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FCC Backs Net Neutrality, Chairman's Full Speech Posted 270

ArmyofGnomes writes "FCC chairman Julius Genachowski delivered Monday on President Obama's promise to back 'net neutrality' — but he went much further than merely seeking to expand rules that prohibit ISPs from filtering or blocking net traffic by proposing that they cover all broadband connections, including data connections for smartphones. Genachowski stated: 'I understand the Internet is a dynamic network and that technology continues to grow and evolve. I recognize that if we were to create unduly detailed rules that attempted to address every possible assault on openness, such rules would become outdated quickly. But the fact that the Internet is evolving rapidly does not mean we can, or should, abandon the underlying values fostered by an open network, or the important goal of setting rules of the road to protect the free and open Internet. ... In view of these challenges and opportunities, and because it is vital that the Internet continue to be an engine of innovation, economic growth, competition and democratic engagement, I believe the FCC must be a smart cop on the beat preserving a free and open Internet.'"
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FCC Backs Net Neutrality, Chairman's Full Speech Posted

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  • analysis please (Score:3, Interesting)

    by poetmatt ( 793785 ) on Monday September 21, 2009 @02:43PM (#29494603) Journal

    for the folks who have read this in detail, can anyone spot any omissions or areas that they might have failed to cover in their ideas? Does it open anything up to exploitation?

    It sounded good to me but for some reason I got a vibe of "they'll use this to exclude things not covered" in some way. I'm thinking about the promises of "up to" as one thing that's not touched upon, or the forcing of people to purchase certain bundles by financial incentive (such as being cheaper for internet + cable than naked internet - aka comcast again).

  • priority (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Lord Ender ( 156273 ) on Monday September 21, 2009 @02:45PM (#29494653) Homepage

    Some protocols want high bandwidth, while others want low latency. I see no problem prioritizing like this. Anything beyond this is a slippery slope, though.

  • Re:Server vs. client (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ArhcAngel ( 247594 ) on Monday September 21, 2009 @02:47PM (#29494685)

    I'm curious how services like ESPN 360 will be affected being that they are the content provider and not the ISP. They are still blocking content to you unless you are on the "right" ISP.

  • Re:analysis please (Score:4, Interesting)

    by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <> on Monday September 21, 2009 @02:53PM (#29494777) Homepage Journal

    for the folks who have read this in detail, can anyone spot any omissions or areas that they might have failed to cover in their ideas? Does it open anything up to exploitation?

    The speech harped quite a bit (as much as it repeated itself on anything) about the need to protect legal uses of the internet, and explicitly says that illegal activity on the internet must be stopped. If you were to be paranoid (I tried to maintain a healthy dose of skepticism while reading the transcript but the last paragraph gave me a woody... that's a Debian woody, to you) then you might consider this a pledge to cooperate with law enforcement agencies, and to compel ISPs in the same direction. I don't know if I'm that paranoid, but ask me again tomorrow.

  • by MrMista_B ( 891430 ) on Monday September 21, 2009 @02:53PM (#29494787)

    I live in Canada.

    Does this mean, if this passes, that I'll be able to watch services such as Hulu, which are otherwise blocked to ISP's outside the USA?

  • Re:priority (Score:3, Interesting)

    by dgatwood ( 11270 ) on Monday September 21, 2009 @03:02PM (#29494931) Homepage Journal

    Any client that requires isochronous behavior (consistent flow of data at a constant bitrate) should make its intentions clear by requesting a bandwidth reservation.

    RSVP []

    All such clients should specify the Type Of Service [] field value as well.

  • Re:priority (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 21, 2009 @03:13PM (#29495063)

    My download files should have higher priority than your crummy voice calls, so I'll have all my connections be high priority. I'm paying for a connection yadda yadda yadda...

  • by jollyreaper ( 513215 ) on Monday September 21, 2009 @03:18PM (#29495133)

    It is exciting to see a political figure take a stance on something important that makes sense for once. I thought a man with enough backbone to fight for net neutrality publicly would certainly have a moustache but a quick google search proved my assumption wrong.

    It actually leaves me stunned. "They always fuck this stuff up. How is he fucking this up? I'm rereading. There has to be a fuckup in here somewhere."

    It's like minding a retarded three-year with an affinity for eating animal droppings and one day he doesn't immediately run for the dog poo. Wait, did aliens abduct him and replace him with a clone almost indistinguishable but for the unexpected bit about not being a drooling window-licker and if so, can we make sure they never bring back the original?

  • Bandwidth whores (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 21, 2009 @03:26PM (#29495227)

    It's one thing to say that an ISP should content regardless of the content provider. It is another thing to say that they should not be able to prioritize traffic. Real time applications (VOIP) may need priority over non-real time applications; protocols with smaller packets, no connection, etc might be prioritized while the bit-torrents could (and should) be degraded.

    There is a huge difference between the content and the protocol. If you want efficient networks that allow everyone to access teh common resources you will allow ISPs to filter based on protocol but not based on the content within the protocol.

    But this entire conversation is deceptive... Do bit-torrents have legitimate purposes? Sure. Can they be accomplished by another protocol? As long as you aren't downloading 20g/day of stolen movies/music. I for one beleive that those who funded, built, and maintain the networks should have both the right and the responsibility to manage their networks so that all users can access resources and preventing this will cause the degradation of the internet in favor of a few greedy users.

    This entire statement does not use the word "torrent" once and it is clear that it does not address the core issues involved... bandwidth whores.

  • Re:Server vs. client (Score:4, Interesting)

    by blackraven14250 ( 902843 ) * on Monday September 21, 2009 @03:38PM (#29495371)
    I agree with this. The issue is over the connection between you and point b, not whether point b wants to cater to you.
  • by poetmatt ( 793785 ) on Monday September 21, 2009 @03:39PM (#29495381) Journal

    You and I understand that concept. However, how they interpret it, as said, matters.

    Degradation of things due to copyright is something that the RIAA does when they put bad/false seeders on a torrent to make it look popular and track people/make it harder to download. So the question of is what they are doing net neutrality, etc, blurs these ideas quite a bit.

  • by Boronx ( 228853 ) <evonreis@mohr-en ... m ['ing' in gap]> on Monday September 21, 2009 @04:49PM (#29496317) Homepage Journal

    There's actually been huge stretches of time (postwar period, for one) where a lot of thought about policy was actually directed at making policy beneficial for the country and it's citizens. It's only since the '80s that this went by the wayside, and even then it took 20 years to completely die, when we elected an administration that didn't care at all about policy. As John D'Iulio, a Bush insider and student of prior administrations put it:

    "In eight months, I heard many, many staff discussions, but not three meaningful, substantive policy discussions. There were no actual policy white papers on domestic issues. There were, truth be told, only a couple of people in the West Wing who worried at all about policy substance and analysis, and they were even more overworked than the stereotypical, nonstop, 20-hour-a-day White House staff. Every modern presidency moves on the fly, but, on social policy and related issues, the lack of even basic policy knowledge, and the only casual interest in knowing more, was somewhat breathtaking..."

    Don't be pushing any false equivalence between this admin and the last or any previous. With any luck, the last 8 years, a low point in thoughtful policy since before FDR, will remain the low point and things will start getting better again.

  • by blueg3 ( 192743 ) on Monday September 21, 2009 @04:52PM (#29496365)

    Or, even better, sometimes you can switch companies. To another company that does the same exact thing. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss. Gotta love the "free market."

    Usually these companies don't seem to be fond of standardization, though. So really you're not likely to switch to a company that does the exact same thing... just basically the same thing with different details!

  • Re:priority (Score:3, Interesting)

    by RzUpAnmsCwrds ( 262647 ) on Monday September 21, 2009 @07:18PM (#29497929)

    The problem is that no one in North America is implementing a European-style cell billing system.

    No, the problem is that the US doesn't distinguish between landline numbers and mobile numbers. We pay to receive instead of having the caller pay out the rear for the privilege of calling a mobile phone.

    Go actually compare rates in North America and Europe. You'll find that European providers offer lower-priced options, and that there are more prepaid options as well. But in the price categories that most people in the US pay, US carriers are actually quite competitive.

    T-Mobile UK offers 1GB of mobile data, 1000 minutes, and unlimited SMS for £40.50/mo [] (about $66/mo).

    Sprint offers "unlimited" (realistically, 5GB) of mobile data, 450 minutes, and unlimited SMS/MMS for $70/mo. The 450 minutes looks really bad until you consider the fact that Sprint doens't count calls made after 7pm, on weekends, or to any mobile phone in the US against that total. Only calls made to landlines on weekdays before 7pm count.

    Which is better? If you call landlines a lot, the T-Mobile UK plan is better. If you use lots of mobile data or mostly call mobile phones (or at night or on weekends), the Sprint plan might be better.

    The point is that it isn't a huge gulf like people seem to believe.

  • by CyprusBlue113 ( 1294000 ) on Monday September 21, 2009 @07:37PM (#29498101)
    They're showing their corporatism honestly, which is depressing as I used to like Wired. Physical communications is a natural monopoly much like the interstate system, and I would very much prefer to see one utility only allowed to provide physical plant, and mandated to do so, and not permitted to sell any services over said plant.

    You would then have service companies sell connectivity over the utilities' physical plant, paying the utility for the base connectivity.

    Unfortunately what we have right now, is a hybrid situation, which to be perfectly honest, serves neither goal, and is almost an example of regulatory capture. Complete deregulation would be similar to what New York City looked like in the early days of power distribution (many lines from competitors going everywhere to all buildings), while we had full regulation attempted in the destruction of MA bell back in the day, but its been eroded and sidelined by both competitors/incumbents eeeking out sweetheart deals in order to compete (1996 Telecom Act), as well as the sibling Bell's continued lobbying specifically of both the FCC and their Republican friends in both the legislative and executive branches to relax their restrictions on service, while leaving their right of way easements intact.

    Neither of the above options is very attractive, yet the status quo, and the far "liberal" annexation and seperation of service from infrastructure are just as hated by other camps. Honestly, I don't see the status quo lasting forever more (its too self serving at the moment on the primary carriers as evidenced by ISDN and DSL experience), yet I'm not sure what solution will ever be put forth, let alone passed, against a very large base of empowered and wealthy inertia seeking to maintain their own dominance.
  • Re:Bandwidth whores (Score:3, Interesting)

    by LionMage ( 318500 ) on Monday September 21, 2009 @08:07PM (#29498395) Homepage

    Do bit-torrents have legitimate purposes? Sure. Can they be accomplished by another protocol? As long as you aren't downloading 20g/day of stolen movies/music.

    It seems that you're claiming that the only reason to use BitTorrent instead of some other (presumably less bandwidth-intensive) protocol is for illicit activities -- your example given is stolen music and movies. This, despite leading in with the reasonable-sounding declaration that there are legitimate uses for torrents.

    Personally, I would hate to have to rely on FTP or HTTP to download a Linux DVD ISO, or the latest patch for World of Warcraft (yes, WoW patches are distributed via BitTorrent). In most cases, I could get what I wanted via FTP or HTTP, but I can't tell you how many times I had downloads > 75% complete which choked for some strange reason and would not resume, forcing me to start over from scratch. BitTorrent has proven frequently faster and almost always more reliable.

    In the case of Blizzard, I think they do offer patches for direct download, but that method seems kind of frowned upon... and you don't get to download that way until after the patch becomes mandatory IIRC.

    Thinking of some of the NIN albums I (legally) downloaded, I know Trent made a few things available via BitTorrent -- mostly longer works, like the lossless or 96k/24bit high-res versions of albums. Again, I don't have a problem downloading a smattering of MP3 files the more conventional way, but if I want the lossless version of an album, I'm going to torrent that. And you know what? After the torrent is done, I'm going to leave the BitTorrent client running for a couple days so others can benefit from my seed, which moves traffic away from Trent's servers and helps distribute the load across the network.

  • Re:Server vs. client (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anpheus ( 908711 ) on Monday September 21, 2009 @09:38PM (#29499185)

    Fortunately the commerce clause really does cover something like the large inter-state communication networks, and allows the FCC to prevent one ISP from implementing draconian provisions that affect all of us.

What this country needs is a good five cent ANYTHING!