back to article It's OK, everyone – Congress's smart-cookie Republicans have the answer to America's net neutrality quandary

When the Democrats took over the House of Representatives in America, one of the first things that the House Energy and Commerce Committee did was call a hearing on net neutrality. We had a familiar feeling of dread at the time. But it's OK, everyone, because yesterday that session, featuring two former heads of federal comms …

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  1. Michael Hoffmann
    Thumb Up

    I tip my hat to thee

    You know, some days I think, it could be fun for a cynical old bastard like me to write for The Register. I'd fit right in.

    Then I read an article like this, behold a True High Priest Of Saint Cynic - and recognise that I just couldn't cut the mustard! I am but a candle against a blue giant star.

  2. JustWondering
    WTF?

    Small time chicanery

    Here in the northern colony, a while back we had our government introduce a bill called the "Protecting Children from Internet Predators Act". This sounded very impressive, until everyone realized that except for in the title, neither children nor Internet predators were mentioned.

    1. ThatOne Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Small time chicanery

      That's a "Talisman Name": Nobody would dare oppose a bill called the "Protecting Children from Internet Predators Act", would he...

  3. ST Silver badge
    Mushroom

    Net Neutrality Wall: We Must Stop All Mexican Packets!!!

    And Honduran and Guatemalan packets too.

    Basically, all the shithole packets. They are invading Our Country. Must be stopped at the border.

    Norwegian packets are fine, though. We need more of those.

    1. LDS Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Net Neutrality Wall: We Must Stop All Mexican Packets!!!

      Norwegian packets are socialist packets. They should be stopped before US gets healthcare for everybody. Actually, US internet needs a MAGA bit. All packets without that set must be stopped by the border concrete/steel fireWall . Just like China.

  4. Yes Me Silver badge

    I've always wondered...

    ... what about cases where paid prioritization is in the consumer's best interests?

    1. Carpet Deal 'em
      Unhappy

      Re: I've always wondered...

      The question is how you stop ISPs from immediately abusing the privilege to do any sort of prioritizing. Sure, it benefits everybody if media streams are treated as high priority while simple page loads are last in line, but greasing the right palms could see your page loads above a less cooperative source's streams. Even if you just allow prioritization based on category, there'll be plenty of gaming the terminology to make things as "advantageous" for the ISPs as possible.

      1. ElReg!comments!Pierre Silver badge

        Re: I've always wondered...

        it benefits everybody if media streams are treated as high priority while simple page loads are last in line

        So my pages should take forever to load so that the kids next door can have their fill of lolcats ? How does that benefit me ?

        1. John Sager

          Re: I've always wondered...

          Well, any sensible engineering approach would divvy up the bandwidth so every traffic class got at least some bandwidth, and all or most allowed to take up any spare. But in the US engineering considerations are pretty much ignored in this debate.

        2. m0rt Silver badge

          Re: I've always wondered...

          "So my pages should take forever to load so that the kids next door can have their fill of lolcats ? How does that benefit me ?"

          I don't understand the question.

          That is like saying your neighbouts kids can breath air, how does that benefit you.

          kthkbai!

          1. ElReg!comments!Pierre Silver badge
            Pint

            Re: I've always wondered...

            @m0rt : please excuse the kids, they couldn't recognise sarcasm if it hit them in the nether zones with a sign reading "sarcasm" in big, bold letters and a <blink> tag. That's nowaday's Reg forum for you.

            1. m0rt Silver badge

              Re: I've always wondered...

              :) You gets it.

              You can haz cheezburger, mmm'kay?

          2. M.V. Lipvig

            Re: I've always wondered...

            That is like saying your neighbouts kids can breath air, how does that benefit you.

            No, it's more like saying your neighbor's kids have priority access to air while you have to wait for them to finish breathing before you can breathe, how does that benefit you.

            1. m0rt Silver badge

              Re: I've always wondered...

              For a Pratchett fan, I feel aggrieved you missed the, to me anyway, obvious humour. :)

        3. Ken Hagan Gold badge

          Re: I've always wondered...

          It wouldn't mean that. Instead, someone would invent a plugin which downloaded a video of the website rather than the pages. Then everyone would get the same service. You could call it something sexy, like Flash. What could possibly go wrong?

          1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

            Re: I've always wondered...

            What could possibly go wrong? .... Ken Hagan

            Everything Wrong At Once Again Together :-)> For such as Court and Server the Heavenly Almighty.

            And the Best Friends You Ever Had in Similar Parallels at COSMIC Levels of Virtualised Reality.

            All are Always All Ways Cordially Invited to Freely Tinker with ProgramMING Levers Sensational Hair Triggers.

            Then the Rewards are Astonishingly Easy to Believe Real. And then URUS ‽ .

            What now would you have URUS do for you too? Anything Ground Breaking .... SeisMIC Shifting?

            Or would you rather Enjoy what URUS do Best for Captive Audiences. Promise Heavens to Deliver and Supply. And from an Infinite Source with Future Connections is the Immaculate Temptation to Source and Server to a Certain Unlimited Perfection for the Simple World Wide Webbed Windows of today to display countless other decayed and decaying Universal Picture Presentation Systems Stept and Slipping into Madness and Mayhem Realms.? :-)

            And with No Pictures of an Away to Really Believe In. That is Remiss and the FundaMental ProgramMING Flaw to be Cornered and Quarantined/Captured for Beta AI ProCSSing before AIMaster Pilot Testing.

            1. Cliff Thorburn

              Re: I've always wondered...

              Is the term ‘Captive Communications’ ? ...

              1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

                Re: I've always wondered... Captive Communications' ?

                Here, CT, Captivating Communications Rule the Rabble and Lead the Packs/Reign Supreme and Lay Waste the Cogs of War and Minion Markets with their Ponzi Stocks in the Fiat Chains of Artificial Supply.

                1. Cliff Thorburn

                  Re: I've always wondered... Captive Communications' ?

                  Such is the Rampant and Rabid Rabbit hole amFM, takes you back to the very beginning for flashbacks APlenty, and traumatic stress post disorderly new world disorder.

                  http://www.statewatch.org/analyses/neoconopticon-report.pdf

                  1. Tail Up

                    Re: I've always wondered... Captive Communications' ?

                    It's not about how *they see things*, if they really have seen any, talk about real things. It's wholly yours. Understand me.

                    To paraphrase the mind-saving inversion, You smoke it, not It smokes you.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I've always wondered...

        What is required is bandwidth set-asides for non-media, high-priority packets that are also subject to an aggregate data transfer cap with premium surcharges for overage. This would enable thoughtful providers and consumers to efficiently use such capacity for high-performance while the video pigs duke it out in the cheaper, unlimited category. In other words, neutrality for users, source and content, but prioritization for discouraging waste by anyone.

        Beyond that, a more competitive market with more choices between providers could provide the right environment to increase capacity generally, hopefully rendering the former provisions moot.

    2. Spamfast
      Alert

      Re: I've always wondered...

      I have to disagree with Yes Me and strongly agree with Carpet Deal 'em and ElReg!comments!Pierre.

      If service providers are allowed to pick and choose traffic to prioritize they will inevitably find ways to monitize this by taking bungs from content providers.

      In any case, video & audio streaming works perfectly well on the Internet without any kind of prioritization. If all the routing gear from source to destination treat IP datagrams of any type equally (with the exception of flooding attacks of course), the core protocols and the streaming protocols work extremely well even with quite modest bandwidth. This is a testament to how well designed they are.

      What should be getting discussed in Congress is why US ISPs & mobile operators won't provide connections with decent data rates to their customers. European & Asian ones are able to do this at a reasonable price and still turn a hansome profit. (Oh yes, sorry, that's not going to happen in the land of the free market because of the almost Soviet Union style monopolies/cartels that are allowed in the telecoms industry.)

      1. Someone Else Silver badge

        @Spamfast -- Re: I've always wondered...

        (Oh yes, sorry, that's not going to happen in the land of the free market because of the almost Soviet Union style monopolies/cartels that are allowed in the telecoms industry US.)

        There, FTFY

    3. LDS Silver badge

      Re: I've always wondered...

      Paid prioritization is a non sense. I can understand prioritization of traffic based on type of service, i.e. emergency/security services having highest priority, probably some priority for VoIP traffic and after that some live streaming. Streaming that can be buffered doesn't need high priority. Anyway, links should allow enough bandwidth for other services, and avoid saturation but for emergency services if needed.

      ISPs are already able to sell different level of services restraining available bandwidth, if inside it they are also able to set packets priority it would become very difficult for customers to understand what they buy and at what price. Which is exactly what telcos are aiming at.

      1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

        Re: I've always wondered...

        Paid prioritization is a non sense. I can understand prioritization of traffic based on type of service, i.e. emergency/security services having highest priority, probably some priority for VoIP traffic and after that some live streaming.

        Ah, well, what is an 'emergency' or 'security' service?

        So it all began with RFC791, a very important RFC. So the 2nd byte of an IP packet would be for Type of Service, or ToS. That was in 1981. Being the Internet, that simple definition got embuggered by subsequent RFCs, and morphed into 'Diffserv'. After a few iterations, that kinda stabilised in RFC3168, which added 'Explicit Congestion Notification' bits. And lo, it came to pass that IPv4 faded into obscurity, and this all got rolled into IPv6 and it's 8-bit 'Traffic Class'. With another 2 bits tacked on for ECN.

        So that's the technical background, and the battlefield for 'Net Neutrality. Nearly 40 years later, and after probably hundreds of millions in lobbying, those handy features remain forbidden on the public Internet. All packets shall be equal, and all packets shall be best efforts!

        Ok, so this stuff is used on private IP networks, where 32 classes of DSCP might be considered a sales feature, but they're gonna get mapped onto 3 bits of an MPLS lable in all probability. Or into a layer-2 equivalent, which will probably end up over a form of MPLS anyway.

        So I was involved in developing wholesale broadband for a small country. That has 128Kbps prioritised, with the intention that it gets used for VoIP. It's 'Neutral', because every customer gets the same config, and every wholesale customer is free to use it or abuse it.. But all done with the regulator's blessing, because being able to make a call was considered A Good Thing! Under a strict interpretation of the US policy, it could be forbidden. So good luck making an emergency call. So this was a pro-consumer implementation, even though it broke 'Net Neutrality..

        So then comes the consumer. It would generally be A Good Thing if you can make an emergency call, or just a plain'ol VoIP call.. So prioritise say, 128Kbps for that. Then it might be nice to have reliable video streaming, so prioritise say, 8Mbps for video.

        If you're an ISP, that could be A Good Thing. Customers happy because services work, and your pron isn't interrupted by someone downloading a big file. It's a better thing if it's kept away from marketing, and a standard traffic profile is applied to all users. Mainly because having multiple profiles is generally a right PITA and a good way to kill routers..

        So suppose your an ISP that also offers a video service, like say, BT in the UK. They'll bill mugs.. I mean users for their IPTV service. Slapping that into the 8Mbps allocated for video could mean fewer support calls regarding pixellated balls. And if other video services want to use that capacity, mark the packets and the network will prioritise them.

        But that's where the polarised nature of the 'Net Neutrality debate comes in. User side, it's simple, everyone gets 8Mbps prioritised. If however you're a content provider who's business is predominantly video streaming, like say, Netflix.. Then pretty much all your traffic would be priority. So Nx100Gbps of VIP traffic, which customers are paying $10 a month to Netflix for. ISP's don't get any of that money, but have to carry the traffic, so the assumption is if prioritisation is permitted, then content providers will be charged a premium for that prioritised traffic.

        Currently content providers are strongly opposed to that possibility, hence why they've spent millions lobbying to keep the 'Net as a best efforts network.

        1. Spamfast

          Re: I've always wondered...

          All the technical discussion of fields in IP datagrams is irrelevant.

          What the content providers in the US are determined to get - and bribing, sorry, lobbying polititians for - is the right to pay ISPs to ensure that their traffic - based, I presume, on source IP address or by deep packet inspection - is prioritised over everybody else's who hasn't paid the ISP, regardless of purely functional requirements or indeed the value of any QoS fields in their or others' datagrams.

          If every piece of routing kit on the whole Internet honoured QoS fields - although exactly how to interpret them would have to be agreed internationally and by all equipment manufacturers first - all that would happen is that people/companies would abuse them to ensure their web site loads quicker and so on.

          Given that reality, the best option for everyone other than the big content providers and ISPs is to press for a situation where by and large all datagrams are treated equally, except in the case of emergency services and to quash DoS attacks.

          As I and others have pointed out, streamng video works absolutely fine this way if the recipient ISP provides a decent sized pipe to the end user because it can be buffered. It would be nice if VoIP/video-calling/conferencing was seamlessly high quality and low latency but it's not the end of the world if it drops out now and then. ("Sorry, didn't catch that. Can you repeat?") but in any case the protocols developed for this are now very good at coping with a jittery channel by rapid, dynamic resolution modification.

          1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

            Re: I've always wondered...

            The technicalities are the crux of the debate. It's how you prioritise traffic, especially in congestion. And they've been part of the IP protocol suite since inception.

            However, due to millions spent on lobbying, those features can't be used, except on private IP networks. So users are left with a best efforts solution, and content companies spend millions arguing that this is best for consumers.

            The issue is technical vs commercial. The ..ISP provides a decent sized pipe to the end user in most cases. Commercial challenge is the ISP can only manage traffic within it's own network. So if there's congestion via peering or transit connections, you end up with packet loss. QoS could allow VoIP or video traffic to be prioritised.. But there's no commercial incentive to do so. Especially when it may mean content providers, ie video services paying more for their connectivity.. Hence why they lobby so hard against QoS, even though it would benefit the end user.

        2. veti Silver badge

          Re: I've always wondered...

          "Emergency" and "security services" are two very different things, and I find it rather disingenuous to conflate the two.

          An emergency message is generally short and sweet. Total information payload - less than 1kb. Could be passed as overhead on any system without even affecting any other service, like SMS over cell networks.

          Security comms are another story entirely, and I for one don't see why they should get any kind of special treatment. Anything that needs urgent response is an emergency. Everything else can get standard treatment.

          1. LDS Silver badge

            Re: I've always wondered...

            Emergency data may be far larger than you think. For example, a surgery crew that could need data about you, including imagery, stored in another hospital. It could be blueprints of a large building firefighters need to enter. It could be video feeds so people in charge of decisions could have all the data they could. Air traffic control authorities are experimenting with remote-controlled airports...

            Security data may deliver for most time data which are not important - but when they catch something that required immediate action, they suddenly become emergency data. Just, that decision may not be made at the edge, but only when data are received and processed - so they may still need some kind of special treatment to avoid excessive delays.

            1. doublelayer

              Re: I've always wondered...

              Emergency data isn't just "An emergency has occurred. Details here." They can include other information, for example communications from responders to a wildfire. That's voice because the people involved can't take the time to type out a message when they are both fighting the fire and looking out for a situation that means they have to get out of there. So there may be some need to put them on their own circuit that can't be restricted. It doesn't mean that other companies or users deserve that.

        3. LDS Silver badge

          "Ah, well, what is an 'emergency' or 'security' service?"

          Evidently, those need to be defined, and their management as well. I don't think any actual law in US or elsewhere is designed to define them and their management inside an IP network, since most of them were handled on their specific networks previously, but maybe emergency number calls.

          But today we see ISPs trying to make money out of those services trying to convince state and authorities that they could be managed on their networks - why deploy your own radio networks for police/firefighters/ambulances/etc. when you can use our own 4G/5G/etc. and free some preciouossssss spectrum we get and then resell at higher prices?

          Evidently if those services are moved to IP networks standards and regulations must be developed to ensure they are effective and porn viewers with deep pockets don't hinder other more important services.

          The technical options are known - what is required is a regulatory framework.

          Including one that doesn't allow incumbents to cut out new entries because their traffic is highly prioritized and others' packets arrive when they can.

      2. Spazturtle Silver badge

        Re: I've always wondered...

        " I can understand prioritization of traffic based on type of service, i.e. emergency/security services having highest priority, probably some priority for VoIP traffic and after that some live streaming."

        That would violate net neutrality though.

      3. Long John Brass Silver badge
        FAIL

        Re: I've always wondered...

        ISPs are already able to sell different level of services restraining available bandwidth

        Yes exactly and one of the solutions ISP/Telcos sell is called MPLS. If $corp wants guaranteed bandwidth/latency they can buy a VPC/MPLS style circuit that delivers exactly that!

    4. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Megaphone

      Re: I've always wondered...

      "cases where paid prioritization is in the consumer's best interests"

      There SHOULD be 'paid prioritization'. Here is why:

      a) as long as only a maximum number of packets can have paid prioritization, then nobody else will be 'crowded out'

      b) paid prioritization raises revenue for the backbone, and would encourage more infrastructure to be produced with that revenue - "purchase OUR fast lane" competition even

      c) paid prioritization exists eveywhere else, too. The store with the high prices that NOBODY goes to still stays in business, because its customers won't have to WAIT. So rich people go there. get it?

      d) The _CLASS_ _ENVY_ "equal outcomes" crowd are driving the HATE towards those who PAY FOR FASTER TRAFFIC. Instead, millenial snowflakes need to SUCK IT UP and GET JOBS that PAY WELL ENOUGH to AFFORD IT. Then, THEY can have it, too.

      There is NOTHING WRONG with "pay for better prioritization" so long as it does NOT crowd out the regular traffic. And by limiting it to a specific percentage of all traffic, on a given network, I doubt ANYBODY would notice, until overall speed starts increasing due to the additional revenue to the service providers results in better/fatter pipelines. Then we'll ALL see a benefit.

      Yeah. Capitalism. it works. Just keep competition as a part of this, and we'll all be better off for it.

      [but of course, the 'equal outcomes for all' socialist NINNIES want everyone to be EQUALLY MEDIOCRE, because it is NOT FAIR if one person has a slightly better something than the next guy, so it's all MARXIST THINKING driving this CLASS ENVY of NOT having PAID PRIORITIZATION]

      1. ST Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: I've always wondered...

        This is awesome. Really, Bob, it is. You're spoiling us.

        Let me summarize:

        1. The maximum number of packets shall be prioritized. That's 100% of packets. Can't go above 100%, that's the max. Which, of course, in practice, means none are prioritized. But never mind that.

        2. Prioritized packets go really really fast!!!

        3. When prioritized packets go really really fast, we make more money!!!

        4. Capitalism!!! Fuck Yeah!!!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I've always wondered...

          Capitalism is a beautiful animal that should be kept in a cage and walked on a leash. As a person favoring a shift to more socialist government, I've got to concede that Bob's got a point. But the trick is to achieve good (non-corrupt) regulation. As ST cynically observes, the number of prioritized packets might well be 100%. A competent regulator would not allow this. Now I suspect even Bob will throw shade on the notion of regulation here, but everyone's refusal to try out actual governance could be the real impediment to progress.

          1. Someone Else Silver badge
            Mushroom

            Re: I've always wondered...

            A competent regulator would not allow this.

            "A competent regulator".... Hmmmm.... Such as, the band of "competent regulators" currently occupying the FCC executive offices...Yes?

      2. Winkypop Silver badge

        Re: I've always wondered...

        Gosh Bob, relax man. Breeeeeeathe.

        If Godwin's law relates to the term "nazis".

        Which law relates to the term "snowflake"? It has much the same impact.

        Serious question.

        1. veti Silver badge

          Re: I've always wondered...

          It's been a subject of wonder to me for some time now...

          The American right likes to say that it stands for the rights of the individual, not the (insert derogatory word for "group"). And yet it's adopted "snowflake" - for ages now, the ultimate symbol of individualism - as its go-to insult. How did that happen, I wonder, and what does it say about changing political constellations?

          Just musing.

      3. LDS Silver badge

        "would encourage more infrastructure to be produced with that revenue"

        Wrong. They will be able to earn more money with less investments in infrastructures. As soon as the network saturates, increase the prices for prioritization instead of improving the network. It's cheaper, and as customers has no options, they will be forced to pay.

        Actually, that already happened in the past when there were actual monopolies - for a long time telco preferred to keep call prices high - especially the long distance ones, but in many countries they billed by the minute/second even local ones to avoid people kept lines in use for a longer time - to cut down on the needed investment to increase the number of calls. Some people were even connected with lines that allowed only one customer call at a time among two or more, again, to save on infrastructure.

        When you're able to set the prices, you will try to squeeze as much as you can from the actual infrastructure instead of spending for an improved one.

        Another example? In Italy the ex-incumbent and owner of the copper network is complaining that the new company which is deploying fibre is not letting it to get enough return of investment on its (quite limited) VDSL deploy on cables that for a lot of houses are over forty-fifty years old (and were already paid many times over), and is trying to put its hands on the other company to delay fibre deployment, as its plan was to spend little to deploy some cheaper VDSL to meet the new minimum broadband requirements, and avoid to deploy the far more expensive FTTH - and keep on screwing the customers with lower quality connection (good luck to get decent VDSL speeds on longer and older cables).

        Capitalism "work" - but now always in the right way - especially when the power of the involved sides are really imbalanced. It could work just to extract more money from the base and accumulate them at the top, giving shitty services in exchange. It happened, it happens, and will happen - as long as there aren't rules to make the system more balanced.

        "The store with the high prices" does it slow down stores with lower prices? No, it doesn't - straw man argument.

        Would you like a power/water/gas system with consumer prioritization, where people with more money than you can in some situation cut those supplies to you? Maybe because they have to fill a swimming pool and who cares if you can't have a shower maybe after an hard work day? Or have a party and who cares if you can't have enough power and water to make your laundry and cook your meal?

        Class envy looks now to be the domain of those who believe that having some more money gave them more rights, as they think they're really a separate class which special rights. Just like before French Revolution, and rolling heads.

        Allow that - which is truly anti-democratic - and you'll push people toward Marxism, which was the wrong answer to real existing big inequalities.

    5. doublelayer

      Re: I've always wondered...

      "[W]hat about cases where paid prioritization is in the consumer's best interests?"

      And those would be? Paid prioritization always helps *some* consumers, that is the consumers whose data is being prioritized. It helps them, for now, before they are charged for that or the company on the other end raises its prices because they are being charged for it. In the meantime, it hurts everyone else. The only one it consistently helps is the ISP, which is going to make a bunch of money off the consumers or providers who have to pay for the capabilities they already have.

      Your question is invalid. You can't just through out a what if that alleges something you haven't proven. You could ask "what about cases where paid prioritization prevents malware", "what about cases where paid prioritization makes the ISP improve the infrastructure", or "what about cases where paid prioritization causes world peace", but asking the question doesn't mean that there are such cases. If your view is that there are "cases where paid prioritization is in the consumer's best interests", you have to explain what those are. If you wanted to ask "Do cases exist where paid prioritization is in the consumer's best interests?", I would respond that I have not seen any thus far. If, as I assume from your question, you disagree, I'm happy to hear your suggested cases and we can discuss their merits or lack thereof.

      1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

        Re: I've always wondered...

        The only one it consistently helps is the ISP, which is going to make a bunch of money off the consumers or providers who have to pay for the capabilities they already have.

        But they don't. In a neutral 'Net, it's all best efforts and every packet for itself.. And as long as there's no congestion, that generally works. If there is congestion and packet loss, everyone blames the ISP. Even though they may not be at fault. But figuring out where the problem is can be something of a black art, and then may turn out to be a peering dispute covered by NDAs. It's hard enough to get users, politicians and regulators to understand why connections are 'up to xxMbps', let alone why their live stream of Superbowl cheerleaders kept pausing.

        I'm no fan of paid prioritisation, but I do think some prioritisation should be permitted rather than legislating for a best-efforts Internet.

    6. martinusher Silver badge

      Re: I've always wondered...

      >... what about cases where paid prioritization is in the consumer's best interests?

      Difficult to say but AT&T may be able to help you out a bit. They've already figured out the tariff model for carving up broadband. Their take is more the "airline seat" model, its all about how to take this finite resource and get the most out of it. ("Yield Management") Like airlines they'll be looking for the smallest planes crammed with the most passengers that are paying the highest fares they can get away with. The fact you're having a miserable experience -- well, what are you going to do, complain?

    7. Someone Else Silver badge

      @Yes Me -- Re: I've always wondered...

      Which consumer? Your handle is apt, grasshopper, as you question implies how "paid prioritization" might be in your best interests, while not giving a flying fuck if it is in someone else's (no, not Someone Else's) best interests.

  5. redpawn Silver badge

    Neither fish nor foul

    but let us insist the cow is in the category that most benefits big business. Legally these are the only allowed categories and if business is not placated, congress critters won't get their free steaks.

  6. M.V. Lipvig

    A better way is to split service providers from content providers, then make it a rule that selling the service means you provide a pupe of a set size and the customer has access to upload/download the maximum bandwidth purchased 24x7 for a flat monthly rate. My internet provider sells service this way and they are making money hand over fist while charging a (relative to other providers) reasonable price. 80 a month, 9MBPS down, 4MBPS up. It's enough to stream movies and play streaming games at the same time. Since they aren't content providers, they don't go for any of this prioritization crap and the service works great. A service provider should not care, or be involved in, any content I browse.

    1. uncle sjohie

      80 what a month for 9MBPS down, 4MBPS up? Not dollars I hope? For 61 euro, we have 300/30 here in the Netherlands using cable (=coax), so not a/v/xDSL using old copper telephone wires. Fibre is about the same price. Here when our old telco KPN decided to scale back the laying of fibre to milk more out of their old copper lines, investors and municipalities joined forces, and layed the fibre in stead.

  7. LateAgain

    Can't call it Internet Neutrality

    The USA doesn't seem to actually have a definition of "Internet".

    This is why the whole argument is confusing to non-amercans. All the rules seem to be about cable connections. For TV. Or even a phone line. I heard it explained once and lost the plot.

    What is so hard about paying for a data connection and expecting it to NOT be messed with to the advantage of the supplier?

  8. JLV Silver badge

    i don’t understand the argument. net neutrality is all about the ISP not prioritizing different packets to a subscriber based on their origin.

    it’s not about disallowing subscribers to pay more for higher bandwidth or lower latency. ie if Border Patrol needs higher speed Mexican webcams (doubtful in the first place) then net neutrality doesn’t stop them signing up for a higher tier service.

    Who voted for these morons again?

    p.s. though i don’t know the details “kids watching video means no telephone” is not necessarily true. QOS limits per application class might be allowed : i.e. “prioritize voice traffic over video”. but not “prioritize in-house VOIP over Skype”. anyone know about that?

  9. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
    Facepalm

    "if Border Patrol needs higher speed Mexican webcams"

    The real question there is WTF is US border security doing relying on the interwebs/mobile phone signals for strategic security? Does this mean Mexico could invade the USA by simply buying a few dozen mobile phone jammers and march across the border unopposed?

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