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AT&T Says Net Rules Must Allow 'Paid Prioritization'

CmdrTaco posted more than 4 years ago | from the also-grilled-cheese dept.

Government 390

suraj.sun writes "AT&T said Tuesday that any Net neutrality plan restricting its ability to engage in 'paid prioritization' of network traffic would be harmful and contrary to the fundamental principles of the Internet."

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Actually.. (5, Insightful)

HopefulIntern (1759406) | more than 4 years ago | (#33434934)

..AT&T...YOU are harmful and contrary to the fundamental principles of the Internet!

Re:Actually.. (4, Insightful)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#33435252)

They're also lying assholes. yes, they should be able to charge more for a T1 than DSL, but they should NOT be able to charge more for a user to use Google than to use Bing, or more for torrents than streaming video.

I was actually thinking about checking into their $20/month wifi they snail mailed me about a week or so ago, as wifi connections at Felber's, the laundromat, and McDonald's are almost always fast enough to stream video, and it didn't take long to DL the latest Mandriva distro (now if I can get my netbook to boot from it..)

But after this, I'm not too sure. AT&T or Comcast? Both are really BAD choices, but they're my only two.

Re:Actually.. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33435378)

lol it's like choosing between the plague or cancer.

Re:Actually.. (3, Interesting)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#33435510)

They're also lying assholes. yes, they should be able to charge more for a T1 than DSL

But should they be allowed to prioritize the traffic from that T-1 over the traffic from their DSL customers when network congestion is an issue? The T-1 customer probably got an SLA if he was smart. The DSL customer was promised nothing of the kind.

Why should they? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33435762)

Why should they? All that means is that they can sell 100MBits to T1 customers on an upstream connection of 102MBits and sell 200MBits/sec to residential customers and reap the profit without having to supply the product.

Charge on CIR, allow "up to" to be used as a differentiator between products, but NOT as part of the product.

Re:Actually.. (1)

jythie (914043) | more than 4 years ago | (#33435808)

Yes, they should, which net neutrality does not stop them from doing. Putting them back under common carrier rules would NOT stop them from prioritizing traffic of their own customers.

Re:Actually.. (1)

Kepesk (1093871) | more than 4 years ago | (#33435740)

Yeah, pretty much. AT&T can go suck it. That's really all I have to say about that.

The point of net neutrality (1)

Iceykitsune (1059892) | more than 4 years ago | (#33434936)

then why make any net neutrality rules in the first place? fp

Re:The point of net neutrality (2)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 4 years ago | (#33434996)

It's depressing since up till now most companies have for the most part stuck pretty close to something like net neutrality with the occasonal dispute with other companies interupting that.

but now it's a political issue and all the guys in suits who before were happy to manage their companies without the foggiest clue what their companies actually do are hearing all these sugestions (in the form of "companies must not be allowed to do X Y and Z") and suddenly they're thinking "Really? we could do that??? awsome!!! why didn't anyone tell me about this before?"

Re:The point of net neutrality (5, Insightful)

Itchyeyes (908311) | more than 4 years ago | (#33435024)

The point of net neutrality is not to do away with differentiating levels of service. It's to prevent ISPs from charging others for access to those tiers, while giving themselves or preferred services access to those tiers for free or reduced prices. The main fear is that a company like Comcast might offer a streaming video service over their network for a fee, then charge other services, like Netflix, a quality of service fee that makes it prohibitive to compete with Comcast on their own network and prices them out of the market. AT&T objections here, while worrisome on their own, don't necessarily conflict with the principles of net neutrality.

Re:The point of net neutrality (3, Interesting)

Timothy Brownawell (627747) | more than 4 years ago | (#33435200)

AT&T objections here, while worrisome on their own, don't necessarily conflict with the principles of net neutrality.

I'm not sure they're even worrisome, from the article it sounds almost like everyone's talking past eachother. Or just talking about different things where only the news people think they're trying to talk about the same thing.

The consumer-protection people say ISPs shouldn't be able to alter service levels based on how much the external endpoint has paid. AT&T says ISPs should be able to alter service levels based on how much the internal endpoint has paid or what preferences the internal endpoint has expressed. These are perfectly compatible and both make perfect sense.

The only problem would be if AT&T is using the internal-endpoint argument to push for the ability to make external-endpoint actions. But I expect that if that were the case we'd be hearing stories highlighting their duplicity, so...

Re:The point of net neutrality (4, Informative)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | more than 4 years ago | (#33435316)

AT&T says ISPs should be able to alter service levels based on how much the internal endpoint has paid or what preferences the internal endpoint has expressed. These are perfectly compatible and both make perfect sense.

Want to access youtube.com from urISP? That's an extra $10/month. Don't worry though, we comply with the law since we aren't charging youtube.com for that premium access.

Even if it is just: Youtube.com unthrottled: $1/month it's wrong.

Re:The point of net neutrality (1)

Timothy Brownawell (627747) | more than 4 years ago | (#33435358)

So what makes it wrong? Should the old AOL and MSN "walled gardens" have been illegal? They seem to have failed just fine on their own...

Re:The point of net neutrality (4, Informative)

cHiphead (17854) | more than 4 years ago | (#33435424)

Because these assholes are trying to wall garden the internet itself, which is contrary to the very existence of the internet.

Re:The point of net neutrality (1)

Timothy Brownawell (627747) | more than 4 years ago | (#33435520)

Sorry, but WTF is that supposed to mean?

Re:The point of net neutrality (5, Insightful)

jx100 (453615) | more than 4 years ago | (#33435700)

How about ths:

The internet should be considered a public good, because the benefits of having it are spread to the entire public in the form of greater communications and information spreading.

Also, the internet was created and funded by the federal government, and currently continually uses public land.

Because of these reasons, we should have a say in assuring that the internet continues to operate in a manner primarily supporting the public good, and not primarily as a for-profit endeavor.

Re:The point of net neutrality (0)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 4 years ago | (#33435750)

Modded Informative?

Bullshit. You can line up all the attempts to "wall garden the internet itself" and in that line is a bunch of failures, and not just failing to complete the task, but also failing to remain a healthy prosperous business enterprise.

What AT&T is pointing out is that there are certain classes of connectivity that *are* more important than others. Their biggest example is VOIP. We really do want Skype packets to have preference over I_got_laid_by_a_midget.mpeg.torrent, but these "Net Neutrality Or Die!" folks seem to think otherwise, that no preference should be tolerated.

I think the net neutrality folks are wrong as things stand now. Maybe in the future when there is some real in-practice issue that needs to be addressed, maybe then we deal with that issie itself instead of legislating based on the boogieman theory.

Re:The point of net neutrality (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33435748)

What's that got to do with Net Neutrality?
They offer their business plan, you can take it or go to the competitors. They can charge you as much as they want for what ever they want, but they cannot tamper with the actual Net traffic by various technological means that they poses as an ISP. Throttling a specific protocol just to "encourage" you to move to a different plan or discourage/encourage the use of a technology will be violation to the Net Neutrality terms.

That is what paid prioritzation means (5, Informative)

iYk6 (1425255) | more than 4 years ago | (#33435218)

I'm pretty sure that is exactly what "paid prioritization" means. AT&T wants to charge Netflix for prioritized packets. Unless Netflix ponies up, then AT&T will downgrade, or eliminate, Netflix traffic.

AT&T calls it paid prioritization. You call it quality of service fee (possibly tongue in cheek). I call it double dipping.

Re:That is what paid prioritzation means (0)

Itchyeyes (908311) | more than 4 years ago | (#33435322)

But, in regards to net neutrality, the question is whether or not AT&T objects to the FCC requiring them to be neutral in the way they implement "paid prioritization". As long as all other streaming video services on their network are subject to the same fees, then it's still neutral. The purpose of net neutrality is to address specific conflicts of interest that ISPs, especially the cable cos, face between providing Internet service to their customers and selling their own services on their networks. It's not a catch-all for network regulation that so many people seem to interpret it as.

Re:The point of net neutrality (2, Insightful)

cfulmer (3166) | more than 4 years ago | (#33435448)

I disagree. Consider two situations: (A). AT&T starts up a search subsidiary and then says "We're going to impair connections to all other search providers in favor of our own," reaping a ton of profits. (B) AT&T spins-off that search subsidiary but enters into a contract with it where the subsidiary pays a bunch of $$$ for AT&T to impair connections to the other providers, reaping a ton of profits? The end result to AT&T, end-users and other search providers is identical; the only difference is that in (A) the flow of money from search to AT&T comes through ownership and in (B) it comes through contract.

Re:The point of net neutrality (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 4 years ago | (#33435506)

If Comcast wants to set up its own video streaming service, first it has to acquire a license from the content owners for that kind of broadcast. Those same content owners are the ones running the current competing services (Hulu, etc..) so it looks to me like Comcast would be the one thats fucked out of the market if they tried to monopolize their users content consumption.

I just dont see this paranoia as a feasible concern. The people who own the content that is in demand hold all the cards, not silly middlemen like Comcast.

Fuck you AT&T (5, Insightful)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#33434942)

AT&T said Tuesday that any Net neutrality plan restricting its ability to engage in "paid prioritization" of network traffic would be harmful and contrary to the fundamental principles of the Internet.

Uh, no...that would uphold the fundamental principles of the Internet.

Re:Fuck you AT&T (2, Interesting)

bsDaemon (87307) | more than 4 years ago | (#33435028)

Maybe I just don't get net neutrality and what's being argued for, but how would it no affect how peering contracts are worked out, how QoS can be implemented, etc? All this "routing around damage" stuff people talk about seems to stop fairly swiftly at the border, where policy is used to determine where data goes, and not metrics.

Re:Fuck you AT&T (4, Insightful)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 4 years ago | (#33435224)

in it's simplest form net neutrality is similar to anti-monopoly legislation.

Yes this is a semi-car analogy but it's not completely off the wall.

Imagine 1 company owned and maintained most of the highways in a state, collected tolls and also got to make up their own rules for traffic on the stretches of road they were maintaining.

Now imagine that the same company owned a large retail chain and taxi company.

So they make a rule that on their highways everyone else has to get out of the way of their delivery vans or taxi service and there is no speed limit for their own taxi service or delivery vans.(perhaps they also extend this to their buisness partners)
This would both give the other wings of their company an advantage and also hurt the service of their normal customers who get pushed over into the slower lanes whenever company traffic is going through.
analogous to ISP's which also run a voip service or a video streaming service prioritizing the packets from their own service

At the same time they start charging tripple tolls to all delivery vans for competing retail chains or taxis from competing services or even make a rule setting a lower speed limit for those cometitors vehicles.
analagous to an ISP intentionally dropping the priority of packets from their competitors streaming service or voip service or charging them an additional fee if they want to get equal priority

Would this be fair? they'd be using their position in one market to gain advantage in another.
Would this be healthy for a market?
of course not, it would be exactly the sort of crap that healthy regulation aims to stop.

but AT&T want to be able to pull that kind of crap because there's a hell of a lot of money to be made in distorting the market to their favor.

Re:Fuck you AT&T (0)

Garrett Fox (970174) | more than 4 years ago | (#33435572)

It just strikes me that some companies are trying to find new ways to make money from the Internet, and the reaction is "no, you can never deviate from the standards we're used to!". I realize there are arguments for why others can't or shouldn't have to just "build their own roads" to use your analogy. But if we'd had a discussion like this some years ago, wouldn't there have been calls to outlaw e-commerce sites, Flash, or Twitter on the grounds that we must freeze the Net the way it is now? Isn't there some way to let companies experiment with offering non-neutral service in such a way that it's unlikely to Ruin Everything?

Another analogy would be airlines. "Some corporations are proposing to build a network of things called 'airplanes' that'll let people travel without the existing roads. And they'll get to decide what prices to charge and what routes to offer. No fair!"

Re:Fuck you AT&T (1)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 4 years ago | (#33435754)

I don't see where you're coming from with this claim that people would have outlawed "e-commerce sites, Flash, or Twitter ", please elaborate as otherwise it just sounds like bunk.

"non-neutral service " seems to just be a nice term for "anti-competative trating practices"

this isn't about stopping change, this is about stopping market-distorting unfair trading practices.

This is nothing like flights, that would just be building a faster backbone network and getting to decide where it goes.
A better comparison would be

"Some corporations already has a network of things called 'airplanes' that let people travel without the existing roads. they get to decide what prices to charge and what routes to offer and now some of them want to move into the postal buisness and freight buisness and they're using their existing market position to give themselves an unfair advantage in another market! no fair!!! "

Re:Fuck you AT&T (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33435764)

Isn't there some way to let companies experiment with offering non-neutral service in such a way that it's unlikely to Ruin Everything?

No, there isn't. Neutrality of bits is what makes the Internet work. Take that away, and it's just like all the failed non-neutral networks that came before.

In any case, nobody's trying to experiment with anything here other than double-dip pricing schemes. It's an outrage, not a business innovation.

Airline analogy? (1)

Steffan (126616) | more than 4 years ago | (#33435828)

Another analogy would be airlines. "Some corporations are proposing to build a network of things called 'airplanes' that'll let people travel without the existing roads. And they'll get to decide what prices to charge and what routes to offer. No fair!"

Perhaps a better analogy would be:

An airline owns the airport in your city. They wish to charge a "Prioritization Fee" for airlines to get preferential treatment at the airport. Their aircraft will of course not have to pay this fee.

Coincidentally, all of their competitors' aircraft fares just increased, and the flight times became longer.

Of course, you are still free to choose any airline you wish (provided you don't mind paying more and having slower transit).

Re:Fuck you AT&T (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33435778)

analogous to ISP's which also run a voip service or a video streaming service prioritizing the packets from their own service

If that's the main problem, then why not simply require that these departments be well-separated and that the voip and video streaming departments have to pay the same rates as the competitors for prioritization?

Re:Fuck you AT&T (1, Insightful)

jgagnon (1663075) | more than 4 years ago | (#33435386)

Net neutrality, as a term, is similar to global warming. There is a whole lot of FUD spread on both sides of the issue and more than one definition depending on who you ask.

What many people want to avoid is a situation where an ISP can arbitrarily filter or throttle the content flowing through their connection. They want a "dumb pipe to the Internet" that they can use how they see fit up to the limits of the connection, without fear of filtering or throttling based on the contents (or protocol used) of the information they are sending or receiving. Some users want a completely unlimited connection while some just want a cheap connection, even with limitations.

What many ISPs want is the ability to offer tiered services, allowing them to tailor their offerings based on rules they are in control of and not just be a "dumb pipe to the Internet". So they could reduce or remove the ability to torrent, for instance, with their lower priced offering and offer a less limited connection for more money. Many also want the ability to prioritize packets based on tiers, so their corporate customers, for instance, might be less affected during heavy usage times because their packets would be given priority over someone patching World of Warcraft (again, just an example).

With the current business model of Internet connections, a great deal of people under utilize their connection and still pay the same as someone who uses their connection to the max. The way many ISPs do their business model is that they expect that the bulk of people use relatively little of their available bandwidth so they will oversell their capacity. Now that there are so many ways to eat up large amounts of bandwidth (TV over the Internet, rich media sites like YouTube, social media sites, etc.) it is a lot harder for an ISP to guess how much over booking of their capacity will actually work well. They often blame the people that are maximizing the connection they were sold when the real problem lies in their business model. The days of "unlimited" connections are over. Net Neutrality is just one battlefield of the overall war.

Re:Fuck you AT&T (2, Insightful)

Barefoot Monkey (1657313) | more than 4 years ago | (#33435664)

Maybe I just don't get net neutrality and what's being argued for, but how would it no affect how peering contracts are worked out, how QoS can be implemented, etc? All this "routing around damage" stuff people talk about seems to stop fairly swiftly at the border, where policy is used to determine where data goes, and not metrics.

The "routing around damage" principle does not apply to endpoints, because there is only one route. If you are connected to the Internet via AT&T then at some point ultimately everything must go through AT&T before it gets between your computer and the Internet proper, and there is no way around this. If are connected through a completely different carrier but are trying to connect to an AT&T customer, then the connection must also go through their chokepoint. There is no way around a wall between point A and B if it completely surrounds either of those points.

Regerding peering contracts and such, that's the way things have always worked in a neutral network, so that isn't a concern. QoS is also acceptible in general, as long as it isn't abused. Network neutrality is about defining what constitutes abuse. The ur-example: "paid prioritization" amounts to AT&T demanding that target non-customers "compensate" them for chosing one of their competitors over them by threatening to degrade their own customers' connections to the target (potentially causing severe damage to the target's business) unless the target pays them.

Frame of Reference (4, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 4 years ago | (#33435112)

Uh, no...that would uphold the fundamental principles of the Internet.

I agree with you but we're just users. That's the fundamental principle to a user. The fundamental principle of the ISPs and other businesses surrounding the internet is to make money and -- let's face it -- if there had never been a profitability aspect of the internet it would not have become as big and powerful as it is now. So far we've been pretty much in symbiosis with most of what the companies do but it seems to diverge daily. Back then I wanted to buy everything without leaving my home. Then came Amazon and Newegg and an endless supply from retailers. They wanted to sell, I wanted to buy, we were happy.

I think that's one of many reasons that Net Neutrality is so confusing to your average consumer: the internet used to be a great tool in getting them what they want from people who want their money. AT&T will phrase the debate to the consumer thusly: "You want prioritized traffic and we want to give you prioritized traffic so let's do the whole cash dance just like you do with everything else on the internet." The problems with that are obvious to you and me but may bamboozle the average consumer into thinking: "Yes, I need this. Here is my moneys. Please go do, my intarwebs are all slowed up from the evil file sharers!"

I'm on the same page as you but I think we're at a disadvantage because people are willing to pay for a prioritization of processing in many other things and assume that doing it this way with internet traffic is just a logical step in a capitalistic society where the rich can pay a premium for better and ensured service. In my mind, the simplest counter explanation without getting into -isms and what the internet manifesto is they don't meet my current advertised speeds so why should I pay them more to not meet higher speeds?

Re:Frame of Reference (4, Insightful)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | more than 4 years ago | (#33435216)

I'm on the same page as you but I think we're at a disadvantage because people are willing to pay for a prioritization of processing in many other things and assume that doing it this way with internet traffic is just a logical step in a capitalistic society where the rich can pay a premium for better and ensured service.

Logical fallacy. Doing it this way IS a logical step in a capitalistic society; that doesn't mean it's actually optimal (pure capitalism isn't), and a gently regulated free market supposedly looks for these issues and smooths them out. A communistic market would, on the other hand, have a higher power (Congress) examining the issue and deciding (scientifically) what is best for everyone. A divinistic society would have a higher power (God) sort it out.

Don't imply that X isn't capitalistic when it is, and I won't imply that !X is communistic when it's not.

Re:Frame of Reference (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33435782)

How on Earth did what he said "imply that X isn't capitalistic." He never said that nor implied it.

Re:Frame of Reference (2, Insightful)

XAD1975 (1628499) | more than 4 years ago | (#33435288)

As you point out, there's certainly a market out there. But the next question coming to my mind is : would that prioritization come at the expense of the standard user's comfort? By the moment they switch their prioritization on, will we see our latencies and bandwidth melt like snow under the sun, to the point where we'll become obliged to buy their package?

Re:Fuck you AT&T (1)

jack2000 (1178961) | more than 4 years ago | (#33435146)

You mean it would holdup our internets hostage.

Re:Fuck you AT&T (1)

jgagnon (1663075) | more than 4 years ago | (#33435586)

Tubejacking?

Fundamental Principles of the Internet (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33434964)

Considering the fundamental principle of the internet is to deliver my porn as fast as possible, perhaps AT&T is correct in prioritizing my traffic.

Go @#$# yourselves, AT&T.. (3, Interesting)

rotide (1015173) | more than 4 years ago | (#33434968)

"AT&T said Tuesday that any Net neutrality plan restricting its ability to engage in "paid prioritization" of network traffic would be harmful and contrary to the fundamental principles of the Internet.

Telecommunications providers need the ability to set different prices for different forms of Internet service, AT&T said, adding that it already has "hundreds" of customers who have paid extra for higher-priority services."

So you want to tier the internet. You want only certain things viewable if I "only" pay you $30/month. I'll get more, but probably not everything at $50/mo and at $100/month I'll get everything you think I should want, but of course, something will be blocked as it will probably be against your businesses interests for me to see and/or use it (competing services, etc).

Seriously, go @#$# yourselves, AT&T.

Re:Go @#$# yourselves, AT&T.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33435062)

Actually chances are they just want to be able to charge "buisness" accounts more for the right to host a web page, have a static ip, and be assured that their service will be prioritized above "home" accounts for service calls and bandwidth should the network be over-taxed.

Re:Go @#$# yourselves, AT&T.. (1)

mldi (1598123) | more than 4 years ago | (#33435140)

You know, that'd be pretty fucking sweet if net neutrality rules forced ports open if the customer, ANY type of customer, wanted them open. Buuuuttt, I somehow doubt that will happen.

Tired of paying double for the same thing but with open ports. And too bad you can't just pay $5 for a static IP like you used to be able to. It's utterly ridiculous that my internet bill is over $105/mo every month without even being on the top tier. It's a "business" account for the open ports but the QoS is still shit. Plus, I have service outages constantly.

Re:Go @#$# yourselves, AT&T.. (1)

KClaisse (1038258) | more than 4 years ago | (#33435694)

Actually chances are they just want to be able to charge "buisness" accounts more for the right to host a web page, have a static ip, and be assured that their service will be prioritized above "home" accounts for service calls and bandwidth should the network be over-taxed.

They already do this. Business accounts dont cost more because of the spiffy name. They charge more because you get things like a static IP and the ability to host web servers among other things. Those things aren't allowed on residential accounts, its right there in the contract.

The Principles of the Internet according to AT& (5, Insightful)

brennanw (5761) | more than 4 years ago | (#33434976)

1. We do things on the internet that you pay us for.

2. You do things on the internet that you pay us for.

3. When you do things on the internet that other people pay you for, you pay us for the privilege of doing them.

4. If we find out you are doing things on the internet that we are also doing, you will pay us for the privilege of doing them slower than us.

Great! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33434978)

There's already issues with ISPs promising bandwidth they don't provide, now they will come up with plans to sell you both bandwidth and priority. If that were the case and AT&T started to charge for priority traffic, how can any entity can confirm they are receiving the proper "right of the way" on networks?

This is yet another strategy to sell services that cannot be quantified.

how fitting (3, Interesting)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 4 years ago | (#33434986)

I love how this is the quote that came up at the bottom of the story.

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law. -- Aleister Crowley

Re:how fitting (2, Informative)

Conspiracy_Of_Doves (236787) | more than 4 years ago | (#33435088)

Yeah, Crowley sliced off the important bit.

Re:how fitting (4, Informative)

Haxamanish (1564673) | more than 4 years ago | (#33435206)

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law. -- Aleister Crowley

François Rabelais [wikipedia.org] wrote that already in the first half of the 16th century in his book "Gargantua", chapter LIV.

still fitting (1)

dazedNconfuzed (154242) | more than 4 years ago | (#33435730)

jollyreaper shall attribute quotes to whomever he wilt, in accordance to said quoted Law.

And that's the problem with the quote in question.

Re:how fitting - Wican Rede (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33435430)

An it harm none, do as ye will shall be the whole of the law.

I'm thinking the "An it harm none" is what most people tend to overlook - in their own favor.

Not to mention AT&T's logo is the fracking Death Star - how can they not be evil?

Isn't this why (2)

KillaGouge (973562) | more than 4 years ago | (#33434992)

Isn't this the whole point of net neutrality, so that all traffic is considered equal. Puting mechanics in place to have pioritization is the whole reason we want neutrality in the frist place. Sounds like AT&T wants to be able to extort money from smaller businesses.

Ok, so how about this: (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33434994)

You can prioritize video over web, etc - but you have to do it to all your data the same way you treat someone else's - if you say that YouTube's video needs to be limited, so does your video service. If you give your video higher priority, YouTube's video gets the same high priority, and soe does Hulu's, Comcast's (if they send over your lines) etc.

(lol - CAPTCHA: defend)

Re:Ok, so how about this: (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33435594)

Sadly, I believe this is exactly what they are talking about, and that the reactionary zealots are simply ignoring it to "stick it to the man"...

The specifically stated "network traffic", not "specific, branded applications and services".

Prioritize VoIP over torrent? fine.

Prioritize Skype over GV? not fine. ...but then, I have yet to see AT&T (or comcast...or cox...etc) claim they are actually trying to fight for option 2...

The zealots seem to be under the impression that "more bandwidth" will solve all prioritization issues and simply ignore the fact that we've had huge jumps in bandwidth many times in the past...which our use has simply scaled to fill. Suggesting that applying the same solution over and over again will change the results is, well...the very definition of insanity according to many. :) (unless we're talking chemistry, of course...)

Fundamental Principles (4, Insightful)

sonicmerlin (1505111) | more than 4 years ago | (#33435006)

Well that's funny, considering the fundamental principles that have driven internet growth have until now been all about net neutrality. There are always crazy anti-net neutrality advocates whining about governments regulating what "might" happen instead of what is happening. If this isn't proof enough that strong net neutrality regulation is needed to prevent the balkanization of the internet, then I don't know what is.

More detail... (5, Interesting)

Mongoose Disciple (722373) | more than 4 years ago | (#33435008)

Man, that's a short summary.

Essentially, AT&T is arguing that because the idea of service classes is built into packet headers, the internet is not meant to have net neutrality.

Their opponents argue, essentially, that the service classes are there for a given end user entity to prioritize traffic by class if they choose, not for the telecom companies to do so.

Honestly, who could be surprised that AT&T reads the history/design of the internet in such a way that it seems to say exactly what they'd like it to say? This isn't any different from a corporate version of the phenomena in which a person interprets the holy text of their religion in such a way that it just happens to say that they should hate things or people that they already hate.

Re:More detail... (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 4 years ago | (#33435406)

Honestly, who could be surprised that AT&T reads the history/design of the internet in such a way that it seems to say exactly what they'd like it to say?

I'm not surprised. But then I'm not surprised you read the history/design of the internet in such a way that it seems to say exactly what you'd like it to say.
 
Everyone does that - not just corporations and religions.

Bandwidth (2, Insightful)

Script Cat (832717) | more than 4 years ago | (#33435014)

I bought bandwidth from my provider. Now additional tolls are being charged to the providers who I want to access. AT&T wants to sell something that is not theirs to sell.

Unclear? (4, Insightful)

whisper_jeff (680366) | more than 4 years ago | (#33435034)

Why are people having such a hard time understanding what network neutrality means? Paid prioritization pretty much is the exact _opposite_ of network neutrality. Thus, any net neutrality plan that included provisions for paid prioritization are NOT NET NEUTRALITY PLANS!

sigh...

The Internet is not a Mall (3, Funny)

rwv (1636355) | more than 4 years ago | (#33435038)

The Internet is not a Mall. Sure, there are stores. Sure, there are ads for anything you can think of plastered everywhere. Sure, it's an anonymous place with crowds of people you don't actually know.

But the Internet is not a Mall.

It transcends the status of a basic retail venue. The Internet is a place where information (and occasionally knowledge) is stored. The Internet is an international forum. The Internet is an academic cornucopia. The Internet is the Great Library of Alexandria for the 21st Cenutry.

If AT&T demands the right to tax access to the Great Library, I demand that AT&T offer to sell all of its shares to the United States government for $0.01 so that there's public control about how those additional tax revenues are spent. Failing to hand over the keys to the castle to the public, AT&T can go pound sand. They ought *not* to be the arbiter of who gets access to what for which price.

Re:The Internet is not a Mall (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33435232)

If AT&T demands the right to tax access to the Great Library, I demand that AT&T offer to sell all of its shares to the United States government for $0.01 so that there's public control about how those additional tax revenues are spent. Failing to hand over the keys to the castle to the public, AT&T can go pound sand. They ought *not* to be the arbiter of who gets access to what for which price.

Oh shut up you idiot. AT&T is not exclusively a provider of Internet services, and (re)-nationalizing it for your reasons without taking that into account would be just as unfair as you *claim* what AT&T wants to do. Actually it'd be worse because of all the stockholders in AT&T you would be giving the finger by effectively robbing them of their investment. You are the one who should go pound sand. And as for being the arbiter of who gets access to what for which price, to the extent that they are a provider, I'm pretty sure they do get to decide their prices, the same as any other company.

Are you going to seize all of them too?

Besides, the US government already broke up AT&T, turning back the clock is just going to be a bad bad idea.

I might not agree with their plans for Net Neutrality, but your ideas are even worse.

Re:The Internet is not a Mall (1)

rwv (1636355) | more than 4 years ago | (#33435444)

Oh shut up you idiot.

Please learn some basic reading comprehension. The part you quoted can be restated, "if Something Terrible is allowed to Occur, then Do Damage Control to Prevent it from Being Catastrophic". It wasn't presented as an alternative. It was presented as a companion action.

I thank you for otherwise agreeing that Paid Prioritization is disagreeable.

Re:The Internet is not a Mall (4, Insightful)

n2art2 (945661) | more than 4 years ago | (#33435528)

I don't agree with your analogy.

I agree with the fact that Paid Prioritization is the opposite of net neutrality, however I don't think your argument is helpful.

The internet is more like a highway that connects you to destinations (Websites).

The internet is not the websites themselves, and no information is stored on the internet, information is stored at destinations (servers) and the internet is the avenue that you can use to access that destination.

AT&T is saying that they want to maintain the right to put up a toll, and charge the traffic on that toll, and provide different speeds for different types of traffic on that toll road.

The problem is that AT&T wants to charge the destinations the toll, to allow the traffic to reach their destinations faster. This is very different then what they already are doing which is charging the traffic (the end users) that use their ISP a rate for a specified speed of access.

The argument is really a double dip. Charge the driver, and charge the destination they are wanting to get to, in order for that driver to get to that destination faster.

MOD PARENT MOD (1)

rwv (1636355) | more than 4 years ago | (#33435736)

I'm the GP who he responded to. His analogy is better than mine.

Re:The Internet is not a Mall (1)

Cicada7 (1051002) | more than 4 years ago | (#33435616)

Just to be nitpicky.. the Great Library was only accessible by the wealthy upper class (of riches or heritage). Not that the nearly ubiquitously illiterate lower classes wanted to use it, but they couldn't if they did. Maybe with the guidance of a well positioned upper-class member, at a premium price of course.

Um... no (1)

Conspiracy_Of_Doves (236787) | more than 4 years ago | (#33435046)

That's, like, the opposite of true.

Oxymorons... (3, Funny)

Dusty101 (765661) | more than 4 years ago | (#33435048)

Actually, hey: let's just forget the "Oxy", shall we?

This just in. (1)

drunkennewfiemidget (712572) | more than 4 years ago | (#33435054)

A company that would profit from net neutrality being abolished states its bad for the Internet.

More at 11.

Shocking! Giant Corporation AT&T Tells A Lie (4, Insightful)

hyades1 (1149581) | more than 4 years ago | (#33435082)

Using Adolph Hitler's "Big Lie" tactic, ISP giant AT&T simply turned the definition of "Net Neutrality" on its head in order to take advantage of people (especially in government) too stupid or too uninformed to appreciate the Net Neutrality concept and its importance to everything positive about the internet.

Gee, what a shock. News at 11.

Re:Shocking! Giant Corporation AT&T Tells A Li (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33435460)

Actually, there is a great deal of the Big Lie in politics today. Small wonder to see large corporations taking it out for a ride as well. Newspeak is alive and well. You might be surprised by how much difficulty you have persuading the average citizen that x ~= ~x.

War is Peace.

War out.

Re:Shocking! Giant Corporation AT&T Tells A Li (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33435584)

So reach out to your senators and make sure they're educated, or at least informed of your opinion on the matter.

That's your job as a U.S. citizen.

Re:Shocking! Giant Corporation AT&T Tells A Li (0, Troll)

Timothy Brownawell (627747) | more than 4 years ago | (#33435696)

So what exactly are they lying about, hmm? "If you define net neutrality to include X, it's a bad idea." "WTF #$@#%$ net neutrality doesn't mean X you ^&#^ liar!" Um, yeah, "net neutrality" has never been well enough defined to say that. That's why you should argue over specific points rather than generic ill-defined terms. "That's fine, because we don't mean it to include X. It includes Y, which is distinct from X because of Z."

AT$T suck it (3, Insightful)

Antisyzygy (1495469) | more than 4 years ago | (#33435116)

Providers OWE us net neutrality. They get access to public lands, and private properties to build and maintain their cables and routing hubs. Sometimes they need to tear up streets or block off traffic to to their work. Hell, they can sometimes get government subsidies to build cables or routing hubs. To say they own their network 100 percent is preposterous. That doesn't mean they shouldnt get a return on their investment, but if they want to charge for prioritization then they need to start paying for the aforementioned privileges and shouldn't get a cent of tax payer money.

The principle of the Big Lie (4, Insightful)

Nimey (114278) | more than 4 years ago | (#33435136)

is that if you repeat it often enough, people start to believe it.

Prioritization can work... (2, Interesting)

PhysicsPhil (880677) | more than 4 years ago | (#33435156)

The usual Slashdot response is that there is no way prioritization is compatible with net neutrality, but we only have to look at the post office to see that it can be done. You have the choice to send by standard mail, or to pay more to speed up delivery. I'll grant that it's not a perfect analogy, but there are models that would work.

My biggest concern would be that prioritization is done on an exclusive basis, i.e., a company pays to be the only one that can distribute sports on a high priority basis. We could imagine multiple tiers of bandwidth with a couple of conditions. Each tier must be available on uniform and nondiscriminatory terms, so that anyone can pay $X to deliver a megabyte on the highest tier. It's also important that the lowest tier doesn't get starved, which could be accomplished by requiring that no more than X megabytes are transmitted by high speed delivery before a megabyte is moved over the lower tier system.

As a community I think we have to look really hard at whether net neutrality is a battle that can genuinely be won. If it is, then we fight the good fight. If not, then I think we have to consider what kind of non-neutral network is most reasonable.

Re:Prioritization can work... (3, Insightful)

mangu (126918) | more than 4 years ago | (#33435370)

we only have to look at the post office to see that it can be done

Except that the post office works in exactly the opposite way.

The post office was created in the firs place to deliver letters. Later, to use available capacity, they divided their services into "first" and "second" class. If you send a horseman to some distant place to deliver one letter, it will cost as much as sending that horseman to deliver one letter and one magazine.

The post office offers discounts for second class mail, what AT&T is offering is to charge extra for "first class" content.

Re:Prioritization can work... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33435454)

Postal service as an example???

Wanna wait 3 to 5 days for each *packet* to arrive, and lick a $0.45 stamp and affix to each packet?
No thank you :)

Re:Prioritization can work... (1)

drzoo2 (569079) | more than 4 years ago | (#33435634)

The usual Slashdot response is that there is no way prioritization is compatible with net neutrality, but we only have to look at the post office to see that it can be done. You have the choice to send by standard mail, or to pay more to speed up delivery.

Perfect! The customer pays extra for speed of a shipment irregardless of contents inside. Now if only the we could apply this to the internet.

Paid Prioritization is good (1)

janeuner (815461) | more than 4 years ago | (#33435162)

Any Net Neutrality plan must enable "paid prioritization" of network traffic.
-also-
Any Net Neutrality plan must enable "complimentary non-prioritization" of network traffic.
-also-
AT&T == tardfarm

Fundamental principles? (3, Insightful)

Aceticon (140883) | more than 4 years ago | (#33435166)

I've been using the Internet for a long time, since when it was just an University network and before AOL and in all the docs, READMEs, RFCs and FAQs that I read over the last 28 years, not once was "The right to profit" ever been mentioned as a fundamental principle of the Internet.

Openess and interoperability: yes, profit: no.

Re:Fundamental principles? (1)

DarkIye (875062) | more than 4 years ago | (#33435246)

Insofar as the internet has 'fundamental principles', they may as well make them the most 'fundamental' ones.

I therefore suggest AT&T makes it their top priority to win the war against the Russians.

I kinda agree... (1)

awjr (1248008) | more than 4 years ago | (#33435192)

The point is that some people just don't care about ping rates and bandwidth. For the life of me I can't get my father in the USA to upgrade his internet connection from a 1MB connection to a 10MB connection for an extra $10 per month. I just do not get it.

However if I'm gaming and my ping rate goes above 200ms I get very concerned. I would pay to have my network traffic prioritised, but I am doing something for which I perceive a greater need for a better response time. I know Demon [demon.net] are trialling a new gaming broadband service, however I don't think what they are doing is degrading the service for others.

They have their normal good network, but also have direct hooks into gaming events and servers. If AT&T offered a direct network connection to a game network (say Battle.Net) that got my ping rate down to 40ms on a game I played 24/7, then I would be seriously considering buying this 'premium' service. Even the idea of offering better connection to NetFlix would appeal to some people.

Anyway there has to be a recognition that some people don't give a shit how fast their connection is and there are those that really really really do and some of us might even pay for that.

Re:I kinda agree... (1)

rotide (1015173) | more than 4 years ago | (#33435550)

I know Demon [demon.net] are trialling a new gaming broadband service, however I don't think what they are doing is degrading the service for others.

From Demon.net: "Demon Game Pro will offer speeds of up to 20Mb downstream and 1Mb upstream, a free wireless router, traffic prioritisation and free static IP address, crucial to maintaining consistent uptime during gaming as well as providing an option for users to host their own game servers.

To stuff your bits down the tube first means some other person's bits have to wait. Think of it like a highway. If certain people pay to get to their exit first, you have to slow down to let them in and through. The best part is, once everyone is paying to stuff their bits down first, that service will then be "normal" as everyone will be on the same field again. Those that don't pay the "tax" will then have to deal with their traffic having the lowest priority and everyone paying is fighting each other for the same level of service.

Re:I kinda agree... (1)

awjr (1248008) | more than 4 years ago | (#33435732)

In the UK, normal consumer broadband is shared across 50 house holds. So if I can pay to have my broadband connection prioritised over 20 other people downloading torrents, then that is fine by me.

The issue is of course, as you said, prioritisation only works IF there is an agreed limit to the 'number' of prioritised connection per set of 50 house holds.

Back in my day... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33435202)

Seriously, I'm not that old, but am I not the only one who would like to go back to the models for internet access of the mid 90's, where you had to know what the heck you were doing to get online, and people weren't concerned about squeezing every last dime out of the internet user? Banner ads, popup ads, stupid "Unlimited, but limited" plans, now this tiered internet system? There might have been less content, but at least you could find it. Today I might go looking for reviews on a new camera, and find 100's of pages that do absolutely nothing but link to other sites linking to other sites linking to other sites all linking to the same 2-3 reviews. All so people can host ads. Seriously, I love that the internet has enabled communication like we couldn't imagine 10-20 years ago, but I feel like everybody and their dog has suddenly discovered my friend's and my secret swimming hole.

That's nice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33435208)

How would AT&T shareholders feel if everyone else applied rate limiting on traffic to/from AT&T networks? Moreover, what speed does the rest of the world have to set to create a problem for them and how much do we charge to let their traffic pass our routers sans "shaping"?

Providers playing with DiffServ? (1)

mysidia (191772) | more than 4 years ago | (#33435228)

AT&T says that the protocol specification "in no way limits the use of DiffServ to packets marked by 'end users,' as opposed to content providers or network operators."

The IP protocol specification does. IP routers are required to forward packets without modifying them, except as specified.

DiffServ markings are part of the packet, and a network provider changing them or any header item means tampering with the packet.

If you want your equipment to administratively to ignore the markings, and not prioritize packets with a higher IP precedence in the header, or drop packets with certain markings, fine.

As for the network provider changing IP Prec/Diffserv in the packet header, however, that's a big no-no not allowed. Much in the same way that tampering with the port numbers, source/destination addresses, or inserting options is not allowed by the spec; that's modifying someone else's packet.

The only header items of a packet expected to be changed by carriers are TTL

Re:Providers playing with DiffServ? (1)

tom.zombie (1742602) | more than 4 years ago | (#33435690)

Can we write software then to set our packets to the highest priority and just defeat their regulation by doing so?

Paying twice? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33435234)

Maybe someone can explain to me why, not having net neutrality, isn't just paying twice.

I pay for my connection to the internet, AT&T then use that money to fund everything from my Modem, to the line rental, to access to their DNS servers, and the infrastructure up through their back bone to some hub.

Google pays XYZ Inc. for their line rental, access to their network and pays for their infrastructure all the way to their hub.

Everyone pays for their service for what they are using. Now AT&T says 20% of the data going back to my customers connection is google, they should pay more? Why, as the customer I've already paid for it?

So it is just me or are they just looking to be paid twice?

Is any of this shit legal anyway? (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | more than 4 years ago | (#33435286)

Don't all the Tier-1 providers have peering contracts so they don't have to pay money for each others' traffic? How can you charge another Tier-1 provider's customers when you've agreed to let that traffic pass already? If I signed a contract to let your traffic pass for free if you let mine pass free, I would be pissed when my customers complained you're trying to charge them for traffic pass.

De-franchise ISP's (1)

nj_peeps (1780942) | more than 4 years ago | (#33435304)

This is the exact reason why we need to defranchise the cable-co and telco's. If they do not have any one to compete against (other then cable vs. telco) they have no reason to make them selves competitive by expanding or upgrading their networks. If Comcast had to compete against Cox, Charter, TWC, etc. and Verizon's FiOS was competing with AT&T's U-Verus, I bet broadband speeds in the US would be much better. Then if you really didn't like they way your ISP was operating, you would have more then just one other choice. But I doubt that will ever happen since private corporations have Congress in their pocket.

AT&T is more right than you can imagine (4, Insightful)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 4 years ago | (#33435380)

Here on Slashot, I know I will be pilloried. But this issue is too important to fear retribution of the masses.

The deal is, that network neutrality is not just talking about stopping ISP's from not slowing certain network types.

It also stops companies from charging you more for expediting certain kinds of data. Well, what if I as a consumer WANT to pay a bit more to have my Comcast voice work really well with video, or to get faster bandwidth to some CDN's so that I could really replace cable video with internet video? Why should they and I not be allowed to do that?

The only issue we've ever seen is something I'm not even sure a network neutrality law would stop - Comcast forging packets to screw over BitTorrent. None of the proposals we are talking about say anything about forged traffic or even adhering to network standards, just that the companies cannot ever prioritize one source of traffic over another. So we're talking about a regulation to solve a problem we have not yet seen and there is no sign of that may not even prevent real attempts at hurting user traffic, while at the same time limiting the possibilities for advanced services ISP's could offer in a network-savvy world.

The real crime is that people don't have more ISP's to choose from, so that they can go elsewhere if they do not like the policies of the one they are using. Instead of adding new regulation, why not loosen up that one and see what real competition does for the internet instead of the government-enfornced monopolies we have today?

The last note I want to offer is one of caution - if you choose to regulate the internet, which until now has been free and open, you invite special interests to follow up and shape what the regulation means. If the government has a hand in regulating the flow of the network it can just as easily decree that MPAA blacklisted torrent trackers MUST be blocked or the ISP would face a fine. Is that really the world you want to move forward into?

Re:AT&T is more right than you can imagine (1)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 4 years ago | (#33435498)

The whole idea behind net NEUTRALITY is that NOBODY plays around with the traffic. Not the government, not the Corporations, not anyone.

Your last paragraph for example - you assum,e the government is going to police the internet. Also I'm 101% sure that if the MPAA blacklisted torrents bla bla bla - they could easily get the ISPs to do it.

Regulate the internet - the regulation is the guarantee of neutrality .

Re:AT&T is more right than you can imagine (1)

Freddybear (1805256) | more than 4 years ago | (#33435672)

You can count on AT&T (and the RIAA, among others) having more influence with regulators than any utopian ideal about "neutrality".

Re:AT&T is more right than you can imagine (1)

Timothy Brownawell (627747) | more than 4 years ago | (#33435788)

Which variant of "net neutrality" are you talking about? The one I'm familiar with shouldn't prevent you paying your ISP extra to be able to prioritize your traffic, it should only prohibit your ISP charging third-party websites for being available to you.

Wat? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33435484)

The governing principle of the Internet is to give telecoms more money?

This Just In (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33435514)

Gigantic entrenched telco company wants pay-to-play environment.

Film at 11.

Get this straight (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33435526)

Paid prioritization is another way of saying "Delay any traffic that hasn't paid us". Bandwidth is zero sum. If at max utilization you put some traffic to the front of the queue, you're putting all the other traffic back in the queue.

Just ridiculous.

paid can be ok (2, Insightful)

shentino (1139071) | more than 4 years ago | (#33435540)

Honestly, I don't think it would be unfair to pay for priority service.

Things like WoW connections, VoIP, and any other such "real time" protocol that is sensitive to delays can benefit from increased priority. Paying for "packet rushing" is IMHO a valid thing.

The problem comes when it turns into a protection racket, or worse, sabotage.

If you can pay to have your packets boosted, that's ok.

What isn't ok is for the network to sabotage your performance on purpose because you didn't pay up, or worse, because one of your competitors did.

And that includes throttling bittorrent connections.

Does AT&T realize (2, Insightful)

C_Kode (102755) | more than 4 years ago | (#33435626)

Does AT&T realize that they too can get severely screwed without net neutrality? Verizon or any other provider can decide that they don't like AT&T network traffic and place it at the bottom of the priority list or not route any of their traffic at all. For the small guys, this could quickly become a death sentence.

Look at Cogent history of issues with other providers. (AOL, Level3, Sprint, etc) Cogent was under-cutting everyone on price, generating huge amounts of traffic that caused lopsided peering and some providers didn't like it. What happen? They started dropping any traffic coming from Cogent.

I think it's imperative that all network traffic flow freely with the exception in the case of gross abuse of resources.

Death, soon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33435812)

Only thing that will solve this is killing the executives one by one. Hunting and gutting them.
Get ready.

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