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FCC and Net Neutrality

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craterus
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FCC and Net Neutrality

Post by craterus » Tue Dec 21, 2010 2:32 pm

A few interesting articles...

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/al-franke ... 98984.html" target="_blank
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/timothy-k ... 99435.html" target="_blank
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142 ... 31432.html" target="_blank

This Tuesday is an important day in the fight to save the Internet.

As a source of innovation, an engine of our economy, and a forum for our political discourse, the Internet can only work if it's a truly level playing field. Small businesses should have the same ability to reach customers as powerful corporations. A blogger should have the same ability to find an audience as a media conglomerate.

This principle is called "net neutrality" -- and it's under attack. Internet service giants like Comcast and Verizon want to offer premium and privileged access to the Internet for corporations who can afford to pay for it.

The good news is that the Federal Communications Commission has the power to issue regulations that protect net neutrality. The bad news is that draft regulations written by FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski don't do that at all. They're worse than nothing.
Late Monday, a majority of the FCC's commissioners indicated that they're going to vote with Chairman Julius Genachowski for a toothless Net Neutrality rule.

According to all reports, the rule, which will be voted on during tomorrow's FCC meeting, falls drastically short of earlier pledges by President Obama and the FCC Chairman to protect the free and open Internet.

The rule is so riddled with loopholes that it's become clear that this FCC chairman crafted it with the sole purpose of winning the endorsement of AT&T and cable lobbyists, and not defending the interests of the tens of millions of Internet users.

Welcome to AT&T's Internet
The rules are expected to bar providers from discriminating against legal Internet traffic and require more transparency. They also would let broadband providers for the first time charge more to companies that want faster service for delivery of games, videos or other services.

Net neutrality has become a contentious issue as worries grow that large phone and cable companies are growing too powerful as Internet gatekeepers. Start-ups and small businesses that rely on the Internet to provide shopping, information or other services to consumers are particularly concerned.

The FCC has wanted to step in and act as an Internet traffic cop, but Congress has never given it clear authority to do so.

"We must take action to protect consumers against price hikes and closed access to the Internet—and our proposed framework is designed to do just that: to guard against these risks while recognizing the legitimate needs and interests of broadband providers," FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said in a blog post this month.

The proposal has split the five-member FCC board. The two Republican members say the proposed rules impose an unneeded burden and will discourage broadband investment.

Mr. Genachowski's two Democratic colleagues said his plan didn't go far enough, particularly on rules covering wireless networks, but agreed to back it anyway.
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Re: FCC and Net Neutrality

Post by Vorret » Tue Dec 21, 2010 3:01 pm

Yea, that's not good.
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Re: FCC and Net Neutrality

Post by LawBeefaroni » Tue Dec 21, 2010 4:56 pm

It had a good run.
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Re: FCC and Net Neutrality

Post by msduncan » Wed Dec 22, 2010 9:32 am

What is amazing to me is that most of you have bought into the idea that introducing ANY kind of green light for government regulation of the internet is somehow going to lead to a better internet.

Let me get this straight: for years we have had an internet free (for the most part) from government tentacles and meddling which has led to free speech, expression of historic proportions in the history of mankind.

Now you have all bought (hook line and sinker) the carefully marketed package of bullshit that the government must rush in and save our internet from the evil corporations.

See that door over there? The one that was keeping the government out of our internet? Yeah well you guys are opening it wide open. Sure...they'll come in disguised as a friendly neighbor at first.... but once they are in, they are going to start selling you vacuum cleaners.

This government imposed "net neutrality" garbage is nothing more than just the government's first step into figuring out how to get a handle on this internet thing through regulation. And all of you that supported these actions are accomplices.
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Re: FCC and Net Neutrality

Post by LawBeefaroni » Wed Dec 22, 2010 11:05 am

msduncan wrote:What is amazing to me is that most of you have bought into the idea that introducing ANY kind of green light for government regulation of the internet is somehow going to lead to a better internet.

Let me get this straight: for years we have had an internet free (for the most part) from government tentacles and meddling which has led to free speech, expression of historic proportions in the history of mankind.

Now you have all bought (hook line and sinker) the carefully marketed package of bullshit that the government must rush in and save our internet from the evil corporations.

See that door over there? The one that was keeping the government out of our internet? Yeah well you guys are opening it wide open. Sure...they'll come in disguised as a friendly neighbor at first.... but once they are in, they are going to start selling you vacuum cleaners.

This government imposed "net neutrality" garbage is nothing more than just the government's first step into figuring out how to get a handle on this internet thing through regulation. And all of you that supported these actions are accomplices.
Which part(s) of
Vorret wrote:Yea, that's not good.
and
LawBeefaroni wrote:It had a good run.
don't you understand?


Furthermore, in your blind adherence to the party memo, you're missing the real reason for this regulation. It's to get control of the internet and its content into corporate hands, not into the hands of the government.
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Re: FCC and Net Neutrality

Post by Ralph-Wiggum » Wed Dec 22, 2010 11:44 am

msduncan wrote: And all of you that supported these actions are accomplices.

Where are you getting this crap from? I'm pretty sure most of us here are pro net neutrality.

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Re: FCC and Net Neutrality

Post by El Guapo » Wed Dec 22, 2010 11:48 am

Also the default reality, with little or no government regulation, is non-net neutrality. Absent some constraint companies are obviously going to handle internet traffic in whatever way maximizes their profit (as well they should). So if you are in favor of net neutrality you kind of have to be in favor of government regulation of some type.

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Re: FCC and Net Neutrality

Post by ImLawBoy » Wed Dec 22, 2010 11:59 am

I believe msd is opposing net neutrality (as imposed by the government) and arguing for status quo. I agree with this position, but not the way in which msd expresses it, which is, in his typical manner, laden with loaded language and unfocused anger, and will fail to convince anyone of his position.
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Re: FCC and Net Neutrality

Post by Arcanis » Wed Dec 22, 2010 12:06 pm

I feel I can safely say that many on the right have issues with the government implementing net neutrality for concerns over censorship of speech. They believe that once the government is given control to regulate the internet it will be used to silence political opponents, much as they think the fairness doctrine would.
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Re: FCC and Net Neutrality

Post by ImLawBoy » Wed Dec 22, 2010 12:29 pm

Arcanis wrote:I feel I can safely say that many on the right have issues with the government implementing net neutrality for concerns over censorship of speech. They believe that once the government is given control to regulate the internet it will be used to silence political opponents, much as they think the fairness doctrine would.
That's a red herring. The real issue is the government dictating how the private companies that invested in and built the backbone for the internet can use that backbone, and therefor what kind of return on their investment they can receive. Additionally, the level of regulation of the internet will help to shape to further investment by these companies (hint: more regulation means less investment).

The current rules make no one happy. They open the door to regulation (pissing off the free enterprise advocates) without truly guaranteeing an open internet (pissing off the net neutrality advocates).
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Re: FCC and Net Neutrality

Post by RunningMn9 » Wed Dec 22, 2010 12:38 pm

I'm not even sure why conservatives are opposed to net neutrality in theory. In a world where we have allowed content providers to also be internet infrastructure providers, it seems sensible that we act to keep those entities logically separate. A content provider should not be structuring their broadband to prevent/impede competing content providers.

I thought we resolved that in 1990 when we threw off the shackles of private networks (AOL/CompuServ/Etc.). Why would anyone think that it's a good idea to do this?

If a content provider wants to earn my business, provider better value in terms of your content. Don't rig the game by throttling my broadband because I've chosen a competitor.

Didn't we all get bent out of shape at Microsoft for that sort of behavior (leveraging Windows to promote their own content (IE))?
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Re: FCC and Net Neutrality

Post by Arcanis » Wed Dec 22, 2010 12:40 pm

ImLawBoy wrote:
Arcanis wrote:I feel I can safely say that many on the right have issues with the government implementing net neutrality for concerns over censorship of speech. They believe that once the government is given control to regulate the internet it will be used to silence political opponents, much as they think the fairness doctrine would.
That's a red herring. The real issue is the government dictating how the private companies that invested in and built the backbone for the internet can use that backbone, and therefor what kind of return on their investment they can receive. Additionally, the level of regulation of the internet will help to shape to further investment by these companies (hint: more regulation means less investment).

The current rules make no one happy. They open the door to regulation (pissing off the free enterprise advocates) without truly guaranteeing an open internet (pissing off the net neutrality advocates).
I know it is a red herring but it is what the vast majority of people I deal with think.
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Re: FCC and Net Neutrality

Post by LawBeefaroni » Wed Dec 22, 2010 12:56 pm

RunningMn9 wrote:I'm not even sure why conservatives are opposed to net neutrality in theory.
The party leaders and talking heads that inform the conservative masses are spouting off about political censorship, government interferrence, and other unrelated nonsense to obscure the issue.

They're ignoring the money trail backing their protests which is all about getting back to monetizing content and stemming the flow of alternatives to big media.
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Re: FCC and Net Neutrality

Post by ImLawBoy » Wed Dec 22, 2010 1:15 pm

RunningMn9 wrote:I'm not even sure why conservatives are opposed to net neutrality in theory. In a world where we have allowed content providers to also be internet infrastructure providers, it seems sensible that we act to keep those entities logically separate. A content provider should not be structuring their broadband to prevent/impede competing content providers.

I thought we resolved that in 1990 when we threw off the shackles of private networks (AOL/CompuServ/Etc.). Why would anyone think that it's a good idea to do this?

If a content provider wants to earn my business, provider better value in terms of your content. Don't rig the game by throttling my broadband because I've chosen a competitor.

Didn't we all get bent out of shape at Microsoft for that sort of behavior (leveraging Windows to promote their own content (IE))?
The horse is already out of the barn on this one. The telecoms are far and away providing the most capital investment in the US right now, and they're doing it to increase capacity for the internet. When you start advocating restrictions on how they can use their investment, you've changed the groundwork upon which that investment was made. I've said before and I'll keep repeating it, I don't see why existing anti-trust laws can't be used to prevent the providers from providing unfair competitve advantages to their own content. If AT&T or Verizon are using their market dominance in an unfair manner to lock out third party content providers in favor of their own content, that should be actionable under current anti-trust principles.
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Re: FCC and Net Neutrality

Post by RunningMn9 » Wed Dec 22, 2010 1:17 pm

This makes me want to explore the concept of municipal broadband, but I'm sure that would just make some people's heads explode.
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Re: FCC and Net Neutrality

Post by LawBeefaroni » Wed Dec 22, 2010 1:21 pm

ImLawBoy wrote:If AT&T or Verizon are using their market dominance in an unfair manner to lock out third party content providers in favor of their own content, that should be actionable under current anti-trust principles.
From what I understand, that's the "solution" being used for cell phones and wireless. They can throttle/charge for anything but direct competitors. It's a farce.
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Re: FCC and Net Neutrality

Post by Arcanis » Wed Dec 22, 2010 1:22 pm

RunningMn9 wrote:This makes me want to explore the concept of municipal broadband, but I'm sure that would just make some people's heads explode.
It does and doesn't work. The city I live in is in the process of a several year project of running fiber through the whole city. They can offer up to 100mb service for really cheap. The problem is that 100mb is only within the fiber they own and they still have to go to another company to buy their access to the outside world. So even if every large population center would build their own broadband they would still need to pay a private company to give that network internet access.
ImLawBoy wrote:
RunningMn9 wrote:I'm not even sure why conservatives are opposed to net neutrality in theory. In a world where we have allowed content providers to also be internet infrastructure providers, it seems sensible that we act to keep those entities logically separate. A content provider should not be structuring their broadband to prevent/impede competing content providers.

I thought we resolved that in 1990 when we threw off the shackles of private networks (AOL/CompuServ/Etc.). Why would anyone think that it's a good idea to do this?

If a content provider wants to earn my business, provider better value in terms of your content. Don't rig the game by throttling my broadband because I've chosen a competitor.

Didn't we all get bent out of shape at Microsoft for that sort of behavior (leveraging Windows to promote their own content (IE))?
The horse is already out of the barn on this one. The telecoms are far and away providing the most capital investment in the US right now, and they're doing it to increase capacity for the internet. When you start advocating restrictions on how they can use their investment, you've changed the groundwork upon which that investment was made. I've said before and I'll keep repeating it, I don't see why existing anti-trust laws can't be used to prevent the providers from providing unfair competitve advantages to their own content. If AT&T or Verizon are using their market dominance in an unfair manner to lock out third party content providers in favor of their own content, that should be actionable under current anti-trust principles.
This is my big concern as well. I don't want the government gaining more power to be invasive when they already have the tools to do the job.
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Re: FCC and Net Neutrality

Post by ImLawBoy » Wed Dec 22, 2010 1:34 pm

LawBeefaroni wrote:
ImLawBoy wrote:If AT&T or Verizon are using their market dominance in an unfair manner to lock out third party content providers in favor of their own content, that should be actionable under current anti-trust principles.
From what I understand, that's the "solution" being used for cell phones and wireless. They can throttle/charge for anything but direct competitors. It's a farce.
Maybe I'm missing your point, but where's the farce? Why shouldn't the wireless carriers be permitted to throttle/charge for access to the networks they built, provided they do it in a non-discriminatory manner and in compliance with anti-trust principles?
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Re: FCC and Net Neutrality

Post by LawBeefaroni » Wed Dec 22, 2010 1:41 pm

ImLawBoy wrote:
LawBeefaroni wrote: Maybe I'm missing your point, but where's the farce? Why shouldn't the wireless carriers be permitted to throttle/charge for access to the networks they built, provided they do it in a non-discriminatory manner and in compliance with anti-trust principles?
Because it becomes a revenue generator with access to customers going to the highest bidder. These are the same companies that were charging $0.25 per SMS message as long as they could get away with it.


It all comes down to where you stand on what the internet should be. I have no problem duping someone into paying for an app that does that same thing as a web browser. But if content is going to be blocked or degraded because the owner doesn't pay up for throughput (they already pay for their upload and storage) it is no longer the internet. It is a private content network and should be sold as such.
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Re: FCC and Net Neutrality

Post by RunningMn9 » Wed Dec 22, 2010 1:46 pm

Arcanis wrote:It does and doesn't work. The city I live in is in the process of a several year project of running fiber through the whole city. They can offer up to 100mb service for really cheap. The problem is that 100mb is only within the fiber they own and they still have to go to another company to buy their access to the outside world. So even if every large population center would build their own broadband they would still need to pay a private company to give that network internet access.
My problem is that I mostly agree with the analogy that I've seen thrown about in various spots. Would we ever approve of a situation where almost all roads were publically owned by the major American auto manufacturers, where those corporations could arbirtrarily throttle access to their private highways in a manner to coerce you into buying their cars.

That seems like lunacy.

Of course, in that analogy, we've already allowed the major American auto manufacturers to build all of the roads. Thus the conundrum.
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Re: FCC and Net Neutrality

Post by ImLawBoy » Wed Dec 22, 2010 1:49 pm

LawBeefaroni wrote:
ImLawBoy wrote:
LawBeefaroni wrote: Maybe I'm missing your point, but where's the farce? Why shouldn't the wireless carriers be permitted to throttle/charge for access to the networks they built, provided they do it in a non-discriminatory manner and in compliance with anti-trust principles?
Because it becomes a revenue generator with access to customers going to the highest bidder. These are the same companies that were charging $0.25 per SMS message as long as they could get away with it.


It all comes down to where you stand on what the internet should be. I have no problem duping someone into paying for an app that does that same thing as a web browser. But if content is going to be blocked or degraded because the owner doesn't pay up for throughput (they already pay for their upload and storage) it is no longer the internet. It is a private content network and should be sold as such.
Where is it currently being blocked or degraded? I'm assuming you're just talking about wireless at this point, since there is much less capacity there, so it would be more likely that you would see a provider blocking content there if it is particularly high bandwidth or something. I'm not familiar with where it's happening, though, and an example might help.

With respect to the wired internet, nobody is currently talking about blocking or degrading content that I'm aware of. The (real) discussion centers on whether the providers should be permitted to sell higher grades of service to those willing to pay for it. For example, Netflix may want to purchase a higher class of service for its streaming content compared to what Google might want to purchase for e-mail. As long as the providers are making these options available to everyone, I'm struggling to see what the issue is.
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Re: FCC and Net Neutrality

Post by LawBeefaroni » Wed Dec 22, 2010 1:58 pm

ImLawBoy wrote:
LawBeefaroni wrote:
ImLawBoy wrote:
LawBeefaroni wrote: Maybe I'm missing your point, but where's the farce? Why shouldn't the wireless carriers be permitted to throttle/charge for access to the networks they built, provided they do it in a non-discriminatory manner and in compliance with anti-trust principles?
Because it becomes a revenue generator with access to customers going to the highest bidder. These are the same companies that were charging $0.25 per SMS message as long as they could get away with it.


It all comes down to where you stand on what the internet should be. I have no problem duping someone into paying for an app that does that same thing as a web browser. But if content is going to be blocked or degraded because the owner doesn't pay up for throughput (they already pay for their upload and storage) it is no longer the internet. It is a private content network and should be sold as such.
Where is it currently being blocked or degraded? I'm assuming you're just talking about wireless at this point, since there is much less capacity there, so it would be more likely that you would see a provider blocking content there if it is particularly high bandwidth or something. I'm not familiar with where it's happening, though, and an example might help.
I assumed we're just talking about wireless here. There are two different net neutrality standards and wireless is the one I called a farce. I'm not saying it is currently blocked but it is now open the door to carrier controls without restrictions (aside from the requirement to allow competitors' content) which may include blocking of content. They have already blocked heavy bandwidth sites like Youtube in the past.
ImLawBoy wrote: With respect to the wired internet, nobody is currently talking about blocking or degrading content that I'm aware of. The (real) discussion centers on whether the providers should be permitted to sell higher grades of service to those willing to pay for it. For example, Netflix may want to purchase a higher class of service for its streaming content compared to what Google might want to purchase for e-mail. As long as the providers are making these options available to everyone, I'm struggling to see what the issue is.
The tiered service is just concerning. As we saw with Comcast, Neflix (or Akamai) might be be charged for the privilege of not having their service crippled. The issue is that with these tiered classes, the types of startups that have driven innovation on the internet, those that depend on true neutrality, would be a thing of the past.
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Re: FCC and Net Neutrality

Post by ImLawBoy » Wed Dec 22, 2010 2:07 pm

LawBeefaroni wrote:I assumed we're just talking about wireless here. There are two different net neutrality standards and wireless is the one I called a farce. I'm not saying it is currently blocked but it is now open to controls without restrictions (aside from the requirement to allow competitors' content).
So your argument here revolves around potential abuse, and not anything that the carriers have actually done or threatened to do. I really don't see an issue here. Yes, there is the potential to block content, but at this point the bandwidth is very limited in the wireless space, and the carriers require the flexibility to be able to block content that might cripple their networks.
LawBeefaroni wrote:The tiered service is just concerning. As we saw with Comcast, Neflix (or Akamai) might be be charged for the privilege of not having their service crippled. The issue is that with these tiered classes, the types of startups that have driven innovation on the internet, those that depend on true neutrality, would be a thing of the past.
I have to look into that Comcast/Netflix issue more. I saw the post about it, but didn't look into it very closely. A cursory reading led me to believe that it involved paying more for guaranteed delivery, but not necessarily doing anything to hamper existing service. Like I said, I need to review it more closely.

As for the startups that have driven innovation on the internet, I'm not sure why they would be a thing of the past. It might not be as easy for them to get started if they require a particularly high amount of bandwidth to get their product going, but it would still be possible if they get investors. For those that don't require a particularly high amount of bandwidth to get going, things probably remain about the same. I'm not sure why the telecoms should be required to continue to subsidize the startups instead of charging them for the resources they use.
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Re: FCC and Net Neutrality

Post by gbasden » Wed Dec 22, 2010 2:21 pm

It wouldn't be an issue if there was actual competition. Much of the U.S. has one, or maybe 2 providers available for broadband.

Comcast has the ability to shakedown Netflix for access to their subscribers. Their subscribers are paying for access to the internet, and yet may have to settle for degraded or no access to the largest streaming content provider on the internet. And Comcast has every reason to do this as every Netflix subscriber is one less person who will be paying for their content on demand service. If their customers were easily able to tell them to shove off, then such is life. But given the lack of choice in internet providers, people are stuck.

How is this not seen as tainto?

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Re: FCC and Net Neutrality

Post by RunningMn9 » Wed Dec 22, 2010 2:24 pm

ImLawBoy wrote:I have to look into that Comcast/Netflix issue more.
My problem is this.

I pay Comcast to have a 25Mbps data pipe between my house and the intertubes. They charge me $N per month for that link. I am fine with this. I wouldn't be happy if they move to a tiered system where if I exceed some agreed upon bandwidth thresholds, they charge me more for hogging their network downloading lots and lots of data bits.

What I object to is Comcast [charging me different rates | preventing throughput] based not on the number of bits that come through the pipe, but instead on the values of the bits that come through the pipe. That was my ultimate understanding of what this net neutrality shenanigans was all about. I am paying for the bits - what those bits are, and where they are coming from (assuming they are coming legally), is none of Comcast's business (IMO).

Maybe I'm way offbase on what this is all aboot though.
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Re: FCC and Net Neutrality

Post by LordMortis » Wed Dec 22, 2010 2:39 pm

RunningMn9 wrote:I pay Comcast to have a 25Mbps data pipe between my house and the intertubes. They charge me $N per month for that link. I am fine with this. I wouldn't be happy if they move to a tiered system where if I exceed some agreed upon bandwidth thresholds, they charge me more for hogging their network downloading lots and lots of data bits.
They used to do this. Did they stop? They'd look at data usage of extreme bandwidth users and either force them to upgrade their service to an enterprise style service or cut them off.
What I object to is Comcast [charging me different rates | preventing throughput] based not on the number of bits that come through the pipe, but instead on the values of the bits that come through the pipe. That was my ultimate understanding of what this net neutrality shenanigans was all about. I am paying for the bits - what those bits are, and where they are coming from (assuming they are coming legally), is none of Comcast's business (IMO).

Maybe I'm way offbase on what this is all aboot though.
As far as I know this is not true with any Internet provider both personal and business, I've always had a responsible usage clause which tells me I'm not supposed to spam or warez and take reasonable precautions against Internet terrorism or whatever. ATT once cut off of my business service once for allow SMTP relay. ComCast once shut me down for over usage and used to block SMTP and POP3 from going "backwards" from the way it's supposed to (again expecting an upgrade in service is I expected to run my own mail server), etc...

Now Comcast may have changed. I haven't looked back in the 8 years I've Comcast free. FREE! FREE!!!

I don't know enough about Net Neutrality specifically to love or hate it. I do know I don't trust anything Comcast is involved in but that's just a sense self preservation kicking in and has no argument behind it.

One thing that I read about Net Neutrality that strikes me eye raising is that this seems to be an attempt to give the FCC legislative power. That their interpretation and documentation essentially will be giving them the right to make laws. Having not seen anything from the what has passed word for word, I can't speak to any of editorials beyond what I think is interesting. If my outrage meter goes off, I'm likely just to have someone point me to the what's really going on and I'll look even more like an idiot than already am. I don't need help in that department. Which raises the final question. Now that it's gone through, what the hell is Net Neutrality now? I can find a lot of opinions but none of those opinions actually share anything about what it really is.

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Re: FCC and Net Neutrality

Post by LawBeefaroni » Wed Dec 22, 2010 2:47 pm

ImLawBoy wrote:
LawBeefaroni wrote:I assumed we're just talking about wireless here. There are two different net neutrality standards and wireless is the one I called a farce. I'm not saying it is currently blocked but it is now open to controls without restrictions (aside from the requirement to allow competitors' content).
So your argument here revolves around potential abuse, and not anything that the carriers have actually done or threatened to do. I really don't see an issue here. Yes, there is the potential to block content, but at this point the bandwidth is very limited in the wireless space, and the carriers require the flexibility to be able to block content that might cripple their networks.
Yes, it's a bit predictive. But in some instances they have already blocked and throttled service. It's just not explicit policy. Now it can be.
LawBeefaroni wrote:The tiered service is just concerning. As we saw with Comcast, Neflix (or Akamai) might be be charged for the privilege of not having their service crippled. The issue is that with these tiered classes, the types of startups that have driven innovation on the internet, those that depend on true neutrality, would be a thing of the past.
I have to look into that Comcast/Netflix issue more. I saw the post about it, but didn't look into it very closely. A cursory reading led me to believe that it involved paying more for guaranteed delivery, but not necessarily doing anything to hamper existing service. Like I said, I need to review it more closely.

As for the startups that have driven innovation on the internet, I'm not sure why they would be a thing of the past. It might not be as easy for them to get started if they require a particularly high amount of bandwidth to get their product going, but it would still be possible if they get investors. For those that don't require a particularly high amount of bandwidth to get going, things probably remain about the same. I'm not sure why the telecoms should be required to continue to subsidize the startups instead of charging them for the resources they use.[/quote]
Startups pay for their bandwidth on the upload. Customers are using the resources on the download. What telecoms want to do is charge content providers for a service that retains the telecom's customers. As a customer, I'm not paying for the theoretical ability to download bits of my choice, I'm paying to actually download bits of my choice.

I certainly see your infrastructure points but it's pipe that we've all paid to lay down.
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Re: FCC and Net Neutrality

Post by ImLawBoy » Wed Dec 22, 2010 3:09 pm

gbasden wrote:It wouldn't be an issue if there was actual competition. Much of the U.S. has one, or maybe 2 providers available for broadband.
I just don't think that's accurate. Most have access to 2+ broadband providers - cable, phone (DSL), satellite, and multiple wireless carriers.
gbasden wrote:Comcast has the ability to shakedown Netflix for access to their subscribers. Their subscribers are paying for access to the internet, and yet may have to settle for degraded or no access to the largest streaming content provider on the internet. And Comcast has every reason to do this as every Netflix subscriber is one less person who will be paying for their content on demand service. If their customers were easily able to tell them to shove off, then such is life. But given the lack of choice in internet providers, people are stuck.

How is this not seen as tainto?
I think you've misread the dispute that is leading to this. After doing some more research on this, Netflix is only tangentially involved. What happened is that Level 3 (a Netflix partner) issued a complaint against Comcast because Comcast wanted to start charging Level 3 more. Level 3 is trying to frame this as a Netflix tax. Comcast claims to have a peering contract with Level 3 that permits roughly even trading of traffic, but Level 3's traffic that they're now offloading to Comcast has increased dramatically. That would permit Comcast, under the terms of their contract with Level 3, to raise rates to Level 3. Netflix is almost certainly the catalyst for all of this, as Level 3's traffic went up upon entering their partnership with Netflix.

I don't know the real facts behind all of this. If Comcast doesn't really have an agreement that permits this, then it's a serious concern, and net neutrality comes into play. If Comcast is just acting in accordance with their contract, though, then Level 3 is attempting to win a battle via PR that they wouldn't likely win in the courts. It wouldn't be a net neutrality issue in that case, but just a run of the mill contract dispute.
RunningMn9 wrote:
ImLawBoy wrote:I have to look into that Comcast/Netflix issue more.
My problem is this.

I pay Comcast to have a 25Mbps data pipe between my house and the intertubes. They charge me $N per month for that link. I am fine with this. I wouldn't be happy if they move to a tiered system where if I exceed some agreed upon bandwidth thresholds, they charge me more for hogging their network downloading lots and lots of data bits.

What I object to is Comcast [charging me different rates | preventing throughput] based not on the number of bits that come through the pipe, but instead on the values of the bits that come through the pipe. That was my ultimate understanding of what this net neutrality shenanigans was all about. I am paying for the bits - what those bits are, and where they are coming from (assuming they are coming legally), is none of Comcast's business (IMO).

Maybe I'm way offbase on what this is all aboot though.
I don't believe that is happening in this case. This is a dispute between Comcast and Level 3.
LawBeefaroni wrote:
ImLawBoy wrote:
LawBeefaroni wrote:I assumed we're just talking about wireless here. There are two different net neutrality standards and wireless is the one I called a farce. I'm not saying it is currently blocked but it is now open to controls without restrictions (aside from the requirement to allow competitors' content).
So your argument here revolves around potential abuse, and not anything that the carriers have actually done or threatened to do. I really don't see an issue here. Yes, there is the potential to block content, but at this point the bandwidth is very limited in the wireless space, and the carriers require the flexibility to be able to block content that might cripple their networks.
Yes, it's a bit predictive. But in some instances they have already blocked and throttled service. It's just not explicit policy. Now it can be.
Again, I'd love to see the examples of where this has happened so I can look into them.
LawBeefaroni wrote:
ImLawBoy wrote:
LawBeefaroni wrote:The tiered service is just concerning. As we saw with Comcast, Neflix (or Akamai) might be be charged for the privilege of not having their service crippled. The issue is that with these tiered classes, the types of startups that have driven innovation on the internet, those that depend on true neutrality, would be a thing of the past.
I have to look into that Comcast/Netflix issue more. I saw the post about it, but didn't look into it very closely. A cursory reading led me to believe that it involved paying more for guaranteed delivery, but not necessarily doing anything to hamper existing service. Like I said, I need to review it more closely.

As for the startups that have driven innovation on the internet, I'm not sure why they would be a thing of the past. It might not be as easy for them to get started if they require a particularly high amount of bandwidth to get their product going, but it would still be possible if they get investors. For those that don't require a particularly high amount of bandwidth to get going, things probably remain about the same. I'm not sure why the telecoms should be required to continue to subsidize the startups instead of charging them for the resources they use.
Startups pay for their bandwidth on the upload. Customers are using the resources on the download. What telecoms want to do is charge content providers for a service that retains the telecom's customers. As a customer, I'm not paying for the theoretical ability to download bits of my choice, I'm paying to actually download bits of my choice.

I certainly see your infrastructure points but it's pipe that we've all paid to lay down.
It's really kind of a shell game. End users probably are not paying the full cost of the service on the download, as that would make it too expensive. Instead, the cost of that would be shifted onto the content provider/startup. That's the same as has occured in the phone marketplace for years. Consumer prices were kept artificially low, essentially being subsidized by higher business prices.
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Re: FCC and Net Neutrality

Post by Scuzz » Wed Dec 22, 2010 3:13 pm

Arcanis wrote:I feel I can safely say that many on the right have issues with the government implementing net neutrality for concerns over censorship of speech. They believe that once the government is given control to regulate the internet it will be used to silence political opponents, much as they think the fairness doctrine would.

and the taxing of internet............somehow the government would have to pay for it wouldn't they....

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Re: FCC and Net Neutrality

Post by ImLawBoy » Wed Dec 22, 2010 3:15 pm

Scuzz wrote:
Arcanis wrote:I feel I can safely say that many on the right have issues with the government implementing net neutrality for concerns over censorship of speech. They believe that once the government is given control to regulate the internet it will be used to silence political opponents, much as they think the fairness doctrine would.

and the taxing of internet............somehow the government would have to pay for it wouldn't they....
Net neutrality has nothing to do with regulating speech on the internet (in fact, true net neutrality would make it harder to regulate speech), and the internet is already taxed.
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Re: FCC and Net Neutrality

Post by RunningMn9 » Wed Dec 22, 2010 3:16 pm

LordMortis wrote:They used to do this. Did they stop? They'd look at data usage of extreme bandwidth users and either force them to upgrade their service to an enterprise style service or cut them off.
Sorry, what I meant to say was that I don't like it, but that I find it acceptable. I am paying for bandwidth, and that bandwidth is subject to usage rules (in terms of quantity and sustained rate). I understand and accept this as part of the relationship between myself and my bandwidth provider.

LordMortis wrote:As far as I know this is not true with any Internet provider both personal and business, I've always had a responsible usage clause which tells me I'm not supposed to spam or warez and take reasonable precautions against Internet terrorism or whatever. ATT once cut off of my business service once for allow SMTP relay. ComCast once shut me down for over usage and used to block SMTP and POP3 from going "backwards" from the way it's supposed to (again expecting an upgrade in service is I expected to run my own mail server), etc...
Again, this is what I meant in terms of "legal". If I am downloading bits that compromise a ripped movie torrent, my bandwidth provider has a reasonable right to say "No".

That's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about "You are downloading legal content without exceeding established bandwidth usage guidelines, but we are going to [charge you more | reduce your bit rate] for these particular bits because the content provider side of our house wants to make sure that you only buy those particular bits from them".
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Re: FCC and Net Neutrality

Post by Scuzz » Wed Dec 22, 2010 3:17 pm

ImLawBoy wrote:
Scuzz wrote:
Arcanis wrote:I feel I can safely say that many on the right have issues with the government implementing net neutrality for concerns over censorship of speech. They believe that once the government is given control to regulate the internet it will be used to silence political opponents, much as they think the fairness doctrine would.

and the taxing of internet............somehow the government would have to pay for it wouldn't they....
Net neutrality has nothing to do with regulating speech on the internet (in fact, true net neutrality would make it harder to regulate speech), and the internet is already taxed.

well then...................nevermind.

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Re: FCC and Net Neutrality

Post by Smoove_B » Wed Dec 22, 2010 3:21 pm

RunningMn9 wrote:That's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about "You are downloading legal content without exceeding established bandwidth usage guidelines, but we are going to [charge you more | reduce your bit rate] for these particular bits because the content provider side of our house wants to make sure that you only buy those particular bits from them".
Exactly. If your ISP is Comcast they'd be looking to throttle your content from Netflix (making it difficult or impossible to get HD content) but be more than happy to remind you they offer HD movies on demand for only $3 each.

Who would agree to that? Who thinks that's a good idea?

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Re: FCC and Net Neutrality

Post by craterus » Wed Dec 22, 2010 3:22 pm

ImLawBoy wrote: Where is it currently being blocked or degraded?
ImLawBoy wrote:
RunningMn9 wrote:
ImLawBoy wrote:I have to look into that Comcast/Netflix issue more.
My problem is this.

I pay Comcast to have a 25Mbps data pipe between my house and the intertubes. They charge me $N per month for that link. I am fine with this. I wouldn't be happy if they move to a tiered system where if I exceed some agreed upon bandwidth thresholds, they charge me more for hogging their network downloading lots and lots of data bits.

What I object to is Comcast [charging me different rates | preventing throughput] based not on the number of bits that come through the pipe, but instead on the values of the bits that come through the pipe. That was my ultimate understanding of what this net neutrality shenanigans was all about. I am paying for the bits - what those bits are, and where they are coming from (assuming they are coming legally), is none of Comcast's business (IMO).

Maybe I'm way offbase on what this is all aboot though.
I don't believe that is happening in this case. This is a dispute between Comcast and Level 3.
LawBeefaroni wrote:
ImLawBoy wrote:
LawBeefaroni wrote:I assumed we're just talking about wireless here. There are two different net neutrality standards and wireless is the one I called a farce. I'm not saying it is currently blocked but it is now open to controls without restrictions (aside from the requirement to allow competitors' content).
So your argument here revolves around potential abuse, and not anything that the carriers have actually done or threatened to do. I really don't see an issue here. Yes, there is the potential to block content, but at this point the bandwidth is very limited in the wireless space, and the carriers require the flexibility to be able to block content that might cripple their networks.
Yes, it's a bit predictive. But in some instances they have already blocked and throttled service. It's just not explicit policy. Now it can be.
Again, I'd love to see the examples of where this has happened so I can look into them.
hopefully i didn't mess up the quotes there... I am not sure why you are focused on where the abuse has happened in the past. Wouldn't the change in law allow for new exploitations? If a company lobbies for a law... wouldn't you think they have a plan on how to best exploit it?

Perhaps I am confused similar to runningman... initially when i read some of the articles I was thinking it was all about allowing the companies to choose to throttle (or not) particular content (whatever the content might be).

Smoove_B wrote:
RunningMn9 wrote:That's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about "You are downloading legal content without exceeding established bandwidth usage guidelines, but we are going to [charge you more | reduce your bit rate] for these particular bits because the content provider side of our house wants to make sure that you only buy those particular bits from them".
Exactly. If your ISP is Comcast they'd be looking to throttle your content from Netflix (making it difficult or impossible to get HD content) but be more than happy to remind you they offer HD movies on demand for only $3 each.

Who would agree to that? Who thinks that's a good idea?
right... that seems to be the issue (or not depending on who you ask i guess)... I can't imagine a company lobbying for a particular law where it does not profit the corporation (which is often at the expense of someone else - "Sure we are profitable now... but wouldn't we be more profitable if we can block our customers from potential competitors?" "Shut up Smithers! We are helping them choose better content!").
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Re: FCC and Net Neutrality

Post by ImLawBoy » Wed Dec 22, 2010 3:30 pm

Smoove_B wrote:
RunningMn9 wrote:That's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about "You are downloading legal content without exceeding established bandwidth usage guidelines, but we are going to [charge you more | reduce your bit rate] for these particular bits because the content provider side of our house wants to make sure that you only buy those particular bits from them".
Exactly. If your ISP is Comcast they'd be looking to throttle your content from Netflix (making it difficult or impossible to get HD content) but be more than happy to remind you they offer HD movies on demand for only $3 each.

Who would agree to that? Who thinks that's a good idea?
I don't think that's the situation we're finding ourselves in today. Again, it's a dispute between Comcast and Level 3 over contract terms (at least, according to Comcast).
craterus wrote:hopefully i didn't mess up the quotes there... I am not sure why you are focused on where the abuse has happened in the past. Wouldn't the change in law allow for new exploitations? If a company lobbies for a law... wouldn't you think they have a plan on how to best exploit it?

Perhaps I am confused similar to runningman... initially when i read some of the articles I was thinking it was all about allowing the companies to choose to throttle (or not) particular content (whatever the content might be).
I'm focusing on where it has happened in the past because vague laws that try to stop speculative issues that have never arisen are probably not going to be very effective. I'm also focusing on where it has been threatened, because that allows us to see what might happen. At this point, the best example appears to be the Comcast/Level 3 situation, which may have nothing to do with Net Neutrality. Why create laws to address problems that don't exist? Especially when it comes to communications and internet access, where technology moves much faster than the legislature or the FCC, laws and regulations get outdated pretty quickly. And the companies lobbying for a law here are the ones lobbying for net neutrality laws. The providers would be happy to keep things status quo.
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Re: FCC and Net Neutrality

Post by LordMortis » Wed Dec 22, 2010 3:30 pm

Smoove_B wrote:
RunningMn9 wrote:That's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about "You are downloading legal content without exceeding established bandwidth usage guidelines, but we are going to [charge you more | reduce your bit rate] for these particular bits because the content provider side of our house wants to make sure that you only buy those particular bits from them".
Exactly. If your ISP is Comcast they'd be looking to throttle your content from Netflix (making it difficult or impossible to get HD content) but be more than happy to remind you they offer HD movies on demand for only $3 each.

Who would agree to that? Who thinks that's a good idea?
1) Are Comcast doing this? (I wouldn't put it past them but I've not seen record that they are, even from Lawbeefs post last week or the week before)
2) Will Net Neutrality somehow foster or prevent this? How do we know? I'm really lost when it comes to exactly what NN will or will not do.

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Re: FCC and Net Neutrality

Post by RunningMn9 » Wed Dec 22, 2010 3:42 pm

ImLawBoy wrote:I think you've misread the dispute that is leading to this. After doing some more research on this, Netflix is only tangentially involved. What happened is that Level 3 (a Netflix partner) issued a complaint against Comcast because Comcast wanted to start charging Level 3 more. Level 3 is trying to frame this as a Netflix tax. Comcast claims to have a peering contract with Level 3 that permits roughly even trading of traffic, but Level 3's traffic that they're now offloading to Comcast has increased dramatically. That would permit Comcast, under the terms of their contract with Level 3, to raise rates to Level 3. Netflix is almost certainly the catalyst for all of this, as Level 3's traffic went up upon entering their partnership with Netflix.
I think you have misread the dispute that is leading to this.

Level 3 issues the complaint because the peering contract has to do with traffic that Level 3 hands off to Comcast, who then hands it off to another part of the internet. The traffic from Level 3 to Comcast has increased dramatically - because the traffic is being requested by Comcast's customers (in the form of Netflix streaming, which competes with their Xfinity service). Comcast's customers are paying Comcast for bandwidth. They are trying to use that bandwidth to pipe data from Level 3's network (Netflix streaming). Comcast is not pleased, so they are trying to charge Level 3 mo' money.

But this isn't a peering issue (unless you work in the Comcast PR dept), as far as I have read.

Edit: Again, as I understand it, "peering" is for data that moves all the way through a network, not for data that is terminated inside your network. What is happening here is that Comcast is saying (on behalf of the customers that are paying for their broadband) "Give us all ur dataz!", and then in the next breath is saying "Oh!!N0z!!2 much dataz!!" and asking Level 3 to pay to transmit the data that Comcast is requesting (via their end users).
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Re: FCC and Net Neutrality

Post by ImLawBoy » Wed Dec 22, 2010 3:46 pm

RunningMn9 wrote:Comcast is not pleased, so they are trying to charge Level 3 mo' money.
If it's written in their contract that Comcast can charge more money in this situation, as Comcast claims, then would you agree this isn't a net neutrality issue but a contract dispute?
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Re: FCC and Net Neutrality

Post by RunningMn9 » Wed Dec 22, 2010 3:50 pm

ImLawBoy wrote:If it's written in their contract that Comcast can charge more money in this situation, as Comcast claims, then would you agree this isn't a net neutrality issue but a contract dispute?
This has nothing to do with the "peering contract" because this isn't peering. This is data coming from Level 3 servers, to Comcast end users, at their request. That isn't what the peering agreements are for.
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Re: FCC and Net Neutrality

Post by gbasden » Wed Dec 22, 2010 3:52 pm

ImLawBoy wrote:I just don't think that's accurate. Most have access to 2+ broadband providers - cable, phone (DSL), satellite, and multiple wireless carriers.
The FCC disagrees with you.
Many commentators have pointed out that competition is sorely lacking among broadband providers. As the FCC noted in its national plan, 96 percent of all households are served by two or fewer providers.
The Comcast/ Level 3 deal is definitely more complicated than it looks. But it does come down to how bits from Netflix make it down to Comcast's customers. Comcast definitely has a conflict of interest in this case because those bits directly compete with their bits. Do you believe that Comcast should be able to block bits from Netflix if they choose? Given the lack of choice in providers, what recourse do their customers have? Do you believe that allowing access providers to block or cripple traffic to maximize their profits is going to improve or harm the internet in general?

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