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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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  • PowerPoint is just like a jack-in-the-box, waiting to popup and reveal secrets. First a war in Afghanistan [nytimes.com] and now a war against internet users.
  • 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.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by c++0xFF (1758032)

      At this point, we need to decide who we want to be in charge of the internet. Letting it evolve on its own has gotten us to where we are now, but I can't see that continuing much longer.

      So, we now need to choose between an oligopoly (relatively unregulated) and "government takeover" (unspecified regulation).

      I don't trust either side right now ....

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

        by erroneus (253617) on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @07:23PM (#32176520) Homepage

        So far we have seen all manner of attrocities. ISP companies lying to its users and the government about its activities with regards to blocking and tampering with traffic is just part of it. Hijacking DNS and all sorts of other nonsense is just the beginning of what ISPs want to do to make even more money than ever before. They want to regulate what applications you can run and, who knows, maybe even what operating systems you can use.

        The push for net neutrality is to stop what they are trying to do and prevent them from doing even worse. Think back to how the phone networks were handled before various regulations were placed on it. You couldn't even own your own phone!! You had to use theirs and it had to be leased! Even now they still charge for stupidity like "tone dialing service" and crap like that. How would you feel about getting charged extra for using https or ftp? It took more than the application of regulations to clean up the mess that was the phone network -- it took the courts system to break up the phone company and then serious regulation. And what did the public "suffer" from this? We suffered regulations like minimum quality of service requirements among others. We all got better service and better flexibility and you could use your own phone! I would expect nothing less from net neutrality regulations.

        • Re:It's no secret (Score:4, Insightful)

          by jmorris42 (1458) * <jmorris.beau@org> 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: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: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by gilgongo (57446)

        So, we now need to choose between an oligopoly (relatively unregulated) and "government takeover" (unspecified regulation).

        I don't trust either side right now ....

        Look to the way television evolved: in the US, it was seen as too big for government to run, so it went to the oligopolies. In the UK, it was seen as too big for the private sector to run, so it went to the government (until ITV came along at least).

        Oligopolies will mean the net turns into an ad-infested worthless mess where every mouse click has to be monetised. What will government mean for it?

  • brutality (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @06:50PM (#32176160)

    Net Neutrality? more liek net BRUTALITY am i rite?

    seriously, who writes this crap?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      seriously, who writes this crap?

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

  • A La Carte (Score:5, Funny)

    by 1310nm (687270) on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @06:50PM (#32176164)
    Dear AT&T,

    How much for the Slashdot / Reddit / Gmail / Gaming Bandwidth package? Just planning ahead...
    • 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

      • This is probably the best explanation I've seen, do you mind if I use this in official meetings?

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by foxtyke (766988)

      Slashdot doesn't qualify to be on our Premium network however Digg is available for only $1.99/mo. however, if you get our 50-sites Package** you can have high-speed fast lane access to any 50 websites in our Tier 1 provider category for $59.99/mo. atop your $49.99 Basic Internet Access* package when you also switch to our world-class VoIP services.

      *does not include YouTube or any online video streaming service access, attempted accessing of such services will automatically upgrade your package to the Video

  • 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.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Darkness404 (1287218)
      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: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by h4rr4r (612664)

        No, they both agree to fight about certain "key" issues that they ensure cannot be resolved. Abortion is a good one, it lets you get the fool on one side and the other to vote for their designated party while both parties sell the government to the highest bidder. We have only 1 party that simply use these fake issues to make it look like we have 2.

        Next election I am voting for whatever third party is doing the best. Since they cannot win I do not care what their ideology is.

    • by DesScorp (410532) <DesScorp@NOsPAm.Gmail.com> on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @09:21PM (#32177764) Homepage Journal

      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.

      I keep hearing that the GOP = Big Business, when big business have given more to the Democratic Party over time than to the GOP. While there is certainly support in business for the Republicans, there is certainly no shortage of support for Democrats in the halls of commerce, either. Goldman Sachs is practically the in-house fundraiser for the DNC. Each of the largest megabanks... Citi, Bank of America, etc.. has very close ties to major Democratic politicians like Chuck Schumer, Chris Dodd, and ... I think you get the picture.

      While your narrative plays well at Democratic Underground, Daily Kos, etc, those Wascawy Demokwats are even more deeply buried in the bosom of "big business". The RIAA is big business. As is Google. As is Apple. As is HP. The quintessential "big business" is GM, and guess who was eager to have government buy them? Hmm?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by lawpoop (604919)
        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.
  • Web Page Traffic: 200 visitors in 3 days.

    Oh yeah, we're gaining some real traction here! Better get started installing that OC3... /snicker
    • Web Page Traffic: 200 visitors in 3 days.

      I'm sure they didn't break out the number of visits from their own offices, their web developer, their mom, the intern using their site as his new home page, their dog chewing on their iPhone ... actually, I'm surprised it was only 300!

  • by thule (9041) on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @06:57PM (#32176222) Homepage
    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. What if I setup peering connections to large content providers (google, Netflix, Directv, yahoo, large hosting company networks, voip providers, etc)? Now all non-peered BitTorrent traffic will go through the transit link where is could get clogged up. All the sites the most of my non-peering users are interested in get nice fast connectivity. I also setup an alternate network for my own VoIP services -- no QoS, but traffic gets routed off congested points on my network.

    If an ISP does this, are they violating net neutrality? Does the government get to tell me which networks I peer with? Is peering now a *bad* thing if the government has too much control over the "neutrality"?
    • by h4rr4r (612664)

      Shaping has nothing to do with this.

      This is about you deciding that you will lower the QoS on or drop vonage packets so you can make sure your users use your VOIP service.

      Another good example would be TWC dropping all traffic to hulu to protect their cable tv lineup.

      • by thule (9041)
        Re-read my example. It does just that! I didn't need to "lower" anything. I just route traffic to peering links. If I'm a big enough ISP, I don't even need to pay for the peering links! Are you telling me that the government will tell me which networks I can or can't peer with because I don't upgrade my transit connection? Are they going to *force* me to upgrade my transit link?
    • by spikenerd (642677)

      Is peering now a *bad* thing...

      Peering sounds good, but it made it harder for new content providers to rise up and become competitive before. It has the same effect now. While I might appreciate having faster service to the provides that you hand-pick for me, there's really not a lot of people that I'd trust to do that hand-picking. Will my ISP have the sense to stop peering with provider XYZ when they become dominant and evil and no one else can enter the market?

    • 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: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by thule (9041)
        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.
        • 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 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.

  • 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...

  • Useful Idiots (Score:2, Interesting)

    by relikx (1266746)
    Let's see what kind of absurd talking points come out of this, at the end of the day expect outright lies to be gladly paid forward by the "journalists" / stenographers with corporate media. Frankly if they succeed more power to them for exerting that much influence over us proud, "free" people.
  • by IMightB (533307) on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @07:14PM (#32176396) Journal

    Stop the Government from taking over the internet!

    Umm Hello?! If you Assholes remember, the Government *created* the Intranet, specifically Al Gore did. They then said, Hey All, we're going to turn this really nifty thing, that we created, over for the public good. I know I lived through it. Despite your best efforts to market/rewrite the web's history. I was on BBS's, CompuServe and Prodigy. I had a Accoustic coupler, and was war-dialing open systems before your fucking CEO's had even a wet dream over how much money could be made.

    You Telco Asshats have proven over and over and over again that you are incapable of intelligently stewarding teh Intrawebs.

    • 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: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by cybrthng (22291)

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

        • 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: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by illumin8 (148082)

        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 u

  • 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

  • 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 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 dave562 (969951) on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @09:21PM (#32177762) Journal

    They're going to create a Facebook group.

    One of the popular Facebook memes is, "I bet X Facebook group can get ##,###,### followers before Y Facebook group does."

    Feel free to substitute X and Y for the People and Corporations.

    Perhaps X Facebook group can host the leaked PPT file of which Slide #9 is a part of... at least until they get hit with a DCMA notice.

    Could they then post said DCMA as part of their group, along with links to relevant media discussions about the subject? Streissand comes to mind.

If you had better tools, you could more effectively demonstrate your total incompetence.

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