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Verizon's Plan To Turn the Web Into Pay-Per-View 332

Posted by samzenpus
from the making-it-worse dept.
snydeq writes "InfoWorld's Bill Snyder writes of Verizon's diabolical plan to to charge websites for carrying their packets — a strategy that, if it wins out, will be the end of the Internet as we know it. 'Think of all the things that tick you off about cable TV. Along with brainless programming and crummy customer service, the very worst aspect of it is forced bundling. ... Now, imagine that the Internet worked that way. You'd hate it, of course. But that's the direction that Verizon, with the support of many wired and wireless carriers, would like to push the Web. That's not hypothetical. The country's No. 1 carrier is fighting in court to end the Federal Communications Commission's policy of Net neutrality, a move that would open the gates to a whole new — and wholly bad — economic model on the Web.'"
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Verizon's Plan To Turn the Web Into Pay-Per-View

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  • Aren't they just... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Derec01 (1668942) on Thursday September 12, 2013 @08:02PM (#44836061)

    ...trying to offer us the web a la carte, like we wanted for cable? The whole web is one big bundle! There's tons of crap I don't want to pay for! :)

    • by interkin3tic (1469267) on Thursday September 12, 2013 @09:36PM (#44836575)
      This would be funny if weren't so likely to be taken seriously by the regulatory agencies which SHOULD currently be waterboarding Verizon's CEO for even suggesting this. With boiling hot oil.
      • by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Friday September 13, 2013 @01:14AM (#44837915)

        "This would be funny if weren't so likely to be taken seriously by the regulatory agencies which SHOULD currently be waterboarding Verizon's CEO for even suggesting this. With boiling hot oil."

        It ISN'T being taken seriously by the regulatory authorities. That's why there is a lawsuit. The regulatory authorities (FCC) realize full well that this would not be in the public interest, even if it were workable.

        Verizon is trying to fight their regulatory authority in court. That's what it's all about. Verizon doesn't have a snowball's chance in Hell of succeeding, but they are trying anyway.

    • by paiute (550198) on Thursday September 12, 2013 @09:38PM (#44836593)

      ...trying to offer us the web a la carte, like we wanted for cable? The whole web is one big bundle! There's tons of crap I don't want to pay for! :)

      That's right! I will get a huge discount in my Comcast bill when I give them the short list of domains I am interested in!

    • by Serious Callers Only (1022605) on Friday September 13, 2013 @07:42AM (#44839267)

      No. They're trying to charge content producers for using their network and end up with control over access, which will let them choke off that control, bundle the web, and charge on both sides of the equation - for the ability to push content, and for the ability to pull content.

      The web currently doesn't allow a monopoly on content and on bandwidth, it's completely open, it's not a fucking bundle, and I can't rightly understand the confusion of ideas which could lead you to ask this question. You pay for access to the network, not for any specific bundles of information, how is that anything like cable, and how the hell do you think this has anything to do with offering the web a la carte.

      Providers like Verizon should remain a dumb pipe, no matter how much they try to control the network. If they want control, it's certainly not so that they can offer you the web 'a la carte', it's so that they can impose control.

  • by postbigbang (761081) on Thursday September 12, 2013 @08:17PM (#44836135)

    They're a carrier. To expect Verizon or AT&T etc to behave like a wonderful, equitable business partner is to expect the earth to move from orbit on the propulsion of sparrow flatulence.

    Charging for stuff is what they do, and they will relentlessly continue to try. And each time, like every other time, we'll crush them.

    Do your part: tell those crazy telecom guys: monopolies were granted, not earned. We'll take away your easements, your rights of way, your utility company plates, and your seat at the table-- again. Your bribes to Congress and the legislature, and your armies of highly paid lawyers will lose once more, but you big bad boys-- you'll go back to your shareholders and exclaim one more time: we tried!!

    • As a carrier they have a financial duty to not piss off their end users and contribute to the collapse of western economic systems which in turn will destroy all their assets and their property.

      As a monopoly they have a right to run their business how we tell them to and make a small profit. Should be run as an NPO with extreme oversight (albiet you will never have an NPO that size without a little corruption). I.e. monopolies can't be for profit ever. But its no better then socialism.

      • by binarylarry (1338699) on Thursday September 12, 2013 @09:25PM (#44836485)

        I believe, when used with verizon in context, the correct term is "Fadouchiary Duty."

        I could be wrong though.

      • by MightyYar (622222)

        If you give them a motive to keep costs down by capping their rate increases, you get something a little bit better than a government monopoly... but not a whole lot better. The crazy thing is that Verizon and Comcast compete in my area for both phone and television, and yet the world has not ground to a halt and the skies are not cluttered with wires. I think perhaps we can rethink our ideas of where monopolies should exist.

        • by hedwards (940851)

          Compete, you keep using that word, I do not think it means what you think it means.

          • by MightyYar (622222)

            I think we've had a few stories on here showing that areas with FIOS and cable internet had overall lower prices and higher speeds. Here's one [slashdot.org].

      • by The Grim Reefer (1162755) on Thursday September 12, 2013 @09:59PM (#44836725)

        As a carrier they have a financial duty to not piss off their share holders

        FTFY

        and contribute to the collapse of western economic systems which in turn will destroy all their assets and their property.

        Unless we somehow end up in the dark ages, why would they care. Hell, some kind of dystopian Mad Max world would be great for them. That way they can just go out an burn down your house if you go over your bandwidth cap too many times. Now they have to issue warnings and pay lawyers and worry about those pesky laws and such.

        As a monopoly they have a right to run their business how we tell them to and make a small profit. Should be run as an NPO with extreme oversight (albiet you will never have an NPO that size without a little corruption). I.e. monopolies can't be for profit ever. But its no better then socialism.

        I'm a fairly big believer in capitalism, to a point. But some things just need to be socialized. We currently have a hybrid system, and the sooner we embrace that the better. Social Security is socialized. If congress wouldn't have raided the trust fund so often over the years, it'd have been in a lot better shape for longer than it was(but that's a different discussion). Healthcare should be socialized too. If people would get over this myth that the US is a strictly capitalist society, then we wouldn't have the abortion that is the affordable care act. If we're lucky, it will be bad enough that the country will figure out that socialism isn't always a bad thing and we can move on to something better. It's painfully obvious that what we have in the telecommunications industry is heading towards a train wreck. Maybe we can also stop privatizing profits and socializing losses while were at it too.

        I think I hear the ghost of a junior senator knocking on my door.

    • by MatthiasF (1853064) on Thursday September 12, 2013 @08:59PM (#44836309)
      We should stop beating around the bush and just label them common carriers. That is what they are; apply all common carrier laws to them and stop all this nonsense.
      • by TubeSteak (669689)

        Verizon argues that the FCC doesnâ(TM)t have authority to regulate an information service, a class of communications that the agency has previously exempted from most regulation. The net neutrality rules are a violation of Verizonâ(TM)s First Amendment free speech rights and its Fifth Amendment property rights, the company has argued.

        Well, we could just convince congress to give the FCC the necessary authority.
        That has about as much chance as getting the cable co's labeled as common carriers

        • by rtb61 (674572)

          Excuse me but the corporate right to censor speech does not equate to free speech, if fact it is the opposite. Net Neutrality is free speech and such is protected under the US constitution.

          • while you are correct that verizon's free speech argument is bullshit, net neutrality is not a free speech issue as such. Freedom of speech is a freedom from government interference with speech. Net neutrality certainly promotes speech that is already free, but its absence would not constitute government censorship.
      • by Fjandr (66656) on Thursday September 12, 2013 @10:39PM (#44837001) Homepage Journal

        They have common carrier status already; they do not exert editorial control and thus are not liable for crimes or civil infringements that their network carries.. What they need is to lose that status if they get their way, thus becoming liable for all content passing across their network.

        • by belmolis (702863) <billposerNO@SPAMalum.mit.edu> on Friday September 13, 2013 @12:50AM (#44837773) Homepage
          Exactly. This is a very important point. If they become responsible for content, their liability will be enormous and they will be unable to exert editorial control over so much material. They'd be nuts to accept such exposure. As long as we can ensure that they do not receive an exemption from current law, net neutrality should be safe.
        • by whoever57 (658626)

          They have common carrier status already;

          At one time, I thought of creating a /. called "ISPs are not common carriers".

          No, ISPs are not common carriers. They have some of the same protections that common carriers enjoy, but they are not common carriers. If ISPs were common carriers, we would not even be talking about the possiblity of losing net neutrality.

    • One wonders how they can get away, in any forum, by claiming "We invested in this, we need to make a profit" without literally being punched in the face.

      ... There's probably a reason I don't work in government.
      • This is a monopolistic corporation.

        You expect conscience, and when you don't get one, you're amazed.

        They get away with what they can get away with. This isn't about morality or customers, this is about revenue and Wall Street. Make no mistake. Punching them in the face is useless, corporations only feel pain when they lose revenue or stock value. Otherwise: no pain.

        That's why they do this over and over, like zombies.

      • by Obfuscant (592200)

        One wonders how they can get away, in any forum, by claiming "We invested in this, we need to make a profit" without literally being punched in the face.

        Because 1) it is true that they invested in their infrastructure that is being used to carry the data, and 2) as a publicly traded company they do need to make a profit. And 3) punching the CEO of Verizon in the face wouldn't change either 1 or 2, and would result only in you going to jail, and most people are smart enough to know that and exercise self-restraint.

        That said, they are making a profit. They're charging their users for the access. This is why the statement in the court filing that "And it tak

        • by bluefoxlucid (723572) on Friday September 13, 2013 @09:50AM (#44840109) Journal

          Joe Dumbass buys Verizon Internet Access for $49.95/mo plus fees*. *2.18 Federal taxes, $7.32 Additional Fees, $3.07 Internet Fees, $11.23 Technology Obsolescence Fees.

          BrickPackets Inc. purchases an OC-192 pipe from Level 3 Communications for $75,000/year plus $145,000 one time fee to run the lines (nice discount).

          Joe Dumbass has purchased the service of having access to the Internet, to be able to address and communicate with other things that have access to the Internet.

          BrickPackets Inc. has purchased the service of having access to the Internet, to be able to address and communicate with other things that have access to the Internet. BrickPackets Inc. has a much bigger pipe, and their TOS doesn't restrict their usage patterns with caps or usage guidelines (i.e. they're allowed to host network services like Web sites or streaming video servers).

          It's completely fair that Joe Dumbass isn't allowed to host Web servers or streaming media or whatever. It is, however, a fact that Joe Dumbass has a connection to THE INTERNET, and BrickPackets Inc. has a connection to THE INTERNET, and Joe Dumbass is going to use his connection to watch live news streaming from BrickPackets Inc.'s servers. Verizon's service contract to Joe Dumbass says that he will have access to THE INTERNET, and thus blocking BrickPackets Inc. streaming media content from Joe Dumbass is infringing on their service contract with Joe Dumbass. If they do so, they can't bill themselves as providing "Internet Access" anymore.

    • by CastrTroy (595695) on Thursday September 12, 2013 @09:57PM (#44836715) Homepage
      How are they supposed to charge the website when they don't know who I'm communicating with? Just another reason to use HTTPS for everything, or even use a VPN in conjunction with HTTPS.
      • by gnapster (1401889)
        That seems pretty clear-cut, since HTTP doesn't protect the IP address or domain name you request. If you're communicating with IP's of Facebook, Facebook pays Verizon. If you're communicating with IP's of /., then /. gets charged.
      • HTTPS doesn't protect against the ISP knowing who you are communicating with. As for VPN, we're already seeing some places blocking VPN. If ISPs turn their Internet offerings into pay-per-view, how long until VPN and all similar technologies are blocked?

    • by Fjandr (66656)

      I'm fine with them getting their way ... as long as they lose their common carrier status and become liable for all content passing across their network.

      • by Obfuscant (592200)

        I'm fine with them getting their way ... as long as they lose their common carrier status and become liable for all content passing across their network.

        I think the point you missed is that they are already not a common carrier for non-telecommunications services and that's why they can claim first amendment rights to control what is said using their information service infrastructure. They can't lose a common carrier status that they don't have.

  • Simple solution (Score:4, Interesting)

    by breser (16790) on Thursday September 12, 2013 @08:19PM (#44836149) Homepage
    Seems like there's a simple solution. Verizon's only choice is to try and degrade service for sites that don't pay. If all sites refuse to pay then customers will complain about the degraded service and possibly choose other ISPs. Customers that want to prevent this sort of behavior can simply refuse to visit or given business to sites that do work these sorts of deals. Thus discouraging both sides from doing this. Vote with your wallets people.
    • Re:Simple solution (Score:5, Insightful)

      by tepples (727027) <tepples AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday September 12, 2013 @08:48PM (#44836219) Homepage Journal
      If Verizon is the only carrier with reliable data coverage in one's area, how can one vote with his wallet?
      • Re:Simple solution (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Ichijo (607641) on Thursday September 12, 2013 @09:03PM (#44836351) Homepage Journal
        You can create an ISP cooperative [slashdot.org] and bring fiber to your neighborhood.
        • by Obfuscant (592200)

          You can create an ISP cooperative and bring fiber to your neighborhood.

          I tried that. I didn't get more than 10 feet out of my driveway and the fiber broke.

          It's HARD to distribute wireless internet over a fiber optic cable.

        • by westlake (615356)

          You can create an ISP cooperative and bring fiber to your neighborhood.

          Where do I find my upstream provider?

          How do I compete with the mass market pricing of the Telco or cable service?

          The Telco has been here since 1896 - and suburban development has never strayed far from the old land lines.

      • Re:Simple solution (Score:4, Insightful)

        by AHuxley (892839) on Thursday September 12, 2013 @09:10PM (#44836395) Homepage Journal
        As people have noted, educate your community about other internet options.
        http://www.wired.com/wiredenterprise/2013/05/community-fiber/ [wired.com]
        Understand your State, your local laws and then read up about what other people did in choice limited regions.
      • by msobkow (48369)

        There are always satellite links. They're expensive and they're no good for gaming, but they are an option.

      • This is Verizon Telecom (eg FiOS) not Verizon Wireless. (Though they will soon be one in the same). The FCC only regulated wireline ISPs in it's Open Internet Rules. Thus Verizon Wireless can play all the games they want and sell their paying customers to content providers at will.

        However, the case that went to federal court this week was brought by Verizon Telecom so that they could charge Netflix, YouTube, et al.. And they don't even need to degrade service, they just need to drag their feet on peering [arstechnica.com]

      • If Verizon allows this to happen, people might actually start voting on it. Like, for REALS voting. They'll avoid that possibility at all costs. Even dictators do need to make their citizens like them somewhat: if enough people dislike you, they'll make other options happen, no matter what.
      • Double-check with some extensive web searches, DSLReports, and so forth. A lot of small ISPs still exist, but because they don't advertise on TV or huge billboards, the vast majority of people in the area (including geeks) are only aware of the big-name ISPs in their area and maybe one or two smaller ones at best.

      • by citizenr (871508)

        oh its simple, you buy a ski mask and set fire to Verizon infrastructure at night for few months in a row.

    • Or, to put it another way: "Dat's a nice website you have dere. It'd be a shame if something were to HAPPEN to it. You know, like slowing to a crawl or something? But if you just pay us for Super High Speed Service, we'll make sure our customers see your site just fine."

      As for ISP's customers, many don't have a choice. If I want high speed Internet, my choices are Time Warner Cable or nothing. Verizon has DSL service, but they've shown that they are increasingly ditching it so jumping to that would be l

  • Might be ok (Score:4, Funny)

    by djupedal (584558) on Thursday September 12, 2013 @08:20PM (#44836163)
    Because by the time this happens, I'll be on a beach in Panama, with no electricity, no internet and no need for either. Just me, a case of rum, a nice cool breeze and the sound of waves gently lapping at my feet. Verizon & FB can suck it.
    • by torkus (1133985)

      ...and two weeks later when the rum runs out you won't be able to conveniently order another case on your phone without leaving the hammock. Unless you're not an alcoholic like me and it last long enough to set up your own still I suppose.

      Seriously though, the vast majority of the 1st world (and a good # of the 3rd) depend on communication being readily available. While I know these companies are looking for new, creative ways to scratch out a few more % profit they're going about it backwards. Don't try

  • by slick7 (1703596) on Thursday September 12, 2013 @08:47PM (#44836213)
    Monopolizing greed only benefits the greedy. I see this as the writing on the wall, goodbye Verizon, the consumer has spoke. I sought a different carrier after dismal service from Verizon. If this is the future of phone service, then I'll go back to a land line with a rotary dial. Since few people will understand my last statement, it will be the most secure system ever.
  • When it comes down to it Verizon can shit in one hand and charge in the other and in the end they will have a hand full of shit and no customers.
    Historically , there have been loads of schemes since the inception of the internet to charge extra, they are all as successful as flapping your arms really hard to fly.
    Usually this is the seismic activity that occurs just before a company hires a fleet of "consultants" to streamline....
    Sh'long Verizon, we hardly cared for ye.

  • ...to switch to a different ISP?

    Can you hear me NOW?

  • Charge back? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by retech (1228598) on Thursday September 12, 2013 @09:20PM (#44836465)
    Can website owners charge Verizon for coming to the site? It'd be fun to see how they handle a bill for usage. Oh, and add in admin fees, billing fee, premium use fee, primetime use fee, off peak use fee, per byte use fee, admin fee for counting byte usage, server usage charges, server maintenance charges, gov't tax fee, cross border off-set fee, environmental off-set fees, off/on season fees, grounds fees, snack fees, and general labor fees.
  • by FuzzNugget (2840687) on Thursday September 12, 2013 @09:51PM (#44836683)
    Back to the days when it was just dumb pipes.

    I wonder if it would be possible to build our own truly decentralized "swarm-net" using a mesh of devices that talk directly to each other. Because it's looking more and more like we need something exacly like that.

    I'm envisioning some sort of wireless uplink bridging device with a zero-configuration discovery protocol that seeks out and automatically connects nearby sibling devices. It would need to a wireless protocol with better range than 802.11, have distributed DNS and be IPv6-only between nodes. Such a device could be connected to a router's WAN port to serve as the single uplink or to a LAN port and serve as a bridging device to connect to Internet and "swarm-net" sites. We could keep on using all of the great Internet technologies and protocols. Everything would be encrypted. E-VREY-THING.

    Obviously, adoption would be the biggest hurdle. But, yeah, we need something like that.
  • I don't think PPV for web sites makes much sense.

    BUT I can see Verizon chomping at the bit regarding video streaming. It competes against their cable offering and their own PPV, and uses their infrastructure in an expensive way, for free. QoS for the web and QoS for Netflix streaming are two completely different ballgames.

    • by gl4ss (559668)

      the customers pay for that infrastructure... and the reason they pay is the sites they visit.

  • They're paying $130 Billion to buy the remaining 45 percent of Verizon Wireless they don't already own. They obviously have some more "diabolical" plans to maximize their investment on infrastructure, be it wired or wireless.
  • by no-body (127863)
    and money-greedy people those jerks!
  • by ravenscar (1662985) on Thursday September 12, 2013 @10:32PM (#44836947)

    I pay my ISP to view the internet. I give them my money to access exactly the sites they are complaining about. If they did not give me access to those sites I would not pay them. I think most customers feel the same way. Nobody pays $100 a month for broadband access so they can send an occasional email or look at wikipedia once in a while. Verizon should be thanking sites like Netflix for creating the demand that allows to get paid by lots and lots of people like me.

    Of course, if Verizon wants to pay me for adding demand to their system (thus allowing them to charge the content providers) then I suppose I might think differently. They can't collect on both ends of the transaction while adding absolutely no value in the middle. Verizon - when do I get my check for watching Netflix?

  • And in other news a major airline said that it would add a "fuel bill" on top of current ticket prices, because obviously you are not paying enough... When I pay $X per month, I am paying to have packets delivered. When I run a website, my "host" pays $X per month to have those packets delivered. The web is nothing without all of us and if Verizon pushes forward with that lunacy then the Verizon "subnet" will be a cold, dark place.
  • One of the arguments that the ISP are making is that they are *more* than a provider, but actually a type of "editor".

    "..The company [Verizon] claims that requiring it to treat all traffic equally violates the First and Fifth Amendments. The Fifth Amendment, it says, protects against having to give other companies a "permanent easement" on its network, claiming a kind of unfair digital eminent domain. And it argues that the First Amendment says the FCC can&rsquo;t force it to distribute others&rsquo
  • I have a bit of difficulty following this issue, because our ISP's invariably try to sell their customer for an internet plan where you get a connections speed and data allowance. There are some variations in the limitations, for instance some ISP's charge for excess data, most shape, or throttle the speed to 64k/64k or 256k/64k, some count upload data, some don't. Where they're all consistent is that you are paying for an internet connection and you get that service without any problems regarding what you

  • ... AOL 2.0

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 12, 2013 @11:33PM (#44837375)

    Pretty much sums it up: http://i.imgur.com/5RrWm.png [imgur.com]

  • by asm2750 (1124425) on Thursday September 12, 2013 @11:56PM (#44837487)
    If Verizon decides they want to put a limit on how much can be used on their pipes then let them. It's only a matter of time before Google Fiber sets up shop in Verizon's backyard and eats their lunch.
  • by runeghost (2509522) on Friday September 13, 2013 @03:39AM (#44838443)
    There ought to be other choices, but it's becoming that the only choices the corporations will allow are their complete mastery over the human race, or their destruction.

"The vast majority of successful major crimes against property are perpetrated by individuals abusing positions of trust." -- Lawrence Dalzell

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