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Net Neutrality — Threat Or Menace? 253

Posted by timothy
from the you-can-trust-the-government dept.
Roblimo writes "I had a dream. In it, I was CEO of a large telecommunications company that was also a major broadband Internet provider and all five members of the FCC were stabbing me with pitchforks and yelling in my ear that my company would be treated as a common carrier, not as a special entity they couldn't regulate. That's when I woke up..."
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Net Neutrality — Threat Or Menace?

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  • Shitty Story (Score:4, Insightful)

    by sexconker (1179573) on Thursday August 19, 2010 @07:36PM (#33308832)

    Shitty or very Shitty?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      It's not even a "story". It's just a half page rambling preaching to the choir, and Tim decided to throw some traffic at slashdot's oldie roblimo.
    • Re:Shitty Story (Score:4, Insightful)

      by ottothecow (600101) <ottothecow@gma i l . com> on Thursday August 19, 2010 @08:11PM (#33309094) Homepage
      He touches on something I mentioned in a story the other day.

      Allowing wireless providers the ability to regulate the flow of information sort of makes sense right this moment. The technology is still week compared to expected usage as smartphones are exploding (see iphones in NYC...hell, even see the fact that I live near wrigley field and have to try several times to connect a call whenever there is a game). The use of mobile devices now is still limited and they are rushing to keep up with it. It might be fair for them to say "no, you can't torrent right now" since you torrenting could kill everybody else trying to share your tower. We may not agree with them on this, but it is a valid point of view.

      Problem is that if you pass something that allows this now...what happens when technology matures to the point where everybody in the US has a smartphone that is more capable than todays computers and the provider-side technology exists to feed them all fast data simultaneously? You can bet that verizon isn't going to say "hey guys, we have really fat pipes now so we are done filtering/shaping". You can bet congress won't be in a hurry to repeal something they just recently passed.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by iamwahoo2 (594922)
        I do not think that it is fair for them to say "sorry, we cannot offer you the service that you paid for, our network is far too obselete to actually offer the service that we are advertising and have agreed to provide." Allowing them to kick off the heavy traffic users would provide them an incentive not to upgrade the networks and compete with other carriers. Instead of competing by pushing out better networks, carriers would start competing for the customers who pay for the high end data packages but do
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by TheRaven64 (641858)

        It might be fair for them to say "no, you can't torrent right now" since you torrenting could kill everybody else trying to share your tower.

        Why? Why is a torrent less important traffic than an HTTP transfer? It makes sense for them to be able to charge more for reserved bandwidth with latency guarantees, such as for VoIP or video conferencing traffic, but it should be up to the customer what protocols they use. If someone is using so much bandwidth that it is affecting the rest of the cell, then either throttle them or charge them more, but don't just block or throttle specific protocols.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Hatta (162192)

        It might be fair for them to say "no, you can't torrent right now" since you torrenting could kill everybody else trying to share your tower. We may not agree with them on this, but it is a valid point of view.

        It is! We call that point of view QoS (Quality of Service). It is shaping traffic based on type. It is entirely orthogonal to Network Neutrality, which refers to treating packets the same, no matter their point of origin.

        Network Neutrality and QoS are completely different things. Poorly written la

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by sonicmerlin (1505111)

        I'm sorry but everything you said is based on your brainwashed understanding of the US wireless market. Let's put some things in perspective for you. Very recently France Telecom offered a *quad play* for $60 (45 euro)/month. That's TV, home phone, home internet, and cell phone + data. Free.fr offers triple play for $40/month (30 euro). As for the US, the wireless market is insanely profitable for AT&T and Verizon. That's why Verizon has been dumping landlines in rural markets and shifting to wire

  • here we go again (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Sir_Lewk (967686) <.sirlewk. .at. .gmail.com.> on Thursday August 19, 2010 @07:37PM (#33308838)

    Que the standard partisan trolls screaming about how the government should "keep their hands off of the free market". Remember folks, before posting make sure to conveniently forget that the current state of affairs is anything but a free market, and that telephone companies have been common carriers for years without the foundations of freedom this country was supposedly built on crumbling. (well, at least not because of that...)

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Ant P. (974313)

      Que?

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Sir_Lewk (967686)

        huzzah composition words. A mental combination of queue (to line up) and cue (as in, "to trigger an action") I suppose. Interestingly either of those could have worked well enough.

      • by eldiabloencarne (1882562) on Thursday August 19, 2010 @08:37PM (#33309310) Journal
        Que los trolls partidista normales gritando acerca de cómo el gobierno debe "mantener sus manos alejado del mercado libre ". Acuerdate ustedes, antes de responder, asegurarse de olvidar convenientemente que el estado actual de cosas es cualquier cosa menos un mercado libre, y que las compañías telefónicas han sido los portadores comunes durante años sin que los fundamentos de la libertad se construyó este país, supuestamente, en ruinas. (bueno, al menos no por eso)
        *que que QUE?!*
    • Earlier this week we had someone praising almighty atheismo that someone on slashdot used "cue" properly.

      It's nice to see you shitting on that poor man.

    • Re:here we go again (Score:4, Interesting)

      by jmorris42 (1458) * <jmorris.beau@org> on Thursday August 19, 2010 @07:49PM (#33308922)

      > Que the standard partisan trolls screaming about how the government should "keep their hands off of the free market".

      No, que me saying we should MAKE the Internet a free market.

      > Remember folks, before posting make sure to conveniently forget that the current state of affairs is anything but a free market..

      No, most folks get to pick government regulated monopoly telco A or government regulated monopoly cable company B with a government regulated but hopelessly out of the running because spectrum isn't nearly as bountiful as wires/fiber, wireless carrier as option C. Break the monopolies one last time, but do it smart unlike the AT&T fiasco. Regulated utility in control of the physical plant running on right of way monopolies selling access to unregulated entities providing TV, dialtone or IP.

      > ..and that telephone companies have been common carriers for years without the foundations of freedom this country was supposedly built on crumbling. (well, at least not because of that...)

      Yes. And you can call anyone at regulated rates..... so I can call California cheaper than the town next door because of it. Oh God bless the wisdom of the regulators, they brought sanity to the telephone game! And I get to pay $11/month for AT&T to tell their switch to NOT supress the Caller ID stream. Oh joy of joys. If you want the same insane, capricious bullcrap on the Internet, give control to the FCC. And thst is before the political cleansing that is the real reason they want to get involved starts.

      And why do I believe the want the control for political reasons? Because I listened to their words and did something I'm not supposed to do. I believed they intend to do exactly what they say for once.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by jpapon (1877296)

        I can call California cheaper than the town next door because of it

        If you're still paying based on where you're calling (inside the US) you need to stop wasting your time posting on /. and change your friggin phone service.

        Also, I don't really see how regulation goes against the free market. That's like saying having cops and laws goes against a free society. It doesn't. It goes against an anarchist society. I wish people would stop claiming they want a "free" market, when really they're just asking for anarchy, where corporations can do whatever they please to extort mo

        • by pspahn (1175617)

          Can you imagine if we didn't have the SEC, the FDA, price gouging laws, consumer protection laws... etc...

          Yeah, maybe people would actually have to *gasp* think for themselves.

          • Re:here we go again (Score:4, Informative)

            by Ironhandx (1762146) on Thursday August 19, 2010 @10:22PM (#33309900)

            **gasp**

            All of you folks trumpeting free market and people thinking for themselves need to remember one thing:

            Think about how dumb the average person is. Now remember that half the people are even dumber than that.

            Theres a reason for all the regulations, and most of them started out with the intent of keeping some of those sub average folks from sticking forks into electrical outlets. I'm not saying its right, I'm saying their hearts were originally in the right place.

            In addition, as a free thinking person that can "think for themselves" the greatest example of a purely free market at work can be found in multiple areas over the last few thousands years, rampant with slavery, all of the wealth being focused in a few people and used to gain power, or power being used to accumulate wealth. At some point, someone gets an advantage in cash flow, it probably isn't even from their primary market, or if it is its used on something that isn't their primary market to gain an additional cash flow. Now with this advantage they use it to slowly damage the competition, because they can afford to do so. Either by selling below cost for awhile, forcing the competition to do the same while they can't afford to do so but you can, or if they manage to make the gap wide enough fast enough then they just buy the competition. Anything new springs up and bam, bought. A new idea? Oh, shit you'd rather ride it out than just sell to me now?... Oh, wait, screw that, I'll do it too but I have so much more money to pour into it right now that it'll be better than yours, available faster than yours, and I'll sell it below your cost, then I'll buy whats left of you for next to nothing after you're broken and just go right back to gouging the people for however much I want. Hell, in your "omg regulations" system right NOW this happens on a regular basis, its partly made easier in some cases but mostly made harder and there are laws in place to attempt to prevent it, but most of them don't go far enough.

            Theres your free market theory at work, thats what happens in a pure free market. The money eventually all aggregates at the top creating an oligarchy or plutocracy, which in turn makes almost all of the people under them their indentured slaves, except for a select few of course.

            I can provide specific, recent examples of things that have happened simply because of a cash disparity and not enough regulation in place to stop it from happening, but if you still think a free market is a good idea then likely you have your fingers in your ears going "la la la I'm not listening"

            • by pspahn (1175617)
              My sig does a decent enough job explaining the reason I would prefer a free market. It's a reference to a song. Look it up and give it some genuine thought. When it comes down to it, I am a Darwinist.

              I might appear contradictory at first, but that's not the case. I just thinks there are way too many people in this world and the main reason is because people no longer have to think for themselves.

              • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                by Ironhandx (1762146)

                I agree to a point, but I feel the regs should still be in place to prevent an unfair advantage. a man with an IQ of 100 who inherits 100 million will inevitably trounce a man with an IQ of 140 who inherits nothing when they attempt to compete with each other.

                Basically I think they should remove most safety regulations, but keep the business ones and add to them. Mostly because social IQ is a different metric, and business almost exclusively promotes social IQ, and a society left in an endless circle jerk i

                • by pspahn (1175617)

                  I agree to a point, but I feel the regs should still be in place to prevent an unfair advantage.

                  You mean like being more fit to survive? I say tough shit.

                  • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                    by Ironhandx (1762146)

                    an idiot thats handed 100 million because he lucked into having a good father is still an idiot. Certain parts of that genetic code may be good but you lose all darwinism as soon as the idiot procreates off his fathers efforts.

                    On an even playing field that jackass wouldn't have been more fit to survive. You can't have an even playing field in a free market. In a properly regulated market the idiot would squander his fathers fortunes while not being able to play bully in his market and the other guy would ke

                    • by pspahn (1175617)

                      Intelligence isn't the only part of the equation. Luck does play it's role, but so does brawn. Regulations that level the playing field do nothing but add to the notion that "All men are created equal."

                      All men are NOT created equal, evolutionarily speaking. If that were the case, the animal kingdom wouldn't favor mates who have the brightest, strongest, fastest, biggest, etc.

                      It comes down to one factor. Who is the most fit to survive? Fitness has certainly changed it's meaning over the ages. Unfortunately

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by 246o1 (914193)

            Can you imagine if we didn't have the SEC, the FDA, price gouging laws, consumer protection laws... etc...

            Yeah, maybe people would actually have to *gasp* think for themselves.

            Regulation reflects people thinking about something and saying "I would rather have the world work in this orderly way, and use my brainpower on more important tasks than researching every company I buy food from, buy cars from, borrow money from, or engage with in any way. In order to have the freedom to spend my time some other way, I support the existence of public institutions working on my behalf for the public good."

      • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 19, 2010 @10:13PM (#33309856)

        You seem to think that the market will self regulate but it won't.

        1) More smaller companies will not make regulation happen. We had dozens of wireless providers and they slowly consolidated again--that's the endgame of capitalism.

        2) Cost of entry is too great for others to get in to the game and not because of regulation but because of hardware and wires, so we won't be seeing competition coming from the outside.

        3) Some times a government granted monopoly is the way to go. What would happen if everyone had to pick their own garbage collection company to come to their house? Collection days would widely differ, so trash would constantly be on the curb on your street; trash would pile up if companies folded without notice; some people would crazy sums of money because they were out of area; and really since they are already going down the street, why not just get all the trash on the street at once.

        Some times it's more efficient to be government regulated industry.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 19, 2010 @10:37PM (#33309970)

        Are you serious or are you trolling?

        FCC regulates stuff. For example, they regulate telephone networks so that telephone networks guarantee certain amount of traffic, *always*. What was the last time you picked up a receiver and didn't get a dial tone? That's FCC rules. FCC does not regulate your caller ID!

        FCC job is to regulate ISPs such that they cannot to QoS on SIP vs. HTTP, or SIP from telco 1 vs. SIP from telco 2. They can regulate that ISPs can only do QoS based on end-point-IP of their customers only, and not on content provider's IP or what is type of connection.

        Without FCC regulation, what is stopping ISPs from fucking over all SIP, IPX and any other voice connection because the ISP is also a phone company? What is stopping the ISP from demanding extra money to provide smooth HD traffic to youtube? Nothing. Monopolies can demand whatever they want.

        PS. I pay $0.01/min (one cent per minute, or 60 cents an hour) to call any number in the US. Better quality than regular PSTN connection. All thanks to Internet and because my ISP *chose* not to fuck me over. But what guarantee do I have that the ISP will simply not start blocking SIP connections because their revenue for long distance from my number is non-existent?? And what choice do I have for another ISP? Absolutely ZERO.

        My SIP provider, callwithus.com, even has a notice,

        Some ISPs block VoIP traffic to push their own VoIP services to customers. We offer VPN (virtual private network) connection to our server to avoid provider's blocks. Stay connected! We have a high success rate.

        yeah, it's already happening. ISP fuck customers over because they know they can't move to another provider anyway.

    • by TubeSteak (669689) on Thursday August 19, 2010 @07:56PM (#33308986) Journal

      and that telephone companies have been common carriers for years without the foundations of freedom this country was supposedly built on crumbling. (well, at least not because of that...)

      Telephone companies were a free market, before they were a monopoly, before they were regulated into a free market.
      Wireless providers are an oligopoly and they naturally don't want to end up regulated like their old fashioned copper wire predecessors.

      What's good for them and what's good for us are two different things.
      Unfortunately, they've got billions of dollars and we don't.

      • by grcumb (781340) on Thursday August 19, 2010 @08:24PM (#33309200) Homepage Journal

        What's good for them and what's good for us are two different things.
        Unfortunately, they've got billions of dollars and we don't.

        Where, pray tell, do you think the billions of dollars come from?

        The level of cynicism in the US these days is appalling. Given the number of things that are wrong with the country, and the relatively sophisticated level of interaction that we see on slashdot[*], you'd think that action might occasionally result. But no, the very people whom you empower to make stupid decisions are treated as some kind of force of Nature, no more controllable than the weather.

        Yes, the system is fucked from top to bottom. Yes, getting anything done is boring and tedious and draining and maddening and prone to delay. It's designed that way to keep things from changing. Yes, dream as one might about overnight revolution, the only major changes to happen in the US since the revolution have taken decades as often as not. Equality for all races is still not fully achieved, a century and a half after people first began fighting about it. The very concept of the government as having a role in preserving the welfare of the people remains contentious and under constant challenge, fully two generations after it was first introduced as policy.

        What, did you think there was any other way? Did you think you could just throw a hissy fit and the nation would re-shape itself to fit your latest whim?

        The media are corrupt and debased, so find better sources for reporting, analysis and commentary. They're there to be found. Yes, your politician is a small-minded dick (or dick-ette) who's happier to comment on some inane 'wedge issue' than take an actual stance on policy. That's because the tactic works. Challenge them, primary them, pick on them and don't let up. Pick your battles and goddam well fight them.

        Yes, you're going to lose a lot of the time. Most successes will be compromises that will make you throw up a little in your own mouth. But you'll have moved the sticks another yard.

        Even if you do none of the above, please, for Christ's sake, stop throwing up your hands in despair. Come on, you're clever people! Act like it for once.

        You - more than the nut-bars on either fringe - are the people who most make me want to despair. You're smart enough to know better, and to achieve real change, but you've already given up. There will be nut-jobs in every generation; what's tragic about this one is that you've ceded the entire political process to them.

        ----------

        [*] I said 'relatively'. Relative to the average forum, yes, this is sophisticated. Hell, you're even reading the footnotes, so QED. 8^)

        • by TubeSteak (669689) on Thursday August 19, 2010 @10:35PM (#33309960) Journal

          Where, pray tell, do you think the billions of dollars come from?

          The level of cynicism in the US these days is appalling.

          1. If I had millions of dollars in disposable income to setup lobbying groups that would be pro-consumer, I would... but (see point #2)

          2. More often than not, industry groups get invited to the negotiating table and consumer advocacy groups don't.

          Yes, you're going to lose a lot of the time. Most successes will be compromises that will make you throw up a little in your own mouth. But you'll have moved the sticks another yard.

          Even if you do none of the above, please, for Christ's sake, stop throwing up your hands in despair. Come on, you're clever people! Act like it for once.

          It doesn't matter how "boring and tedious and draining and maddening and prone to delay" the system is if you and I never get a seat at the table when it counts.
          Ultimately, by the time industries/politicians go public with their plan, our ability to negotiate a meaningful compromise is already irrevocably fucked.

          It's very rare for a large policy issue to not get decided behind closed doors and then "opened" to public input.
          You can assert that I'm being cynical and despairing, but I'm calling it like I see it.

          Or to put it succinctly: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regulatory_capture [wikipedia.org]

          • Re:here we go again (Score:4, Interesting)

            by grcumb (781340) on Friday August 20, 2010 @01:18AM (#33310736) Homepage Journal

            You can assert that I'm being cynical and despairing, but I'm calling it like I see it.

            I think you're spot on with your analysis. I only take issue with your conclusion that it can't be changed.

            Every great success in US history - and there are many - has come as a result of concerted action against enfranchised elites over the course of decades.

            Now get to work. 8^)

        • by shadowofwind (1209890) on Thursday August 19, 2010 @11:00PM (#33310104)

          Trouble is, as I see it, people complain when they're getting the short end of the stick, but almost always sell out when they get a chance to grab the long end. "The rest of us" can't beat the bastard elites, even though in theory we're stronger than them, because every time a few of us get a little leverage we switch sides.

          • by grcumb (781340) on Friday August 20, 2010 @01:11AM (#33310698) Homepage Journal

            Trouble is, as I see it, people complain when they're getting the short end of the stick, but almost always sell out when they get a chance to grab the long end. "The rest of us" can't beat the bastard elites, even though in theory we're stronger than them, because every time a few of us get a little leverage we switch sides.

            That's an exceptionally good point. You not only have to win the ground, you have to defend it as well. That's why politics is such a difficult game, one where gains and losses are generally measured in tiny increments.

            And yes, as we saw with the 'flower power' generation (and every other besides), no sooner does a group achieve entitlement than they start blocking others from achieving it. The bastard elites will always exist, and there will always be a disenfranchised group fighting for a place at the table.

            Again, that's what makes The System a pain in the ass to contend with: There's always some bastard elite trying to hold onto what they've got. Sometimes they're right to do so, sometimes not.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Nikkos (544004)
          "Equality for all races is still not fully achieved, a century and a half after people first began fighting about it."

          People've been fighting about it for a lot longer than that. It's just that somehow the world has decided the US has to solve the world's ills in the mere 200 years they've been here - despite the rest of you lot having been around quite a bit longer.

          The US has become the world's bloody soap-opera. I've had countless students from all over the world mention Obama (or Bush, a few years
    • by roman_mir (125474)

      How about wireless?

      There is much more competition in wireless than in wired land lines, which are common carriers.

      In wireless there is enough competition, the barriers of entry are much lower, anybody with some money can buy/rent a few pieces of land and install their own cell towers.

      So if a company builds network infrastructure by itself without any help from any government, shouldn't it be able to sell a service with a contract that explicitly discriminates against anything they wish?

      A contract is a contr

      • by MBCook (132727) <foobarsoft@foobarsoft.com> on Thursday August 19, 2010 @08:33PM (#33309272) Homepage

        In wireless there is enough competition, the barriers of entry are much lower, anybody with some money can buy/rent a few pieces of land and install their own cell towers.

        I was going to moderate in this discussion. Forget it.

        How is there enough competition? Is that why text message prices have gone up, despite costs to send them going down? Is that why AT&T has been spending less on their (famously bad) network lately, despite traffic being up at least 40%? Does that sound like something you do when you're in tight competition?

        And what's this low barriers to entry stuff? Putting up cell towers is expensive as hell, and it's hard to get the land to put towers up (which is one reason it's hard to cover cities). Then you have to have a spectrum license, phones that work with your chunk of spectrum, backhaul.... And no one is going to sign up with a carrier that only has 2 or 3 towers.

        Or are you talking about being an MVNO? Because those, even those that were arms of the big guys, have done so well over the last few years. The only carrier that seems to have entered the market recently is Wal*Mart, who is an MVNO (they don't have their own towers), and they have hundreds of billions they can spend to do it.

        So if a company builds network infrastructure by itself without any help from any government, shouldn't it be able to sell a service with a contract that explicitly discriminates against anything they wish?

        It's a legal contract, the government should stay out of it. But that's not the situation. We have 2-4 big companies, who move in concert (text message price raises are an example) and use their resources to keep new players out of the market (contracts, spectrum license auctions are bid up, etc). They have an oligopoly which they actively try to keep in place to stifle competition.

        The government should keep it's hands off the free market. But wireless and consumer internet access are no where near free markets for the vast majority of people, so it's the government's job to come in and protect citizens. Sometimes an industry or market needs a kick in the rear to get it moving. Sometimes that comes from inside (foreign cars during the oil crisis pushed the direction of Detroit), and sometimes it has to come from outside (the AT&T breakup).

        • by dkleinsc (563838)

          It's not so much "free market" versus "monopoly" as much as "competitive market" versus "oligopoly".

          When you have 2-3 significant sellers in a market, it's an oligopoly, and that means the rules are different than in a competitive market, because each seller has significant control over the going rate for the commodity (in this case, broadband access). Oligopolies are the source of a lot of studies in economics, because there's significant game theory involved.

          For instance, let's say your choices for broadb

      • by sjames (1099)

        So if a company builds network infrastructure by itself without any help from any government, shouldn't it be able to sell a service with a contract that explicitly discriminates against anything they wish?

        Sure, the moment a company manages to build their national network without using any government exercise of eminent domain for right-of-way (including for the publicly owned EM spectrum), no government grants or special tax breaks, no use of special must carry rules, etc, etc, then they can do as they will.

    • Que the standard partisan trolls screaming about how the government should "keep their hands off of the free market"

      They have names you know! And those names are Jmorris42 and commodore64_love.

      (I kid. It seems to me that on slashdot there are few people who think unrestrained free market solves everything and Jmorris42 and commodore64_love as far as I can tell don't actually think that in reguards to telecoms. The people you described aren't on slashdot, they're on Fox news.)

  • by Meshach (578918) on Thursday August 19, 2010 @07:41PM (#33308872)
    Judging from the restrictions being imposed the rest [reuters.com] of the world [skunkpost.com] that should be making more of us angry. Why there are not more people up in arms about the restrictions in the middle east is beyond me.
    • by PPH (736903) on Thursday August 19, 2010 @08:15PM (#33309126)

      Personnaly, I'd be more comfortable having my government come out and admit that they are spying on me then the current situation here. Pay no attention to those NSA splitters and fiber optic lines coming out of teecom switching centers (not on the international submarine cables, on the internal circuits).

      Nothing to see here. Move along now.

      • by ink (4325)

        The big difference in the US is that RIM, et. all are allowed to use encryption. The NSA has to break strong encryption if they want to record all conversations. I use PGP, ssh, https and other forms of encryption all the time because of it. All of my company's site-to-site data goes over AES/SHA tunnels, and I'm not in jail. In many ways the Internet is a "public place" in legal-speak, and you shouldn't expect any kind of privacy from anyone; perhaps least of all from the NSA.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          The problem is that there is no technical reason it has to be a "public place". People should be able to expect that their emails are private communications, just as their post letters are private.

          It is practice, and more specifically government and large-corporate practice, that has mandated the "publicness" of the internet. It need not be so.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by dbcad7 (771464)
      People live in different societies, with different morals and values.. It is not my job to change them to match my morals or values.. Change comes from within. No one is going to come to my rescue, or get up in arms if my government does something to suppress me, and I wouldn't expect them to., I would do what I could to change my own government.
  • by GiveBenADollar (1722738) on Thursday August 19, 2010 @07:46PM (#33308900)
    This is what I see:

    Side A: Net Neutrality means that I can do whatever I want with my net connection without paying different fees!

    Side B: Net Neutrality causes the government to regulate what ISPs provide, and stifles free market!

    Nobody is arguing true net neutrality, which is that my ISP is not allowed to regulate what content I receive through the means I have purchased. I don't care if they block ports on some plans, or limit my connectivity in other ways so long as they are not blocking sites or CHANGING the content before I receive it. If I use more bandwidth I deserve to pay more because it costs my ISP more to cater to me, but I don't want them to re-direct my web browsing (even my advertisements), I don't want them to throttle certain things that I am allowed to do, or otherwise hinder my connectivity unless it's actually because I have gone outside the bounds of my service plan (Too many GB downloaded/uploaded). Until we can stand together and support the free exchange of information without tying it together with freedom to do whatever the hell you want net neutrality will fail.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jmorris42 (1458) *

      > If I use more bandwidth I deserve to pay more because it costs my ISP more to cater to me..

      Exactly. Meter bandwidth and the whole argument changes to a much saner ground.

      Blocking P2P becomes a non-issue with ISPs if they can charge the filehogs enough to make a profit from them. Especially since if they have to pay most filehogs aren't going to be downloading nearly as much and if seeding actually has a monetary cost it really gets cut back. The p2p problem mostly goes away.

      Then there are the VOIP a

      • by jd (1658) <imipak&yahoo,com> on Thursday August 19, 2010 @08:57PM (#33309448) Homepage Journal

        The ISP doesn't pay more, the ISP has a fixed pipe for a fixed cost from their ISP, and so on up the chain. At the top of the chain, the backbones have a peering agreement at either fixed cost or no cost.

        The pyramid works because the cost of the pipe is 99.9% the cost of installation, with 99% of the installation that will ever need to be done already done (via the existing telephone networks, cable networks, used fiber and dark fiber). The only actual cost to the providers is that 0.1% for maintenance. The cost of heating the buildings that the staff are in and cooling the server rooms the ISP's equipment is in, vastly exceeds the cost of actually providing the service. And that cost is fixed, regardless of how many customers there are or how much bandwidth they want.

        Secondly, you are using an inherently unreliable network, NOT a commercial-grade MPLS tunnel. Even there, the same rule applies. A fixed pipe for a fixed cost. The cost is higher than regular rates, but the format is identical. If they want to scrap the regular scheme and move to a guaranteed service system, then price accordingly. I don't think anyone would dispute that. But metering merely works to obscure the real costs and the real service. You paying for a packet you send to the ISP, when you have no guarantee they will ever forward that packet to their provider OR that it'll ever make it to the destination OR that the reply will make it back to you -- it's about the same as paying the full price for a return train ticket in the knowledge that you can be kicked off that train at any time to make way for someone else with no possibility of a refund, a change of heart or a new ticket. If you wouldn't accept that for the train, then why are you so willing to accept the same crappy treatment of anyone else?

        It is because people accept crappy treatment that most services today - be it the Internet, the phone networks, television, or whatever - are all crap. Don't add to the crap that you'll take from others, for goodness sakes!

        • by jmorris42 (1458) * <jmorris.beau@org> on Thursday August 19, 2010 @09:17PM (#33309534)

          > The ISP doesn't pay more, the ISP has a fixed pipe for a fixed cost from their ISP, and so on up the chain.
          > At the top of the chain, the backbones have a peering agreement at either fixed cost or no cost.

          Despite your low UID it is clear you don't know shit about the Internet game. Lemme break it down for you.

          Imagine you are a cable company in a small rural town of 10,000 and for some reason are just now adding Internet service. So you have installed a fiber backbone in town and some boxes on the poles to segment the town into a dozen segments. You just paid one Metric Shitload for a 1GB fiber from your plant to an upstream provider. Now you are ready for customers. 10Mb service for $50 sounds in the ballpark so you advertise it. The first batch of customners are raving filehogs. 10Mb per customer for 100 customers... your pipe is running at capacity.... or would be if you could actually deliver that to them with the segments you put in place. So after adding a lot more segments you have em all happy. And your outbound pipe is running at 100%. So when the next 100 customers show up you have some decisions to make.

          1. Just oversubscribe em until everyone complains.

          2. Buy a bigger pipe. But that is just losing money at a faster rate because the $50 monthly charge x 100 isn't even in the same ballpark as just the 1MS (Metric Shitload) you are paying for bandwidth and you have to maintain the rest of the plant, pay the bank note on the original hardware investment, pay tech support, etc.

          3. Cap their asses.

          The current 'unlimited' retail Internet only works if you can oversubscribe and that is only possible if the filehogs are a small minority of users. Netflix, YouTube and other bandwidth eating apps are quickly changing that assumption.

          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward

            You're talking about speed and parent is talking about bandwidth available.

            maybe traffic shape and throttle.

          • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

            by j h woodyatt (13108)

            Awesome. It's a battle-royale of the low UID players! (For the record, I side with jmorris42 here.)

        • by TubeSteak (669689)

          You paying for a packet you send to the ISP, when you have no guarantee they will ever forward that packet to their provider OR that it'll ever make it to the destination OR that the reply will make it back to you -- it's about the same as paying the full price for a return train ticket in the knowledge that you can be kicked off that train at any time to make way for someone else with no possibility of a refund, a change of heart or a new ticket. If you wouldn't accept that for the train, then why are you so willing to accept the same crappy treatment of anyone else?

          Ummmm.... News Flash: Hotels, airlines, your doctor's office, restaurants, car rental agencies, etc etc etc will overbook their services.

          When you read the fine print, most of the services we pay for is a "best effort" promise, not a guarantee.

    • >Nobody is arguing true net neutrality, which is that my ISP is not allowed to regulate what content I receive through the means I have purchased.

      Remember the guy from Verizon who said Google was getting a free ride because Verizon wasn't charging them for the privilege of being accessible to Verizon customers?

      In his desired world, if Google doesn't pay Verizon, guess what happens to your access to Google?

      Verizon is already editing the results you get when you have a DNS failure.

    • by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Thursday August 19, 2010 @08:23PM (#33309192)
      The problem with that idea is that it hasn't worked elsewhere, and we have no reason to expect it would work any better here.

      I know a statement like this could get me shot at for being a troll, but according to all relevant statistics, the reason the U.S. is currently a third-world country for broadband is because it has been left up to private companies, who continue to price-gouge their customers.

      In the other countries that have better and cheaper broadband than the U.S. (which means most other industrialized nations), it is regulated and there is mandatory leasing of resources like backbone bandwidth so that there is, in fact, some actual competition, unlike what we see here.

      As long as the industries remain unregulated we, the citizens of the U.S., are going to continue to get screwed. The Internet is not a commodity like potatoes that will find its natural price in the market. It is an oligopoly that will never let go of its grip until it is forced to.
    • by unix1 (1667411) on Thursday August 19, 2010 @08:32PM (#33309264)

      The phrase "net neutrality" has a moderately good chance to become a political term, much like "global warming". Since FCC has been effectively shut out by the courts, at the end it may come down to 2 possible outcomes:

      1. Congress passes a law that regulates ISPs to serve "legal" content in a reasonable way; "political" and "charitable" content may also get a special treatment; they'll probably also mandate some sort of snooping, logging, filtering (or banning), and reporting since RIAA and MPAA will probably "help" draft the bill.

      2. ISPs are not regulated in any significant way - they have special deals with high-bandwidth high profile providers; this is likely to negatively affect competition since the upstart "small guy" with great ideas, in addition to his bandwidth and hosting, now has to pay ISPs nationwide (maybe worldwide) to deliver his content and fight against the established "big guys" who may, in turn, try to coerce those same ISPs to keep the little guys from competing.

      Hmm... which one to support...

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by webheaded (997188)
      Except you forget the part where the peak amount of bandwidth usage is the only actual factor that matters. It doesn't matter one bit how much bandwidth I use per month...it only matters how many people are using it at a time. The whole $/gb model doesn't even make sense. It's based upon a bunch of greedy bullshit. The ISPs don't seem to have any issues upgrading their infrastructure with the 100's of millions of dollars they make not to mention they built that infrastructure with our tax dollars. I mi
    • by nurb432 (527695) on Thursday August 19, 2010 @09:11PM (#33309516) Homepage Journal

      I don't care if they block ports on some plans, or limit my connectivity in other ways so long as they are not blocking sites or CHANGING the content before I receive it.

      Right there folks is why we have lost our freedom. Its either all or nothing, and you cant have 'just beacuse it doesn't effect me ( today ) i don't care. You need to care from the start.

      "Then there was no one to say no when it got to me"

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by bky1701 (979071)
        "All or nothing" means anarchy or totalitarianism. I'd say it's a false dichotomy. The problem isn't that people don't understand "it's all or nothing" (because it's not), but that people are apathetic to any problem that isn't theirs. In the US especially, we only care about our own problems and yet are very easily manipulated to intrude on other people's private lives. It is perfectly acceptable to cry about how your freedoms are being somehow harmed ("oh god they're removing my freedom of religion by sep
    • by The Lesser Powered O (20857) on Thursday August 19, 2010 @11:28PM (#33310240)

      People keep forgetting that networking is a layered service.

      Access methods (DSL, Cable, Fiber, Wireless) shouldn't determine the ISP -- they should simply be means
      to *get* to an ISP. That way, I can switch ISPs whenever one starts acting in a way I don't like. It used to
      work well with dial-up -- you could have *several* ISPs from one phone line. There's no technical reason we
      can't go back to such a situation.

      Go down a layer. Let's have the regulations guarantee *packet* delivery. Whoever owns the fiber/copper/wireless
      infrastructure can have a neutral packet delivery service. Pay them for a point to point conenction to any of a multitude
      of ISPs.

      That's a network neutrality plan I can live with...

  • Ideology (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 19, 2010 @07:57PM (#33308988)

    I always wonder why Americans treat regulation as something inherently bad. What is clear is that in the Western world, there are strong positive correlations between the amount of regulation of the economy and societal equality, and societal equality and general happiness. Assuming that the free market is good, and therefore regulation is bad, however, is a purely ideological stance.

    While I understand that treating the government with suspicion is a healthy attitude that makes degeneration into tyranny less likely, but that is more an argument for government transparency, not for generally keeping the government out of things.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      One of the reasons it is "automatically" considered to be bad is that much of it is illegal. Like it or not, our government does not have Constitutional authority to carry out much of the regulation it already does, much less what it wants to do.

      If people don't like that, they can always change the Constitution. But as long as the Constitution remains as it is, government regulation is bad, to the extent that it is extra-legal. Which means almost all of it, on the Federal level.
      • by TubeSteak (669689)

        One of the reasons it is "automatically" considered to be bad is that much of it is illegal. Like it or not, our government does not have Constitutional authority to carry out much of the regulation it already does, much less what it wants to do.
        ...
        Which means almost all of it, on the Federal level.

        [Citation Needed]
        If you prefer, we can go back to the good old days when monopolies ran wild and stock market crashes happend at least once a decade.

        /Food safety? Not in my unregulated society!

        • Citations given in another comment below.

          If you prefer, we can go back to the good old days when monopolies ran wild and stock market crashes happend at least once a decade.

          You mean rather than every 5 or 6 years, like now?

        • I will also point out that you left the most important part out of that quote: the people have the power to change the Constitution if it displeases them. If they want to change the Constitution, and give the Federal government legal authority to regulate what it wants to regulate, fine. But they haven't done that.

          Until they do, if you support extra-legal government regulation, then technically you are no more than a criminal. Expect me to treat you like one.
    • by pspahn (1175617)

      I always wonder why Americans treat regulation as something inherently bad.

      Blame King George.

  • by joeflies (529536) on Thursday August 19, 2010 @08:23PM (#33309186)

    Usually the word "OR" is associated with two alternatives. So when the author says "Threat or Menace", I really don't get the point he's trying to make and the distinction between the two.

    • by socsoc (1116769)
      It's quite simple. He's drunk, just like the CSS designer of that site.
    • It's a reference to an episode of the old (1980s) Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon, I think. (I'm sure it was in TMNT but I don't know if it was in something else as well...) In one episode April O'Neil's boss Burne (basically the TMNT TV series' version of Spiderman's J.J. Jameson - the newsroom boss who is determined to make money by publishing/broadcasting stories that cast the heroes of the series in a bad light) proposes that they do a special report called "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Threat o

      • Actually, I googled it after posting - I guess "Threat or Menace" was a J.J. Jameson thing (from Spiderman)... If my memory is correct and they really did use it in TMNT, then it must have been a nod to Berne's status as TMNT's version of Jameson...

  • if it's exactly the same service, exactly the same data, but only the transmission media or the name on the door differs, it is obscene to treat Entity A differently than Entity Z. period.

  • by George_Ou (849225) on Thursday August 19, 2010 @11:31PM (#33310262)
    "My personal take on Net Neutrality is that ISPs should treat all packets equally. I do not like the idea of being forced to host all my videos on YouTube or another huge site that can afford to make special deals with broadband providers such as Brighthouse, my local cable TV monopoly, instead of on my friend Joe's Globaltap hosting service."

    Ugh. Nobody "forces" Mr. Miller to host anywhere. He's more than welcome to host his videos at his friend's Joe's Globaltap hosting service, but is he expecting his friend to do this for free or give him some flat rate $5/month service? Does Mr. Miller expect his friend Joe to eat the Internet transit costs of $3 to $10 per Mbps per month which might be thousands of dollars a month for popular content while he free loads off of his friend's hosting service? Is he under the dilusion that all Internet websites operate at the same speed (http://www.digitalsociety.org/2010/07/call-the-net-neutrality-police-dailykos-loads-faster-than-foxnews/)?

    The reality is that only the largest websites like YouTube can afford server transit bandwidth on the Internet and there has always been a toll to deliver content on the Internet. YouTube gives you this bandwidth for free because they value your presence and your content which attracts eyeballs and advertisers. Google loses money but they're making a huge investment gamble on the future.

    Why is it that people lose all reason and sanity when it comes to the commercial Internet which is made up of all private networks and private investment? We can all oppose bad behavior like censorship of content or the blocking of legal applications on bandwidth people paid for, but Net Neutrality insists on going further to outlaw legal and voluntary premium content delivery services.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Tetsujin (103070)

      "My personal take on Net Neutrality is that ISPs should treat all packets equally. I do not like the idea of being forced to host all my videos on YouTube or another huge site that can afford to make special deals with broadband providers such as Brighthouse, my local cable TV monopoly, instead of on my friend Joe's Globaltap hosting service."

      Ugh. Nobody "forces" Mr. Miller to host anywhere. He's more than welcome to host his videos at his friend's Joe's Globaltap hosting service, but is he expecting his friend to do this for free or give him some flat rate $5/month service? Does Mr. Miller expect his friend Joe to eat the Internet transit costs of $3 to $10 per Mbps per month which might be thousands of dollars a month for popular content while he free loads off of his friend's hosting service?

      The point being made in the article is that, without good rules in support of net neutrality, ISPs can place artificial limits on the effective throughput of a server per connection over their network. This is different from the server's normal performance limitations, as the ISPs can (and probably will) do this on a discriminatory basis in order to make their affiliated services look better. One could place their video on a server that's quite adequate for the job (and with a connection adequate for thei

  • My $.02 fwiw (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Red_Chaos1 (95148)

    I see a lot of arguing over what "Net Neutrality" is, and how to define it. Really, I don't think it's very hard at all, and doesn't require a wall of text only the most veteran lawyers can understand. To me, "Net Neutrality" means this:

    Absolutely zero regulation of the internet, or what is sent over it. No blocking, no filtering, no slowing down of traffic, no pandering to higher paying customers. Data is made up of packets, and all packets are equal.

    I don't think this is a toughy by any stretch, and any a

  • only stupid people. Actually that's a stupid question. How can anything neutral be a menace?
    • by Red_Chaos1 (95148)

      Ask someone who was run down by a truck that was on a hill and got bumped into neutral.

      What?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      I decide to have a neutral pay scale group. Your in the group. Unfortunately everyone else in the group is unemployed. Now we will take your money and divide it up equally among everyone in the group. Fair right? Oh no, I'm not in your group. I make the rules so I'm in a different group which is also neutral.

      Net neutrality in my eyes either means that we will have basic freedom of speech rules for Internet access precluding censorship by ISPs or on the other hand that we will have a everybody equal system

  • by Animats (122034) on Friday August 20, 2010 @01:00AM (#33310658) Homepage

    We need a rule that if network connectivity is provided by a company which uses (or is affiliated with a company that uses) public rights-of-way for its cables, or public airwaves for its transmissions, it is a common carrier. All data shippers must receive equal treatment, and the carrier itself cannot compete in the content business.

    We used to have that in the US, and it forced a separation between ISPs and telcos. That was lost somewhere in "telecom deregulation". We need it back.

    Now we have the worst of both worlds - unregulated carriers with monopoly right of way rights.

  • by unity100 (970058) on Friday August 20, 2010 @04:51AM (#33311560) Homepage Journal
    morons who still cant decide whether we should have net neutrality.

    fish-memory having morons of course. if they had any kind of memory and cognitive ability, they would realize that net neutrality was the de facto rule of internet up to this point, and major reason for its global adoption, public participation of masses, and its eventual success.

    go please, start living in a cave. take your lack of cognition and misconceptions with you.

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