some way to get exemptions if you want to try new technology or have a valid use case that is against existing code
    90% of traffic regulations (interstate speed limits could be raised, seat belts do save lives but does it really need to be regulated?)
    CDC
    FAA
    NASA - would be nice if it had the war budget

  • Re:It's no secret (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Rich0 (548339) on Wednesday May 12, 2010 @10:52AM (#32182470) Homepage

    Agreed.

    Utilities should be BORING industries. By all means they should improve bandwidth/etc, and be able to sell that. However, they should be pipes and wires.

    The problem is all the vertical integration. Nobody wants to be a company that guarantees shareholders 25cents per share every quarter from now until eternity. They want to be able to promise double-digit earnings growth, and that requires the ability to grow markets. However, when your market is ever home in a 10 mile radius who could own a phone, and they already own phones, then there is no room to grow.

    The problem is greed. It isn't like the CEO of a boring utility company doesn't make a good six-figure salary. However, who wants 6-figures when they could be the next Bill Gates? Well, if you want to leave and start your own company that's fine, but when you want to use a government-granted monopoly as the springboard for world conquest then don't be surprised when taxpayers start complaining.

  • Re:A La Carte (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Qzukk (229616) on Wednesday May 12, 2010 @12:59PM (#32183908) Journal

    I hope you like paying by the bit.

    As I run a small business, I already pay "by the bit". It encourages me to trim my website and keep bandwidth usage down. What I'm NOT happy about are the repeated threats by major ISP executives that they somehow deserve a single penny of my revenue for deigning to permit me to show my website to their users.

  • by illumin8 (148082) on Wednesday May 12, 2010 @01:26PM (#32184226) Journal

    You have the history right, but that doesn't make your argument right. At this point, telecoms are the problem. How many $billions of taxpayer money did they receive to increase broadband penetration? How many cable companies and telephone companies are spending $millions to actively lobby city governments against even considering municipal broadband and fiber to the home that has proven it can cost less to deliver 100mbps to every resident in an urban area than to pay Cableco/Telco rates.

    Internet is a utility. Deal with it and regulate it like a utility. Bust up monopolies, and don't let them take over.

    Name one example of a monopoly utility provider that has offered better service at a lower price out of the "goodness of their hearts." It doesn't exist.

  • Re:Hooray! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Curunir_wolf (588405) on Wednesday May 12, 2010 @07:18PM (#32187822) Homepage Journal
    It's not just those companies at fault. It's also, once again, failure on the part of the federal government [al.com] to even follow their own plans.

You can do more with a kind word and a gun than with just a kind word. - Al Capone

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