×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

A Simple Guide To Net Neutrality

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the taking-no-sides dept.

The Internet 154

superapecommando writes in with a neutral introduction to net neutrality from ComputerWorld UK. While it doesn't go into a lot of technical depth, it's rare to see anything written on the subject that isn't rabid on one side or the other. "Google's recently announced plan to set up trial fiber-optic networks in the US with ultra-high-speed Internet connections puts the long running national debate over Net Neutrality back into high gear. A hot topic of discussion and debate in government and telecom circles since at least 2003, Net Neutrality, actually involves a broad array of topics, technologies and players. Here's a primer for those looking to get up to speed fast."

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

154 comments

It's all about profits anyway. (1)

khasim (1285) | more than 4 years ago | (#31158520)

The other companies are looking to get a slice of Google's profits.

Fuck them.

The day Google offers fiber in my neighborhood I am going to sign up with them.

Re:It's all about profits anyway. (1)

Mashdar (876825) | more than 4 years ago | (#31158542)

But then Google will know where you live! Oh wait...

Re:It's all about profits anyway. (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#31158884)

But then Google will know where you live!

Big whoop. Google already knows where all its AdSense publishers and AdWords advertisers live.

Re:It's all about profits anyway. (1, Informative)

Bakkster (1529253) | more than 4 years ago | (#31158990)

Ever searched for directions to/from your house? Sent an e-mail with your address? They probably have at least a pretty good idea of where you live anyway.

Re:It's all about profits anyway. (1)

Mashdar (876825) | more than 4 years ago | (#31160210)

It was a joke. Google (in some sense) already knows where you live. Where you live is pretty freely available on the internet. All you need is a name (and the first 24 of your IP goes a long way).

Re:It's all about profits anyway. (2, Insightful)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#31159204)

I have no problem with doing that with the way things are done now.

But when there is a new guy running Google (and it will happen eventually) - I don't know if I want to be fully dependant on Google services.

I think you might have heard that euphemism about eggs and baskets...

If Google provides me from everything from a computer to internet to applications... It's a scary thought if someone else starts running the show, with the only goal of seperating me from as many dollars as possible.

Re: Baskets (2, Interesting)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 4 years ago | (#31159580)

Problem is, the other baskets are Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T.
They all rotate into the limelight with something awful.

Google is a really tricky company. I think they do a decent job of scaring everyone into line.

Rare on Slashdot (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31158526)

it's rare to see anything written on the subject that isn't rabid on one side or the other.

it's rare to see anything on Slashdot on the subject that isn't rabidly on the pro-Net Neutrality side.

There. Fixed that for you.

Superapecommando (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31158666)

Okay, a bit off topic, but is his name SuperApeCommando, or a play on the double R for Super Rape Commando?

Net Neutrality isn't the only thing to worry about (4, Insightful)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 4 years ago | (#31158714)

... or even the most important thing to worry about. Watch for big cable-companies to impose bandwidth caps and raise the price of data transfer to protect their regional video monopolies at the expense of Internet-accessible video content. Bandwidth caps are outside of the purview of NN as it's traditionally defined.

Re:Net Neutrality isn't the only thing to worry ab (1)

calmofthestorm (1344385) | more than 4 years ago | (#31158782)

While this is true, consider that if the company imposes bandwidth caps on "internet" while allowing "cable plus" content from that provider to be delivered, one could conceivably make a NN claim on the "same pipes" logic. This is a stretch, I'm not going to lie, but consider that these things are related. Otherwise, the provider could just offer a "internet plus" with no caps and access to limited sites on the same pipes...you see where I'm going with this.

Re:Net Neutrality isn't the only thing to worry ab (2, Informative)

Obfuscant (592200) | more than 4 years ago | (#31159270)

While this is true, consider that if the company imposes bandwidth caps on "internet" while allowing "cable plus" content from that provider to be delivered, one could conceivably make a NN claim on the "same pipes" logic. This is a stretch, I'm not going to lie,

Sorry. Xfinity Cable is not the same as Xfinity Internet. You are using Xfinity Cable to watch On Demand programs, not Xfinity Internet. It doesn't matter that the same wire is being used to deliver both, and your Xfinity Telephone service too.

By the way, our new 100MBPS Xfinity Internet speeds allow you to reach your undefined unlimited bandwidth limit 10 times sooner, so enjoy watching Xfinity Cable for the remainder of the month after you hit your limit with Netflix on-demand on day 3 of each month ...

Re:Net Neutrality isn't the only thing to worry ab (5, Insightful)

QuantumRiff (120817) | more than 4 years ago | (#31158838)

Thats just as horrible as electric utilities making you pay per Killowatt/hour of power.

Honestly.. I would prefer a $X per Giga or Megabyte over $x for unlimited*

              *Where we define unlimited, who gets throttled when and can cut you off for exceeding any internal threshold that we will not tell you about.

Seriously.. If I am curious about my power usage, I can walk outside, look at the meter, and figure out pretty close to what I owe.

Re:Net Neutrality isn't the only thing to worry ab (4, Interesting)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 4 years ago | (#31158982)

Thats just as horrible as electric utilities making you pay per Killowatt/hour of power.

The difference is power distribution companies are not allowed to charge exorbitant fees to green power generation companies to transport that power to the end user. They have to charge the same price they charge their own coal fired power generation subsidiaries. Having a monopoly on power distribution, they are restricted from using that to gain an unfair advantage in another market, such as power generation. Claiming green power and coal power are different product even though they go over the same pipes in the same way is the same as claiming television service is different from any other data going over the cable network. You can't artificially raise the price of your competitors from a monopoly position.

Re:Net Neutrality isn't the only thing to worry ab (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#31160732)

And since Comcast is a monopoly (or duopoly in some cases), they should be regulated by the State commission.

what is the price of a bit? what am I paying for? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31160122)

Thats just as horrible as electric utilities making you pay per Killowatt/hour of power.

Power is finite and needs to be generated on-demand from (usually) consumable resources. Bandwidth doesn't fall in the the same category.

For fibre, if you have something that's sitting around idle, you're "wasting" (say) 1 Gb/s of bandwidth each second that it's not lit up. It could be used to transfer information for someone, but if you've capped people and so they're not using it because they're over their caps, you have all this telco equipment doing absolutely nothing.

On the other hand, if you're not using power, that means the generation companies aren't burning coal/gas/uranium. You don't use, they don't use. But an ISP, if you don't use... their plant is still running. Now there's certainly an incremental cost in power optical lasers and such, but it's tiny IMHO.

What exactly are we charged for using when we're charged for transferring a bit of information? The fibre is still depreciating where I'm running a torrent or not; the Cisco/Juniper is getting out of date whether I'm hitting Youtube or not.

With electricity, I'm being charged for the consumption of coal/gas/uranium (plus some overhead for transport). What exactly am I being charged for consuming when I download a bit?

Direct versus indirect costs (4, Interesting)

sjbe (173966) | more than 4 years ago | (#31160794)

Power is finite and needs to be generated on-demand from (usually) consumable resources. Bandwidth doesn't fall in the the same category.

Really? Bandwidth is finite and it requires the exact same power from those exact same consumable resources, plus the equipment to deliver the data. I agree it's not quite an apples to apples comparison but it's closer than you are making it out to be. The difference is that one is a direct cost and the other is an indirect cost [wikipedia.org] . They're both real costs but one can be directly assigned to a cost center and the other cannot. This has enormous implications that I think you should study a little deeper. Charging per bit is a way to turn an indirect cost into something resembling a direct cost. Not perfect to be sure but there are good reasons to do it.

For fibre, if you have something that's sitting around idle, you're "wasting" (say) 1 Gb/s of bandwidth each second that it's not lit up. It could be used to transfer information for someone, but if you've capped people and so they're not using it because they're over their caps, you have all this telco equipment doing absolutely nothing.

Whether that is a valid argument depends entirely upon whether there is excess capacity to be had and how the costs are allocated. The "wasted" bandwidth is only wasted if someone wants it and can't get it. If there is no demand for it then you have a case of excess capacity and the costs for the equipment will be higher for everyone who pays to use it. If the bit can be delivered but at the cost of slowing down other customers there is an opportunity cost in play. ISPs do need to make sure that all their customers have access to bits, not just the customers who use the most bits. There also might be upstream costs since your ISP probably pays some rate per bit for data delivered outside their own network. If bandwidth is artificially limited when it could otherwise be delivered without interfering with other customers, then your argument may carry weight.

With electricity, I'm being charged for the consumption of coal/gas/uranium (plus some overhead for transport). What exactly am I being charged for consuming when I download a bit?

The cost of the equipment to deliver that bit, the electricity needed to power that equipment, the staff needed to manage that equipment, depreciation, insurance, upstream bandwidth costs from other suppliers and a number of other costs. Welcome to the wonderful world of direct versus indirect costs [wikipedia.org] . This is what makes cost accounting such an important and difficult endeavor.

Disclosure: I'm a certified accountant.

Re:what is the price of a bit? what am I paying fo (1)

QuantumRiff (120817) | more than 4 years ago | (#31161562)

Power is finite and needs to be generated on-demand from (usually) consumable resources. Bandwidth doesn't fall in the the same category.

For fibre, if you have something that's sitting around idle, you're "wasting" (say) 1 Gb/s of bandwidth each second that it's not lit up.

Same could be said for my 200AMP service, when I'm only using 50 amps.

On the other hand, if you're not using power, that means the generation companies aren't burning coal/gas/uranium. You don't use, they don't use. But an ISP, if you don't use... their plant is still running.

How often do they power down dams and nuclear reactors near you? Those, along with coal, are base-load, and almost always run.

Basically, what you are alluding to, I think, is that with electricity, the power is finite, and the delivery mechanism is the cheap part.

My argument is that bandwidth is the same, but backwards, the bandwidth is relatively infinite, but the delivery mechanism is the expensive part. (fiber to your house or node, uplink bandwidth, etc) Your electric system (or at least many) even allow you to choose the "source" for the other side of the connection, even if its not really those same currents coming directly to your door. Why do we continue to purchase these in bundles? I would pay less, even when I watch things like Hulu.com, then my neighbor, who has kids who love to torrent every TV show, ever made. I am also taxing the system less as well.

Re:Net Neutrality isn't the only thing to worry ab (1)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 4 years ago | (#31160990)

Thats just as horrible as electric utilities making you pay per Killowatt/hour of power.

What's wrong with that?

Re:Net Neutrality isn't the only thing to worry ab (1)

Eil (82413) | more than 4 years ago | (#31161984)

Metered bandwidth would be an even bigger blow to innovation on the Internet than lack of net neutrality. If all Internet users were forced onto metered bandwidth plans, these things would all be dead:

  • User-driven video upload sites like YouTube
  • Streaming video services like Hulu and Netflix
  • Streaming music services like Pandora, Slacker, and independent stations like SomaFM
  • Many forms of online gaming
  • Advertising

That last one is the real kicker. The Internet basically runs on advertising. When Internet access is billed by the byte, everyone is going to look to cut their costs by installing ad blocking software. Google and Yahoo would fold overnight. Facebook would become the exclusive realm of the well-to-do. The "printed" news industry would fall into an even deeper hole than its already in. I could list examples all day, but the key thing to take away here is that the Internet as we know it would cease to exist.

Now also think about who have thus far been the major proponents of metered bandwidth: Cable and phone companies. They have an interest in restricting how their customers use the Internet, because they believe it competes with their other services. And they would be right. They can see a future where Hulu is just the beginning of streaming content distribution on the Internet. Eventually, services will come along that offer a cable-TV-like experience for a fraction of the price. All the customer needs is an Internet connection and a little set-top box. Companies like Comcast and AT&T will simply become ISPs, which is the exact opposite direction that they want to go: they want direct control and supervision over their customers' experience because that's where the money is. Any whining noises they make about peer-to-peer killing their networking infrastructure is bullshit, they just don't want to be cut out of a direct content relationship with their customers.

Seriously.. If I am curious about my power usage, I can walk outside, look at the meter, and figure out pretty close to what I owe.

Power and gas are utilities. They are easy to quantify and are used for specific obvious purposes, so it makes sense to bill based on how much is consumed. The Internet, however, is a communications medium. Apples and oranges, my friend.

Re:Net Neutrality isn't the only thing to worry ab (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31159272)

The big cable companies should be allowed to do whatever they want with their networks. They paid for the networks out of their own pocket, free from any tax-payer subsidies, right?

Wait. What's that? They didn't? Oh. My mistake!

At least we're not throwing 7 billion dollars of taxpayer money in their general direction in the form of "stimulus".

Really? We're doing that too? You're kidding?

Re:Net Neutrality isn't the only thing to worry ab (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#31160770)

Even if the cable/isp companies did not receive one single dolar, the fact they were given a government-granted monopoly also means they have to obey the government's rules. Else said government will kick-out Comcast and put someone else there - like Google ISP

Re:Net Neutrality isn't the only thing to worry ab (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#31160698)

>>>Bandwidth caps are outside of the purview of NN as it's traditionally defined.

Not really. Net neutrality bsically ays all pipes will be treated the same, so whether I watch my videos at MGM.com r comcastrentals.com,I should be treated the same (~10 cents per gigabyte transferred).

My MAIN concern is that Comcast/Cox/whoever doesn't block access, such as to sites like FOXnews.com or infowars.org.

Re:Net Neutrality isn't the only thing to worry ab (1)

Sepodati (746220) | more than 4 years ago | (#31161508)

You didn't explain how bandwidth caps are "not really" outside the purview of network neutrality.

Yes, the ISP must treat your packet to site A and site B equally, but once you reach X Gb of transfer for the month, they can block any and all of your traffic under the poorly defined category of "reasonable network management".

According to the FCCs proposal, the definition for reasonable network management includes the clause of "(b) other reasonable network management practices"... uh...

The only proposed rule that would cover bandwidth caps would be the transparency proposal. It'd require the ISP to at least be upfront about their caps so you can make an educated decision. Transparency: "Subject to reasonable network management, a provider of broadband Internet access service must disclose such information concerning network management and other practices as is reasonably required for users and content, application, and service providers to enjoy the protections specified in this part."

-John

YUO FAIL It (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31158754)

of OpEnBSD versus was in the tea I

simple guide to surviving unprecedented evile (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31158794)

no need to confuse 'religion' with being a spiritual being. our soul purpose here is to care for one another. failing that, we're simply passing through (excess baggage) being distracted/consumed by the guaranteed to fail illusionary trappings of man'kind'. & recently (about a 1000 years ago) it was determined that hoarding & excess by a few, resulted in negative consequences for all.

Common argument (4, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 4 years ago | (#31158858)

One of the most common arguments that I hear out of net neutrality opponents is that competition will somehow keep most ISP's net neutral without any messy government regulation. But what happens if all the major ISP's start blocking certain sites (like Pirate Bay)? With most people (in the U.S. at least) having at most 1-3 broadband providers to choose from, exactly where are you supposed to you go when all the big ones agree on a blacklist? And how can you open up a competing provider when all the wire and fiber are in the hands of monopolies like AT&T, Time-Warner, etc.? It's not like you can just start up a Mom & Pop broadband provider and start laying hundreds of miles of cable. Even Google will have a hard time competing with the big telco's and cableco's with the relatively minor bit of fiber optic they own.

Re:Common argument (5, Insightful)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 4 years ago | (#31159248)

Here is the biggest issue with the competition argument: in the vast majority of markets, there is at best a duopoly (cable and dsl). If you're completely out of luck, you only have one high-speed provider; generally ATT. The idea that free markets will magically keep the ISPs honest is ludicrous to the point of being a flat-out lie. At this point, I have to believe that anyone claiming that competition will do anything in the high-speed ISP market is just lying.

The only competition that exists is in the cellular high-speed internet access, and even that is incredibly limited competition: the high costs of terminating a contract prematurely make sure of that.

Re:Common argument (1, Interesting)

ArsonSmith (13997) | more than 4 years ago | (#31159296)

Here's the biggest issue with the regulation argument. It created the mess of duopolies you describe above.

Why do you lie so brazenly? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31159728)

Why do you lie so brazenly? AT&T happened DESPITE government, not because of it. Same for Standard Oil back in the day. But I guess that either you were never told the truth (and are happy because the truth is unwelcome) or you don't care about the truth at all and ignore it.

Re:Why do you lie so brazenly? (1)

ArsonSmith (13997) | more than 4 years ago | (#31161378)

Sorry AC but Bell systems was a monopoly established in 1913. Many years before the 1949 antitrust suit settled in 1956.

Re:Common argument (1)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 4 years ago | (#31161080)

Agreed, the ideal solution is to break the duopolies. But that isn't realistic. No one in congress has even proposed it.

I apologize if this sounds jaded, I don't think competition would help. The corporations would probably band together to lock-out anyone who provided a neutral experience. The DOJ would find out and sue them, but the court case would last 20 years and be thrown out by congress passing an amnesty law because the ISPs would contribute to their campaigns too much. And the customers who should be outraged at the non-neutral coverage would get all their news and information through their ISPs, who would make it hard to even find out that anything non-neutral is happening. And even if the users did find out, the ISP would promise to raise their bandwidth to YouTube by 5% if they sit down and shut up. And how many consumers will turn down that deal in order to get unbiased accurate bandwidth? Probably not enough to change things.

Competition only works if the consumers are educated and make good decisions. In this case, I don't think they would know or care. So I don't think it would work.

Re:Common argument (1)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 4 years ago | (#31161970)

No. The duopolies are created by sweetheart deals between the carriers and the local municipalities.

By the way, do you understand the concept of natural monopolies? Whereby markets that require heavy upfront investment favor the incumbent to the point of making it impossible to compete with them after they've establish themselves? Please do not invoke free market incantations when you have no idea what defines a free market.

Re:Common argument (1)

Ichijo (607641) | more than 4 years ago | (#31159828)

Here is the biggest issue with the competition argument: in the vast majority of markets, there is at best a duopoly (cable and dsl).

If you ignore the fact that satellite is available everywhere and DSL usually (if not always) is provided by more than one ISP (the local telco plus other ISPs such as Covad), then you would be correct.

Re:Common argument (1)

hoxford (94613) | more than 4 years ago | (#31160128)

Satellite is a substandard product compared to DSL and cable due to it's high latencies and other issues. It's really not a direct competitor.

DSL provided by third parties has a history of issues due to the Telcos controlling the physical plant and not providing same level of service to the third party companies or their customers and with playing games for the fees charged to lease the lines. The third party companies are usually marginalized somewhat because of the deck being stacked against them in this way.

Re:Common argument (1)

Ichijo (607641) | more than 4 years ago | (#31160928)

Satellite is a substandard product compared to DSL and cable due to it's high latencies and other issues. It's really not a direct competitor.

The latency and slow upstream doesn't affect many casual Internet users. For them, satellite broadband is a good substitute, therefore, a direct competitor, of DSL and cable.

The third party companies are usually marginalized somewhat because of the deck being stacked against them in this way.

Fixing that would create even more competition within DSL than exists today.

Re:Common argument (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | more than 4 years ago | (#31161410)

Satellite can be really intermittent and unreliable, aside from its awful latency. And latency isnt just a problem for gamers; try using skype, or vonage, or youtube, or remote desktop over satellite, see how fun it is.

Re:Common argument (1)

Radical Moderate (563286) | more than 4 years ago | (#31161828)

"Fixing that would create even more competition within DSL than exists today."

"Even more competition"? You completely ignore Hoxford's argument about how telco's marginalize their DSL "competition". Qwest is our local telco, and none of the other local DSL providers can beat Qwest's rates or performance. If you believe that has nothing to do with the fact that Qwest controls the pipes, I have a nice bridge you might be interested in.

Re:Common argument (1)

Ichijo (607641) | more than 4 years ago | (#31161906)

Qwest is our local telco, and none of the other local DSL providers can beat Qwest's rates or performance.

If other local DSL providers even exist, then so does competition.

Re:Common argument (1)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 4 years ago | (#31162004)

You do realize that the vast majority of "independent" ISPs are merely leasing lines from the incumbent provider? That leads to such joy as "Sorry you have such issues with your line, but it's up to ATT to send a technician out to fix this line. I wouldn't hold my breath."

Re:Common argument (1)

frankxcid (884419) | more than 4 years ago | (#31160344)

I don't understand you. You claim there is no competition but you mention a lot of competing markets players: Cable, DSL, Cell. If that is not enough you are lying to yourself. In addition, the main evidence for successful competition is that despite all this worry, High speed internet rates have not risen, have not kept pace with inflation, and have not kept pace with usage (bandwidth) increases. How do you explain that?

Re:Common argument (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#31160824)

There's a guy right here on Slashdot who was kicked-off by Comcast ISP for using too much bandwidth. No warning - just banned for a year.

Guess what? He had no other place to go since Salt Lake City doesn't offer many options. You get Comcast or nothing, therefore the monopoly (or even duopoly) must be regulated by the state government. If they don't comply, revoke the government-granted license and give it to someone else (like AppleTV).

Re:Common argument (1)

Ichijo (607641) | more than 4 years ago | (#31159350)

And how can you open up a competing provider when all the wire and fiber are in the hands of monopolies like AT&T, Time-Warner, etc.?

You lease a circuit to your Internet provider of choice, perhaps to the same one Pirate Bay uses if you don't want any traffic blocked.

Re:Common argument (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 4 years ago | (#31159788)

One of the most common arguments that I hear out of net neutrality opponents is that competition will somehow keep most ISP's net neutral without any messy government regulation. But what happens if all the major ISP's start blocking certain sites (like Pirate Bay)?

Any competitor which doesn't block it will get more business.

With most people (in the U.S. at least) having at most 1-3 broadband providers to choose from, exactly where are you supposed to you go when all the big ones agree on a blacklist?

To the competitor that eventually pops up, or the one that defects from the blocking.

And how can you open up a competing provider when all the wire and fiber are in the hands of monopolies like AT&T, Time-Warner, etc.? It's not like you can just start up a Mom & Pop broadband provider and start laying hundreds of miles of cable. Even Google will have a hard time competing with the big telco's and cableco's with the relatively minor bit of fiber optic they own.

The problem there is that the government funded their cabling, yet the companies turned around and monopolized it. Either have the government take the cabling back, or make the companies pay the government (us) back. Currently their "low" rates are effectively subsidized, thus making competition difficult because a new competitor wouldn't be subsidized. As you can see, it's not a free market in the first place.

Oligopolies (1)

sjbe (173966) | more than 4 years ago | (#31161066)

Any competitor which doesn't block it will get more business.

Only if there is a competitive market [wikipedia.org] . As it stands the major ISPs (telephone and cable companies) are really an oligopoly [wikipedia.org] and there is little or no way for new competitors to easily enter the marketplace.

The problem there is that the government funded their cabling, yet the companies turned around and monopolized it.

The government did NOT fund their cabling. They granted AT&T [wikipedia.org] and later the cable companies monopolies but generally speaking the networks were built with private funds. AT&T was wildly profitable for decades and there was no need for the government to give them any money. Furthermore there were good reasons to allow the monopoly to exist as it made the telecom system highly consistent everywhere with the attendant network effects benefiting everyone.

Currently their "low" rates are effectively subsidized, thus making competition difficult because a new competitor wouldn't be subsidized.

Again, wrong. They have the advantage of an existing network with it's attendant network effects. Building a cable network is hugely expensive - massive fixed costs. For the phone and cable companies, this cost has already been paid long ago. It is extraordinarily difficult to make an economic case to build a new network to compete with them. Utilities and telephone companies tend to form what is called a natural monopoly [wikipedia.org] because the economies of scale required to provide the lowest cost service naturally tends to result in one or very few companies in the marketplace.

As you can see, it's not a free market in the first place.

Exactly my point. You can't argue it both ways. Either it is a competitive marketplace or it isn't. Given that it really isn't, I would not expect market forces to be especially useful in keeping the net "neutral" - only regulation can do that at the moment.

Re:Common argument (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 4 years ago | (#31160038)

One of the most common arguments that I hear out of net neutrality opponents is that competition will somehow keep most ISP's net neutral without any messy government regulation. But what happens if all the major ISP's start blocking certain sites (like Pirate Bay)?

There are two things about this. First, if they all do this at the same time that suggests collusion, which is a violation of existing anti-trust laws. Second, if your hypothetical comes to pass, that is the time to push for the institution of some kind of net neutrality regulations.
The problem with instituting government regulations for a problem you foresee occuring in the future (but that has not yet manifest itself), is that any government regulation will limit the options for future advances.
Basically, I think that Network Neutrality is a good idea, but am skeptical about governments ability to implement it by regulation without creating more problems than it solves. I think it is a good thing for there to be some people who keep the ISPs feet to the fire about network neutrality, but that it would be premature to institute such rules at this time. Remember, when new government regulations are implemented they almost always have big corporations among their major supporters.

Re:Common argument (1)

SETIGuy (33768) | more than 4 years ago | (#31161752)

First, if they all do this at the same time that suggests collusion, which is a violation of existing anti-trust laws.

And when is the last time you saw those laws enforced?

Re:Common argument (1)

frankxcid (884419) | more than 4 years ago | (#31160268)

Really? The few times I have hear of ISP blocking is at the request or threat of the government. The solution from the point of view of the ISP is to charge for usage which means the more the customer uses, the more revenue the ISP will get. What is wrong with that? Oh yeah, the government says that's unfair. More Government regulation to fix the older government regulation is not the answer!

Transparency is the key to real neutrality... (1, Informative)

nweaver (113078) | more than 4 years ago | (#31158866)

IMO, I'm not a huge fan of strict network neutrality, there are cases where you want advanced traffic management techniques that would be non-neutral: EG, if you are dealing with wide-area wireless, banning P2P applications is probably a very good thing, as wireless bandwidth is vastly more expensive. Likewise, token-bucket hacks which improve interactive traffic could in some ways be considered "non neutral", as the start of a transfer is given preference, but the net result is it greatly improves user experience.

But what is important is network transparency : we need to know what is happening, since without knowing what's going on, you can't distinguish between reasonable management practices and unreasonable ones, such as wireline services blocking P2P, favoring some sites over others, or blocking applications.

Additionally, there are a lot of behaviors, such as DNS wildcarding, which are non-neutral but have been overlooked in the debate by focusing solely on application transport.

Thus I believe its important to develop tools (such as, obligatory plug to the research project I'm involved with, , Netalyzr [berkeley.edu] ) so that we ensure transparency. We need transparency, because we need to "Trust, but verify". Otherwise, even if network neutrality was legally enforced, how do we know we are getting what we expect?

Re:Transparency is the key to real neutrality... (5, Informative)

turbidostato (878842) | more than 4 years ago | (#31159342)

"IMO, I'm not a huge fan of strict network neutrality, there are cases where you want advanced traffic management techniques that would be non-neutral"

You simply don't understand what "Net Neutrality" is.

Hint: is not promoting some protocols over some others. It's about promoting some *providers* over the alternatives.

Re:Transparency is the key to real neutrality... (1)

Wesley Felter (138342) | more than 4 years ago | (#31160938)

Hint: is not promoting some protocols over some others. It's about promoting some *providers* over the alternatives.

Says who? My definition of NN doesn't allow discrimination between protocols.

Re:Transparency is the key to real neutrality... (1)

Chirs (87576) | more than 4 years ago | (#31161194)

You really don't want that. Realistically, a long FTP download should be lower-priority than voice (or even HTTP) packets.

Re:Transparency is the key to real neutrality... (1)

Wesley Felter (138342) | more than 4 years ago | (#31161294)

You really don't want that. Realistically, a long FTP download should be lower-priority than voice (or even HTTP) packets.

It's hard to come up with prioritization rules that work (other than customer marking), especially now that VoIP and video are flowing over TCP and bulk BitTorrent traffic is using UDP.

Re:Transparency is the key to real neutrality... (1)

Sepodati (746220) | more than 4 years ago | (#31161692)

>> You really don't want that. Realistically, a long FTP download
>> should be lower-priority than voice (or even HTTP) packets.

Sure, most people would agree. But when the proposed rule says "a provider of broadband Internet access service must treat lawful content, applications, and services in a nondiscriminatory manner" you can't prefer FTP traffic over any other.

It does rely on how "discriminatory" is defined, though. Is any preference discriminatory? Is it only harmful discrimination? What's harmful?

-John

Re:Transparency is the key to real neutrality... (1)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 4 years ago | (#31159430)

Why limit it to banning P2P?
If someone is running an FTP server on a wide-area wireless network shouldn't that be banned too?
Or downloading anything big, youtube should be blocked too.

Or they could just put a hard cap on usage so that if you use up all your bandwidth in the first 3 days torrenting Lost it's your problem.

P2P isn't the problem.

Do we have a neutral network now? (1)

bsDaemon (87307) | more than 4 years ago | (#31158906)

Maybe I need to do more research on the topic to figure out what exactly it is that people mean when they talk about network neutrality, especially since it seems to mean different things to different people. However, I'm not sure that we really have network neutrality now, nor can we. Just thinking of protocols such as BGP, which basically makes the Internet work at all, and which makes all of its routing decisions based on admin/management policy and not based on any technical metrics, so that certain routes will always be favored, especially those through peers, makes me think that network neutrality in the sense of ensuring that there aren't transit fees and data tariffs to keep competing content second class is sort of impossible.

I'll freely admit that I'm not in possession of extremely in-depth knowledge of how major ISPs handle their business, having been a system admin at a web hosting company and now working a provider of niche networking hardware, but what's the difference between one AS #1 peering with AS #2 and allowing free transit of data, but meetering data sourced at AS #3 which has no peerage agreement and charging them for the use of their tubes? How can we continue to use BGP, which isn't designed with "fairness" of routes in mind (at least not to my understanding, as opposed to other routing protocols which build routes based on metrics such as hop count and bandwidth), but which is designed to allow one AS to favor another AS explicitly, and still have network neutrality?

Or are people really only concerned that ISPs providing end-user service don't shape traffic and limit bt use, for example, but don't care whether their ISP just refuses to directly exchange routing tables with their favorite media conglomerate and increase the lag in their video streaming?

If I'm off-base with this one, please feel free to let me know, though.

Reasonably neutral... (2, Interesting)

nweaver (113078) | more than 4 years ago | (#31159050)

I'm a comcast customer and their network is reasonably neutral, as based on actual measurements I've performed as well as looking at their network management policies. So yes, its reasonably neutral for me:

They do do DNS wildcarding (ick ick ICK), but actually have a workable opt-out (rare, most who wildcard don't).

They do block the windows ports outbound, and do dynamic blocking of spam-bots. (Not strictly neutral but arguably VERY good things)

They bias the network to allow the first X MB within a given timewindow to exceed the advertised speed, which again, is not strictly neutral but greatly improves interactive activity.

They impose a two-tier network-based QOS under congestion, measured on 15 minute timewindows, which means that light users are not generally impacted by congestion.

I haven't seen anything weird on routing: performance is usually limited by either my connection or the remote site, not the peering, so BGP issues are not coming up.

So its not strictly neutral, but the deviations are generally to my benefit as a customer (except for F@#)@#*( DNS wildcarding, but at least that has an opt-out I exercised immediately)

Re:Do we have a neutral network now? (4, Informative)

0racle (667029) | more than 4 years ago | (#31159242)

Yes you are off and this has nothing to do with peering agreements. At it's base, legislating network neutrality is dictating that the way the internet works now is the way it should work. ISP's are meant to be access points, not gatekeepers. Net neutrality legislation aims to prevent ISP's selling tiered services like cable companies do with their service. An ISP can't go and make an agreement with one content/service provider (say MS Bing) and throttle all competitors to be so slow as to be useless and turn around and say that you have to upgrade to the next package up to be able to use Google. Network neutrality prevents an ISP running a VOIP service and throttling Vonage into oblivion, unless you pay for the *special unlimited* VIOP package. Network Neutrality prevents double dipping, i.e. the ISP from charging you to access content AND charging content providers to be in the lower level tiers.

Legitimate QoS is not prevented under network neutrality. ISP's can, and should, prioritize VOIP over HTTP. They could even throttle BitTorrent if they wanted to.

BitTorrent is the big problem with the FCC's plan. They specifically allow ISP's to filter out illegal traffic. BitTorrent has many many legitimate uses, unfortunately no ISP that has filtered BT has ever recognized that fact and simply blocks it all.

Re:Do we have a neutral network now? (1)

frankxcid (884419) | more than 4 years ago | (#31160434)

"Net neutrality legislation aims to prevent ISP's selling tiered services like cable companies do with their service" To translate: net neutrality is about removing the incentive of profit for innovation. Neutrality will do what all socialist ideas do: spread the pain to everyone. All will suffer equally and will have slow connections. What is wrong with having tier services or should everyone have the same car and house?

Re:Do we have a neutral network now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31160648)

I don't think he means the speed of the connection, but limiting access to certain things.

Re:Do we have a neutral network now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31160740)

net neutrality is about removing the incentive of profit for innovation. Neutrality will do what all socialist ideas do: spread the pain to everyone. All will suffer equally and will have slow connections. What is wrong with having tier services or should everyone have the same car and house?

Straw man arguments are lies.

not removing incentive of profit for innovation (1)

Chirs (87576) | more than 4 years ago | (#31161246)

Double-dipping and extortion is not innovation.

The ISPs are still allowed to do prioritization based on packet type. They just have to treat all of the same type of packets equally regardless of source/destination (within bandwidth limits, of course).

Re:Do we have a neutral network now? (1)

SETIGuy (33768) | more than 4 years ago | (#31161856)

To translate: net neutrality is about removing the incentive of profit for innovation.

Yep, that's why nobody has ever been able to make money on the internet without artificially blocking their competition.

Go back to foxnews.com where they actually believe your cries that "Socialism is killing America!" Those of us who actually know what the word means and are smarter than a rock aren't buying your crap. Or you could pull your head out of your ass and actually read what the GP said.

Submitter's Username? (0, Offtopic)

toastar (573882) | more than 4 years ago | (#31158916)

Am I the only one that read the submitter's username as Super Rape Commando?

Re:Submitter's Username? (1)

ae1294 (1547521) | more than 4 years ago | (#31159134)

Am I the only one that read the submitter's username as Super Rape Commando?

Yes... it's just the guilt manifesting itself from when in 1991, you raped and murdering a teenage girl. Why won't you just come clean already? I mean, we've all been there buddy, at least at some point, so why are you refusing to talk to us about it?

Just Like Celebrity Jeopardy (1)

sconeu (64226) | more than 4 years ago | (#31159146)

I'll take "The Rapists" for $200, Trebek.

That's "Therapists", Connery!

Re:Just Like Celebrity Jeopardy (1)

ElectricTurtle (1171201) | more than 4 years ago | (#31159294)

Trebek: "This term for a long-handled gardening tool can also mean an immoral pleasure seeker."

Contestant: "What is a hoe?"

Trebek: "No. (pause) Whoa, whoa, whoa. They teach you that in school in Utah, huh?"

Other contestant: "What is a rake?"

Re:Submitter's Username? (1)

bsDaemon (87307) | more than 4 years ago | (#31159152)

brought to you buy the fine folks from expertsexchange.com

Re:Submitter's Username? (1)

Rasperin (1034758) | more than 4 years ago | (#31159592)

Well at least they know what they're doing! I wouldn't want to go into an operation like that without an expert handling it.

Re:Submitter's Username? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31159290)

Well if you knew how to read then this wouldn't be such a problem for you...

Public Utility Option (1)

AP31R0N (723649) | more than 4 years ago | (#31159324)

What about the Fed building, owning and running fiber as a service? The states could get in it as well.

Charge a federal sales tax on all purchases made via the interweb to fund it. Or maybe just have a national system that does not aim at making a profit to compete against the companies.

How about making the damn providers compete? In the US, telcos DO NOT COMPETE in any meaningful way. Maybe lifting the laws that prevent competition would help. Prices are going up instead of down or staying flat, while service seems stagnant.

The net isn't just for porn and games, it's a major channel for business and communication (speech). i think it's wrong to trust that to executives of massive companies.

Re:Public Utility Option (1)

atfrase (879806) | more than 4 years ago | (#31159510)

Maybe lifting the laws that prevent competition would help.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but my impression was that the sorry state of broadband competition in the US wasn't the fault of laws, but economics: building the necessary infrastructure (coaxial cable, telephone lines, fiber, wireless hubs, cell towers, etc) is prohibitively expensive.

But that only highlights your original idea: high-speed data transfer is a kind of a natural monopoly, due to the aforementioned infrastructure needs. That makes it very much like any other utility: water, sewer, electricity, analog voice telephony, etc.

So I agree, classifying data transfer as a natural monopoly and running it (and, yes, regulating it) as a public utility just like all the other public utilities seems like the only reasonable long-term solution. Net neutrality is never going to be assured without strict regulation or strong competition, and the free market is never going to provide meaningful competition with such a high infrastructure cost to enter the market.

Re:Public Utility Option (2, Informative)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 4 years ago | (#31160296)

You are wrong. When cable (and before that telephone) started to roll out, the local governments in the major metropolitan areas decided that they didn't want lots of wires running through the area, so they passed laws granting local monopolies. When less densely populated areas wanted to get cable (and before that telephone) the cable companies said, "Sure, we'd be happy to run cable in your area. If you'll give us a monopoly contract for your area, so that nobody can come in and compete with us." It's a little more complicated than that as there were federal and state laws that were passed to make this legal (so that the local municipalities had the authority to forbid anyone else from running cable or telephone wire). When this happened there were lots of small players in the cable market. Over time some of them were more successful than others and they gradually bought up the smaller players (and their local monopoly deals). Once the major players got big enough, they changed the federal law taking away the local municipalities' authority to select who controlled the local monopoly. Theoretically they eliminated the local municipalities' authority to grant monopolies, but since those monopolies already existed in a defacto way, all they did was eliminate the local municipalities' ability to turn the local market over to a competitor.

Re:Public Utility Option (2, Interesting)

StopKoolaidPoliticsT (1010439) | more than 4 years ago | (#31159654)

That'll work, until someone in Congress decides that they need to censor the federal network using the boogeyman of the day (think of the children, we need to implement this ban to stop the terrorists, we're filtering to stop piracy, etc).

The federal government is no less prone to creating abuse than privately owned entities. When the government is the sole provider in town and they screw you over, it's a bit harder to get a new provider. There won't even be a duopoly to switch to since nobody can compete with a tax subsidized option.

Split the system into an independently owned, neutral company (or companies) that are regulated to maintain the network(s) and allow completely unfettered access to any ISP, cable provider, telephony provider, etc wishing to use that network. Let the ISPs compete on services while we're guaranteed a completely neutral pipe to all of them. The ISP can pay a per-customer fee for access to the network (based on max speed, guaranteed throughput, latency, etc) to keep the regulated network company doing their thing. Real competition and real options.

to all the propentants of net neutrality (0, Troll)

gangien (151940) | more than 4 years ago | (#31159616)

I have a simple question: Why?

Why is it that, the largely unregulated internet has gone on in mainstream for over a decade now, with no major problems, and we want to heap on regulations. Why? what's so wrong with the internet as it currently stands that you think needs protection? verizon banned 4chan, which is such an important website, and that got a lot of attention. and you're worried about what?

To me this is just more of the same, perhaps, well intended regulations, that will end up making things worse for everyone, including the proponents of net neutrality. It's doing fine, so let's heap on redtape! hurrah! i wonder if wikipedia would have took off, if there was a lot of regulation in place? or youtube? maybe they would, but if you think about all the steps that this will eventually require, and the lawyers, and the general mess that will come because of this, we will miss out on things that might have been. And what happens when the, 'think of the children' type get into regulating the internet (which they will)? they will be relentless. and they will eventually force some stupid crap down through the usual think of the children bullshit that /. loathes so much. the road to hell is paved with good intentions. and this is just another one of those well intended pieces of legislation that will end up costing us a lot more than it prevented.

How soon kids forget the history (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31159824)

How soon kids forget the history. It is currently enforced that Net Neutrality happens. Those laws had a sunset clause. The ISP's and cableco's don't want any replacement laws.

So, despite your the "largely unregulated internet has gone on in mainstream for over a decade now, with no major problems," has been BECAUSE of the net neutrality laws in place for those decades, YOU come along and ask "why do we net netrality laws now?".

The answer, bub, is that the current net neutrality laws are ending. THAT is why you need them now.

Re:How soon kids forget the history (1)

gangien (151940) | more than 4 years ago | (#31159974)

not like this, the FCC has stepped in and mucked with minor stuff. and that was only recently.

Re:How soon kids forget the history (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31160164)

You missed his point. Completely, and utterly. I'd say woosh, but the degree of missing the point is so far beyond that it's not worth joking over.

THE LAWS ALREADY EXIST, BUT THEY HAD A TIME LIMIT. THE LIMIT IS ALMOST UP. IF THERE'S NO REPLACEMENT, THINGS GO TO HELL.

The internet is not the naturally free and glorious place people think it is. And you're a fucking moron.

Re:How soon kids forget the history (1)

gangien (151940) | more than 4 years ago | (#31160304)

lol i love it. call me a moron pl0z thx.

But unnn.. do provide me with some links to the current wonderful regulations, becuase i'm to stupid to find them myself (and i haven't heard of them).

Re:How soon kids forget the history (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 4 years ago | (#31160324)

How soon kids forget the history. It is currently enforced that Net Neutrality happens. Those laws had a sunset clause. The ISP's and cableco's don't want any replacement laws.

So, despite your the "largely unregulated internet has gone on in mainstream for over a decade now, with no major problems," has been BECAUSE of the net neutrality laws in place for those decades, YOU come along and ask "why do we net netrality laws now?".

The answer, bub, is that the current net neutrality laws are ending. THAT is why you need them now.

What laws are those? Can you tell me what laws are ending that currently enforce network neutrality (or have recently ended)?

Re:to all the propentants of net neutrality (4, Informative)

Microlith (54737) | more than 4 years ago | (#31159836)

Why is it that, the largely unregulated internet has gone on in mainstream for over a decade now, with no major problems, and we want to heap on regulations.

Because in 2006 AT&T's CEO opened his mouth and basically stated he wanted to hold his customers hostage from Google in exchange for more money. He plainly stated that he wanted to charge both his direct customers AND people who were incidentally coming across the lines. It was made plainly obvious that corporations can and would abuse their services and their customers for the sake of making a profit, especially when they had a monopoly position in areas.

My personal preference would be to force common carrier status on all data providers.

what's so wrong with the internet as it currently stands that you think needs protection?

A bunch of regional monopolies serve as the only reasonably modern gateway to the most important technology of the late 20th/early 21st century, and they're more than willing to destroy what makes it unique.

The carriers should be forcibly struck blind. They've already been caught fucking with connections, and are more than willing to host and affect their networks (and customers) with conflicts of interest that serve only themselves.

Re:to all the propentants of net neutrality (1)

gangien (151940) | more than 4 years ago | (#31159944)

Because in 2006 AT&T's CEO opened his mouth and basically stated he wanted to hold his customers hostage from Google in exchange for more money. He plainly stated that he wanted to charge both his direct customers AND people who were incidentally coming across the lines. It was made plainly obvious that corporations can and would abuse their services and their customers for the sake of making a profit, especially when they had a monopoly position in areas.

so, 3-4 years later... what's happened because of this talk?

A bunch of regional monopolies serve as the only reasonably modern gateway to the most important technology of the late 20th/early 21st century, and they're more than willing to destroy what makes it unique.

in some cases, there's a monopoly on high speed internet. that's not really a monopoly though, because there's other alternatives.

The carriers should be forcibly struck blind. They've already been caught fucking with connections, and are more than willing to host and affect their networks (and customers) with conflicts of interest that serve only themselves.

and again, this won't have any real affect, besides making it harder for someone else to get into the industry, with more red tape. and more requirements.

Re:to all the propentants of net neutrality (1)

hoxford (94613) | more than 4 years ago | (#31160202)

The only reason nothing has happened in the last 3-4 years is that the huge backlash caused a *threat* of legislation that made the monopolies back off on their plans. That's not to say they have given up on them, merely realized they need time to spin the issue differently. If there were no threat of legislation there is little doubt in my mind they would have implemented their plans already.

As for it being harder to get into the industry, that's easy to say but do you have the least bit of evidence to back that up? Do you have any idea how difficult it is *now* ??

Re:to all the propentants of net neutrality (1)

gangien (151940) | more than 4 years ago | (#31160264)

so why pass it then, even if it's true that the threat made them back off? And if they implemented those plans, how long do you think they'd last? really? They wouldn't. there's too many options.

As for it being harder to get into the industry, that's easy to say but do you have the least bit of evidence to back that up? Do you have any idea how difficult it is *now* ??

WHy make it harder? I'm not saying it's easy, It's not easy for anybody to come along and make a successful business. but successful businesses are good things for everyone, so I really want as little resistance to them as possible. And by making it harder, you'll make it easier on comcast, because the big guys have economies of scale, and that regulation doesn't fade them at all. It will screw up the little guy.

Re:to all the propentants of net neutrality (1)

Microlith (54737) | more than 4 years ago | (#31160458)

so, 3-4 years later... what's happened because of this talk?

Comcast initiated RST attacks on users and denied it for ages. Bandwidth caps began applying, except to the streaming services provided by the carriers themselves. But if you're willing to trust a corporation not to fuck you over, well, that's your own game of russian roulette.

in some cases, there's a monopoly on high speed internet. that's not really a monopoly though, because there's other alternatives.

So it's a monopoly, but not a monopoly. Because there are other, often inferior, alternatives to a monopoly granted by the municipality. You're saying that because dialup is available in the area, they have carte blanche to abuse their customers, am I right?

besides making it harder for someone else to get into the industry

You act like it's easy as it is. No, it's hard. The incumbents love how difficult it is now, they just don't like it when people get sick of their shit and apply legal pressure.

Re:to all the propentants of net neutrality (2, Insightful)

gangien (151940) | more than 4 years ago | (#31161104)

Comcast initiated RST attacks on users and denied it for ages. Bandwidth caps began applying, except to the streaming services provided by the carriers themselves. But if you're willing to trust a corporation not to fuck you over, well, that's your own game of russian roulette.

And the end result is people wont' get the service they want and will find alternatives. And you can make the same comparison to cars, which is a lot more appropriate. But in general, the free market works well to protect the consumer. why, because the consumer must willing pay for the service. So they're not gonna pay for something that doesn't work. Adam Smith's invisible hand is well at work, even when you're not aware of it.

So it's a monopoly, but not a monopoly. Because there are other, often inferior, alternatives to a monopoly granted by the municipality. You're saying that because dialup is available in the area, they have carte blanche to abuse their customers, am I right?

it's not really a monopoly is my point, unless you make your definition only to a narrow market. And again, the market protects customers, even with the smaller threat of dialup/satellite, it's not ideal, but it's good enough, becuase they still have to have costumers and the best way to keep/make more customers to treat them right. Most places know this, even if it doesn't always seem like they do.

You act like it's easy as it is. No, it's hard. The incumbents love how difficult it is now, they just don't like it when people get sick of their shit and apply legal pressure.

So you're saying because it's hard now, why not make it even harder?

Re:to all the propentants of net neutrality (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 4 years ago | (#31161054)

I have a simple question: Why?

So that you can continue to post here without your ISP blocking you.

Re:to all the propentants of net neutrality (1)

gangien (151940) | more than 4 years ago | (#31161482)

and if my isp blocks me from posting here, i'm gonna keep giving them money? No, they'll start losing money, thus they won't block me, and in the case they do, they'll go bankrupt.

Re:to all the propentants of net neutrality (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 4 years ago | (#31161650)

and if my isp blocks me from posting here, i'm gonna keep giving them money? No, they'll start losing money, thus they won't block me, and in the case they do, they'll go bankrupt.

Not your ISP. The backbone operator between you and Slashdot will block you. Because your ISP doesn't give them a cut of that fat income stream Slashdot generates.

If Slashdot is the only thing you do on the 'Net, well I guess your ISP is going to lose you as a customer. But they're betting that their own branded discussion groups will keep most of their paying customers happy. So I doubt they'll miss you very much.

Re:to all the propentants of net neutrality (1)

gangien (151940) | more than 4 years ago | (#31161836)

they're gonna just cut off parts of the net? they will lose customers. that's what happens. if toyota makes a crappy car there's honda, subaru, ford ect. although people might enjoy more options in buying a car, the internet business is still pretty young.

Neutrally unspoken (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31159726)

The net neutrality argument is one that should never have been.
The baby bells in the US were required to carry competitors traffic over their networks and this is the way it should have been for all utilities.

Then there is the question of what exactly to carriers own anyway.
The Internet was paid for by tax payers so why should they get the right to profit off of what the public has paid for?

Common Carrier (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31159736)

Right now they arent legally considered common carrier. They get all the benefits of being a common carrier. Legally force them to be a common carrier and all these problems go away.

Only reason for them to restrict what is being transmitted.

1. illegal: child porn or ddos/spam; only with applicable legal implications of getting the law involved.
2. Act of the flying spaghetti monster destroyed the packet.
3. The transmitter sent a fragmented or broken packet.
4. Their network is being attacked.

Otherwise they are liable for the cost of the damage.

Japan has done this. Surprise surprise they have reasonable and good quality internet access there. $45 will get you 45mbit/5mbit unlimited. or $75 for 100mbit/100mbit unlimited.

Future? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31160286)

http://digg.com/tech_news/Your_ISP_if_Net_Neutrality_disappears_PIC

"Net Neutrality" sucks (1)

david_thornley (598059) | more than 4 years ago | (#31160684)

"Net Neutrality" sucks. Net Neutrality, as I understand it, is very nearly fundamental for economic growth.

Seriously, this is a geek site, and every time NN comes up people talk about different things.

I think we should talk about "common carrier" status. I know it doesn't legally apply to telcos in the US, but it should, and it's a reasonably well-understood term.

Net Neutrality in Politics (1)

jluzwick (1465485) | more than 4 years ago | (#31160798)

I have found that most politicians have a poor understanding of what net neutrality is or they do not understand the consequences of not having net neutrality.

For instance, take a peek at these two articles on Net Neutrality that have come up in the past year.

The first one about Senator Mc. Cain. http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/10/22/fcc-approves-proposed-net-neutrality-rules/ [foxnews.com] He states, "These new rules should rightly be viewed by consumers suspiciously as another government power grab over a private service provided by private companies in a competitive marketplace". He also states it will stifle innovation and kill jobs. He clearly does not have a coherent understanding of Net Neutrality as one of the goals is to increase innovation through the unrestricted, unfettered access to the internet. In this case, the government is providing deregulation to a market by disallowing private companies from restricting content.

Another Politician, Senator. Feinstein believes we should allow ISPs to restrict access to the internet to abate the spread of child pornography. In her words, changing the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program "allows for reasonable network management practices such as deterring unlawful activity, including child pornography and copyright infringement." While removing child pornography from the internet is a noble goal, she doesn't understand how much more harm will come of this through abuse of the policy. Halting the spread of child pornography can be combated through our legal system instead of giving ISPs complete control over what we can view. The article can be viewed here: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/02/11/feinstein_stimulus_amendment/ [theregister.co.uk]

While allowing ISPs to restrict our internet access would stop the spread of child pornography and could be construed as a government intrusion of a private sector that doesn't need it, consider China and Iran. The governments of these countries are completely against Net Neutrality in every way so they may control their populations by restricting anything that collides with their views. While our private ISPs might not have the kind of power these governments do, would you want our ISPs to be allowed that power?

Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...