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UK Minister Backs 'Two-Speed' Internet

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the end-of-an-era dept.

Google 226

Darkon writes "UK Culture minister Ed Vaizey has backed a 'two-speed internet', letting service providers charge content makers and customers for 'fast lane' access. It paves the way for an end to 'net neutrality' — with heavy bandwidth users like Google and the BBC likely to face a bill for the pipes they use."

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Newspeak (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34255548)

The providers are the users now?

Re:Newspeak (4, Insightful)

FredFredrickson (1177871) | more than 3 years ago | (#34255562)

I know, right? Google already pays for the pipes they use.

Dark Fibre (4, Insightful)

FalconZero (607567) | more than 3 years ago | (#34255772)

But they don't pay for all of the pipes... Remember all that Dark Fibre they bought up in 2007?

I remember thinking they're preparing for this sort of thing (in one form or another) - they're pretty good at anticipating trends. If they've got the backbone bandwidth to trade for last mile bandwidth they'll be able to operate at substantially lower cost than other high bandwidth users (read:Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook, Twitter - prime competetors all).

Re:Dark Fibre (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34256894)

they're pretty good at anticipating trends.

Duh. That's what Google Trends is for.

Re:Newspeak (1)

Blink Tag (944716) | more than 3 years ago | (#34255934)

I know, right? Google already pays for the pipes they use.

Of course you're right. But it's exactly the sort of loaded language used in the summary that will get the multiple-tiers pushed through--if the biased vocabulary succeeds, the providers have already won.

(And despite providers' increased revenue, don't expect the price to go down for end users.)

Re:Newspeak (5, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#34255976)

Actually, they don't. Google has peering agreements in a lot of places, so they pay nothing for bandwidth. Peering agreements exist because both parties benefit from the connectivity. I suspect that an ISP that tried to present Google with a bill would be told 'we're not going to pay, we're happy to simply blackhole your network. Have fun explaining to your users why they can't send mail or IMs to gmail users, can't browse YouTube and can't search the web with Google.'

Re:Newspeak (5, Insightful)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 3 years ago | (#34256280)

peering agreement == barter == paying with bandwidth

Re:Newspeak (1)

fbjon (692006) | more than 3 years ago | (#34257174)

Still, I don't quite understand how an ISP could "charge" a website for the services it provides. I mean, youtube doesn't shove videos down the pipes, they get transmitted because users deliberately requests them. How does this work legally?

Re:Newspeak (4, Insightful)

mcvos (645701) | more than 3 years ago | (#34255682)

So what exactly is my role in this? Does it mean I don't have to pay my ISP anymore, because now they're working for Google and other content providers?

Or does it mean that I'll keep paying the same, but my connection will be slower because my ISP wishes Google was their customer instead of me?

Re:Newspeak (2, Insightful)

DeadDecoy (877617) | more than 3 years ago | (#34256318)

Your role is something like that of a shopkeeper. It would be rather unpleasant if your bandwidth got throttled and prevented you from connecting with customers. So you pay your protection fee ... erm, access to the supercool higher tier internet for really 'fast' speeds.

Re:Newspeak (1)

SpooForBrains (771537) | more than 3 years ago | (#34256418)

I think this is a natural progression of ISPs-as-loss-leaders. Companies like Sky+BT, Talk Talk, Orange Mobile and so on give ISP access away for free. The money's got to come from somewhere, and the margins on the other services that those companies provide aren't enough.

Re:Newspeak (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34256586)

So what exactly is my role in this? Does it mean I don't have to pay my ISP anymore, because now they're working for Google and other content providers?

Or does it mean that I'll keep paying the same, but my connection will be slower because my ISP wishes Google was their customer instead of me?

No, it means you will pay more for your connection.

how will they do this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34255554)

the internet works just how it works. to be sure to have some packets go faster then others...
dont they need to inspect every packet, see who send it and then decide to put some on the slow lane?

if the fast lane its bandwith isn't pretty much filled, isn't it stupid to put stuff on the slow lane?

Re:how will they do this? (5, Insightful)

durrr (1316311) | more than 3 years ago | (#34255662)

Oh no, it makes sense to intentionally cripple the presumably cheaper lower tier products when they have a nice and shiny, and more expensive, high tier product to offer when you get fed up, nevermind that the actual cost for the provider is the same, raional thought and logic have never been a problem for a good business plan.
As for packet inspection, a perfect oppotunity to implement it widely, just wait until they decide to put noninspectable packages in the not-moving-at-all-lane-until-key-provided.

Re:how will they do this? (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#34256032)

just wait until they decide to put noninspectable packages in the not-moving-at-all-lane-until-key-provided.

Some form of Steganography [wikipedia.org] would prove useful in such a case. You could disguise your encrypted files as images or sound files for example.. it's not like they're going to have someone checking every single one of these to make sure they're real, and even if someone does enquire you could say it's "art".. heh.

Re:how will they do this? (1)

Zerohm (1942216) | more than 3 years ago | (#34256464)

Most ISPs already throttle customer bandwidth by offering service packages, e.g. basic, premium, etc. (whether they adhere to their advertised rates is another argument) I don't have a problem with this as long as there is competition. Consumers need the option of choosing thier ISP so that pricing shenanagens don't get out of hand. But yeah, this is definitely an ongoing scheme to get more money for service they are already providing. Which is why consumers need choice.

dangburn newfangled hippies (5, Informative)

arkane1234 (457605) | more than 3 years ago | (#34255568)

I can hear it now, almost a throwback to the 60's...
"dangburn newfangled hippies with their free love, free net, free information! Every redblooded {American|Brit} knows you get what you pay for! Can't have vagrants just lolligagging around on the net! The pricetag filters out the hoodlums!"

Confused. (5, Informative)

Usefull Idiot (202445) | more than 3 years ago | (#34255570)

Google and the BBC already pay for the "pipes" they use, and end users pay for the "pipes" they use, where is someone not getting paid in this?

Re:Confused. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34255604)

The problem is that the poor ISPs are only getting paid by everyone involved once.

Re:Confused. (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34256976)

Posting as an AC as I work for some of the parties involved.

The problem is that BT Wholesale wants to bypass the ISP altogether and offer BBC and Google's content directly to the consumer, probably moving to paid content later on.

This is a two tier internet in more sense than one. The "high speed" content does not go through the mandatory Great Firewall of Britain - the anti-paedo system. It also breaks the already completely b0rken British internet model in further and more fantastic ways to a point where near all Broadband vendors will have to have special builds for Britain (or to be more exact BT).

Re:Confused. (1)

characterZer0 (138196) | more than 3 years ago | (#34255652)

Obvious misleading. I guess we know where BBC stands on the issue now.

Re:Confused. (4, Insightful)

rakuen (1230808) | more than 3 years ago | (#34255674)

Well, I'm certainly not getting paid to put up with these shenanigans.

To be a little more serious though, ISPs have it in their head that they can get more money if they come up with a scheme to double-bill people or corporate entities. They're looking to governments to allow it, and it looks like someone high up in the UK wants to support it. Once in effect, they can make even more money that they can continue to not spend on improvements.

Re:Confused. (3, Interesting)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 3 years ago | (#34256090)

Imagine if Google started shaping outgoing traffic based on incoming address. Boy oh boy, would we hear the gnashing of teeth and angry demands and accusations of monopolistic practices.

Without the content, there would be no reason for consumers to buy Internet service at all.

Re:Confused. (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 3 years ago | (#34255752)

Ed Vaizey went on further to say "The Internet is not something that you just lump something on. It's not a big train. It's a series of pipes"

Re:Confused. (4, Funny)

_Sprocket_ (42527) | more than 3 years ago | (#34256082)

It has come to the good Minister's attention, via very earnest talks with telecom industry representatives, that the Internet is not a lorry. You just don't dump a movie on to the Internet without it getting mixed up with everyone's emails. And in fact, unlike when you mail a DVD, a movie on the Internet is not a single package. A movie can be many hundreds of thousands of packages. In fact, with the help of a very complex Powerpoint slide, the Honourable Minister was able to understand that merely even beginning to send a movie on the Internet requires a "three way handshake" which is, in effect, three whole messages being sent back and forth on the Internet. Meanwhile, the poor, near impoverished telecoms have been fooled in to under-charging by at least 1/3 of what they should be owed. They have attempted to make this up by charging the service provider and the user but that is only 2 of the fair 3 charges owed; and that's just this handshake. It doesn't even take account all the other packets involved. Clearly someone has made a mistake and it will take government to step in and rectify the situation. To further educate the Honourable Minister, the British Phonographic Industry attended the presentation and noted that the thousands of packets noted by the telecom industry each represents a lost sale and is largely the cause of the Spice Girls entering retirement.

Re:Confused. (4, Interesting)

Schadrach (1042952) | more than 3 years ago | (#34256478)

Your ISP isn't getting paid by Google to allow the pipe your paying for to connect to the pipe they are paying for. That's one of the big evils that Net Neutrality is specifically about preventing.

Personally, I think there should be two categories for ISPs, and it should be up to the individual ISP which one they want to be -- either a common carrier, in which case they are not legally responsible for anything going across their lines but are forbidden from pulling this kind of shit, or a private carrier, in which case they can pull all the BS they want on the lines, but are also ultimately legally responsible for all content on their network. If you pull filtering tricks or the kind of thing in this story, then since you are filtering the content in some form, your customers and those you peer to can assume said content is legal, as you are yb your own inspection process certifying it as such.

Now that every ISP takes the "common carrier -- I don't want sued out of existence because something illegal went across my lines" option, welcome to 'net neutrality. =p

Re:Confused. (1)

toriver (11308) | more than 3 years ago | (#34256872)

Indirectly they are: Google pays "ISP" A (rather the network companies they connect to) and the consumer pays ISP B, and then ISP A and ISP B are supposed to come together and divide the income based on that traffic.

Apparently that latter part has fallen apart somehow, since competing ISPs either price their service so low they do not actually cover costs, or they spend it all on other things, and now try to rewrite the rules.

Apparently... (1)

giuseppemag (1100721) | more than 3 years ago | (#34255586)

...larger pipes cost more to maintain :)

Consensus? (1)

Twinbee (767046) | more than 3 years ago | (#34255590)

What are Slashdot's feelings on net neutrality generally? It seems as if it's something we should care about, but most here don't seem to mind.

If nothing else, it could increase complexity in a system that should stay simply IMHO.

Re:Consensus? (4, Informative)

characterZer0 (138196) | more than 3 years ago | (#34255628)

I think most here generally support neutrality. Some argue that ISPs should be able to prioritize traffic based on type but not destination - they could give priority to latency critical, but low bandwidth, packets like VOIP at the expense of FTP; but not give priority to their own VOIP traffic above other VOIP traffic.

Re:Consensus? (5, Insightful)

lmoelleb (974144) | more than 3 years ago | (#34255858)

And that is how we ended up with the FTP over VOIP protocol.

Re:Consensus? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34256108)

And Leech ZModem [wikipedia.org] back in the BBS days. But the fact is most users are honest if they believe the system is fair. If everyone's VOIP calls are being treated equally well, most people will respect that.

Re:Consensus? (2, Insightful)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 3 years ago | (#34256356)

Why? FTP doesn't need low latency. It'll hardly be affected.

Re:Consensus? (1)

RatherBeAnonymous (1812866) | more than 3 years ago | (#34256372)

Possible but unlikely. The point in QOS is generally latency reduction, not bandwidth increase. VOIP is a very low-bandwidth application, and pushing FTP sorts of loads through it would look fishy. Although pushing 1080-P HD video conferences through the Internet can get pretty bandwidth intensive.

Re:Consensus? (1)

santiagoanders (1357681) | more than 3 years ago | (#34257070)

Thus, it cannot be based purely on traffic type. Money is the most logical differentiator. If you want your torrent traffic to go fast, you can pay for it. Same as a toll road. Everything in life is this way.

I propose a pricing scheme based on EACH and EVERY packet with the following criteria:

size of packet
priority of packet
current congestion on the nodes the packet passes through
type of link and bandwidth of the link to the ISP

Sender pays, receiver does not.

Re:Consensus? (1)

Schadrach (1042952) | more than 3 years ago | (#34256666)

That seems to sum up the common opinion pretty well. There's a fundamental difference between basic QoS to improve performance in general (giving low bandwidth, ping critical apps higher priority than higher bandwidth apps where ping is less important, such as VOIP and gaming vs web and bittorrent) and giving you a terrible connection to Vonage so you'll use your cable provider's VOIP system or giving you a lightning fast connection to Bing but 0.005k/s and a 3000 ping to Google because MS paid your ISP but Google didn't.

Re:Consensus? (2, Funny)

arkane1234 (457605) | more than 3 years ago | (#34255646)

Net neutrality is something that's not even something you talk about... it's just a given, like freedom of speech.

Re:Consensus? (1)

Sulphur (1548251) | more than 3 years ago | (#34255918)

Net neutrality is something that's not even something you talk about... it's just a given, like freedom of speech.

Or a taken.

--

Is it fast, or is it slow
My cat Schrodinger knows.

Re:Consensus? (1)

ArsonSmith (13997) | more than 3 years ago | (#34257100)

If it's like freedom of speech then why can't we talk about it?

Re:Consensus? (4, Insightful)

CohibaVancouver (864662) | more than 3 years ago | (#34255704)

What are Slashdot's feelings on net neutrality generally?

To my mind, it makes sense to have pricing clearly defined based on the bandwidth you use. It should be no different than your electric bill where you're charged based on the power you use. Take my parents - They "do email," now and again watch youtube vids of the grandkids and surf the web a bit. Contrast this with my brother-in-law who is constantly torrenting, playing online games and using netflix. I'm somewhere in the middle. There should be a mechanism to charge us different rates based on our usage. My parents shouldn't be subsidizing my brother-in-law.

However the ISPs don't seem to be well equipped to build this sort of system...

Re:Consensus? (1)

siegesama (450116) | more than 3 years ago | (#34255776)

This has nothing to do with net neutrality. Customers can already (typically) purchase different bandwidth tiers from their ISP depending on needs.

Re:Consensus? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34256044)

Take my parents - They "do email,"

But do they "do Google email" and click on google's ads and make google money, or do they "do AT&T email" and click on AT&T/Yahoo's ads and make AT&T/Yahoo money? The CEO of SBC (now AT&T) wants to know, and if you answer wrong, well, we'll see how long your parents get to "do email".

Re:Consensus? (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 3 years ago | (#34256164)

There are mechanisms to charge you different rates based on your usage - they already exist. There are various tiers for your alloted download / upload amounts - it is not as "Unlimitted" as you might think it is. If your brother in law goes over 100GB a month and isn't on fibre optic - he probably pays more than his monthly plan is set for.

They treat it more like television currently - and I'd rather it stay like that as opposed to being charged for every bit of traffic I use. ISP's will find ways to abuse that - like phone providers do with data packages. "You opened your browser and closed it immediately. That initial request for your homepage costs you 1MB"

Re:Consensus? (1)

Pentium100 (1240090) | more than 3 years ago | (#34256604)

If your brother in law goes over 100GB a month and isn't on fibre optic - he probably pays more than his monthly plan is set for.

Depends on where he lives. When I had DSL I could saturate the connection the whole month (and my upload was saturated all the time) and the ISP didn't care. Now I have fiber and a much faster connection and upload way more than I could with DSL and the ISP still doesn't care.

But yes, because if the way internet works, I'd rather pay a fixed fee and not one based on data transferred. If I paid for every MB transferred then I should not pay for the packets lost in the ISPs network for example.

Re:Consensus? (2, Interesting)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#34255786)

Net Neutrality would not be necessary if we had true choice for consumers among many companies.

But since we instead have monopoly (like Comcast) or duopoly (Comcast/Verizon), that creates the need for the government to regulate and impose net neutrality, the same way they impose it on the Telephone monopoly.

Re:Consensus? (1)

bughunter (10093) | more than 3 years ago | (#34257104)

"Net Neutrality" is sort of like "Free Speech" or "Free Markets." It's a laudable in theory, and constantly held high as a virtue, but in practice "Net Neutrality" in any society will eventually reach the same status as Free Speech and Free Markets: the majority of it will wind up under the control of a few, very powerful institutions (Corporations, Governments, or Collectives depending on the political environment), and those who truly want to exercise free Bandwidth/Speech/Trade will be relegated to a "pirate," or "underground" or "black market" format, which will tend to be frowned upon by the big monopolists (and legislators under their control), and must constantly evade predation and persecution.

However it is these same underground forums which will produce true innovations and have the most influence upon new movements, and they are where revolutionary new ideas -- both good and bad -- are born and experience a sort of natural selection. This process will periodically produce a spectacularly good idea, initially received with hostility and derision by those invested in the status quo monopolies but eventually will become a new standard.

In other words, the "neutral" internet's days are numbered as it becomes the exclusive domain of major corporations, much like Publishing and Broadcasting have become. But something else will come along to replace it. The trick is to recognize that something else when it appears.

Aren't the pipes already being paid for? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34255594)

How is the bandwidth Google uses not being paid for now? I know that ISP's charge me money to access the internet, and I'd imagine that Google already pays whatever service provider hooks their network into the internet. What am I missing here?

Re:Aren't the pipes already being paid for? (1)

Dalzhim (1588707) | more than 3 years ago | (#34255740)

Just like a conversation of one minute between two cell phones gets billed for 2 minutes, they'd like every byte going through their network to be billed as 2 bytes.

Re:Aren't the pipes already being paid for? (3, Informative)

Mavakoy (730866) | more than 3 years ago | (#34255876)

Not in the UK (and presumably the rest of Europe) If someone calls/texts me, they get charged. I only pay for outgoing calls/text messages.

Re:Aren't the pipes already being paid for? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34255932)

Only pay for calls/texts you initiate? now thats SOCIALIST talk! I won't have any of that here in MY USA!

Re:Aren't the pipes already being paid for? (1)

Dalzhim (1588707) | more than 3 years ago | (#34256080)

Hang on to that as long as you can!

Re:Aren't the pipes already being paid for? (4, Informative)

ArhcAngel (247594) | more than 3 years ago | (#34256116)

That would in fact be fairer than what they are trying to do. Take comcast as a good example. They just purchased NBC. Now let's say you are a comcast customer and you want to stream an episode of Chuck and then an episode of NCIS. Chuck streams great no lag or stuttering but NCIS coughs and sputters and buffers all the way through and you just think CBS.com sucks compared to NBC.com but in fact comcast saw you were streaming a show from a competitors web site and flagged your packets with a low priority so all other traffic gets to go first. Then CBS cries foul and comcast tells them if they want their content to get delivered without interruption they'll have to pay a "protection" fee to ensure on-time delivery. Now imagine they are doing this to ABC.com, Google, Yahoo, etc., etc. If they can get this practice federally labeled legal they stand to add billions to their bottom line for relatively no extra work.

Sherman Act anyone? (0, Redundant)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#34256980)

Now imagine [Comcast after having vertically integrated with NBC] are [throttling] ABC.com, Google, Yahoo, etc., etc. If they can get this practice federally labeled legal

Then they'd be smarter than the average antitrust lawyer.

Re:Aren't the pipes already being paid for? (1)

arose (644256) | more than 3 years ago | (#34256386)

That already happens, website operators and people accessing the net already *both* pay for the privilege in some form. This would be charging one (or both) parties extra to connect to someone in particular.

Re:Aren't the pipes already being paid for? (1)

Dalzhim (1588707) | more than 3 years ago | (#34256764)

Not exactly. As of now my ISP only bills me and I'd be surprised google shares the same ISP. This proposal would allow every ISP to try (cause providers could choose to be low priority and not pay) to charge twice for every byte going through.

As of now, I'm paying my ISP for their network (my ISP pays a backbone for their network) while the service provider pays another ISP for that other part of the network (and that ISP pays a backbone for their network). So the only double payment occurs if I share the same ISP as the content provider or if both ISPs share the same backbone. In every other case, part of my payment goes for a section of the network which has received payment only once. And the section of the network from which the data was served never sees any part of my payment.

Re:Aren't the pipes already being paid for? (1)

RatherBeAnonymous (1812866) | more than 3 years ago | (#34257068)

Yes, everyone is being paid. But the ISP's see their networks being used to generate a lot of cash that they are not getting a piece of. There are two things that come to mind.

1: General ISP's look at companies like Google that consume a lot of bandwidth, and the ISP's are realizing that they have something Google needs. Customers. The ISPs are in a position to choke off Google's revenue source by degrading the user's experience. If Google doesn't play, the ISP can make sure that YouTube doesn't work well for their customers, who will find video clips elsewhere. Or they could delay search results by a few seconds, and people will switch to search engines that perform better for them. Either way, Google looses advertising revenue.

2: The cable companies are loosing highly lucrative cable TV subscribers to online programming distributors. Rather than paying 100 bucks a month for a high end digital cable package, customers can pay 50 bucks per month and get nearly all the content they want from Netfix, Hulu, etc. They want this revenue back. They can make it so that Netflix has to pay a kickback or else their customers will see worse performance, and Netflix will loose paying customers.

Without net neutrality the cost to online businesses will be immense. Every major content provider will have to pay thousands if ISP's for reliable and consistent access to their customers. Startups or non-profits who consume alot of bandwidth may be locked out entirely. It would be different if we had any competition in the US and consumers could choose an ISP who doesn't play these games. In some ways, the old days of dial-up ISP's and 56k modems were better. I only have two internet access options, and only one of them has a stable network.

BBC and Virgin Media (5, Insightful)

Inda (580031) | more than 3 years ago | (#34255600)

Let me get this right:

The BBC, who I have to pay by law, will have to pay Virgin Media, my ISP, who I already pay.

My money is going to who for what exactly?

Re:BBC and Virgin Media (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34255706)

To the Shareholders of Virgin Media for their enrichment.

Re:BBC and Virgin Media (1)

AndyS (655) | more than 3 years ago | (#34256800)

Or alternatively, the BBC could simply say "we won't pay that, we'll just cut you guys off" and then see how long it takes them to stop any talk of charging.

I'm sure that they will do really well selling an internet service that can't view the IPlayer.

Re:BBC and Virgin Media (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#34257006)

The BBC, who I have to pay by law, will have to pay Virgin Media, my ISP, who I already pay.

My money is going to who for what exactly?

Back to you if you own shares of VMED.

How is this news? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34255610)

If my business is small and doesn't need much bandwidth, I pay $$ for a DSL line. If I'm Google, I pay out the ass for a bundle of OC192s. As long as it's all content-agnostic, who cares?

Re:How is this news? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34255824)

That's exactly what happens today. Do you think your small business pays the same for Internet access as Google does?

ISPs just want an excuse to double bill businesses by threatening them to deprioritise their traffic; no matter what they already pay for their big pipes. Extortion by any other name ...

Somebody 'splain this to me (1)

Tekfactory (937086) | more than 3 years ago | (#34255670)

Google pays for internet right now right?

The major peers trade traffic with each other and the billing of that traffic usually ends up a wash.

Google crawls the intarwebz using bandwidth, then presents search results to people also using bandwidth. I expect they have a pretty heavy bill for the pipes they use now.

If Google doesn't want to pay for more exclusive access speeds or priority of service why would their bill go any higher than it is right now?

Google spent a lot of cash on having distributed datacenters so people get fast results without priority of service agreements, so why would they bother paying for such things now?

I understand if Bing started paying for Priority service Google might seem slower, but really most of Google's speed comes from their computers, indexing technology and distributed datacenters, not backroom service agreements.

Should I assume UK Culture minister Ed Vaizey was picking on Google because it's aname everybody knows.

Re:Somebody 'splain this to me (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34255974)

Google is not only a search engine. It's also Youtube. Video streaming sites rise and fall with bandwidth.

This "priority line" has to come from somewhere. You'd be - quite frankly - an idiot to believe ISPs would create additional infrastructure. ISPs will just slow everything down to extort priority-fees to maintain current speeds.

Re:Somebody 'splain this to me (1)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 3 years ago | (#34256330)

so why would they bother paying for such things now?...Google might seem slower

It might seem that way, but that's probably because of the throttling applied by your ISP. Don't worry, if you call and ask them about it, their staff in India are trained to explain how it must be a problem with Google, just like when Comcast started throttling torrents.

If ISPs had been upgrading their bandwidth at a regular rate, then I could suspend disbelief long enough to say that they are honestly offering "more" bandwidth. At the moment, though, ISPs don't have "more" bandwidth to offer. Therefore they must be trying to charge more to allow people to use the "same" bandwidth.

Or to put it another way: The implied threat here is that the ISPs want to send Tony the Fixer out to "fix" any packets that haven't paid the "insurance".

Excellent (2, Insightful)

tmosley (996283) | more than 3 years ago | (#34255696)

This is great. If they do that, Google can just cut those guys off from their network entirely, and they can wither and die as they should. Google has quite a bit of dark fiber. Shouldn't be too hard to finish out the rest of the network.

Get rid of these damn telecoms with their crappy business models.

Re:Excellent (4, Insightful)

FredFredrickson (1177871) | more than 3 years ago | (#34255830)

10 years from now, I can see it. "Daddy what's the internet? Was it anything like the googlenet is today?"

Re:Excellent (5, Funny)

Vernes (720223) | more than 3 years ago | (#34256214)

No, son. It was a plaything of Politics. Goverments, Music industries, Extremists. Everybody threatened us with sanctions on what we did with the Internet. There even was a time we would stand to loose it completely as its usefulness was crippled. Internet's usefulness is directly connected to the amount of people using it. And who would use it if the risks got to high? We almost lost it all. Now shut up and finish your introduction game so Google can generate a personalized profile for you. You don't want to receive Viagra ads do you?

Re:Excellent (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 3 years ago | (#34256870)

10 years from now, I can see it. "Daddy what's the internet? Was it anything like the googlenet is today?"

... And all the googlecams in the room pivot in his direction to subtly remind him to answer carefully because people in India, China, Australia, and probably Mrs. Noseybitty down the street are all googling him right now.

Re:Excellent (1)

characterZer0 (138196) | more than 3 years ago | (#34255836)

Shouldn't be too hard to finish out the rest of the network.

You are drastically underestimating how much it takes to run last mile to a hundred million buildings.

Re:Excellent (1)

tmosley (996283) | more than 3 years ago | (#34255962)

That is the ISP's job. We are talking about backbone networks here.

Re:Excellent (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34256238)

Shouldn't be too hard to finish out the rest of the network.

You are drastically underestimating how much it takes to run last mile to a hundred million buildings.

http://www.eweek.com/c/a/IT-Infrastructure/Google-Goes-the-Last-Mile-for-HighSpeed-Deployment-468055/

Life in the fast lane... (1)

digitaldc (879047) | more than 3 years ago | (#34255724)

...surely make you lose your mind. Everything, all the time.

The Eagles have already shown beyond a reasonable doubt that a 2-speed internet is inherently a bad idea. Let's just keep it at the same speed it is now. Shall we Mr. Culture Minister?

Go green! (3, Funny)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 3 years ago | (#34255788)

How about a ten speed internet so you can downshift for steep hills?

Re:Go green! (1)

ninkendo84 (577928) | more than 3 years ago | (#34256128)

I'll take my fixie internet any day. You probably don't have the taste to appreciate such things, though.

Political posturing promotes protectionist policy (3, Interesting)

Voxol (32200) | more than 3 years ago | (#34255806)

IMO, this is about moving money to ISPs who are (in the UK) generally local companies whereas service providers are often foreign owned.

Net neutrality should probably be a WTO issue.

Re:Political posturing promotes protectionist poli (1)

Angostura (703910) | more than 3 years ago | (#34256706)

Ah yes. That famously foreign-owned BBC, ITV and Channel 4. All of whom run free-to-Net streaming video services.

Smoke and mirrors... (1)

havokca (1864454) | more than 3 years ago | (#34255848)

... pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.

It almost seems like the minister thinks that net neutrality is about the single/home user ("power-user" or otherwise) vs. the corporation, and that this is all about ISPs trying to get big companies to pay more than the single/home user for their internet usage. Either that, or he's trying to make the average voter think that that's the crux of the issue. The problem is that abolishing net-neutrality would make perfect sense if that was what was actually going on!

I can't help but wonder if this isn't a bit of misdirection or misinformation directed at the masses for the purposes of getting a bill (likely rife with kickback potential) passed.

Here's hoping... (3, Funny)

Lord Bitman (95493) | more than 3 years ago | (#34255860)

I really just hope that these "bandwidth users" like google outright refuse to pay, and instead instantly cut off access from those ISPs which threaten them with such stupidity.

Re:Here's hoping... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34256620)

Even better: present the users with a page saying "Your ISP is trying to blackmail us so we have cut off access to this unethical company. Please contact your ISP on number xxx for any complaints."

2 speed internet, great idea! (2, Insightful)

thijsh (910751) | more than 3 years ago | (#34255936)

2 speed internet mandated by law is a great idea!

If and only if it has the following two speeds:
- The minimum guaranteed reserved bandwidth I pay for (which is currently almost always unknown, and can change without notice)
- The maximum burst bandwidth I pay for (which is what they currently advertise)

Currently there are too many oversold connections with burst speeds of 20, 30, 60 or even 120 mbit being sold without any mention of the minimum reserved bandwidth, and those speeds become lower and lower when they oversubscribe the line. Consumers need to know the minimum as well as the maximum bandwidth they are paying for.

* smartass notice: yes I know you can't guarantee an actual minimum bandwidth in practice, but I'm talking about the uplink (i.e. 100 mbit uplink shared with 50 users = 2mbit guaranteed, in contrast to the maximum advertised speed which would probably be 20mbit in this setup).

Re:2 speed internet, great idea! (2, Insightful)

Krneki (1192201) | more than 3 years ago | (#34256102)

Sure:
Low speed 33.6k with packet lost > 50%.
Hight speed: 56k with the same shit of packet lost.

Price:100 - 300E.

Since you don't have a choice what are you going to do?

This smells like communism in the worst form.

P.S: I don't mind communism, just the 80% of stupid monopolistic ideas.

Re:2 speed internet, great idea! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34256258)

Please, how are you possibly characterizing this is communism?

Re:2 speed internet, great idea! (1)

thijsh (910751) | more than 3 years ago | (#34256810)

I shamefully admit I have absolutely no idea what you are talking about...

Perhaps there is some soviet russia joke in there about the dial-up 'broadband' speeds they used to have but it is totally going by me...

Let's clarify the argument (4, Insightful)

tygerstripes (832644) | more than 3 years ago | (#34256026)

Nominally, this proposal will have no detrimental impact on any current service. Put simply, ISPs are being given the option to offer a "premium" service to those data suppliers who wish for their content to be delivered at a "premium" rate, at a premium price, thereby improving their perceived web experience.

To the simple-minded, this is a perfectly straightforward case of adding value to a service and charging for that added value. Nobody has to pay anything extra if they don't want to. However, this doesn't address the brutal reality.

Firstly, ISPs already saturate their bandwidth as far as they're able in order to be competitive. The creation of an express-lane for premium content will, by default, require the degrading of non-premium content delivery. Certainly the increased revenue could be used to improve infrastructure and have a net benefit on all bandwidth, but ISPs are businesses and it's fundamentally naive to assume this will be the result.

Secondly - and more importantly - this move would change the culture of the web irrevocably. In the first instance, content providers will have to pick a camp, and we will be faced with a two-tier system. Two-tier will just be the beginning though, and companies will have to quickly start incorporating their "content deliver" streaming costs into their business strategy. Like any variable, contracted service, it will be open to competition, abuse and legal dicking-about. It will change the very nature of the web, and we will all suffer from the lack of an even field.

A more subtle problem would be the loss of impetus to improve the efficiency of data delivery. As things stand, it is in every single person's and organisation's interest to constantly strive to improve the bandwidth-efficiency of their sites, languages, algorithms and services. As soon as the big guns find themselves able to take a short-cut to improving their users' web-experience by paying for it, half the major driving force behind these innovations in efficiency will be gone.

I'm sure there are many other reasons to oppose this change, and I honestly can't think of any compelling reason to approve it - unless, as I said, one takes the short-sighted, uninformed (or plain greedy) stance that this would improve certain uses of the web, at least for now.

Re:Let's clarify the argument (1)

devent (1627873) | more than 3 years ago | (#34257044)

Put simply, ISPs are being given the option to offer a "premium" service to those data suppliers who wish for their content to be delivered at a "premium" rate, at a premium price, thereby improving their perceived web experience.

Are the ISPs going to build new premium lines for this service? Why can't they do it now, build a new faster line and sell it?

If they don't going to build new lines then they have to slow down everybody else, and the ones with are paying more will have the same speed (i.e. the speed that ISPs usually selling, the maximum speed of the line).

Redundant (1)

killthom (1942188) | more than 3 years ago | (#34256028)

This story seem sort of... redundant? Of course they pay for the "pipes" they use, just like everyone else out there.

How much should a content provider pay? (1)

Meriahven (1154311) | more than 3 years ago | (#34256092)

It seems slightly silly to me that the content providers have pay for their network access in order to offer their services, which they usually do for free. A contentless net is a useless net, so it would seem reasonable that a content provider get their connection at very cheap prices, at least. Of course this will never happen, but let's say, for argument's sake, that Google started to aggressively renegotiate their peering agreements. It would seem that anyone not willing to peer with them at dictated terms would be left with an unsellable Google-less Internet.

The smaller content providers obviously cannot do anything so straightforward without at least uniting their power first, but if they ever did, I think the ISPs would be the ones to fold first, after all they have to sell _something_ to the home customer.

Naturally, that would mean every web page instantly becoming uselessly heavy with ads and no concern for bandwith usage, so let's hope they never get around to it.

(Full disclosure: I work at a company that hosts several relatively large web services.)

Wrong Approach; Try Evil Instead (4, Insightful)

oGMo (379) | more than 3 years ago | (#34256174)

Seriously... we all know Google etc already pay for the uplink, power, servers, etc, and the "users" that are using bandwidth are the people requesting. Who are also paying ISPs already for what they use (the ISPs wrote the contracts!).

Logic and reason aren't going to work here or they already would have. It's unfortunate Google has sworn off evil; they're in a unique position here to do what a less philanthropic business would have long ago: start demanding payment from ISPs, especially the big ones. Hey Comcast, want your users to have fast access to Google? You should start paying Google then. Or maybe AT&T will sign and your customers will go there, because everyone uses Google.

Of course, this will cause politicians etc to start whining about fairness, antitrust, and how the net should be neutral to large players. Congratulations, we win. =P

A suggestion? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34256178)

This seems interesting,

I don't know exactly what he is proposing, but a good idea could be...

The users pay the same amount of money and a guaranteed a minimum bandwidth... so suppose you are downloading some stuff from a random place(say xyz), you will get your minimum speed,
now here is the catch, the big companies (say youtube), can pay extra to the isp's so that on their websites you will get more than a minimum speed that you pay for,

so in the end, suppose i pay for a 4 mbps connection
i get 4 mbps when i download from xyz
and get 12 mbps when i download(stream) from youtube

everyones happy :) (or is someone not?)

Re:A suggestion? (1)

Spad (470073) | more than 3 years ago | (#34257204)

To paraphrase Morbo: "The internet does not work that way!" - either I'm paying my ISP to provide access to, say Google or Google is paying my ISP for me to access them. My ISP doesn't get to take money from me and from Google for the same thing. That's like me posting a letter with correct postage and then when it arrives at your house the postman demands you pay for the postage again or he refuses to deliver it.

bandwidth users Google and the BBC (3, Insightful)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 3 years ago | (#34256246)

"bandwidth users like Google and the BBC likely to face a bill for the pipes they use"
They already face a bill for the pipes they use. Now someone wants to make them pay a bill for the pipes end users use to get to google and bbc, even though those pipes are already payed for by the end users.

Contact information if you wish to (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34256292)

Contact information if you wish to express your opinion about this:

http://twitter.com/#!/edvaizey
http://www.vaizey.com/text.aspx?id=36

LOL, how backwards (2, Insightful)

dnaumov (453672) | more than 3 years ago | (#34256300)

I wonder what these ISPs would think if Google, Facebook and the like would start charging THEM, for letting their users access their services?

Where's the leverage? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34256380)

BT Internet: "We demand you give us money for the privilege of providing free content to our customers"

BBC: "No. Fuck you. What now, bitch?"

BT Internet: "Er... please?"

Seriously, what leverage do they actually have? People don't have a tiny speck of loyalty to their ISP except insofar as they get hassle free browsing. If the BCC stops working properly, they'll bitch like crazy to the ISP (not the BBC), and when it doesn't get fixed, they'll switch to some other ISP in a heartbeat. They dont want "The Virgin Web Experience", they want to go to the website they've selected, and they dont give a shit who takes them there as long as it isn't someone who dicks them around.

I don't want to play the e-lawyer here, but there might even be a prima facia case for them breaking the contract on the grounds that the service they've purchased is no longer fit for use, and being able to switch immediately. And you can bet that if that is the case that the BBC will be trumpeting it from the rooftops.

The BBC could easily make a banner on their front page that only shows to people connecting via any ISP that tried this: "Your ISP is deliberately reducing the speed at which you connect to our website. Click this banner if you are experiencing problems". Clicking takes you to a list of ISPs that operate in your area that don't limit connections.

WFT, idiots (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34256408)

Everybody who is on the internet already pays for the pipes they use. Do you think the BBC sent some people in dark clothes to LINX in the middle of the night and got themselves free cable or something?

Won't This Start a Communications War? (1)

ideonexus (1257332) | more than 3 years ago | (#34256470)

I'm probably missing something, and someone will correct me hopefully, but how will a multi-tier system work with the multiple ISPs? When I access google, sometimes the traceroute will run all the way out to Europe and back to the United States to access the site. how are all the different ISPs involved going between here and there going to manage a tiered system? Will every one of them charge google a fee, or force the connection to go around when the subscription price wasn't paid? It seems to me that this could get horribly messy very quickly and the law of unintended consequences would force the countries hosting those ISPs geographically to quickly step in, creating a regulations nightmare a million times worse than simply preserving an open network would.

net neutrality: it ain't neutral (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34256510)

Sigh. It isn't clear that net neutrality is really neutral: there's Netflix for instance. How much of the bandwidth is porn?
I think it needs to be strongly regulated, I think the profits need to be capped. But we are not neutral on the air we breath, the water we drink, indeed the volume of our own public voices: we can be all of us drowned out.
Maybe reserve some bandwidth for the open market, sell it like radio space to the highest bidder.
But don't see the whole spectrum, don't make everything for sale.
And if we don't like it, yeah, we can move. That's how everyone got here: they chose here instead of there, for whatever reasons.
But with the supreme court outcome on money in elections, we certainly can't cast a meaningful ballot.

The Honourable Edward Henry Butler Vaizey... (3, Informative)

fantomas (94850) | more than 3 years ago | (#34256762)

...probably believes in a two-tier society generally, the nobility and the peasants! ;-)

This is a man (son of Lord Vaizey) who accidentally got £2000 worth of furniture delivered to "the wrong home", [wikipedia.org] including an antique chair and paid it all back when the accounts committee found out.

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