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back to article RIP net neutrality? FCC mulls FAST LANES for info superhighway

US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Tom Wheeler has had a major change of heart when it comes to net neutrality, it's reported. The The Wall Street Journal claims the FCC will propose new rules on net neutrality that would allow companies to pay for faster access to their websites and services, so long as they …

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A Very Strong Stink of Corruption

If this thing is true, there is a strong stink of corruption or just plain outrageous cronyism, coming out of the FCC. I mean real, unbelievable putrid stink. Any payments of these tolls and tariffs will come right out of the pockets of consumers--and into the pockets of the monopoly cable systems and telecoms.

Even big players like Netflix, Hulu and others will not be able to compete with "ComcastFlix" and "AT&TFlix." I repeat, this really stinks. How is a democratically elected government continually able to act against the interests of it's citizens and in favor of big-shots, and get away with it?

The US is really going down the drain. Transparently, openly, outrageously, down the drain.

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Re: A Very Strong Stink of Corruption

True, the ISPs have bought the FCC if this is true.

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(Written by Reg staff) Bronze badge

Re: A Very Strong Stink of Corruption

Almost.

It's "Uncle Ron's Video Startup" that will suffer, even if you have the best video content in the world. You'll stil need to do the deals. Netflix switched distributor and now deals directly with Comcast rather than via an intermediary. It was a straight swap and wasn't an additional cost to Netflix, I believe Netflix has said it has saved money, net.

But even though you have mis-identified who the beneficiaries are, the competition concerns are valid.

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Re: A Very Strong Stink of Corruption

"Uncle Ron's Video Startup" currently has the choice of dozens of CDNs. They don't need to own the infrastructure. At least, they didn't, until the almighty US of corporations decided that massive vertical integration was just groovy.

The whole point of the third party CDN market was to provide the economies of scale to "Uncle Ron's Video Startup"-type sites that you can't afford until you're Netflix. Now maybe I'm completely senile, but I seem to remember that integrating with these sites for past projects was a matter of minutes, and that the prices were rather reasonable.

When this goes south, it's going to be because we mixed our food and allowed content providers, CDNs and ISPs to become one entity. That's a very, very, very, very, very bad idea. None of those categories should every be allowed enough power to strangle the internet.

Net neutrality would have mostly kept the wolves at bay. Now? Fugeddaboutit.

Google is not the winner here. Comcast and AT&T are. They can now strangle Google - and anyone else they choose - in favour of their own services. Google, no matter how large they have become, simply don't have the capital to lay enough fiber to combat such shenanigans. The ISPs now hold the CDNs over a barrel too, and they'll shake and shake and shake until all the coins come out.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go pay my "fair and equitable" mobile bill.

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Re: A Very Strong Stink of Corruption

Addendum: Bear something in mind here...*I*, personally, can build a video service in technically capable of going toe-to-toe with Netflix in two years. Why? Netflix did all the hard work for me, and so I can light the technology bits up in no time. A team of proper devs coudl do it in less time.

A company like AT&T or Comcast can negotiate the content deals required to compete with a Netflix in a matter of a few months. The barrier of entry for ISPs to abuse a lack of network neutrality is next to nothing.

The barrier of entry for content providers to build a global internet with complete last-mile access is huge and measured in decades.

So when you point fingers and try to see who has bought whom...consider for a moment who stand to benefit in short order here. Google's plans for world domination would have proceeded apace with both network neutrality in place or not....though with network neutrality in place they could have used existing networks to backfill last-mile they didn't own far cheaper than they will now be able too.

Google wasn't the one handing out brown envelopes here. The ISPs were.

This bullshit factory buys them the time between now and the moment Google has permeated the top 20% high-value markets to get a content offering going that can compete with Google, then throttle Google, Netflix and everyone else into the ground until everyone has no choice but to use AT&TCastFlix because it's the only thing that works.

They can light that up in a year. It buys them a decade. Maybe two. In the meantime, they make Google so unappealing that they drive customers away from them (partner with MS to have Bing be the Search Of Choice?) and build an advertising platform that will move all of Google billions in income into their coffers. (Partner with Facebook?)

No, this helps noone but the infrastructure owners. The ones who want walled gardens and captive audiences because - and let's be real here for a moment - there's a hell of a lot more margin in advertising than there is in infrastructure.

We, the people, are a pressure that demands commoditisation of access. Dumb pipes fast and cheap. Nobody wants to be in that business if there is a better business to be in. Advertising against captive content consumers who can't get a fat enough pipe to go elsewhere is exactly how you make that money. You don't make that money charging Google extra to reach customers. You make that money by making it as hard as possible for Google to reach customers then throwing your own alternative up.

This isn't about providing anyone a "fast lane." It is about making the ISPs the content providers, the advertising platform and even the cloud providers of the 21st century. Going "off net" is about to cost Americans their left testicle.

And you say Google and Netflix are the beneficiaries? No. They're about to be casualties.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: A Very Strong Stink of Corruption

> How is a democratically elected government continually able to act against the interests of it's citizens and in favor of big-shots, and get away with it?

This is the big question. "Democratically elected"? One could argue for that. Democracy? Well, no. For those who weren't already convinced, research now shows the US is an oligarchy, not a democracy (see Gilens and Page "Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens").

Perhaps it works like this: the oligarchy (a.k.a. the 1%) owns both the government and the media. The media gets billions of dollars in ad revenue if it can put on a good show. Telling the electorate that they have no real choice is not a compelling show, and far less profitable than telling them it's an exciting race between two unique brands. The electorate thinks they are choosing the winner, they think have a say in the matter, but their choices have already been chosen by the oligarchs, and there's little difference between those choices.

So, in the case of net neutrality, it really doesn't matter what the citizens think. The oligarchs will cut their back room deals, "lobbying" politicians (i.e., buying them) to favor their interests. The ISPs can leverage their capital to buy up control of the whole thing. Then, they will market this to the electorate/consumers, emphasizing how much "choice" the consumers have as the market is being segmented further and further.

I agree with you on all points, and would just add that what we're seeing is a symptom of a deeper problem with the corruption of the political system.

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Re: A Very Strong Stink of Corruption

"the oligarchy (a.k.a. the 1%) owns both the government and the media"

They down own all of the media. I'll speak for nobody but myself and my sysadmin bloggers, but not a one of us has received anywhere near enough money to buy us off. :) There's still the odd one of us that isn't a corrupt tool of the 1%...

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Re: A Very Strong Stink of Corruption

> They [don't] own all of the media.

Yes, pardon, I should have said "mainstream media". There is a vital alternative media on the Internet, which still encourages critical thought and is where we have to get the real information about what's going on now.

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Re: A Very Strong Stink of Corruption

Thankee muchly. Or not. Really, actually, if someone wants to meet my price, I'm quite happy. It's only a measly 8 figures...guys? Guys? Come back...

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Megaphone

Re: A Very Strong Stink of Corruption

"There is a vital alternative media on the Internet"

For now- they will be the first targets of the New Media.

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Re: A Very Strong Stink of Corruption

'"commercially reasonable" terms'

Those "commercially reasonable" terms being determined by the size of the political contributions made to appropriate people...

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Re: A Very Strong Stink of Corruption

So you really wanted media contol all along?

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Re: A Very Strong Stink of Corruption

"And you say Google and Netflix are the beneficiaries? No. They're about to be casualties."

Google and Netflix are "Big OTT". Now they can screw Little OTT, and OTT startups. Those are the defining markets.

I think you're talking about something quite different - the "pricing out" of any/all OTT players by bundling content with the pipe - like BT does here. (I presume you want to outlaw this). The sums involved though are really small. Netflix saved money by switching to Comcast.

See my other posting below... and in particular, the ratpie post.

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Re: A Very Strong Stink of Corruption

How is a democratically elected government continually able to act against the interests of it's citizens and in favor of big-shots, and get away with it?

The elections are an illusion. The US has become an oligarchy. Everyone who appears on the ballot has already been approved by the powers that be. The people have little real choice about who gets elected and the politicians know this. Given that knowledge why would they give two shakes of a rats rear end what we think?

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Re: A Very Strong Stink of Corruption

I know it is sort of picky, but I think the choice of the word oligarchy is a bit too general, the US is a plutocracy.

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Re: A Very Strong Stink of Corruption - Oligarchy/Plutocracy

'Oligarchy' does not have to mean 'the rule a small powerful group of rich people'. You can remove the word 'rich' and it will remain true. But mostly 'rich' is the case. The difference between a pluto-oligarchy (plutoligarchy??) and a kleptocracy is that the Powers That Be in the USA haven't started asset-stripping the nation. Yet.

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@ Andrew Orlowski

I read your other post, and the link. It did nothing to sway me. I've made my case in the various posts in this thread and the issues I've raised haven't been addressed. Brushed aside so that handwaving about "teh evil Googles" can occur, yarp, but there are a lot of things I brought up that are simply ignored.

And, oh, yeah, Google is evil...but so's everyone else in this particular shitstorm. From the content ransom seekers down to the last mile providers. A lot of sinners, no saints, and the freemarket is worth fuck all to average joes like me.

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Re: A Very Strong Stink of Corruption

Suffers from the echo chamber - people go to the sites that tell them what they want to hear, which leads to extreme-polarization, flourishing conspiracy theories and a lot of news of dubious sanity and worse accuracy.

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Re: A Very Strong Stink of Corruption

Seems to be overwhelmingly against the public interest. Imagine if they did this with the road network. People would be manning the barricades.

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@Uncle Ron -- Re: A Very Strong Stink of Corruption

How is a democratically elected government continually able to act against the interests of it's citizens and in favor of big-shots, and get away with it?

You're clearly not from around here, are you? Let me try to help....

How is a democratically elected government government bought and sold to the highest bidder via unlimited anonymous corporate political donations to pliant lap-dogs-cum-politicians under the misguided corporatist SCOTUS mantra "money-is-speech" continually able to act against the interests of it's citizens and in favor of big-shots, and get away with it?

When stated that way, the answer to your question becomes clear, doesn't it?

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NOooo

I'm sure he's been inundated with emails from regular Joes, simply begging for this for reasons even I satirically can't think of.

In the US, this isn't the real issue, it's a symptom of monopoly the FCC handed out previously.

If your ISP puts Netflix in the slow lane, and you could switch ISP, then you'd switch - the market would nail this in a few days.

This gives me one of the few glorious moments when I can crow over the wonders availed to me by my meddling socialist (*cough*) UK government - see http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2014/04/04/299060527/episode-529-the-last-mile

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Re: A Very Strong Stink of Corruption

I wonder if Google and Facebook are taking out "insurance" by having the drone-powered internet available not just for "Second" and "Third World" use but for use in the First World to completely bypass the activities of Comcast, AT&T, and Verizon. Now they have to come up with a way to grease the FAA where they includes all the players. Could get mighty expensive, especially if space-based links are added to the mix.

As for the rest, we already know that absolute control of the last mile [Comcast+Time-Warner merger anyone?] will grant usable power to use in shaping the youth of a generation which translates into, for the most part, worker-drones. Those of us that go underground on the 'net will be pooh-poohed as a bunch of mindless, tin-foil hat wearing useless idiots.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: A Very Strong Stink of Corruption

You didn't know? Some US lawmakers are already trying to convert the interstate system into toll roads, to help pay for their support:

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/04/us/agreement-on-interstate-repair-needs-but-not-on-how-to-pay-for-them.html

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Unhappy

BT uses speed throttling ...

by using dodgy cables and cheap fibre optic gear.

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Ah.... just what everyone (but customers) like to see

A politico who stays bought.

Ok.. he may not have been bought but something sure as hell smells in this decision.

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end of an era?

This seems a major setback to the 'net we have grown to love/hate. Big money will dominate, small innovators will be excluded, content/delivery will be in the hands of the oligarchs as in the past age

of broadcast tv. Oh well, back to bbs's and ham radio, if push comes to shove. I seem to recall being

able to move from one bbs to another and something like email, but it's been a long time... Anyone have their notes from the day? I may be over reacting, time for my meds...

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Re: end of an era?

There are any number of disturbing possibilities and likelihoods out there, so it's nice to have some insurance. Google is your friend: search 'BBS Software" and Wikipedia seems to have a nice list. Mainly a question of whether you want fries with that. Err, source-code. Another observation is that you need to keep in mind the existing literature found on the 'net around cracking/crashing BBS's. For my sins I became a forum file librarian in a whole bunch of fora on CompuServe. When they shut down or consolidated them we got together and saved the contents. Amazing that the entire extent of files didn't fill up a CD-ROM. Anyway, I've got a bunch here, all sorts of operating systems, all sorts of families, yada-yada. [For reference:]

'\[[[[[ I'm sadly ex-Amigan but was found on a lot of x86 fora including a few bizarre (at least to this autistic) places.

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FAIL

1 Gb/s everywhere....

thing is, this is only an issue because we don't have 1 Gb/s everywhere.

Basically this is another case of artificial scarcity (yes I know it costs to build new infrastructure, but until ATT and the other telcos pull in $0 profit for 5 years, they are on the hook for it...).

The only reason there is any mention of this, is because the state of home broadband is largely laughable, and only occasionally exceptional.

Yes, I live somewhere that is in a Local Monopoly Zone, so this is /rant.

P.

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Pint

Re: 1 Gb/s everywhere....

We got hooked up with FTTH just one week ago. It's not 1 Gbps, but it is a very solid 175 Mbps (a vast improvement over 1.4 Mbps over a too long ADSL loop). I've had to install another wifi just to make better use of the fat pipe. I'll probably end up with three or four wifi hotspots and as many Cat6 as I can run. It's nice.

- -

It makes sense that if Netflix (for example) wants to install a server in my telco's local CO, fed by their own private fibre network then there has to be an arrangement where Netflix can send my telco a cheque every month for the floor space, electricity, etc. I'm not convinced that this is a Very Bad Thing. What are the alternatives?

This lightens the load on the regular Internet. The last mile to your house is managed by you, the consumer. If your last-mile connection is plugged up with your kids Netflix, then stop paying the Netflix bill. That'll sort out the bandwidth issues within a month or so.

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Re: 1 Gb/s everywhere....

Surely it makes more sense that if your ISP wishes to have an edge cache of someone else's content in order to reduce their ingress bandwidth costs, they should pay the content provider and not the other way around.

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(Written by Reg staff) Bronze badge

Could be bad - but not for reasons you might think

The "neutral" public internet isn't used for video, it is incapable of supporting a popular consumer video service. Or even an unpopular video service. The public backbone isn't really used for anything worth charging for any more.

If you want to serve video to millions of people, with no lags, you have always needed to 'pay' one way or another. Pay for your own CDN, which means paying for edge servers at a Telco, or pay to use someone else's. The latest FCC rules appear to formalise current arrangements. They don't appear to "end neutrality" because the neutral net has never really existed - except as a rhetorical device, a metaphor, an oversimplification, or imaginary utopia. Am I discriminated against because I'm being asked to pay for beer?

(Nor was IP ever designed to treat packets equally - it was designed as a poly-service network. See RFC 791 from 1981. Different services needs different latencies, speeds and QoS. All sensible stuff)

That said there are valid competition concerns here. Only Big OTT Video (like YouTube or Netflix) may now be able to afford to grown and scale. The losers are entrants to the OTT Video market. Do you really fancy your chances competing against YouTube or Netflix? You're going to need to raise a lot of money. This is why Google is very ambivalent about Neutrality regulation - it benefits as an incumbent from higher barriers to entry. This was always the case in the Real World - building a rival to Tesco needs a lot of capital.

If you're truly interested in devising intelligent regulation that promotes competition, rather than formalising Big Internet Monopolies like YouTube, this is the most useful and thought-provoking analysis that I have read:

The US Net Neutrality Debate; Sleepwalking into Walled Gardens

http://ratpie.org/2014/02/21/the-us-net-neutrality-debate-sleepwalking-into-walled-gardens/

In an alternative internet history, Big Telco could have been taxed a small amount to maintain the public backbones. Regulation would rightly focus on public backbone instead of private agreements.

Net Neutrality became a political campaign to regulate private agreements, rather than the public infrastructure.

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Re: Could be bad - but not for reasons you might think

The trouble is Andrew that ALL the Telco's in the US that had wired connections to the home had been paid a monthly maintenance fee on the wire by the homeowners. Unfortunately the Telco's just don't want to maintain the physical infrastructure any more. I can't get them to provide wiring that does not get all scatchy when it gets wet from the rain. They (Verizon) lost a DSL customer becuase of the speed degadation and I reduced my phone services as well.

No one in ANY State or Federal Government is going to bother to recoup those fees because they have been bought and paid for by the phone companies. Figure $5.00/month times millions of subscribers.

All too late but the FCC SHOULD have told ALL the ISP's that owning or producing ANY content was illegal. TV Service on cable should have been alacarte as well.

Living where I do, there is only Time Warner (Now Comcast) as there is NO Verizon FTTH, only DSL. If I lived 30 miles south I could have Verizon Fiber at huge and unwanted expense.

Choice is not available in much of Western NY, USA. We have no AT&T, satellite or fiber is ridiculous, dialup or DSL is pointless, and who can afford to have a T1 delivered to the home?

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It's a good thing the governing principles in my life are apathy and inertia, else I might feel something about this.

It's hard to take seriously a company (such as a streaming video service) that campaigns strongly for 'net neutrality' but employs geo-blocking to enforce regional price differences or block access altogether.

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re: geoblocking

Do you think that their distribution license prevents them from offering a licensed video into a market for which they don't hold the license?

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Re: re: geoblocking

But they don't have to be assholes about it by geolocking, do they? Compare and contrast examples:

Spotify only offer subscriptions in certain countries, because they only have agreements for certain countries, and you must be resident in one of those countries to subscribe. However, if you travel to a non-agreement country, spotify don't care - you can continue to use the service as long as you have internet access.

Sky only offer subscriptions in certain countries, because they only have agreements for certain countries, and you must be resident in one of those countries to subscribe. However, if you travel to a non-agreement country, Sky will refuse you access to their services because your IP does not correspond to your country of registration¹.

Both are restricting their services to the markets they have agreements for, but one is being a dick about it.

¹ Or in my case, use a UK ISP who has bought some IPs from a German company, and Sky's GeoIP db has not been updated.

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In other news....

Chairman Wheeler announced that his beloved, never-before-mentioned uncle Jack recently died, leaving the Chairman $10 million. I'd like to take this moment and offer the Chairman my sympathies, both for his loss and the impossible "Bahamas, or Virgin Islands?" retirement villa choice he now faces.

Seriously, this stinks. It's going to lock in Amazon, Youtube and Netflix and the major broadcasters at the expense of every other potential video service. And we can expect an uptick in charges from the streaming video incumbents, as they pass the cost of the ISP industry's danegeld along to the consumer.

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An open question to the anti-net-neutrality crowd:

Please explain why net neutrality is bad for me.

The problem is that no matter how often or ardently it's repeated, I don't believe in the lie of the free market any more than I do bullshit like "trickle down economics." What I want is regulation that guarantees all packets are treated equally and that ownership of infrastructure is separated from ownership of content by a regulatory firewall made out of elventeen squillion angry sociopathic US airforce drones.

Is a Youtube monopoly good? No...but neither is a Comcast one. The image I linked to above describes the very real fears of myself and I daresay millions of others. Nothing said here or linked to does a damned thing to convince me this isn't exactly what's going to happen, or that if it did it would somehow be to our benefit (bullshit.)

The infrastructure of the internet needs perpetual investment. Period. The incentives need to exist to force those who own the infrastructure to continue upgrading forever. There is no downtime allowed. As new technologies are created they are to be implemented, period. That's what I pay my ISP bill for. End of line.

Now, on top of that, I will pay content providers. I pay my dumb pipe to be the best damned dumb pipe it knows how to be, I'll pay my content provider to be the best damned content provider it knows how to be. That content provider will pay it's upstream for carriage, it may pay a CDN for carriage - if it's big enough to warrant it - and it pays the artists rightsholders their ransom money.

Frankly, I'd argue that in order to keep things competitive content providers should not be allowed to own CDNs. Infrastructure should be kept firewalled from content on both sides of this equation. Not only should infrastructure providers not be allowed to own content, but content providers should not be allowed to own internet infrastructure outside their own datacenters.

CDNs should, in fact, be a separate entity from both last-mile ISPs and content providers. They stand up distribution nodes wherever they can strike deals with local last-mile ISPs and they provide the algorithms that properly determine what content needs to be on those nodes.

Content providers make their deals with the CDNs. CDNs make the deals with the ISPs. Nobody gets vertical and nobody has an incentive to start discriminating against anyone else's traffic or trying to double-dip.

That's it. I pay my ISP for last mile transit for X amount of packets over the course of a month with Y peak theoretical capacity and Z average capacity. They provide it on a best-effort basis and continually reinvest the fees from my internet charges into new infrastructure.

As part of that, my ISP works hand-in hand with various CDN providers to ensure that CDNable content is CDNed and then makes the best peering arrangements possible with other networks to provide the best possible access it can to the wider internet for it's customers.

Content providers pay their carriage to their upstream provider and CDNs, if they use them. Problem solved.

What I don't understand is how altering this arrangement in any way benefits me, the consumer. How does allowing the ISP to double-dip and charge the content provider and me for the same bits help me out? How does giving the ISP incentives to deprioritize traffic from competitors over their own offerings help me out? How does allowing the ISP to continually make convoluted back room deals that deincentiveize them to invest in infrastructure upgrades help me out?

Why would I support any regulation, market strategy, economic philosophy, ISP or content provider that doesn't act in my interests? Why should I?

My interests are best served by having access to the complete global internet free of any restraint at the fastest possible speeds that are possible given the current limitations of technology and financial capability. My interests are best served by ensuring that there is massive competition at all levels and that any market that makes it to a monopoly becomes heavily regulated to prevent abuse.

So please, do explain to me how a tiered internet benefits me? How does it better suit my needs now, and in the future? How does it guarantee that we don't fall even farther behind nations like South Korea or Sweden than we already are?

And one more thing, while we're at it, please do explain to me one other thing. If I must pick from amongst a variety of available demons and devils, why is Google not the best choice for me? There's a lot of "evil" companies out there, and Google absolutely is one of them, but Google also seem to actually periodically do things that actually benefit me. AT&T don't. Comcast sure as hell don't. Telus and Rogers and Bell don't. The major content companies sure as shit don't either.

...but sometimes, every once in a great while, Google does. So if the world is truly so righteously and completely fucked that there's no way it can possibly evolve without some monopoly taking control, explain to me why I shouldn't vote for Google to be that monopoly?

Bonus points and added rah-rah if you can do all the above without resorting to particularly tiresome economic fallacies or libertarian moralizing about "should". I don't care about other people's morals and economic belief systems. Just results.

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Re: An open question to the anti-net-neutrality crowd:

@Trevor Pott

"Problem solved."

Well, that entirely depends on what 'problem' you are referring to. It most certainly does not solve the problem of everybody in the equation being greedy for as much money as possible.

The model is a good, greenfields one. The problem - not for the consumer I hasten to add - is that in applying this plan to an existing setup, you would force companies to sell assets they already have and handover existing revenue streams to companies currently seen as competitors.

The result, once the dust has cleared, will certainly be better for the consumers - the public - but the transition is next to impossible. The fight then is to try and keep and, where possible, strengthen, the existing protections/regulations.

On another note, I realise you are talking about North America here but what about other places, like my own country, the glorious republic of Her Majesty's loyal colony of Australia?

The first problem we face is that we are too sparse a population for such 'massive competition' to exist, even in wishful thinking. The second problem we have here is that our current government is enamoured of right-wing policies such as deregulation, while being apparently oblivious to the first problem.

Hence what has happened to our 'NBN' plan, which was once something of a source of both tech and social-democratic pride for me.

I got side-tracked, sorry.

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Re: An open question to the anti-net-neutrality crowd:

I disagree that my proposal is a burden on existing corporations. Short and simple? You take the bits that are non-core and spin them off into their own company. EMC and VMware compete, despite EMC owning 40% of VMware. The same can - and should - happen here.

Google's CDN network can be spun off as it's own concern. The ISPs' content companies can have the same thing occur. Regulations put in place to prevent any sort of preferential treatment in contracts with parent company and monitoring in place until such a point as we're satisfied they're separate enough to have separate cultures.

In Australia - or hell, Canada - you simply declare the monopoly provider(s) a publicly regulated utility. No different that we do here with natural gas or electricity. The infrastructure providers are a completely separate company from those selling you access/bandwidth. It's not the cleanest solution, but it's one we have all sorts of regulatory precedent for all over the world and we know where the pitfalls are and how folks try to game the system.

I don't particularly care if Comcast owns X% of NBC, so long as A) it's not a controlling share and B) they are prevented from "doing a sweeter deal" for one another because of that ownership.

That's the model I propose. It works out for the capitalists in the long run because it encouraged competition, innovation and thus profit and new markets. It works out in the short run because nobody actually loses anything substantial. It works out for the customer because we have a chance of maybe, one day, being half as awesome as the rest of the civilized world.

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Re: An open question to the anti-net-neutrality crowd:

Ahhh - my post lacked clarity - apologies.

I did not mean that the transition would be impossible for the companies involved, I meant it would be impossible to get such legislation to actually happen.

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Re: An open question to the anti-net-neutrality crowd:

I don't disagree with that assessment at all. Mind you, that's why I hate pretty much every culture on earth. I really would like enough money to move to the woods and not have to ever deal with this crap ever again. Kthxbai.

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Re: An open question to the anti-net-neutrality crowd:

". . . you simply declare the monopoly provider(s) a publicly regulated utility . . ."

Could you possibly have a chat with my mates* Tony Abbott, Malcolm Turnbull, and, well, all the Liberal (read: Republican) leadership over here?

"I disagree that my proposal is a burden on existing corporations."

Again, can you tell that to my mates*, as well as those lovely neutral chaps of the World Economic Forum? That splendid and fair assemblage, representing as it does a very accurate cross-section of world views, not at all biased towards profits, has a specific measure of the 'Burden of Government Regulation'.

* - Disclaimer: not actually my mates.

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Re: An open question to the anti-net-neutrality crowd:

Great answer and explanation, but the obvious seems to be unreachable to most now.

We ALREADY PAY ISP and TELCO as customers.

They DO make profits, so how come a "two sided market" is "needed".

Besides this http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2014/04/washingtons-revolving-door-cellular-lobby-and-fcc-have-traded-leaders/ explains most of the thing

FCC current chairman spend years at the head of BOTH telco/carriers lobbying groups ...

As did nearly every FCC chairman for years sometime going BACK to those groups after being FCC heads ....

Democratic values, a nice concept in lack of any substance lately.

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(Written by Reg staff) Bronze badge

Re: An open question to the anti-net-neutrality crowd:

"Please explain why net neutrality is bad for me"

That's a pretty tough one, Trevor, if you can't explain what "net neutrality" is in the first place. You have to define what the thing *is* before making value judgements upon "it".

Explaning what the thing *is* is a pre-requisite to regulating it, since it's hard to regulate metaphors and aspirations, and then come out with sensible regulations at the other end of the sausage machine.

But then again, if you what you are actually saying is "I am a morally righteous person - look at this Net Neutrality flag I am waving around: it is goodness, it is ME. Upvote me now"... then you never need to answer the question.

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Re: An open question to the anti-net-neutrality crowd:

And yet, I can answer the question of "what is net neutrality", Andrew. And I even have spelled it out. Comprehensively, in fact. I'm sorry if you neither like the answer nor the fact that I loudly and proudly support it.

"What is net neutrality?" Net neutrality is the assurance that all packets sent from me to another party on the internet are treated the same. It is the assurance that the data I request from all parties on the internet is treated the same. That ebay packets are treated as no different than "bubba bob's shit shack" and above all else that no internet provider is allowed to prioritize packets from services they own above those of services from competing providers.

Now, that's a pretty damned absolute statement and we all know absolutes don't work in the real world; some flexibility is required. This is where content delivery networks come in. CDNs place the content closer to the end user and thus - by some definitions - treat some content differently than others. Overall, I don't think anyone has a problem with the idea of CDNs, even the most died-in-the-wool net neut advocates, so long as access to those CDNs is treated neutrally on both sides of the equation. I.E. that the ISP doesn't discriminate against CDNs that host competing services and the CDNs don't discriminate against content providers.

Everyone treats everyone else "blindly". Nobody peeks at anyone else's traffic to see what it contains and nobody degrades traffic based on destination or origin. That's net neutrality.

Net neutrality doesn't mean we can't develop new technologies and take advantage of them. It means that we must develop and implement these technologies in such a manner that they do not constitute a barrier to entry for any party seeking to use what has become absolutely vital shared social infrastructure.

Thus the intent of the regulation is this: that companies which own vital pieces of the internet - be they content, CDNs or infrastructure - are not allowed to exercise control over their piece of the pie to make it harder for others to compete.

This means that ISPs should not be allowed to degrade Netflix or Youtube without similarly degrading their own offerings, and shouldn't be able to degrade anyone at all if they own a non-internet-based content delivery service (such as cable). No screwing the competition and yoru customers in order to prop up another segment of your business.

It means CDNs should not be allowed to refuse "bob's shit shack" because they host content for ebay. Nor should they be able to engage in predatory pricing for smaller sites.

Google and other content sources shouldn't be allowed to discriminate against competitors either. They do Bad Things regarding how they rank competitors on their site, and I think the EU is right to slap their wrists on this.

That said, their competitors attempting to use such proceedings in order to get Google's proprietary ranking algorithms revealed (and thus most of Google's value as a company destroyed) is bullshit too. That's a trade secret and we can legislate on the results, but shouldn't be able to force them to open the kimono.

Lastly, content hoarders who demand ransom payments for stuff people long dead made shouldn't be able to cut better deals with services they own/operate than they do with third party content services. I don't give a flying fuck if $content_service is owned by Universal, Google, Netflix or the local Linux User's Group. The cost of licensing that content should apply to everyone.

In this manner content services like Netflix can compete on merit by providing business models that suit the demands of customers. Content hoarders can charge outrageous prices, but only if they charge them to everyone; thus if they charge too much more than the next content hoarder nobody will watch their content and they'll wither away and die.

ISPs can invest in anything they like, but they can't behave in a manner different than "dumb pipes". With, of course, the acknowledgement that there will be some (read: emergency services) exceptions to the "dumb pipe" rule, but those exceptions should come with a "public good" rationale, not a commercial incentive rationale. (E.G. by all means prioritize telemedicine and 911, but do not prioritize Skype over 3CX or Cisco over Asterix.)

I don't give a rat's ass about righteousness, and I give less than that about being viewed as moral. As for upvotes, the server says "In total, your posts have been upvoted 10125 times and downvoted 1599 times." I passed my "10,000 upvotes" mark days ago; I'm actually trying for 2,500 downvotes now. Because arbitrary numbers make the nerd in me happy.

So how about we put away the personal fooferah here, hmm? I don't give a shit if every single person in this forum, or every single person on earth disagrees with me about this. I am not writing for the masses. If I were, it sure as hell wouldn't be in the comments section, it would be in a 2500 word feature handed to Lewis with added emphasis.

No, I'm angry. I'm venting my spleen. There is a thing that I believe is just, and that is treating my traffic the same as your traffic...and that's getting trampled on here. I don't believe that might makes right and I sure as hell don't think that having more money than the next guy give you the right to screw him around either.

So that's what this is about. This is about the little guy. About regular joes like me who, like me, want to create an internet startup. We want to create and publish content and we want the right to do so on equal terms with everyone else. As a business owner I want low barriers to entry. As a citizen I want the same thing, because low barriers to entry encourage competition, which in turn encourages innovation and drops ultimately results in the commoditization of goods and services so that I can get them cheaper.

I don't want a tiered internet and I don't want a tiered world. I don't want an "us" and a "them". I don't believe money is speech or that anyone else should have a greater say than me (or me than them.) One voice, one vote. Not one dollar, one vote. From politics to packets; equality of opportunity and and moderate attempts to regulate the system such that we have lower disparity of outcome.

I am not trying to say "equality of outcome". I'm not a complete nutbar. Equality of outcome is not only impossible to achieve, it goes against our very nature as a species. We need to be able to achieve some form of stratification and hierarchy or we become very, very upset.

What I don't want is an internet that mirrors the wealth gap. I certainly don't want an internet that encourages said gap.

I'm flexible in my beliefs. When there is a reason rooted in the common good to make exceptions to equality then I'm all ears. But I don't - and I won't - accept that we should allow (let alone enshrine!) barriers to entry. Not at the infrastructure level, the CDN level, the content service level or the content licensing level. Equal access by everyone to all levels and equal treatment of all competitors by all other levels of the stack.

That, to me, is net neutrality. If you want to fling poo at me, go right ahead, but hey, hit the downvote button while you do it? I'm trying to hit 2500.

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Thumb Up

@ Trevor Pott -- Re: An open question to the anti-net-neutrality crowd:

On a different note:

[...] elventeen squillion angry sociopathic US airforce drones.

That deserves an upvote, even if the rest of your post was pap (which it wasn't, BTW).

Can I use it?

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Re: @ Trevor Pott -- An open question to the anti-net-neutrality crowd:

Consider it yours. ;)

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Re: An open question to the anti-net-neutrality crowd:

"Please explain why net neutrality is bad for me."

Mr Orlowski already went some way towards explaining why it's potentially bad. RFC791. The Internet Protocol-

There are no mechanisms to augment end-to-end data reliability, flow control, sequencing, or other services commonly found in host-to-host protocols. The internet protocol can capitalize on the services of its supporting networks to provide various types and qualities of service.

The pro-neutrality people argue that all packets should be treated equally, so should remain a best efforts network. The RFC should be revised to say the internet protocol cannot capitalize on the services of it's supporting networks because this is politically unacceptable to some lobbyists. If your real-time apps suffer because people are streaming or downloading, that's just too bad and the price you pay for an equitable, neutral Internet.

Reality is there are strong technical reasons to use the network to differentiate traffic based on requirement. The Internet community recognises this and there's another RFC, 2474 which explains how traffic could be managed. But only on private networks it seems. Enabling this on the public networks would arguably be beneficial, but the pro-neutrality lobbyists don't seem to want it.

The rest is largely an economics and education problem. Enabling QoS on the public Internet would allow differentiated rate plans. If you don't want video or voice, take a basic <=XXMbps Best Efforts service. If you want video, take a service with <=8Mbps of AF4 assigned. If you're getting VoIP, throw in 100Kbps of EF and you can make a phone call or two depending on your codec. This is all stuff we've been doing in industry for years, even across peering connections, but only really for private IP networks. Then it's just arguing the rates per class.

That shouldn't need to be a complex argument. Regulators have used principles like RAND and FRAND to determine market behaviours, especially in monopoly or SMP conditions. Rates are published and applied in a non-discriminatory fashion and neutrality remains, other than larger players being able to get volume-based discounts. Operator's own services get tested using EOI (Equivalence of Input) to (try and) ensure fairness. Users get a better quality experience and a choice of something other than best efforts. Do you really think this is a bad thing?

And as for-

and above all else that no internet provider is allowed to prioritize packets from services they own above those of services from competing providers.

Not even the routing and control protocol traffic required to maintain your network's stability?

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