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RCN P2P Settlement Is Not Even a Slap On the Wrist

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the briar-patch dept.

Communications 100

Ars covers the settlement of the RCN P2P throttling class-action lawsuit, which lets the company walk away without admitting guilt, without paying affected users, and without any meaningful restraint on their network management practices. "[The] settlement is due to be finalized on June 4. ... The case has largely flown under the radar. Yesterday, a notice ... was issued that alerted RCN customers to the settlement, and one Ars reader was aghast at the terms. Those terms provide nothing for users affected by RCN's practices. Instead, they require the cable company to change its network management practices. These changes are in two parts. ... These cessation periods would be retroactive. ... A moment's math will tell you that, when the settlement is finally approved, one cessation period will already have ended and the other will be ending soon. Once both cessation periods are over, RCN is allowed to implement whatever throttling regime it wants. Given that a federal court has just removed the FCC's authority to regulate network management, RCN appears to have carte blanche to single out BitTorrent and other P2P traffic for special throttling attention after November 1, 2010."

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So change providers (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31915652)

Stop waiting for big-daddy government to do something.

Re:So change providers (5, Insightful)

tceresini (241768) | more than 4 years ago | (#31915720)

Let's see: I can switch to Comcast, or I can stay with RCN. Perhaps you're fortunate enough to have limitless options for broadband providers, but some of us would prefer the protection of government regulation when our choices (e.g., between one of two providers with a demonstrated tendency to screw with our service) are limited.

Re:So change providers (1, Insightful)

Chris Mattern (191822) | more than 4 years ago | (#31916062)

And some of us are more interested in what cand be done to improve our choices rather than agree to government regulation that will guarantee that our choices will be limited forevermore.

Re:So change providers (4, Insightful)

ZekoMal (1404259) | more than 4 years ago | (#31916100)

And how exactly are you planning on stopping corruption? Send in a good person who pretends to be corrupt and hope they don't get actually corrupted when offered millions to keep things the same?

Re:So change providers (1)

shentino (1139071) | more than 4 years ago | (#31916442)

If a corporate puppet doesn't toe the line with the lobbyists they could always get their colleagues to trump up charges worthy of impeachment.

Re:So change providers (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 4 years ago | (#31917046)

That's a good point someone made after the SEC announced its investigation of Goldman Sachs recently, that what Goldman did is such a small thing and probably not illegal compared to the obviously illegal scams that the SEC actively chose to ignore. The point was more regulation will solve nothing, we already have regulations that cover most of the bad stuff; if anything we should scale back the regulation to the older, common law method, which was: let people know what you are selling them. If people know what they are buying and they buy it anyway, that is their problem; but if you are deceiving them it your fault.

In this case it isn't a problem of government regulation either, it's a problem of no options: I don't care if Comcast blocks every port (including 80), as long as I have another provider to choose from. There is serious anti-competitive behavior going on here, and it's based on collusion with the government. THAT is a bigger problem than net neutrality, because without it, net neutrality wouldn't be an issue.

Re:So change providers (1)

gumbi west (610122) | more than 4 years ago | (#31917886)

How, exactly, do you think that government regulation leads to anti-competitive behavior?

Re:So change providers (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 4 years ago | (#31918836)

I'm not sure if you are asking a rhetorical question there, but as I mentioned in my previous post, government regulation leads to anti-competitive behavior by collusion between government and industry. Basically, if you own a company, you get your representative to write the law in a way that subtly favors your particular company. In this case, it isn't subtle at all: some municipals have very specific regulations prohibiting competition among cable/internet providers.

The problem gets worse the more complicated the regulations are, because the fewer people understand the regulations, the easier it is to subtly sneak something in to the law. Which is why it is important to have simple, clear regulations.

Re:So change providers (1)

gumbi west (610122) | more than 4 years ago | (#31922614)

It wasn't a rhetorical question, so thanks for answering. I actually found a Cato piece from 1984 about local government sponsored cable monopoly. Their argument was that there were two places that didn't regulate and they got very little in return. i.e. Pheonix didn't regulate and it got two cable providers (yay, just like everyone else!). I think we now have a competitive market in cable/satellite and it's just not so good. Even in NYC where costs aren't that large for installing cable/fiber/satellite options, prices are through the roof and there is lots of players.

Re:So change providers (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 4 years ago | (#31927240)

Interesting information. It will be interesting to see how it plays out with internet.

Re:So change providers (1)

makomk (752139) | more than 4 years ago | (#31920250)

what Goldman did is such a small thing

Not really. Think of it as a sample charge - Goldman Sachs was selling mortgage securities on a huge scale whilst simultaneously betting that the housing market would collapse using CDOs. They made an absolute fortune from the collapse of house prices and the ensuing global recession, and it was something they helped to create in the first place. Meanwhile, more honest competitors like Bear Sterns that actually believed in what they were selling went under. This investigation is just what the SEC thinks it can prove right now.

There's also some evidence that it isn't the first time Goldman has done such a thing, and it probably won't be the last. For example, one of the more interesting reactions to the investigation was a drop in metal and other commodity prices - Goldman Sachs doesn't consume them, but it's heavily involved in these market, and there's a certain amount of suspicion that there might have been artificial bubbles in the markets that it benefited from.

Re:So change providers (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 4 years ago | (#31927156)

Here's how the financial industry works: smart people rip off less smart people by making the terms so complicated the other party can't understand them. In the case brought by the SEC against Goldman, Goldman wasn't even making the deal themselves, they were helping to arrange a deal between two other large financial groups. They weren't exactly ripping off widow retirement funds, the large financial groups should have known better.

Bear Sterns was playing the same game, they just weren't as smart as they thought they were and ended up being the ones who got ripped off. This wasn't fraud, they knew the terms of the financial devices they bought, they just weren't smart enough to understand the implications.

If you want to avoid that fate, learn the lesson of Bear Sterns: never enter in a financial agreement that you don't understand the upside, the downside, and the probability associated with each. Because there are 'financial planners' who are actually just salesmen looking to rip off the average citizen.

If you think Bear Sterns was actually more honest than Goldman Sachs, you are naive.

Re:So change providers (1)

Thing 1 (178996) | more than 4 years ago | (#31917306)

No; send in guns. (Yes, it really only took 9 seconds to type that, Slashdot!)

Re:So change providers (1)

BerneAI (448306) | more than 4 years ago | (#31916618)

it doesn't get any better even with more options, Verizon? ATT? They're all in it....

Re:So change providers (2, Informative)

waspleg (316038) | more than 4 years ago | (#31917240)

I don't even have 2 choices. It's comcast or dialup and there aren't even sub-40 year old telephone lines in this apartment complex.

This whole RCN thing is just Comcast deja vu. I wish Gates would set up billions in some non-profit for shit like this and not just malaria (yea, malaria is important, so is broadband and he's an American ffs; we already give out more foreign aid than anyone else without him).

Re:So change providers (5, Insightful)

Adrian Lopez (2615) | more than 4 years ago | (#31916068)

Stop waiting for big-daddy government to do something.

Indeed. Customers have plenty of alternatives. They could invest billions of dollars to setup their own infrastructure or switch to IP by carrier pigeon. If you can't succeed at it without help from the government you are clearly a spoiled little baby with no more right to communicate than a spineless worm.

Re:So change providers (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31916446)

Stop waiting for big-daddy government to do something.

Indeed. Customers have plenty of alternatives. They could invest billions of dollars to setup their own infrastructure or switch to IP by carrier pigeon. If you can't succeed at it without help from the government you are clearly a spoiled little baby with no more right to communicate than a spineless worm.

And just how does the fact that somebody else spent billions of dollars of their own money to build that network YOU want to use somehow give YOU the implied "right" to use THEIR network the way YOU want? And to hell with everybody else if you use all the bandwidth?

"WAAAAH! WAAAAAH! WAAAAAH! I WANT MY TORRENT UNTHROTTLED!"

Spoiled little baby indeed.

Re:So change providers (1)

Rivalz (1431453) | more than 4 years ago | (#31916496)

That is not necessarily true.
Smaller companies starting out sometimes get forced out of the business by cut throat practices, forced buyouts, etc.
Usually the company that does the "Right" thing ends up on the short end of profits and gets forced out.
Now if a company is both good and profitable that just means they are vastly superior to their competitors.

Bittorrent pigeons (1)

thule (9041) | more than 4 years ago | (#31916532)

They could invest billions of dollars to setup their own infrastructure or switch to IP by carrier pigeon.

I expect that you will find out pretty quickly that you will want special bittorrent pigeons to separate the traffic from the ones carrying email and web. :)

Re:Bittorrent pigeons (1)

Bragador (1036480) | more than 4 years ago | (#31916596)

You know, that idea might be so crazy that it could actually work! Imagine pigeons flying around with USB flash drives!

Jews (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31915662)

Jews make the laws.

Jews are the lawyers.

Jews have the money.

Jews have the power.

I think we all know what the problem is here.

Re:Jews (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31915828)

I was expecting the long copy paste troll Jews for nerds, gold niggers, eating arab babies etc.

I was very disappointed.

Jews for Nerds! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31916430)

ASK AND YOU SHALL RECEIVE!

Jews, also known as kikes, hebes, hymies, yids, gold niggers, oven magnets, hook noses, sheenies, swindlers, criminals, "firewood", and Arabs in denial are a subhuman species of reptilian extra-terrestrials and adherents to one of the world's oldest major religions, called "Judaism", otherwise known as "The Worship of Money" or "Eating Arab Babies".

Judaism was the world's first master race theory. The Jew religion teaches that Jews are the Chosen People of God and that there is a sacred mystical quality to Jew DNA. In olden times, Jew prophets would, under the command of YHWH, frequently lead the Jews on genocidal rampages against neighboring populations, and even today Jew leaders often cite Jewish religious ideals to justify their ongoing genocide of sandniggers. Judaism ironically found its mirror-image inversion in the anti-Jew Aryan racialism of the Nazis.

Despite only being 0.22% of the world's population, Jews control 99% of the world's money. Not only do the Jews control the world, but also the media, the banks, the space program, and LiveJournal's porn communities and Gay communities. All Jews possess the following features: an extremely large nose, fake boobs, curly hair that reeks of faggotry, one of those gay hats, a love of coke, a law practice, a roll of money, a small cock, or shitty taste in dental hygiene.

Jews invented both Communism and Capitalism. Karl Marx, of course, was a Jew, which was why he understood money so well, and in fact he was converted to Communism by another Jew, Moses Hess, the actual founder of Zionism, who ghost-wrote Marx's The German Ideology. Capitalism was created when Christian Europeans threw away their morals and decided to embrace Jewish practices like usury (see: John Calvin). Jews were the first group to create a sophisticated banking system, which they used to fund the Crusades in order to pit Christians and Muslims (both adhering to religions derived from and controlled by Jews) against each other to kill as many people as possible in a macabre human sacrifice to YHWH.

The Jew banking system was based on fraud and lies, so when it inevitably collapsed, the Jews just pwned as many people as possible by unleashing the Black Plague on them. Later, Jews economically controlled medieval Venice (the first modern maritime trade empire), and then crypto-Jewish merchants economically controlled the Spanish Empire, including the slave trade. Openly Jewish bankers orchestrated the Dutch Empire and founded Jew Amsterdam (later Jew York). Later the Dutch Jews moved to London because they thought it would be a better base for a global empire, and actually brought a Dutch nobleman, William III, with them, who they installed in a coup d'état (more like Jew d'état, amirite?) as new King of the British Empire. For hundreds of years, Jewish bankers controlled global trade through their bases in Jew York City and London. European colonialism was, through its history, essentially a plot whereby Jews could gain control of gold and diamond mines in poor countries and increase their stranglehold over the global economy.

Jews also enjoy slicing up baby penises for fun, some even enjoy sucking them. See below.

Jews also created Jew search engine Google, so now they can find all Jew information on Internets.

Some suggest that we should use Jews instead of dogs to sniff out large amounts of concealed cash or anything else worth smuggling at airports due to their sensitive Jew noses. Obviously, this is a horrible idea, because the pay is bad, and the dirty Kikes would probably form a union and demand moar money, thus increasing the burden on taxpayers everywhere.

Sounds like time to jump ship. (0)

Ornlu (1706502) | more than 4 years ago | (#31915664)

I bet you can get signed up for some other internet service before Nov. 1.

Re:Sounds like time to jump ship. (3, Insightful)

denis-The-menace (471988) | more than 4 years ago | (#31915738)

RCN users may not have another ship to jump to.
Unless regular citizens build their own wireless network for P2P or Google gets into the ISP business, they (and the rest of us later) are screwed.

Re:Sounds like time to jump ship. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31916210)

Chicago has an option. Clearwire has 4G wireless internet that covers all of RCN and Comcast areas. I'm not sure how good it is, but since I am living in a building that is either RCN or DSL I might consider it.

Re:Sounds like time to jump ship. (1)

KingMotley (944240) | more than 4 years ago | (#31916644)

Actually, Chicago has clearwire 4G, AT&T DSL, comcast/RCN, AT&T U-Verse, I believe verizon has a cellular package, and of course Dish.

Re:Sounds like time to jump ship. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31916434)

I am on RCN - and I dont really have a huge need to download 4GB files from bit torrent or similar services. So in a way - I am very happy with the limitations put by RCN, cos I know such downloading just messes up my experience. So - if you do plan to download huge files - pay a bit more (or a lot more). If fat people can pay for two tickets on SWA, there is no need to charge the same for people who download 25GB a month and other who download 250GB. Maybe the P2P enthusiasts can pay for the reduced download speeds I have to bear when am downloading 80MB files!

Bandwidth is a limited resource - and it has to be treated as such. While net neutrality is great in theory, most pipes are not public roads - they are tollways. And on tollways, you pay according to how you use it.

Re:Sounds like time to jump ship. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31916494)

Paying based on how much you use does not break net neutrality. If a an ISP wanted to charge me $X/month + $1.50/GB after the first Y GB (maybe Y=0, even), that would be fine. The problem is that they are charging $40+/month for "unlimited" internet which is really limited an arbitrary ways unknown to the user.

Good for them (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31915676)

Go to any well known torrent site, sort by seeders, and argue that p2p is used for legal trading.

You geeks are like ostriches with your heads in the sand.

Re:Good for them (1)

ZekoMal (1404259) | more than 4 years ago | (#31916324)

You ACs are like ostriches with your heads up your ass.

All snide, childish remarks aside...

Should we ban all cars because they are all capable of speeding-and many do? I mean, sure there are legal users, but when someone misuses something we should punish the good folks too! All in the name of the economic good; who cares about that FOSS stuff anyway?

Re:Good for them (1)

gumbi west (610122) | more than 4 years ago | (#31917950)

When you speed your principle activity is moving form point A to point B, the way many do it does not obeying the law, but speeding is not often the intended ends. If speeding itself were the goal of most drivers, still not sure I'd be all for outlawing driving, but I'd be for a massively higher gas tax.

A settlement is an agreement by the two parties (1)

Orga (1720130) | more than 4 years ago | (#31915726)

Even if a bunch of people don't like it, the two parties in the case obviously came to this conclusion. I also have to admit that if it is their service they can do whatever they well please with it, obviously they need to state that when you buy the service, which I'm sure they will now. I hate the fact ISP's don't have enough competition as the next person, my only hope is that if a company does begin throttling demand for another service will increase, as demand increases... supply increases in the form of another ISP. I know personally I've been stuck with one cable company for a long time, but just recently recieved a letter form a local phone coop asking if they can lay fiber to my house for internet and tv service. Hell yes I said... it's just going to take time.. but I have faith a free market system will work it out.

Re:A settlement is an agreement by the two parties (2, Informative)

denis-The-menace (471988) | more than 4 years ago | (#31915768)

"if they can lay fiber to my house for internet and tv service"
sounds like FIOS.
Make sure your copper phones lines get to stay in case you want to leave from them later.

Re:A settlement is an agreement by the two parties (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31916072)

I also have to admit that if it is their service they can do whatever they well please with it, obviously they need to state that when you buy the service, which I'm sure they will now.

Utilities are government sanctioned monopolies. They do whatever they please, true. But I do not embrace our corporate overlords so lovingly. Every time a corporation finds a roadblock to making money, they cry to the government to change laws so they can make more money. But when individual people get trampled upon, it's too bad. I agree that we service our corporate overlords, and I will agree to bend over when they ask. But I disagree that I have to like it.

Re:A settlement is an agreement by the two parties (1)

gumbi west (610122) | more than 4 years ago | (#31917970)

They are really smart about how they wine though: they say, "we need this or we won't be able to create all these jobs."

Re:A settlement is an agreement by the two parties (3, Insightful)

ZekoMal (1404259) | more than 4 years ago | (#31916080)

but I have faith a free market system will work it out.

Ha ha! Ha! That's funny.

Re:A settlement is an agreement by the two parties (1)

blackraven14250 (902843) | more than 4 years ago | (#31917434)

The free market system did work it out. They worked out who would have each monopoly in each area.

Re:A settlement is an agreement by the two parties (2, Insightful)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 4 years ago | (#31916092)

The two parties are, more or less, "RCN" and "a bunch of class-action lawsuit lawyers". Compare the latter parties to the parties who could be construed as injured by this action, "the customers of RCN", whose recompense is nonexistent, and whose input seems to have been minimal.

Re:A settlement is an agreement by the two parties (5, Insightful)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 4 years ago | (#31916630)

but I have faith a free market system will work it out.

It might, if it were allowed to operate. That is not the case, however: in most jurisdictions internet is limited by law to certain companies. It is in no way a free market.

Re:A settlement is an agreement by the two parties (1)

KibibyteBrain (1455987) | more than 4 years ago | (#31918622)

Even beyond that how could it not be limited by law. It would be absurd, if not a general hazard, if anyone who wanted to run cable from point A to point B could just do it. And if you are talking about some shared leasing of the same infrastructure, well, that would require regulation of some kind to work, too.
Until we master wireless communications on such a wide usable spectrum with channel bandwidth efficiency so that anyone who wants to set up a telco provider could do it(which seems, well, against the laws of known physics), there is no free market economics for telecommunications outside of fantasy.

Re:A settlement is an agreement by the two parties (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 4 years ago | (#31918982)

The solution is to make one company that maintains the infrastructure and leases bandwidth out to providers. Then any number of providers can compete with the same operation costs. This is essentially what happened to dialup, and it drove prices down from $20-$30 a month to around $5 a month.

The government can be in charge of running the infrastructure itself, or it can subsidize it, or create a non-profit organization to take care of it, or it can let companies bid for the maintenance jobs. There are a lot of ways it can be set up, the important thing is to make it easy for the ISPs to compete for customers.

Re:A settlement is an agreement by the two parties (1)

aXis100 (690904) | more than 4 years ago | (#31919160)

Australia is just about to start this process - the $400+ billion National Broadband Network.

Re:A settlement is an agreement by the two parties (1)

timbo234 (833667) | more than 4 years ago | (#31919420)

Try $43 billion over 10 years and even that's likely to be too high, the government is simply playing brinkmanship with Telstra so they don't try to block the plans: http://www.news.com.au/technology/billion-national-broadband-network-price-tag-a-bluff/story-e6frfro0-1225775686353 [news.com.au]

And virtually all this would've been unnecessary if Telstra had been privatised properly by previous governments - ie. split into an infrastructure company and a normal ISP and phone company, not a huge monopoly.

Australia might finally get a decent competitive broadband market in 2015-2020, if we're lucky.

Re:A settlement is an agreement by the two parties (1)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 4 years ago | (#31923780)

No, leasing out bandwidth is pretty much all we want ISPs to do now. Having a monopoly on that would leave the situation as it is now, but basically mandate that the monopoly ISP not offer any of the commodity free services that it currently does, while it throttles whatever costs it money. The solution is to have municipalities do what they already do well. That is the municipalities should run another set of pipes like the sewer lines to each house. A tube system the size of the sewer system would allow for dozens if not hundreds of companies to compete without all of the fake right of way issues that only exist because municipalities have joined in the telecom monopoly business.

Re:A settlement is an agreement by the two parties (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31918420)

Free market systems may work it out, but not in a way that is friendly to many people.

Standard Oil for instance. It worked out extremely well for the robber barons. Not for anyone else. It took a near collapse of the US to make lawmakers realize that free market systems need regulation. A lesson that America learned in 2008 when the unregulated banks nearly collapsed.

Right now, a consumer has three choices for an ISP at the most in the US. Cable, and we all know how pro-consumer those guys are with throttling. DSL, and using a cellular provider. Compare this to almost anywhere in Europe where wireless mesh networks abound -- just connect and go with any type of wireless device.

MOVIE PIRATES !! ruin it for the rest of us (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31915754)

we only download all the music we can, like Cmdr Taco hisgreatness.

From what I understood... (1)

steelfood (895457) | more than 4 years ago | (#31915760)

RCN used QoS techniques on their network, which is expected. They weren't filtering BT or P2P per se. I'm not completely sure what this is in regards to, but I've never seen them as the big bad that Comcast was.

Re:From what I understood... (5, Insightful)

u-235-sentinel (594077) | more than 4 years ago | (#31915858)

RCN used QoS techniques on their network, which is expected. They weren't filtering BT or P2P per se. I'm not completely sure what this is in regards to, but I've never seen them as the big bad that Comcast was.

Please explain how "delaying or blocking P2P protocols." constitutes QoS? Delaying perhaps as that's what QoS does. It prioritizes those packets but blocking? QoS doesn't block AFAIK.

According to the judge's summary, RCN was charged with violating the Consumer Fraud and Abuse Act "by promising its customers 'fast and untapped' broadband Internet service, when in fact [it] was engaging in a network management practice called 'throttling,' which was designed to prevent or delay customers from using the Internet in certain ways, including for 'peer-to-peer' file sharing."

Sounds like bait and switch like what Concast has been doing. Don't promise if you can't deliver IMO.

Re:From what I understood... (3, Insightful)

steelfood (895457) | more than 4 years ago | (#31916078)

network management practice called 'throttling,'

Throttling is a QoS tecnique of slowing down transmission of lower-priority packets in favor of higher priority packets. To be quite frank, when you're on a cable line (RCN is ia cable provider, FYI), you know you're sharing it with your neighbors. Cable is not a dedicated line, and there's no reasonable expectation of such regardless of how marketing material puff it up. That's the nature of the technology in question. If a home user wanted a dedicated line, they'd have to pay for a dedicated line, not cable broadband.

It's completely reasonable to expect slowing down the transmission of packets that simply have a lower priority for the purpose of QoS using a connection shared between many clients. If a connection drops because of a timeout, then that's too bad. It's not a big deal, because that happens too in QoS (in fact, it'd happen without QoS, but for all of the users), and is more a symptom of the timeout of the client being set too low.

You can't comapre that to Comcast, which was forging packet contents to force P2P and high-bandwidth connections to outright drop.

Re:From what I understood... (1)

Twanfox (185252) | more than 4 years ago | (#31916180)

Most techs know that a Cable internet line is shared between you and your neighbors, but does your average person know that? Is it advertised as such in the company's documentation? I can't say I've actively looked at cable internet lately to know these things, but I'd hazard a guess that they do not, in fact, make plain the pitfalls of their service.

Re:From what I understood... (1)

shentino (1139071) | more than 4 years ago | (#31916450)

If you have to throttle, then you're overselling and owe a refund.

Re:From what I understood... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31917864)

Cable is not a dedicated line, and there's no reasonable expectation of such regardless of how marketing material puff it up.
I don't think I want to live in a society where "you shouldn't have been fooled so easily" is a valid defense against charges of false advertising or breach of contract.

Re:From what I understood... (1)

u-235-sentinel (594077) | more than 4 years ago | (#31939244)

"You can't comapre that to Comcast, which was forging packet contents to force P2P and high-bandwidth connections to outright drop."

True however that only came out later where as before they were 'claiming' it was network management.

You and I know however that it probably wasn't true. Concast isn't well known for being an honest company. forging packets being an example of that IMO.

RCN is the worst company I ever dealth with. Ever. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31915780)

Horrible service that goes out frequently. Useless phone customer service. Refusal to issue refunds for non-functional service.

I'll never ever ever use them, ever again.

I didn't even know they were so non-net-neutral, but it doesn't really surprise me.

Re:RCN is the worst company I ever dealth with. Ev (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31916452)

I have no idea why you think that. Who is better? In Chicago, it would be tough to beat them.

iidn (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31915794)

Illegal Immigrant Dark Net

Seriously, we have all these illegal messicans here constantly breaking into construction sites and stealing cable. Can't we pay them to splice them up and bury them in ditches?

I'm quite sure we could lay more cable in 1mo than Comcast has in the last 5 years.

Small Correction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31915884)

The Supreme Court did not take away any FCC authority to regulate network management; the Supreme Court ruled that the FCC never had such authority in the first place. In fact, the judges specifically asked the FCC where that authority came from but the FCC has no answer.

Eh... (4, Interesting)

ZekoMal (1404259) | more than 4 years ago | (#31916002)

I'm starting to lose it. I mean, seriously, why do we put up with this shit? Why? Can we not all elect to just stop everything until corporations realize they can't pull bullshit like this?

Think about it. If everyone just flat out boycotted doing anything for even a week. If an entire nation stopped going to work, if they just ate whatever was in their fridge and spent time taking walks, talking with their friends, and just flat out relaxing, what the hell could corporations do besides finally realize they can't bend us over and rape us?

The mere notion of not checking the internet, not watching TV, and not buying corporate crap on a daily basis. That's what's keeping us from having any control. Maybe a small fraction of the country elects to avoid every corrupt corporation like the plague. Maybe. Maybe a large percent of the population would avoid these corrupt corporations if they had a choice. What remain is that enough people don't give a shit about anything except for living their consumerist lives. So long as that >50% of the population continues to let corporations do whatever they want out of sheer willful ignorance ("I'd do something if I could, but in truth I'd never dream of selling my ipod, let alone not buying a Big Mac every week!"), corporation will continue to do whatever they want. So long as it's profitable to the congress folk, those corporations will get away with bloody murder.

I just don't know how much more I can take before I lose it.

Re:Eh... (1)

balbus000 (1793324) | more than 4 years ago | (#31916218)

A week of boycott will do nothing since most people pay a monthly subscription. The only way to do this would be to have people cancel their subscription which is simply not going to happen on a scale that would make a difference.

It is also not worth allowing competition for the same reasons it isn't for water/electric companies. It seems like government regulation is the only viable option here.

Re:Eh... (1)

ZekoMal (1404259) | more than 4 years ago | (#31916272)

Except that the government is corrupt and is currently letting crap like this happen because of the money they get.

The boycott is a little more devious.

If no one purchased anything for a week, it would shatter the economy. Stores nationwide would suffer from a week of not only having no employees, but of having no profit. If the people then pointed at the ISPs and said "we're doing it because of them", what do you think would happen?

Re:Eh... (2, Interesting)

Jerry (6400) | more than 4 years ago | (#31917756)

EXACTLY!

Lawrence Lessig explains it nicely in this video [blip.tv] and at this website: Fix Congress First. [fixcongressfirst.org]

After campaigning for a year for Universal, Single Payer health care, the voters elected Obama in a landslide.

It took Corporate lobbyists less than a year to buy out ALL of his fellow democrats. They already own the Republicans. Thus, the votes of millions of Americans are nullified by the corruption of a handful of politicians who took bribes (a.k.a. "Campaign Contributions", which they can convert to personal funds when they retire) and made the wants of a few owners outweigh the hopes of MILLIONS of voters. Both the corporate owners and the politicians have excellent health care plans. The people get the toxins the pharmaceuticals manufacture for profit, not for safety or efficacy.

Re:Eh... (1)

balbus000 (1793324) | more than 4 years ago | (#31923600)

Maybe it's just the weltschmerz I'm feeling, but do you really see a boycott like that actually happening? Even if it could, you would likely see increased sales the days before, and the days after the boycott to make up for the lost sales to some extent.

I agree that the government is corrupt, but that is where we could actually see the most change, if people had the organization you're suggesting.

Re:Eh... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31916286)

1. Your plan requires cooperation from too many people (including the higher-ups of the companies you're trying to screw), most of which are the typical american citizen which doesn't give a crap about your problems, so long as they can watch their nascar/american idol, drink beer, and drive to work in their SUV.
2. Very little would happen to the companies, aside from the fact that the employees at the bottom of the ladder wouldn't get paid for a week (the higher-ups of course still would), and on top of that would be brutally slammed with work when they return, because:
3. There would be a massive, MASSIVE surge to the stores after said week, IF it was pulled off. This would make up the week's loss of sales in a single day.
4. In short, your plan would only hurt the lower employees, spoil a ton of food in grocery stores, let a ton of animals in pet stores die of starvation, and cause widespread panic when nobody could get help in hospitals. Insurance companies would be laughing, and you'd do nothing but, in the long run, help the bottom line of the companies you're attempting to screw over.

Re:Eh... (1)

ZekoMal (1404259) | more than 4 years ago | (#31916394)

Number one on your list is exactly what I stated in my own post: that it'll never happen because too many people love being consumerist idiots. Number two is slightly true, except for the fact that most of these corporations wouldn't be able to handle earning $0 (while losing money on electric fees, water fees, and costs of having their managers on duty in case anyone does come in) for a full week. If it happened at one store, they could handle it. If every single store they own suddenly pulled in no revenue, they would be up shit creek. It's just how our system is setup. Three is unfortunately true, but only slightly so. Grocery stores would problem enjoy a pretty hefty profit, but most retail shops would just resume their usual profits. If people went a week without all the crap they usually have, they'd be surprised how little they actually wanted. The fourth is just silly, assuming that the corporations wouldn't panic after a week, or that the managers would ditch their job when they knew that the corporate offices would fire them in a heartbeat for doing so.

It's all a pipe dream anyway.

Re:Eh... (1)

blackraven14250 (902843) | more than 4 years ago | (#31917456)

Grocery stores would problem enjoy a pretty hefty profit

All that spoiled food costs the store nothing, I agree.

Re:Eh... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31916464)

Join us, brother.

--Huttaree

Re:Eh... (1)

BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) | more than 4 years ago | (#31916540)

Think about it. If everyone just flat out boycotted doing anything for even a week.

The functional failure mode of that statement is that word everyone. While its hard for many of us to see (since we spend so much time on slashdot) very few folk in this country actually feel like they are getting raped by any given corporation. For instance, if I go back to my podunk little hometown, and start telling people about how shitty out internet options are here, as compared to, say, Europe, they look at me like I am crazy. Most folk are so marveled by the fact that they can Google for an answer to whatever their problem is (as well they should be) that they don't see what the big deal is about low bandwidth or poorly developed infrastructure.

I've been to quite a few small towns here in California (one of the more developed states) where people still think they are getting fast internet speeds by connecting to their cell phone provider's 3g network because it is an improvement over their old dial up line. While one small town here and there may not mean much to the voter pool, when you start adding up every single voter citizen from every single small community, you'll see that such a perception can influence a large amount of the voter pool. Combine that with the fact that there are people with cable and/or dsl access in big cities that do nothing but check their e-mail everyday (and for that, our crap service here in the states is more than adequate) and you'll start to see why so few people actually think that there is anything wrong with internet access in this country.

As 'dotters, it's easy for us to forget that the mass majority of the US does not care about stuff like telco politics or Google's data acquisition. Similarly, there are a lot of people who don't really care about what the oil companies, or the tobacco companies, or the corn subsidy, or whatever the next $BIG_SCARY_EVIL_SOCIAL_INTEREST is. For most people, life is as simple as getting up, drudging to a job they hate, sticking it out for 8 hours, and going home to watch TV. Try to explain to them a good reason to go on a nationwide boycott that involves anything other than their own starvation and you will be seen as a raving lunatic.

That's not to say we shouldn't keep speaking up and doing what we can, but that's a generalized ramble about why we aren't boycotting as a nation....yet.

Re:Eh... (1)

ZekoMal (1404259) | more than 4 years ago | (#31916620)

...RTFP. Halfway through my own post I said it was a pipe dream because of the exact reason that the majority just don't care. It's sad, but it's true. I've tried explaining this to people, and they usually just say "well, I don't feel like thinking about it". People would prefer to not have better because good enough is easier. It's unfortunate, but we're a minority in this country.

Woah there now... (1)

MattGWU (86623) | more than 4 years ago | (#31917030)

You're comparing the U. S. of A to EUROPE? You must be one of them there Socialists.

Signed,
Mainstream America

Re:Eh... (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 4 years ago | (#31916724)

What are you even upset about? That people use ipods and eat big macs? How is that even a problem?

The problem here isn't even with corporations, it's with our elected officials being corrupt and listening to rent-seekers (ie: corruption). This has nothing to do with corporations: even if you got rid of corporations, people would get together in businesses based on contracts and do the same thing.

If everyone just flat out boycotted doing anything for even a week.

This would do nothing. After it was over, we would all go back to work and it would be business as usual. By the way, you suggest boycotting everything. Do you seriously think that everything is evil?

Re:Eh... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31916896)

I'm starting to lose it. I mean, seriously, why do we put up with this shit? Why? Can we not all elect to just stop everything until corporations realize they can't pull bullshit like this?

Think about it. If everyone just flat out boycotted doing anything for even a week. If an entire nation stopped going to work, if they just ate whatever was in their fridge and spent time taking walks, talking with their friends, and just flat out relaxing, what the hell could corporations do besides finally realize they can't bend us over and rape us?

The mere notion of not checking the internet, not watching TV, and not buying corporate crap on a daily basis. That's what's keeping us from having any control. Maybe a small fraction of the country elects to avoid every corrupt corporation like the plague. Maybe. Maybe a large percent of the population would avoid these corrupt corporations if they had a choice. What remain is that enough people don't give a shit about anything except for living their consumerist lives. So long as that >50% of the population continues to let corporations do whatever they want out of sheer willful ignorance ("I'd do something if I could, but in truth I'd never dream of selling my ipod, let alone not buying a Big Mac every week!"), corporation will continue to do whatever they want. So long as it's profitable to the congress folk, those corporations will get away with bloody murder.

I just don't know how much more I can take before I lose it.

RCN throttling torrents ON THEIR OWN NETWORK is now "bend us over and rape us", "get[ting] away with bloody murder"?!?!

"consumerists lives"? You arrogant, self-congratulatory, sheltered nitwit. As if you're better than everyone else and could survive outside civilization, you histrionic basement-dwelling beta male wuss.

OMFG. Get OVER yourself.

I just don't know how much more I can take before I lose it.

Too late. Way too fucking late.

Re:Eh... (1)

CrashandDie (1114135) | more than 4 years ago | (#31917014)

If an entire nation stopped going to work, if they just ate whatever was in their fridge and spent time taking walks, talking with their friends, and just flat out relaxing, what the hell could corporations do besides finally realize they can't bend us over and rape us?

First of all, ./ readers would be pretty lonely, and second, I don't fancy eating mustard and jalapeno for a week.

In all seriousness, how do you chose which corporations you would still humour? Electricity company? Gas? TV? Are there any government-funded TV channels in the US? (seriously, I don't know). Would you go out with your friends? Would restaurants still be active [= would those people be working?]. If not, what would you do with your friends? Just walk? Now, I really love my fiancee, and have a few very good friends, but I'm pretty sure I couldn't stand spending a week just looking deeply into their eyes.

It seems a bit easy to say "Let's boycott x and y", but the problem is that there's a gazillion other corporations who would go "Meh, not my problem".

Re:Eh... (1)

Princeofcups (150855) | more than 4 years ago | (#31917162)

Think about it. If everyone just flat out boycotted doing anything for even a week. If an entire nation stopped going to work, if they just ate whatever was in their fridge and spent time taking walks, talking with their friends, and just flat out relaxing, what the hell could corporations do besides finally realize they can't bend us over and rape us?

Please read a little bit of history, or just look outside your American suburban windows to see what the real world is like. We are living in a pathetic passive era. But here's the rub. When you protest, the government generally steps in to break the civil unrest. Air traffic controllers threaten to go on strike. Fire them all. People collect in the local park and hold signs? Send in the national guard, and bust some heads. Maybe shoot a couple.

  I'm all for agitation, but the result is not so rosy as you think.

Re:Eh... (1)

rastoboy29 (807168) | more than 4 years ago | (#31917512)

Because it's hard to get upset about something you don't understand the significance of.

It's bad enough these days I'm seeing good young techs who believe the pablum the major media dish out through no fault of their own.  They're all in favor of locking down the internet any way the corps please.

I'm working on de-brainwashing (re-brainwashing?) them, of course, but that takes time.

Re:Eh... (1)

magus_melchior (262681) | more than 4 years ago | (#31917728)

The fundamental legal structure of corporations, especially in the US, is flawed. In most circumstances, the corporation is essentially enslaved to the profit motive of the shareholders-- if they make a decision that would not maximize the benefits to the shareholders, and as long as the profit-maximizing strategy is not criminal, they can sue the corporation and win in court, ethics or principles be damned. This is how Ben & Jerry's turned from a company with principles not unlike that of many progressives to a sell-out-- the shareholders threatened to sue the board of directors unless the board allowed a buyout bid.

Non-profits are not subject to the will of shareholders by definition, but they come with other restrictions, many of which would be disadvantages to for-profit models.

There is a movement underway to introduce a new corporate form that does not make the shareholders' interests supreme, but it hasn't gotten much coverage in the news, nor headway in the legislatures. If the movement is successful, I'd be more than willing to invest what little I have in companies that adopt such a corporate charter. The key, however, is getting often-dysfunctional state governments to accept them, and that's not going to be easy.

Re:Eh... (1)

lena_10326 (1100441) | more than 4 years ago | (#31917912)

I just don't know how much more I can take before I lose it.

Funny how citizens get worked up to a frothy tithy if you touch their broadband, tv, or video games. I'm just curious. Did you get worked up in the last political election? Or, did you sit on the sofa, munching potato chips, cursing about your ISP?

I've got an idea . . . (1)

kickassweb (974862) | more than 4 years ago | (#31918258)

If we all stopped paying taxes, the Corporations would go broke . . .

Choices (2, Interesting)

Wowsers (1151731) | more than 4 years ago | (#31916064)

I am not familiar with the US market, but will tell you what it's like in the UK.

One of my previous ISPs decided to introduce throttling on different services using deep packet inspection to implement it. Their priority was for websites (port 80) and POP3 email. Everything else was throttled, in particular P2P services, and VoIP like Skype. However, by strange coincidence, the ISPs own VoIP service was NOT being throttled.

As the company had to issue new terms of service you had to agree to because of the throttling, I left without penalty, and actually told them they were a bunch of shysters who were more interested in saving money that commissioning more capacity (they actually oversold the network and could not keep up). If you can, the only way to teach these companies is to leave them.

Sure, the ISP has grown, but that's on the backs of new users who don't know any better, and would think that different internet services were just that slow all the time.

Re:Choices (5, Informative)

ZekoMal (1404259) | more than 4 years ago | (#31916128)

The only problem is that the majority of the US has either one or two ISP options; whenever a smaller one comes along it gets either bought out or put out of business by the larger corporations that own all of the infrastructure. Leaving is reduced to two options: Pick the other abuser, or have no internet.

Re:Choices (1)

KingMotley (944240) | more than 4 years ago | (#31916700)

Actually, the majority of the US has at least 5 options. One or two may have everything that you want, except well those might throttle your connection. Dish I do believe covers the entire US. Most places have a cable company that offers internet. Almost everywhere has POTS/ISDN support. Most places can also get DSL, and I don't know of a place where you can't get a T1 line run to.

Just because some of those options aren't what you are looking for, doesn't mean they don't exist.

Re:Choices (1)

rattaroaz (1491445) | more than 4 years ago | (#31916910)

This may be a joke. Sorry if I missed the humor in it. Dish has a significant latency, making it far from ideal in some situations. POTS/ISDN is too slow to be realistic. T1 line is far too pricey. Analogy: you don't need a car. You can walk, use the bus, get a limo, or a motorcycle. Sure, you can get those, and they do do similar things. But don't pretend they are equivalent, or even appropriate options. That leaves cable and DSL, which is what the GP mentioned: 1 or 2 choices.

Re:Choices (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31917272)

Analogy: you don't need a car. You can walk, use the bus, get a limo, or a motorcycle. Sure, you can get those, and they do do similar things. But don't pretend they are equivalent, or even appropriate options.

Analogy: There's only one kind of transportation in my city, if I ignore walking, busses, hiring a limo, or motorcycles.

Re:Choices (1)

KingMotley (944240) | more than 4 years ago | (#31918116)

Depends... You can use POTS/ISDN if all you want internet access for is checking your email or playing RTS/MMOs.

Dish is fine for Email, web surfing, RTS/MMOs, and video sites like hulu/netflix.

T1's can be quite affordable depending on where you are. Last I checked it was approx $200 for the last one I had run about 8 years ago. I also had 2 T1's to a Tier-1 carrier, but that ran $1000/mo.

So yes, they are quite practical alternatives. If you plan on playing FPS's, then no, but then again, noone is complaining about not being able to play FPS's on comcast or RCN. And none of the other choices limit you in your bandwidth usage, but, you do pay for it.

Re:Choices (1)

rattaroaz (1491445) | more than 4 years ago | (#31918354)

I see. Thanks, I feel better now. And also, since there are a gagillion different POTS internet providers, there is plenty of competition for everyone, and we can just let the market forces decide. But for some reason, my butt still hurts after bending over . . .

Re:Choices (1)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 4 years ago | (#31917160)

Spoken like someone who has never used Dish for internet access. Dial-up is more reliable & has lower latency.

Re:Choices (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31917390)

Actually, the majority of the US has at least 5 options. One or two may have everything that you want, except well those might throttle your connection. Dish I do believe covers the entire US. Most places have a cable company that offers internet. Almost everywhere has POTS/ISDN support. Most places can also get DSL, and I don't know of a place where you can't get a T1 line run to.

Just because some of those options aren't what you are looking for, doesn't mean they don't exist.

If you own a house perhaps those are options. If you rent, then no, you can't get them all.

POTS is available but not broadband and not realistic for the modern internet.
DSL usually available. Slow but better than POTS.
Dish can't necessarily be installed if you are renting. Latency also prevents certain functions from working.
Cable is generally available in cities and suburbs. It's not a given in rural areas but is usually available.
T1 service is not generally available in many locations, rental or owned, and costs so much you might as well claim that someone could open their own ISP.

So basically, it's cable, DSL, and maybe dish if your landlord and usage pattern allows it. 1-3 choices, and in many cases 1-2.

Compare what you get with Europeans, Japanese, Koreans - the US populace is screwed in favor of cable company profits and payola for the local government administrators.

Re:Choices (2, Insightful)

snowraver1 (1052510) | more than 4 years ago | (#31916204)

Sure, the ISP has grown, but that's on the backs of new users who don't know any better, and would think that different internet services were just that slow all the time.

Those are the customers that an ISP wants. These customers don't take alot of bandwidth and don't know when they are getting screwed, so they put up and shut up.

Bet the Lawyers got Paid (1)

IMightB (533307) | more than 4 years ago | (#31916066)

Won't someone think of the Lawyers? Without Class Actions like this they would likely be severely under paid by millions of dollars.

Re:Bet the Lawyers got Paid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31916142)

No, that was a typo. The lawyers got an iPad.

QOS can be good despite what bandwidth hogs think (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31916340)

As a current RCN customer for 3 years now, I must say their service has been way better than other Chicago area providers I have tried in the past.

With that said, as long as they aren't dropping protocols on purpose or QOSing them to intolerable rates, I don't mind. In my 3 years of service I have never had an issue with P2P on RCN's network. Things like VOIP, HTTPS, HTTP, POP3/IMAP, SSH, etc are way more important than P2P will ever be in terms of traffic priority. Torrents, legal or otherwise, finish when they finish, no big deal. Services like VOIP don't have that luxury of dropping lots of packets.

If you don't like it get Comcast, DSL, or Clearwire.

Guilt for what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31916362)

The courts sided against the FCC, so what laws or TOS did RCN violate?

I am not disagreeing that Washington is owned by the lobbyists.

I am not disagreeing that their is too little competition in the broadband industry.

But when the FCC lost I am surprised RCN didn't tell opposing council to f-off.

Re:Guilt for what? (1)

compro01 (777531) | more than 4 years ago | (#31917524)

This had nothing to do with the FCC case beyond being on the same subject. RCN was accused of violating the Consumer Fraud and Abuse Act.

Whaaa whaaa (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31916822)

Cry me a river...

Oh noes, the ISP does not want me to use their service to illegally obtain music, movies, software and pr0n.... whaaa whaaa

Get over it. You are not freedom fighters. You are no better than a common filthy thief. Buy the things you want instead of stealing them. I know on /. that is a crazy concept.

Internet Coop? (1)

masmullin (1479239) | more than 4 years ago | (#31918016)

How about a community internet coop? Set up kind of like the farm or financial coops?

You are an owner of the coop and your monthly fee is for the maintenance of the system?

free market my ass (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31919270)

One big reason the US internet providers are overpriced and suck-ass is because our government mostly allows them to monopolize on a per infrastructure basis. Their reason being that "if we pay to install it, we should milk it for all its worth without fear of competition". This doesn't foster competition with better providers, it just allows them to do whatever they damn please. Until that changes, none of the providers have much to fear; since you only have a handful of providers that monopolize their own infrastructures without fear of competition, they make the rules that favor their shareholders.

If Comcast (or whatever ISP) had to compete on the same lines (not including DSL), they would have actual competition with things that matter most to the consumers like service and price. And even if they lease out the infrastructures to other providers, they still have control of it, meaning they can make it prohibitively expensive for other competitors to have any way to compete with them in a somewhat fair manner.

It's all about the bottom line. I'm all for capitalism, but only in a truly free market. Right now that's not the case.

Royal Canadian Navy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31920518)

hmmm...

RCN User here (1)

kaizendojo (956951) | more than 4 years ago | (#31921178)

I've been with RCN for years and I can't say I have any problems with my torrent throughput, but then again, I never use the default ports. I'm not saying that I'm an expert, but I do know that my own non-scientific comparative testing showed a major throughput difference between using the default BT ports and a randomly selected port in the higher range.

If someone can prove me wrong, or explain why I am - I am certainly open to learning.

Stop spreading FUD about the FCC! (1)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 4 years ago | (#31923716)

Given that a federal court has just removed the FCC's authority to regulate network management,

Gah! That is not what happened!

The supreme court upheld their authority to regulate network management. The problem was that the FCC ">didn't make their network neutrality principles as official rules [slashdot.org] . They didn't follow their own paperwork, so they didn't have the power to sue over it.

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