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Comcast Hints At Plan For Paid Fast Lanes After Net Neutrality Repeal (arstechnica.com) 308

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: For years, Comcast has been promising that it won't violate the principles of net neutrality, regardless of whether the government imposes any net neutrality rules. That meant that Comcast wouldn't block or throttle lawful Internet traffic and that it wouldn't create fast lanes in order to collect tolls from Web companies that want priority access over the Comcast network. This was one of the ways in which Comcast argued that the Federal Communications Commission should not reclassify broadband providers as common carriers, a designation that forces ISPs to treat customers fairly in other ways. The Title II common carrier classification that makes net neutrality rules enforceable isn't necessary because ISPs won't violate net neutrality principles anyway, Comcast and other ISPs have claimed.

But with Republican Ajit Pai now in charge at the Federal Communications Commission, Comcast's stance has changed. While the company still says it won't block or throttle Internet content, it has dropped its promise about not instituting paid prioritization. Instead, Comcast now vaguely says that it won't "discriminate against lawful content" or impose "anti-competitive paid prioritization." The change in wording suggests that Comcast may offer paid fast lanes to websites or other online services, such as video streaming providers, after Pai's FCC eliminates the net neutrality rules next month.

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Comcast Hints At Plan For Paid Fast Lanes After Net Neutrality Repeal

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  • Portugal (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CptChipJew ( 301983 ) <michaelmiller@@@gmail...com> on Monday November 27, 2017 @05:07PM (#55632841) Homepage Journal
    We're gonna turn into Portugal [latimes.com], and it's going to be a big fuckin mess.
    • Re:Portugal (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Wraithlyn ( 133796 ) on Monday November 27, 2017 @05:33PM (#55633007)

      This needs to be shared everywhere.

      Nothing will clue people into what NN means faster than seeing that split pricing model for Social, Video, Email, etc.

      • This needs to be shared everywhere.

        Nothing will clue people into what NN means faster than seeing that split pricing model for Social, Video, Email, etc.

        You mean the same people who happily welcomed DRM phones like IOS and appstores and paying for $3 .mid ringtones before the smartphone revolution? They had more rights on their pcs and didn't care about freedom. It was shiny.

        They will continue to buy them thinking it's an extra service and watch TV at home and not care as always.

    • We're gonna turn into Portugal [latimes.com], and it's going to be a big fuckin mess.

      Let me introduce you to T-Mobile's Binge On [t-mobile.com] feature, which apparently is perfectly acceptable under the outgoing rules.

      In summary: on capped mobile data plans, video streaming at 480p will not count against the cap, as long as the content is from a list of 100 streaming service providers. In the Portuguese version, you pay $6 for 10GB of additional data in the type you want.

    • We know exactly how this is going to go, too.

      "Well wireless carriers have been doing it for years and that's legal!"

      You don't think major ISPs have been dumping money into wireless carriers and creating MVNOs with them for no reason?

      Nobody is using Comcast Wireless, that's just a money sink to avoid suspicion about financially jerking off Big Wireless.
    • by TheSync ( 5291 )

      The EU (and thus Portugal) has Net Neutrality laws, and mobile zero-rating is not considered a Net Neutrality problem by the EU.

      Even under current Net Neutrality via Title II in the US, mobile zero-rating is not considered a Net Neutrality problem, so you can get free unlimited music streaming [t-mobile.com] on T-Mobile with Pandora, Spotify, etc.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 27, 2017 @05:08PM (#55632853)

    to grasp that concept that if there is prioritization, then de-prioritization must be occurring at the same time. "Fast Lanes" create de-facto "Slow Lanes"

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      In a relative way, sure, but it could be Faster Lanes and Same Speed As Always Lanes. It doesn't necessarily mean that the existing lanes will slow down, but there's also no reason to believe that they won't do exactly that to tout the fast lanes.

      • by Durrik ( 80651 )
        In absolute terms its there. Say I have a 100 Mbit pipe, and 200 providers shoving data down it equally.

        That works out to 0.5 Mbits for all the providers.

        Now say 10 of those providers gets 'faster lanes' at double the priority of the other 190. Those 190 providers will now only have a speed of around 0.476 Mbits, while the paying providers get 0.952 mbits. While it doesn't seem like much only a 4.8% decrease in speed for 190 providers, its still a decrease in speed.

        Of course these numbers are picked to m
      • Same Speed As Always Lanes

        Unless there is new infrastructure built today these "Fast Lanes" will run over the same finite capacity as the rest of the network. They have to give up bandwidth or latency at peak hours to sustain the higher priority traffic.

      • by Imrik ( 148191 )

        There's also the fact that even without new fast lanes, the same speed as always lanes will slow down as more people use them. Prioritizing some traffic will accelerate the process.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Karmashock ( 2415832 )

      Fast lanes have already been a thing for a long time.

      At no point did NN actually stop them.

      Take the communications enjoyed by New York investment computers for the larger trading houses that do high frequency trading.

      Think there aren't fast lanes there?

      NN stopped nothing. What it is all about is distracting people from the real issue which is Right of Way access to poles and conduits.

      Google is having trouble laying fiber. That is how f'ed up access to poles and conduits is right now. One of the most powerfu

      • Take the communications enjoyed by New York investment computers for the larger trading houses that do high frequency trading.

        You mean like buying real estate as close to the trading house as possible for the extra nanosecond of speed? And buying the newest and greatest networking equipment? I never did either. Your example isn't exactly analogous to the situation of the American people.

        Think there aren't fast lanes there?

        They are not the point. If you want to build your own networking infrastructure to eek out nanoseconds, you can. Most people cannot do that. They have to rely on ISPs. For example, does everyone have access to fiber in the country? No. Not even rem

        • by DarkOx ( 621550 )

          Google is having problems laying fiber because they don't want to do it that badly. Google fiber was never really about Google making money selling Internet access to end users. It was to try and force the incumbent ISPs to move to 21st century technologies and bandwidth so google could sell and market new application like streaming video, online games, other things that required bulk content distribution that had to be done on disks in the past when none of us had more than 1.5Mbps at home, and many folk

          • Google wants NN because (1) they know ultimately it will result in a lowest common denominator, which is helpful to some of their properties. (2) It make rules, that startups who have to buy internet access form tier 3 providers much the same way you and I do, have to follow. Google on the other hand is big enough that they can and do peer directly with the transport guys. So they will always have the FAST LANE, and you, me, and your small business won't even have the ability to purchase access at any price. So Google can lock out their competition forever!

            So you're saying as a startup I have to buy Tier 3 access? Is that factually true?

        • You know nothing.

          http://www.telegraph.co.uk/fin... [telegraph.co.uk]

          Stop. Do not respond. Read. Do not respond. Think. Then after you've read and thought about it... Then respond.

          Your comments are utterly ignorant and thoughtless.

          As to fiber not being cheap or easy... it is cheaper and easier to run fiber than it is to run anything else. It is the cheapest fucking cable out there.

          Look, you think the reason something doesn't happen is because it is expensive? Well, then why prevent people from doing something that isn't econo

          • Stop. Do not respond. Read. Do not respond. Think. Then after you've read and thought about it... Then respond.

            Bahahahahaha. Do you even read your own article? "And HFTs were willing to pay through the nose to use it, with the first 200 to sign up forking out $2.8bn between them." That's $14M dollars a piece to sign up. That doesn't include any equipment. Can any consumer actually do that? Why don't you think about what you posted for a split second? Because no consumer could afford that.

            Your comments are utterly ignorant and thoughtless.

            What is your point about HFTs? It has nothing to with consumers and Comcast. Absolutely nothing. First consumers can't afford mill

      • by sglewis100 ( 916818 ) on Monday November 27, 2017 @06:04PM (#55633229)

        Take the communications enjoyed by New York investment computers for the larger trading houses that do high frequency trading.

        Think there aren't fast lanes there?

        Net Neutrality is about the Internet. You're talking about a private, leased line from a trading company direct to an exchange. Which has nothing to do with tiered Internet services, paid lanes, slow lanes, Internet providers, etc.

        • In the "old days" that would be a switched line.
          But yes, and in fact paying Comcast/Att/duopolyMember to run a private line for you also is just fine.

        • Not to mention that investment companies spend millions of dollars to shave off nanoseconds in trading. Your average person can't afford millions of dollars to get basic internet.
        • It can also be a last mile private line from a given business to the trunk. That's as internet as anything. It is however, people bypassing a shit system.

          What is more, the subversion is mostly taking place in the last mile.

          In the backbone, the whole thing is generally a non-issue. There is also no monopoly in the backbone.

          Where the issue is... is where the consumer has no choice.

          Give the consumer a choice and the problem will go away.

      • Engineering your network to have fast speeds is different than giving someone 1gb of "full speed other" bandwidth a month for watching netflix.

        You totally know this too, there is no way you can know about and understand the specifics about a high speed trading network and not understand net neutrality. Unless of course you're repeating something someone else said without understanding any of it.

        Or maybe you could be a paid shill.

  • "Lawful content" (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Trogre ( 513942 ) on Monday November 27, 2017 @05:08PM (#55632859) Homepage

    Sounds like scope for a very small white-list of very large companies to me.

  • Of course they do. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by barc0001 ( 173002 ) on Monday November 27, 2017 @05:09PM (#55632865)

    You didn't think they spent a ton of money on political donations and PR for nothing, did you?

    • Verizon's lawyer outright stated it in Verizon v FCC. On prioritizing traffic, Verizon counsel Helgi Walker: “I’m authorized to state from my client today that but for these rules we would be exploring those types of arrangements.”
  • by TimothyHollins ( 4720957 ) on Monday November 27, 2017 @05:10PM (#55632867)

    What was that about Obama instituting policies that were unnecessary and unneeded?

    Wasn't that one of the major arguments against NN?

  • Political Pressure (Score:2, Insightful)

    by BlueStrat ( 756137 )

    This is Comcast stirring up pro-NN political pressure.

    These companies that are in favor of the rules & regulations they call NN do so because they benefit and protect their monopolies and bottom-line.

    Don't forget that classifying ISPs as common-carriers places them under the requirements CALEA laws & regulations.

    Strat

  • by Karmashock ( 2415832 ) on Monday November 27, 2017 @05:17PM (#55632919)

    The prioritization is mostly in last mile since that is where comcast has relevance. Why is comcast relevant in the last mile? Because no one but the big ISPs are allowed to lay cable to the last mile.

    The solution has and will continue to be ensuring Right of Way access to Poles and Conduits for alternative infrastructure providers.

    to prove this is a shit show, examine that even Google... one of the richest and most powerful companies in the world frequently cannot lay last mile cable.

    Think about that.

    They have the resources.

    They have the connections.

    They have the ability to do the paper work and the regulations.

    But they can't get access to poles and conduits to lay last mile cable.

    Why?

    And if they can't, what chance does a smaller company have to compete? It has NOTHING to do with net neutrality. It has everything to do with corrupt franchise license agreements that lock out everyone but the local duopoly.

    People need to stop clapping like trained seals and see what is actually been going on all along. Rather than fixate on NN, focus on ACTUAL Right of Way access to poles and conduits for alternative service providers.

    Do that and Comcast and say or do whatever they want. Worst case they'll make themselves poor service providers and will lose market share.

    • by Karmashock ( 2415832 ) on Monday November 27, 2017 @05:22PM (#55632949)

      Because I'm sure someone will foolishly argue against the obvious:
      http://www.theregister.co.uk/2... [theregister.co.uk]

    • People need to stop clapping like trained seals and see what is actually been going on all along. Rather than fixate on NN, focus on ACTUAL Right of Way access to poles and conduits for alternative service providers.

      It's not an either/or situation. We can push for Right of Way access but that will take years to build out the infrastructure. In the mean time, we can ensure the ISPs don't mess with the existing Internet. Also I have to point out that even if there was more Right of Way, that doesn't stop any ISP from prioritizing traffic according to their own guidelines.

      • NN ultimately is about treating the ISPs like old ma bell. I do not want that. It is either/or.

        If you accept the existing NN concept, then you're conceding the monopolies get to be monopolies indefinitely.

        No. I don't want NN. I want competition. I want right of way to the poles. Anything less is a farce.

  • Common carrier (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 27, 2017 @05:27PM (#55632969)

    Interestingly, back in the old days the common carrier status was what the ISPs used to argue that they shouldn't be held responsible for material like child porn, regular porn, copyrighted material, hate speech, etc. that traversed their networks. Now they want to relinquish the common carrier status. How long do you think it's going to be before some attorney or DA figures this out and goes after them?

    • Interestingly, back in the old days the common carrier status was what the ISPs used to argue that they shouldn't be held responsible for material like child porn, regular porn, copyrighted material, hate speech, etc. that traversed their networks. Now they want to relinquish the common carrier status. How long do you think it's going to be before some attorney or DA figures this out and goes after them?

      I already pointed this out in another thread on this topic. Title II protects ISP's from litigation regarding facilitating criminal behavior on their networks. But no one seems to have an answer: Does revocation of Title II expose ISP's to legal liability regarding facilitating criminality? Does reclassification under Title I continue the same protections? Need someone familiar with the legalese to chime in here please. I am very curious.

  • They're already throttling OpenVPN and ssh connections globally under the pretense that all encrypted traffic constitutes unlawful use. Why have they still been allowed to get away with this while claiming they're not doing it?

  • Only takes one... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by duke_cheetah2003 ( 862933 ) on Monday November 27, 2017 @05:41PM (#55633055) Homepage

    ...ISP to offer 'fast lanes', and it's all over. Everyone else will follow suit. Then the blocking and throttling of competitors services.

    Ready yourselves for Intersplit.

    Great fucking job. I hope those of you that voted for this got what you wanted.

    • ...ISP to offer 'fast lanes', and it's all over. Everyone else will follow suit. Then the blocking and throttling of competitors services.

      Of course. Let's not pretend. "Fast lanes" will be created by slowing other traffic, not by offering you faster speeds.

  • .. and it would be immoral for them not to use and abuse them.

    It's our fault that we are where we are, and we can hardly blame a company for gouging us while we sleep at the wheel.

    No, not bitter at all.

  • by AHuxley ( 892839 ) on Monday November 27, 2017 @06:11PM (#55633273) Journal
    Look at the VPN products that can escape the best China and its global contractors could do with the Great Firewall https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]
    What new things could a US ISP do that China did to do to control all its domestic networks? The best VPN products got around some of the most well funded and intrusive global network tracking by Communists governments.
    Given a level playing field a VPN with the best staff will win and offer its users the freedom to enjoy fast networks int he USA every day.

    How will a politically well connected ISP stop a VPN that can change to any attempts to detect, slow or block its encrypted products?
    Call in the US federal government to track US VPN CC payments? To block CC payments to a VPN service detected been active in the USA?
    To report VPN users who attempt to pay for a VPN with a US CC?
    What a ISP cant win on a network they will enforce with new federal network use and CC payment regulations?
    Federal color of law changes will keep the USA in the slow lane?
    • The ISP will respond as China has. By watching, locating and then crippling IP traffic that *they* determine is a VPN traffic.

      This will then create an arms race between new VPN protocols and ISPs. But since the ISP controls the access of the VPN to other nodes they can just look for traffic patterns that they've identified as a VPN traffic (which will became a violation of the customers terms of service) and block it or better yet flip a few random bits to make it slow or fail randomly.

      When the duopoly mak

    • User name checks out, comments confirm; prepare for a brave new world.
  • Go right ahead, Comcast, kill the golden goose if that's what you really want to do. People will put up with all sorts of crap, but as soon as you start literally hamstringing the basic service they're paying for, then demanding what amounts to danegeld to put it back the way it was, there will be a revolt. I'm already prepared to ditch you and the Internet in general if it comes to that, rather than put up with this sort of bullshit.
  • Walled Garden Reloaded. Working in one of their callcenters 15 years ago still gives me the willies.

  • Comcrap (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JustAnotherOldGuy ( 4145623 ) on Monday November 27, 2017 @07:51PM (#55633915)

    Comcast: "We only want the option to throttle and block content...we would never, ever actually do that but we want the ability to do it even though we never would. Trust us, we'd never do that but we still want to be able to do it even though we'd never really do that, even though we want the ability to do it..."

    It's like when my 5-year old son said he just wanted to "hold the candy" and he assured me that he wouldn't eat it, he just wanted to hold it...

  • Thanks alot.

    Apparently your tax cuts and Hillary emails were more important than the freedom of your countrymen.

    You didn't do research at all on his party or his views. Of course he is going to put in cronys and foxes to watch the henhouse. Every Republican since Reagan hates government and supports big business and doesn't believe in regulation as freedom == communism for some reason. Now we will end up like Portugal and have to pay addons for websites and services you use in addition to your cable bill.

    Yo

    • You'd think a group who is convinced that the liberals own all media would be sensitive to losing a place to discuss their views. Sadly, the Trump voter is too stupid...they think he's a morals candidate...we can't ask for understanding the first amendment
  • Put your tin-foil hat on with me and hang on . . . . .

    Now this is going to be giving the government a LOT of credit in the smarts department ( unwarranted in their entire history, but bear with me ).

    What if, the removal of Net Neutrality is a litmus test to see how bad things will get once the restrictions are removed ? You know all the big players are salivating at the mere IDEA that they can do as they please once the rules are removed. I'm sure entire Business Strategies are being developed around it. It

"And remember: Evil will always prevail, because Good is dumb." -- Spaceballs

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