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Legislation Would Prohibit ISPs From Throttling Online Video Services 222

Posted by Soulskill
from the net-neutrality-limps-into-the-barn dept.
Dega704 sends this story from Ars: "A Senate bill called the 'Consumer Choice in Online Video Act' (PDF) takes aim at many of the tactics Internet service providers can use to overcharge customers and degrade the quality of rival online video services. Submitted yesterday by U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), the 63-page bill provides a comprehensive look at the potential ways in which ISPs can limit consumer choice, and it boots the Federal Communications Commission's power to prevent bad outcomes. 'It shall be unlawful for a designated Internet service provider to engage in unfair methods of competition or unfair or deceptive acts or practices, the purpose or effect of which are to hinder significantly or to prevent an online video distributor from providing video programming to a consumer,' the bill states. A little more specifically, it would be illegal to 'block, degrade, or otherwise impair any content provided by an online video distributor' or 'provide benefits in the transmission of the video content of any company affiliated with the Internet service provider through specialized services or other means.' Those provisions overlap a bit with the FCC's authority under its own net neutrality law, the Open Internet Order, which already prevents the blockage of websites and services. However, Verizon is in court attempting to kill that law, and there is a real possibility that it could be limited in some way. The Consumer Choice in Online Video Act could provide a hedge against that possible outcome."
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Legislation Would Prohibit ISPs From Throttling Online Video Services

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  • Not going to happen (Score:5, Informative)

    by TheNastyInThePasty (2382648) on Wednesday November 13, 2013 @03:11PM (#45415513)

    Too many Dems are in bed with Hollywood and too many Repubs will scream about socialism because it places limitations on big business.

    • by Xicor (2738029) on Wednesday November 13, 2013 @03:13PM (#45415549)
      all i can think about is time warner and youtube. all youtube videos are throttled so horribly with time warner that i cant even watch 480p. time warner also cuts off the buffering after a certain amount of time, so you cant just leave it buffering all day either.
      • by girlintraining (1395911) on Wednesday November 13, 2013 @03:17PM (#45415597)

        all i can think about is time warner and youtube. all youtube videos are throttled so horribly with time warner that i cant even watch 480p. time warner also cuts off the buffering after a certain amount of time, so you cant just leave it buffering all day either.

        That's why when I browse Youtube, I use a plugin that lets me download the .mp4 files raw... then they can throttle all they want. I just have 20x connections going at a time. Because fuck you Time Warner, that's why.

        • by TangoMargarine (1617195) on Wednesday November 13, 2013 @05:54PM (#45417505) Journal

          Downloadhelper + VLC locally = Winning. After enough time it practically becomes a habit.

      • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Wednesday November 13, 2013 @03:25PM (#45415659)

        all i can think about is time warner and youtube. all youtube videos are throttled so horribly with time warner

        Here's how to fix it. A good friend suffers under TWC and applied that fix over a year ago (that site is not the only one to discuss, just the first one I clicked on in google), since then youtube has been great for him.

        http://mitchribar.com/2013/02/time-warner-cable-sucks-for-youtube-twitchtv/ [mitchribar.com]

      • by Technician (215283) on Wednesday November 13, 2013 @03:30PM (#45415707)

        This is one of the reasons I dropped Comcast. As soon as an alternative was an option, I switched. Dropped my price about $10 per month (beyone the promotoion rate) and increased by BW by 3X. Now Comcast wants me back offering "faster than DSL" Xfinity brand service.

        I tell them every time that they blew their chance at retention. The answer is good competition. Market forces will kill companies that provide poor service. This does not work where there is a monopoly market.

        Now a 3rd option is in my area. Haven't noticed any throtteling on Netflix or Youtube. Even a test torrent worked just fine. Until Quest screws up, I'll stick around. I even have 3 VOIP lines with other providers that show no sign of throtteling. 2 lines are on an ATA (Linksys PAP2T-NA) and the third is a softphone Google Talk/Voice.

        Always avoid the companies with a media divison to protect. Remember the Sony Diskman. Too DRM Serial copy protected to be of any real studio use. Hard disk recorders and Digital Audio Workstations simply took the market. Cable companies will find a void they created will be filled by the competition.

        Verizon does have something to fear. There may be lawsuits when upstream congestion causes 3rd party content to be delivered slower than their own content not due to throtteling on their part. This law can only cause them headaches even if they don't throttle.

        • by Ungrounded Lightning (62228) on Wednesday November 13, 2013 @06:14PM (#45417721) Journal

          Now a 3rd option is in my area. Haven't noticed any throtteling on Netflix or Youtube. Even a test torrent worked just fine.

          Part of the problem is that the government defines "competition" (especially in communication regulation, ever since the initial rollout of analog cellphone service) as starting with two competitors. It writes regulations that stop pushing for competition at two.

          As I understand it, with two "competitors", rational pricing optmization algorithms actually drive them to splitting the customer base about equally with a high profit margin. No collusion is necessary - the price and market share transmit enough information to drive the effect.

          With four or more you're virtually certain to get somebody squeezed into a small market share but still able to survive. His best strategy, near term, is to compete with a low price or better price:performance ratio and grab market share. This starts a price or price:performance war that drives the market price toward cost plus a livable profit margin and/or makes the better service necessary for market survival. By the time this settles out the little guy is usually a big enough guy that he doesn't get squeezed out.

          With three competitors the high profit / low service level equilibrium is somewhat unstable, so it might go any of several ways (three gougers, squeeze out the little guy, or {usually} the price/service war).

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        time warner also cuts off the buffering after a certain amount of time, so you cant just leave it buffering all day either

        I see that happening too, not on Time Warner, and assumed it was a youtube bandwidth-cost-savings-feature. Youtube doesn't want to send you data that you might never even watch.

      • by CastrTroy (595695) on Wednesday November 13, 2013 @03:32PM (#45415727) Homepage
        I don't think that's Time Warner. I'm with Rogers here in Canada, and I get the same experience. I've heard similar complaints from people with all kinds of ISPs. Basically the problem, as far as I know, is that Youtube is broken. Youtube tries to cut down on network usage, so they try to stream it to you just fast enough so that you only ever have a minimal amount in the buffer. The problem comes when the connection fails, or you sneeze, or it's tuesday, and the stream slows down just a bit. This causes your buffer to empty, which makes the video stop. There' also major problems with them reconnecting to the stream. Once the connection is dropped, or the buffer is empty, you pretty much have to reload the whole page before it can start streaming the video again. I spent 20 minutes trying to watch the last 10 minutes of a 1 hour video last weekend because this was happening continuously. I can watch videos all day every day with any other streaming service, but for some reason, Youtube just can't get it's act together.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          I suspect youtube has had a massive spike in traffic in the past year or so. And not like 20% more, more like 500%.
          I suspect a LOT of people are doing what I'm doing.. Not watching regular TV at all, or only watching a few of the good shows that are worth watching(Probably downloaded, via DVD, or netflix - again like me. Only suckers wait for a broadcast that happens at a specific time)

          I've found content on youtube that's vastly more interesting and entertaining than what I've found on TV. EE video blogs. P

          • by k6mfw (1182893)

            I suspect youtube has had a massive spike in traffic in the past year or so. And not like 20% more, more like 500%. I suspect a LOT of people are doing what I'm doing.. Not watching regular TV at all,

            well gee thanks, all those youtube groups you listed will cause another 500% spike in traffic. But I agree regular TV has become superbad, and youtube has all kinds of cool stuff from ant colonies to classic movie clips (and when Discovery Channel had interesting programs).

        • In all fairness, the only other site that pushes as much data as youtube is Netflix... Youtube has *MUCH* more variety of content, so caching is less possible, and has thinner margins than Netflix does.
        • by vlueboy (1799360)

          I spent 20 minutes trying to watch the last 10 minutes of a 1 hour video last weekend because this was happening continuously. I can watch videos all day every day with any other streaming service, but for some reason, Youtube just can't get it's act together.

          Two things I've noticed: youtube seems to have different servers depending on the display size of your stream. Found a single video in a series that is buffering hard? Switching from 360p to 480p sometimes GREATLY improves delivery because you are fetching from a different nearby server that does not require buffering (not sure if that's changed recently)

          A recent and stupid change is that when you backtrack in a video, your browser requests the old data AGAIN. Sometimes even if just a few seconds old. Bonus

      • by alen (225700)

        depends on the video

        youtube has caching servers to cached the most popular videos inside the ISP's network, everything else has to fight for bandwidth

        i've had youtube problems on AT&T, verizon, ios, android, on almost any platform.

    • And if it does happen, it's designed to support the big names like Netflix and Youtube, not net neutrality for anyone else, who can't afford their own custom legislation.

    • by TWiTfan (2887093)

      It's almost more depressing to watch someone even try at this point.

  • Video only? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 13, 2013 @03:12PM (#45415535)

    Should be illegal to 'block, degrade, or otherwise impair ANY content'

    • Re:Video only? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by cheesybagel (670288) on Wednesday November 13, 2013 @03:20PM (#45415623)

      Precisely. That was the point behind net neutrality as a principle.

      • Profit first, principle second.

        • no no no
          It's Pork, Profit then Principle.

          People at the very bottom.

        • Profit first, principle second.

          Profit *is* the principle... From Better Off Ted [wikipedia.org] (one of the funniest work-place shows ever), season 1, episode 4, "Racial Sensitivity":

          Veronica: "Money before people," that's the company motto. Engraved on the lobby floor. It just looks more heroic in Latin.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      I'd be fine with it remaining legal as long as ISPs were required to put it in flashing text at the beginning of their agreements: Warning! We deliberately degrade services that do not pay us extra.

      Freedom is about making decisions with knowledge, not about scam behavior where the person is hoping you miss some detail of boilerplate, where their business model, if honestly written down, goes something like, "...and here we hide the scam mechanism, hoping the consumer relies on it, because if they notice i

      • Re:Video only? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 13, 2013 @03:55PM (#45415983)

        I'd be fine with it remaining legal as long as ISPs were required to put it in flashing text at the beginning of their agreements: Warning! We deliberately degrade services that do not pay us extra.

        Freedom is about making decisions with knowledge, not about scam behavior where the person is hoping you miss some detail of boilerplate, where their business model, if honestly written down, goes something like, "...and here we hide the scam mechanism, hoping the consumer relies on it, because if they notice it, statistically most will balk."

        Yeah, yeah, competition is great except how choices do you have for your ISP in any given area?

      • by spacepimp (664856)

        Sadly with the for the most part mini monopolies sanctioned around the US for Cable Co's and Verizon I think the ISP's would gladly have the blinking neon agreement there if they could get away with it. Where would you go?
        Deal with it!
        I'd rather they didn't tempt fate.

      • by shentino (1139071)

        Competition favors those who can cheat and get away with it. The honest schmucks get priced out of the market, and those that get caught get burned.

        This in turn gives an incentive to companies to pay off the regulators to look the other way.

        It pays to lie.

    • by dszd0g (127522)

      I would word it "any legal content." You wouldn't want to word it "ANY" as that would mean they wouldn't be allowed to block malware or DoS attacks and such. If ISPs weren't allowed to block DoS attacks that would be crippling.

    • That's what I was going to say. This is a good idea but the scope of it is too small because it's far too specific.

  • Just who owns the networks, that Senator Rockefeller and his esteemed colleagues are trying to regulate? Do they belong to The People[TM], or to the Internet Service Providers competing with each other?

    • by jythie (914043)
      Well, private ownership is a construct of government, and government is a construct of a citizenry, so both.
      • by DaHat (247651)

        private ownership is a construct of government

        Just like murder & arson are constructs of government... codifications in law of what was/is a long standing convention.

        • by jythie (914043)
          Private property is hardly a long standing convention, and even if it was, it is only as long standing as governments of one form or another have enforced them. These companies, just like any other group of people, only own what the government says they own, and if the government says it belongs to someone else then it belongs to someone else. Private ownership is a purely artificial construct, an agreement between people.
    • by Qzukk (229616) on Wednesday November 13, 2013 @03:22PM (#45415649) Journal

      Do they belong to The People[TM], or to the Internet Service Providers competing with each other?

      False dichotomy. They belong to internet service providers who don't compete with anyone, and who openly argue that they shouldn't allow other companies' services (eg Hulu, Netflix, and Vonage) to compete with their services (Cable TV and/or Telephone).

      Of course, the bill won't do a thing for Vonage, but it's a start, and maybe when I stream a 1 minute 1080p video from youtube without having it take 5 minutes to buffer on UVerse and the world doesn't end? People might think "hey maybe there's something to this".

      • by Jason Levine (196982) on Wednesday November 13, 2013 @03:54PM (#45415969)

        In addition, many of these networks were built thanks to an infusion of taxpayer dollars to the companies in question in exchange for some promises that the ISPs then "forgot" about when it came time to deliver (and used their lobbying muscle to prevent anyone holding them to their promises).

      • by mi (197448)

        They belong to internet service providers who don't compete with anyone

        Where I live, FiOS certainly does compete with Comcast — and a number of DSL-providers. The only legitimate role I see for the government is to further this competition.

        and who openly argue that they shouldn't allow other companies' services

        Whatever PR-game the ISPs are playing, it is theirs to play. My question stands...

    • by Pinhedd (1661735)

      The networks carrying the traffic belong to the ISPs but the data travelling across the networks does not.

      • by mi (197448)
        Really? Reading Slashdot, one gets an impression, that once you create a copy of the data, the copy is yours to do as you please...
    • by Holi (250190) on Wednesday November 13, 2013 @03:43PM (#45415819)

      Are you talking about the parts that are run on public and private property (not owned by the isp), Because if that's the way you want to play. I am ripping every cable down that is not on THEIR property.

      You see they were granted easements in return for providing us a service. When they start limiting that service they should lose their right of way and then they won't have a network anymore.

    • by neminem (561346)

      ISPs competing with each other? What world are you living in, the 90s? ISPs don't compete with each other anymore, then they'd have to care about their service and pricing.

    • Doesn't matter. I own my car, my house, and my gun, and there are plenty of restrictions on what I can do with any of those things, because they affect other people. There are even more restrictions on what I can do with the one thing I own unquestionably: my body. Ownership is not the question here.

      • by mi (197448)

        I own my car, my house, and my gun, and there are plenty of restrictions on what I can do with any of those things, because they affect other people

        If those people are simply your customers, then the best way to help them is by creating competition to your business.

        Speaking about your car, house, and gun — do you honestly accept all restrictions imposed as just? I doubt it...

    • They belong to the ISPs, who have been *saved* from competing with each other through government-ordered monopolies ("Why bother building out duplicated services?"). (NYC is one of the worst examples.) Since government allowed them a monopoly, government has a right to insist they allow open usage.
    • by alen (225700)

      interstate commerce, the government can regulate them

    • by lgw (121541)

      The networks that matter are often owned by government-granted monopoly providers. This law makes good sense in that batshit-insane and stupid context.

    • by jedidiah (1196)

      The networks are dependent on public easements that the network "owners" have been granted access to by many local jurisdictions.

      They are much like your local water and power company in this regard. It's long past time these other utilities (telcos) were actually treated as such.

      > or to the Internet Service Providers competing with each other?

      What "competing" ISPs?

      If you are LUCKY, you will have the choice between competing physical monopolies that will both treat you like sh*t and otherwise act like the

  • Why just video? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 13, 2013 @03:17PM (#45415589)

    I also don't want Verizon intentionally de-prioritizing my Vonage VoIP traffic, for example. Or a cable company that's tied to CNN.com making MSNBC.com's images load slower to make the site seem less appealing to read from.

    What we need is a very stiff, broader law that says, in a nutshell: ISPs provide bandwidth, period. In selling Internet Access, you're not allowed to block, degrade, or de-prioritize select traffic based on the type or source of said traffic. You're not allowed to effect the same by over-prioritizing preferred sources or types of traffic. Legitimate QoS for the purposes of improving overall customer experience is ok, but the QoS rules have to be (a) publicly details to your consumers, and (b) optional, with a zero-cost option to disable the QoS-prioritization of a given customer's in- or out- bound traffic.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by x181 (2677887)
      Additionally, any violations of these laws will result in life imprisonment for the board of directors and all executives.
      • Additionally, any violations of these laws will result in life imprisonment for the board of directors and all executives.

        Not harsh enough. They should be forced to get root canals from dentistry students getting their instructions live via videos streamed over that company's network. [ Any other ideas? ]

        • Additionally, any violations of these laws will result in life imprisonment for the board of directors and all executives.

          Not harsh enough. They should be forced to get root canals from dentistry students getting their instructions live via videos streamed over that company's network. [ Any other ideas? ]

          While at the same time being forced to watch Battlefield Earth over Google's fiber optic network.

      • Congratulations! You have been named to the board of directors of a major public company.
    • by Scowler (667000)
      Netflix and Youtube alone is over 50% of traffic. Non-video-service, non-torrents, is peanuts, and there is no reason why ISPs would want to discriminate against it, given existing US regulations. (VOIP might have been a concern a few years ago, but I think the idea of the major USA ISPs discriminating against those services is already waning.) So it seems focusing new legislation on streaming video services is probably wise.
  • I'm against throttling as much as the next guy, but I do see the need to manage bandwidth on a large scale.
    I'd think any ban on streaming video throttling should allow throttling down to a minimum of the video's bitrate +20%.

    If you are streaming an hour long 10GB video, does it matter if it buffers in 10 minutes or 48 minutes? As long as there are no service interruptions the experience to the user would be exactly the same.

    • No such thing (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      How about managing bandwidth by setting throughput and/or total transfer limits, and then letting me use it on whatever kind of data I want to? It's nobody's business what kind of data I'm sending through the pipe I paid for.

      • You are advocating not overselling line capacity. While noble, this would result in large decreases in top speeds, a large increase in pricing or both.
        If the throttling was limited to bitrate +20%, as long as the video source has available bandwidth you can hit play and watch till the end, or skip to any point in the video and continue watching without pause.
        The only users that would be affected would be those using steam capturing software, something generally against the ToS of whatever service they are

    • by gstoddart (321705) on Wednesday November 13, 2013 @03:42PM (#45415811) Homepage

      I'm against throttling as much as the next guy, but I do see the need to manage bandwidth on a large scale.

      That's what usage based billing is for. If some users download huge amounts and that costs them money, charge the individual users for that bandwidth.

      I thought the 'common carrier' status meant they were required to send everything without preference. Because since if they lost their common carrier status, they'd be responsible for things like child porn.

      As usual, these companies are asking for all of the protections of being a common carrier without any of the responsibilities and obligations.

      However, throttling the service of someone else (like Netflix) because your customers are using that service (and so they can push you to using their competing service) is a pretty one-sided outcome for the ISPs.

      • The problem with this is most consumer connections do not have guaranteed bandwidth, meaning that legally speaking, it's perfectly fine for you connection speeds to drop to 1/100th of its rated value from heavy use by other users.
        Using my 10GB hour video as an example along with a 1000 user node , the 10 minute(unthrottled) client would use 18 MB/s for ten minutes, or 1.8 GB/s of bandwidth for 100 users. If their connection node only has 2 GB/s of bandwidth available that leaves 200 MB/s for the remaining

      • by J053 (673094)

        I thought the 'common carrier' status meant they were required to send everything without preference. Because since if they lost their common carrier status, they'd be responsible for things like child porn.

        Once again, for, I dunno, maybe the thousandth time here, ISPs are explicitly NOT Common Carriers in the US (I don't know about other countries), but Enhanced Services or Information Services. The ISPs fought against Common Carrier status for lots of reasons , such as being exempted from usage or access charges from the backbone providers (who are Common Carriers).

    • by rickb928 (945187)

      "f you are streaming an hour long 10GB video, does it matter if it buffers in 10 minutes or 48 minutes?"

      That is the whole point of neutrality. If they make me wait 48 minutes for my online video, but theirs starts playing in 10 seconds, am I steered towards their solution? And why, because it;s cheaper, better, or just because they messed with the packets?

      Fairness, monopoly practices, and the concept of Internet service as a utility and not a service in and of itself are at stake here. If you let your IS

      • by Agent.Nihilist (1228864) on Wednesday November 13, 2013 @03:55PM (#45415985)

        I think you misread that a bit.
        Both the 10 minute buffer and the 48 minute buffer can hit play and start watching immediately. The example is an hour long video, the difference being the 10 minute download used 5 times the bandwidth for the same end effect, meaning in a bandwidth limited scenario that user prevent 5 other users from being able to do the same thing.

        That's the basis of the idea, allowing throttling that doesn't effect playback, but prevents spikes in usage from preventing others the same access.

    • How is the ISP supposed to know the difference between "streaming" and "downloading to a mobile device to watch later (as fast as possible because I'm trying to get out the door)?" Moreover, why would we want the ISP to know the difference?

      • You don't "stream" a download. It's a totally different type of traffic that is already easily identifiable, they already know the difference
        And again, the idea in the OP is to limit throttling to bitrate +20%, meaning that would could just hit play and it would go without buffering.

    • The problem is when your only ISP is $CABLE_COMPANY and they also sell on-demand cable TV packages which are being hurt by companies such as Netflix. You are thinking of canceling your cable TV package to go Online-Video-only, but notice that those videos buffer so much slower than $CABLE_COMPANY's offering so you stick with $CABLE_COMPANY. In reality, $CABLE_COMPANY is slowing down online video delivery to bolster their own video offerings. Of course, $CABLE_COMPANY won't admit to this and will just say

      • Again, this is why my suggestion prevents throttling below the bitrate(read as playback rate) of the video.
        They would be disallowed from reducing bandwidth below what is necessary to play back the video without waiting for a buffer.

        AKA if there is available bandwidth to watch a video without pause from start to finish, they can not reduce the speed to the point where you would need to let it buffer. However they could reduce the speed so you aren't using 10 times the bandwidth need to actually watch it.

    • How is the ISP meant to know the video's bitrate?

      In fact, most streaming video doesn't have a bitrate. It has several and the player adapts based on network conditions.

      • The player would need to embed that into the beginning of the stream, or announce it during quality changes. I would expect that the streaming sites would be happy to do this, as it would reduce their bandwidth costs by greatly reducing overuse.
        Streaming services really don't care if you get the full buffer in 5 minutes or 50, as long as you can play the video back with out waiting.

  • Forget all this half-assed farting around.

    Just return the law to the state it was before the 2005 Brand X SCOTUS ruling [aclu.org] that neutered network neutrality.

  • Those provisions overlap a bit with the FCC's authority under its own net neutrality law, the Open Internet Order, which already prevents the blockage of websites and services. However, Verizon is in court attempting to kill that law, and there is a real possibility that it could be limited in some way. The Consumer Choice in Online Video Act could provide a hedge against that possible outcome."

    We now pass a bunch of redundant laws so that it is harder to repeal them? As a software person, I am horrified.

    • Are you also horrified by ASLR, DEP or the very concept of layered security?

    • There's a huge opportunity for improvement by applying programming ideas to the legislative process (version control, "parsing" the laws to find duplicate code, conflicts, etc. -- legalese seems a lot more like a programming language than regular English, by the way)... The hard part would be getting the lawyers to care.

      Also, you're doing it wrong [xkcd.com].

  • Alright... (Score:4, Funny)

    by Jawnn (445279) on Wednesday November 13, 2013 @03:37PM (#45415763)
    Who missed the payment to that prick Rockefeller? Come on guys. You had one job - buy off enough Congressmen and Senators so we don't have to worry about this net neutrality crap. Now we're going to have to double his fee and go through all the political theater so he can save face.
    • by alen (225700)

      you're an idiot

      he wants to amend a law that congress has been amending for decades to keep competition in the marketplace

    • by lgw (121541)

      Sorry boss, Netflix and Youtube outbid us.

  • Imagine an ISP/television provider that uses their IP network to deliver both services. It sure sounds like this would prohibit them from prioritizing the IPTV traffic.

    So much for watching that World Cup match; your neighbor has p0rn to torrent!

  • What should be floated is

    The Following methods of shaping an ISP client shall be allowed

    1 measures designed to limit bandwidth served to what is contractually required.
    2 Caching of In Network Content or measures designed to identify in network "nodes" so that CLIENT SOFTWARE can choose in network nodes.
    3 Protocol Preference measures as long as ANY Client or server will benefit

    All other measures shall result in a fine not less than 25% of the ISPs Gross income (to include all sources ie advertising and Conte

  • Pork? Bullshit? Seems to be a bunch of bullshit to me.
  • This is why cities ought to own the copper and let individual households or neighborhoods choose who gets to deliver content over those wires.

    • by lgw (121541)

      If by "copper" you mean "fiber", you're absolutely right. The last mile needs to be a public utility completely indifferent to content.

  • by Tenebrousedge (1226584) <tenebrousedge@NOSpAM.gmail.com> on Wednesday November 13, 2013 @03:55PM (#45415977)

    His profile [opensecrets.org] doesn't seem to have Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon listed as major contributors, so I'd guess this man is honestly trying to do something for his constituents. It's also worth noting that he is doing this in spite of Verizon being a major source of funding. Also related and notable, he is retiring at the end of the current Congress -- he came out in favor of gay marriage this year [wikipedia.org] too, and in West Virginia that probably means something. I get the impression he's trying to leave a good legacy, and it's nice to see that.

    • by mi (197448)

      His profile [opensecrets.org] doesn't seem to have Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon listed as major contributors, so I'd guess this man is honestly trying to do something for his constituents.

      The profile lists American Cable Association [americancable.org] — just to dampen your enthusiasm. Not that I necessarily disagree with the Association's stated goals, but you are displaying utmost naivete, when stating, a career politician is "honestly trying to do something for his constituents." He and his likes are walking illustrations for the dire need for term-limits.

      It's also worth noting that he is doing this in spite of Verizon being a major source of funding.

      Verizon — which does not produce any content

    • by slserpent (898476)
      If only all of congress was leaving at the end of their term. Something other than naming buildings might actually get done.
  • REAL STORY:

    That we are still discussing this topic in 2013 is why Apple hasn't released the Apple TV yet.

  • What we need is a way to measure the money put into legislation like this. Perhaps a "kickstarter" for political action.

    NetFlix probably hasn't put much into the political process. The ISPs have made more campaign donations, so this legislation is pretty-well doomed from the start.

    We need a website where people can pledge donations to candidates who vote for or against specific legislation, sort of like Kickstarter for laws. Unlike kickstarter, people (corporations, too!) could pledge a specific amount eith

    • by lgw (121541)

      What we need is a way to measure the money put into legislation like this.

      It's called openscrets.org

      NetFlix probably hasn't put much into the political process.

      They're spending about $1 million per year, which ain't chump change.

  • Well with http/2 using ssl by default why not just deliver all video over an encrypted channel. If it all looks the same it makes traffic shaping much harder (especially if you use your own dns).
  • What we need is a mandatory uniform labeling and advertising requirement for internet access services.
    We have nutrition labels telling us what is in food.
    Whe have labels telling us exactly what is and not included when we buy a car.

    There can be perfectly legitimate reasons for internet access providers to block or prioritize traffic. Consumers may even want to pay for a cheaper plan that has more limitations.

    As long as it is simple and easy for a consumer to compare and see what they are buying, the govern

  • by Charliemopps (1157495) on Wednesday November 13, 2013 @04:48PM (#45416647)

    The answer to this problem is simple. Get Weights and Measures involved. Have them randomly test internet connections over a variety of ports to a variety of destinations. If the ISP is found lacking force them to refund the different to the customer. Just like if they were selling gas and the gas pump were over reporting.

    The alternative would be to have the ISPs charge per MB delivered. We'd see them beefing up the trunks to their remotes pretty damned quickly then. Suddenly file shares and Netflix users would be their best friends instead of what they are today... annoying, unprofitable problems.

  • You're watching a streaming video. Unless you want to watch it at high speed, then what's wrong with throttling the traffic to a speed just fast enough to prevent buffering? There's no need to stream an entire 90 minute movie in 10 minutes to whatever device you're watching it on. So let them throttle you so I can download my pirated Hurt Locker at 20mbps. K thx.

  • by ApplePy (2703131) on Wednesday November 13, 2013 @05:53PM (#45417491)

    Considering that everything government does is the opposite of what it says:

    "Affordable Care Act" = Unaffordable Higher Premiums for Everyone Who didn't Already Qualify for Medicaid Act
    "Patriot Act" = UnAmerican Orwellian Surveillance, Torture, and Secret Tribunal Act
    "No Child Left Behind" = No Child Gets Ahead
    "War on Drugs" = well, you get the point...

    So. What hides behind the cute title "Consumer Choice in Online Video Act?"

Stellar rays prove fibbing never pays. Embezzlement is another matter.

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