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Congresswoman Writes On Broadband, Net Neutrality

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the listen-to-the-lady dept.

United States 125

An anonymous reader writes "Anna G. Eshoo, a California Democrat representing parts of Silicon Valley, has written an op-ed defending net neutrality and pushing the administration to take more steps to speed up US broadband. From the article: 'A climate of openness and innovation has been the hallmark of the Internet. A decade ago, it's what allowed a startup named Google to compete with better-funded, less technologically advanced competitors. Today, Congress has the responsibility to preserve this climate for the next Google, and for the consumers and the economy that will benefit from its success.'"

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125 comments

Opt-ed?? (3, Informative)

claybugg (1496827) | more than 3 years ago | (#35121960)

Can we opt out?

Re:Opt-ed?? (4, Funny)

macraig (621737) | more than 3 years ago | (#35122088)

I'd certainly choose to opt out of illiteracy on Slashdot. Is there an app for that?

Re:Opt-ed?? (3, Funny)

Shikaku (1129753) | more than 3 years ago | (#35122166)

yes [imageshack.us]

Re:Opt-ed?? (1)

macraig (621737) | more than 3 years ago | (#35122620)

I think they call that "throwing the baby out with the bath water"....

Re:Opt-ed?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35123518)

Why throw out perfectly good water?

Re:Opt-ed?? (1)

macraig (621737) | more than 3 years ago | (#35123552)

Perfectly good, you say? Ummm, I'll take a swig if you take one first and survive for 10 minutes without retching... how's that?

FTFY (2)

wrencherd (865833) | more than 3 years ago | (#35122490)

Is there an apt for that?

Re:FTFY (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35122552)

Is there an apt for that?

This whole thread inspired by the filthy, stinking niggers who call themselves editors.

Every time I walk in a big building, drive over a bridge, or fly in an airplane I'm real fucking glad that engineers don't engineer the same way that slashdot editors edit.

Re:Opt-ed?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35122736)

I think it means Optional Education

Re:Opt-ed?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35122994)

fricking auto-complete.

Re:Opt-ed?? (1)

Compaqt (1758360) | more than 3 years ago | (#35123614)

You don't understand.

Old busted == op-ed

LSB [linuxbase.org] new hotness == /opt/ed

Re:Opt-ed?? (2)

severoon (536737) | more than 3 years ago | (#35123900)

So, Ms. Eschoo has written an op-ed...or as I like to call it these days, "hard news reporting." :-/ At least she's on the right side of this issue, unlike so many others. In other news, I wonder if Lieberman has changed his mind on the web kill bill in the wake of Egypt.

Knock, knock. Who's there? Egypt. Egypt who? 'E gypt us outta tha 'net, 'e did!

OPT-ED? Are you kidding? Where's an editor? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35121992)

Seriously, OPT-ed? WTF? If you don't know what it is, anonymous knucklehead contributor, don't USE the term...

Re:OPT-ED? Are you kidding? Where's an editor? (2)

sjames (1099) | more than 3 years ago | (#35122174)

The editor was clearly indicated to be OPTional.

Re:OPT-ED? Are you kidding? Where's an editor? (2)

zill (1690130) | more than 3 years ago | (#35122566)

What? ed is never optional. It's part of the Unix standard!

Furthermore putting the only holy editor in /opt is pure blaspheme.

lip service (2)

Lead Butthead (321013) | more than 3 years ago | (#35122016)

with the occupant of the White House acting AGAINST net neutrality, this is nothing more than lip service as any meaningful bill has zero chance of reaching the White House, and even if by some wild chance that it does, it has little chance of being signed.

Re:lip service (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35122240)

oh, considering the rest of the stuff that he's acting against, there's plenty of hope for it rising up anyway with this congress

Re:lip service (0)

Walt Dismal (534799) | more than 3 years ago | (#35123332)

Yes, and Eshoo knows it. She's the Representative from Intel, HP, and Cisco, and what they want, she does. So any pretense from her of net neutrality is just a PR pose to win her votes. I loathe her phoniness. She supports extensive use of H1-Bs to replace American labor, because that's what her corporate hands-up-the-ass want. I wrote to her and her office responded with incorrect statistics directly contradicting the Dept of Labor, and explaining why it was so vitally necessary to hire Indian engineers. So anything she says about net neutrality is subject to the same analysis of motives. I believe her colon is green, because it's packed with money.

Re:lip service (1)

VanessaE (970834) | more than 3 years ago | (#35124004)

Assuming for the moment that both houses of congress were to compose and pass their respective iterations of such a bill, and the president were to veto it as you predict, you forget that congress can still override that veto if that bill has enough support. Granted, it practically takes an act of G*d for such a thing to occur, but the president does not, and never has had, the last word on legislation passed across his desk. As broken as our system is, checks-and-balances are still in place.

op-ed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35122034)

Op-ed...duh! Epic Fail!

Wrong, wrong, wrong. (-1, Flamebait)

horatio (127595) | more than 3 years ago | (#35122052)

The internet has flourished precisely because the government regulators (aka nannies) have stayed out of it. Yes, there were some great engineers earning government paychecks through the military and universities who got it started - but the bureaucrats largely ignored it because they didn't know what it was, or how important it would become.

No good can come from the clowns in Washington "tweaking" the Internet. This is not about "openness" or whatever other word they want to use. This is about exerting top-down control, and the power that comes with that kind of control.

Re:Wrong, wrong, wrong. (5, Insightful)

compro01 (777531) | more than 3 years ago | (#35122092)

The internet has flourished precisely because the government regulators (aka nannies) have stayed out of it.

It has flourished because all the major players considered that neutrality was a good idea and just went along with it, making government involvement unnecessary. Now the major players believe that neutrality is no longer in their business interests.

The internet is going to be regulated. The only question is to what degree and by who.

Re:Wrong, wrong, wrong. (1, Insightful)

commodore6502 (1981532) | more than 3 years ago | (#35122414)

>>>Now the major players believe that neutrality is no longer in their business interests.

Since when? Have there been sites you could not access? I haven't noticed ANY change in how my ISP acts now, or five years ago, or even back in the beginning (1993).

Actually now that I think about it, the ISP were more closed at the beginning (the internet was walled off or limited), and have moved towards *more* openness not less.

Re:Wrong, wrong, wrong. (3, Informative)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 3 years ago | (#35122488)

Since when? Have there been sites you could not access? I haven't noticed ANY change in how my ISP acts now, or five years ago, or even back in the beginning (1993).

It didn't yet get to the point where it would be up in your face, such as pay to access certain websites. But major US ISPs have already stated that they'd like to see e.g. Google pay extra to have their content delivered to end user at the same speed as everyone else's, rather than being throttled down. The way it reflects upon you as a user is that Google might no longer be able to afford to offer some services for free that it does today, and there will be more ads on others.

Re:Wrong, wrong, wrong. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35122118)

Nothing good, except consumer protection and penalizing anti-competitive tactics, yes.

Re:Wrong, wrong, wrong. (5, Insightful)

The O Rly Factor (1977536) | more than 3 years ago | (#35122124)

I'm sorry, I would have loved to read your comment, but I wasn't able to. Comcast had throttled the speed at which your comment loaded, since its content was determined to not be in the best interest of Comcast-NBC. Maybe next time say something about 30rock or Outsourced at the end of your comment so it loads a little faster for me please.

Re:Wrong, wrong, wrong. (4, Informative)

CyprusBlue113 (1294000) | more than 3 years ago | (#35122168)

What are you smoking? The internet flourished specifically because of regulation. Look up some of the history of reciprocal comp for example, or the tarifs before cable/dsl were exempted from them, PSCs etc.

Re:Wrong, wrong, wrong. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35122190)

Women say and do stupid things when not kept in check by a cock...

Re:Wrong, wrong, wrong. (1)

gmhowell (26755) | more than 3 years ago | (#35122656)

Women say and do stupid things when not kept in check by a cock...

Roissy, is that you?

Rant, rant, rant. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35122252)

It these very meaningless rants by the anti-government-at-all-costs crowd (aka nitwits) that have been mostly stayed out of Slashdot. Yes there are some smart, vocal, anti-government slashdotters out there, but their rants were largely ignored becuase no one cared and there were many more posts of actual substance.

No good can come from modding idiots like this up. He is a troll pure and simple. This is not about "top-dow control" or whatever key-phrase talking point they are on to this week, this is about the specifics of who has to pay for what and why.

Re:Wrong, wrong, wrong. (4, Informative)

Charliemopps (1157495) | more than 3 years ago | (#35122274)

To be frank, you have no idea what you're talking about. This isn't about the government trying to control the internet, it's about the government telling the ISPs to STOP trying to control the internet. It takes extra equipment, extra staff, extra planning to control whos packets get which priority and keep track of billing. All of this will require and entirely new divisions inside ISPs. It's much simpler to just leave everything alone and stop dinking around with traffic shaping. The ISPs have been lying to and defrauding their customers about what bandwidth they can expect with their given package for about a decade. With the advent of recent high bandwidth services such as Netflix, youtube, etc... it's becoming increasing obvious to the average internet user that "something" is wrong. ISPs are trying to blame their customers or the services their customers are trying to use. But the fact of the matter is, the formula is fairly simple, If they are selling you 5mb/s service, you should be able to get that speed at 6pm on a Saturday night. But we all know how unlikely that really is. ISPs need to upgrade their infrastructure and are instead are trying to block their customers from accessing sites that would allow them to use the service they paid for.

Re:Wrong, wrong, wrong. (0)

gangien (151940) | more than 3 years ago | (#35125458)

To be frank, how can you be so blind, when you have all this talk of the government wanting a kill switch? and you willing give them more power??? And look at what happened in egypt.

BTW, if corporations have been lying and committing fraud, we already have laws about that sort of thing.

FCC gets net neutrality, how long until they need to start policing the content? We already have enough of that bs to deal with. The net has been run by corporations for quite awhile, and there's no major problems with it, and you guys just jump for joy at the thought of giving more power to the government.

This reads like a telecom industry press release (3, Insightful)

StefanJ (88986) | more than 3 years ago | (#35122304)

Notice that the parent doesn't deal with any of the issues at hand. It's just talking points and ideological scary-talk (Oooh, "bureaucrats," "control," "clowns," "nannies!")

Re:This reads like a telecom industry press releas (1)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 3 years ago | (#35123044)

Oh no, my one true weakness! A bureaucratic, controlling clown nanny!

Re:This reads like a telecom industry press releas (1)

gangien (151940) | more than 3 years ago | (#35125476)

And you don't find those word scary? excluding clowns.

Re:Wrong, wrong, wrong. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35122342)

The next step is the government regulation of speech. Pretty soon they'll be passing a constitutional amendment requiring all public spaces to be "free speech zones" or something. For example, sidewalks will be required to give equal treatment to anyone distributing brochures there, and public parks will be forced to permit crazy people to peddle their political ideologies. It's all about the government exercising control over us, folks.

Obviously this is the road to a coddling nanny state.

Re:Wrong, wrong, wrong. (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 3 years ago | (#35122758)

The Slippery Slope is a fallacy in which a person asserts that some event must inevitably follow from another without any argument for the inevitability of the event in question. In most cases, there are a series of steps or gradations between one event and the one in question and no reason is given as to why the intervening steps or gradations will simply be bypassed. This "argument" has the following form:

Event X has occurred (or will or might occur).
Therefore event Y will inevitably happen.
This sort of "reasoning" is fallacious because there is no reason to believe that one event must inevitably follow from another without an argument for such a claim. This is especially clear in cases in which there is a significant number of steps or gradations between one event and another.

Re:Wrong, wrong, wrong. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35122776)

(Same AC)

You apparently missed the sarcasm in my previous post.

Re:Wrong, wrong, wrong. (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 3 years ago | (#35123146)

Yes, I did, and I'm sorry for replying without reading it all. For shame :|

Re:Wrong, wrong, wrong. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35123426)

This is /., man -- we don't apologize for not reading things!

Re:Wrong, wrong, wrong. (1)

h4rm0ny (722443) | more than 3 years ago | (#35124294)

The Slippery Slope is a fallacy in which a person asserts that some event must inevitably follow from another without any argument for the inevitability of the event in question. In most cases, there are a series of steps or gradations between one event and the one in question and no reason is given as to why the intervening steps or gradations will simply be bypassed. This "argument" has the following form:

Event X has occurred (or will or might occur). Therefore event Y will inevitably happen. This sort of "reasoning" is fallacious because there is no reason to believe that one event must inevitably follow from another without an argument for such a claim. This is especially clear in cases in which there is a significant number of steps or gradations between one event and another.

The Slippery Slope is a Fallacy argument, is a strawman. It mischaracterises the whole point of "slippery slope" as saying X must inevitably produce Y. In fact, what the slippery slope is, is the highlighting that X enables Y. Those that would object to Y, rightly point out that X is therefore dangerous because it makes Y easier to occur. This Slippery Slope Strawman is fallacious because it says Slippery Slope is only valid if X must lead to Y which is incorrect. It is akin to someone taking steps toward a dangerous cliff and with each step saying: "the next step is not inevitable". Indeed it is not, but when there are demonstrable forces pushing one toward the cliff, it can make a great deal more sense to resist that pressure earlier, rather than later. Especially when the initial steps themselves are already a negative outcome for us.

Re:Wrong, wrong, wrong. (3, Insightful)

Nyeerrmm (940927) | more than 3 years ago | (#35122508)

The nannies are already involved. In most locations cable is the one technologically superior option, and the operators have been granted monopolies by the state (natural monopoly kind of thing).

Alternatives exist, but they have disadvantages. DSL is slower, WiMax/4G/etc. are nice but tend to have caps, Satellite is expensive and has major latency problems, and fiber is costly to deploy so doesn't have significant penetration.

If you consider the cable companies as agents of the state (since their monopolies are sanctioned by the state), then the enforcement of network neutrality is simply a codification of first amendment rights. If you consider them as monopolies than its a pre-emptive description of how anti-trust laws will be applied to ISPs.

I admit, I think Net Neutrality has its issues: it limits innovations in consumer-friendly QOS implementations, and who knows what else. However, I'd rather have that than let the cable companies stop new business models from growing on the internet (I'm sure Comcast is salivating to be able to legally crush Netflix through 'helpful' throttling). A better solution would be to treat internet providers as common carriers and enforce line-sharing, create a real market and let the invisible hand do its thing. But if we can't do that, net neutrality is the best way to keep the internet as the dynamic force it is today.

Re:Wrong, wrong, wrong. (1)

Onuma (947856) | more than 3 years ago | (#35125404)

fiber is costly to deploy so doesn't have significant penetration

Fiber Optics are already everywhere. Practically all major telecommunications lines run over FO at one point or another. The key ingredient at this point in time is the hardware to support the FO cabling; FO is cheaper than Copper cable in itself, but legacy hardware is cheaper than FO transceivers.

Services like FiOS take a good step toward bridging the gap and making fiber more easily available to consumers, but they're still only Fiber-to-Curb or Fiber-to-Doorstep. Once there is opportunity for reasonably priced intra-home Fiber networks to proliferate, we may see a huge difference in how bandwidth is handled. 5 or 10 Mb/sec or MB/sec is laughable via single-mode Fiber Optics, and a LAN can be easily run with multi-mode, provided the transceivers are equipped.

Should all this happen, bandwidth could increase dramatically and latency may reduce proportionally (network topology limiting, of course).

TLDR: Fiber good. Need more.

Re:Wrong, wrong, wrong. (2)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | more than 3 years ago | (#35122746)

The internet has flourished precisely because the government regulators (aka nannies) have stayed out of it. Yes, there were some great engineers earning government paychecks through the military and universities who got it started - but the bureaucrats largely ignored it because they didn't know what it was, or how important it would become.

No good can come from the clowns in Washington "tweaking" the Internet. This is not about "openness" or whatever other word they want to use. This is about exerting top-down control, and the power that comes with that kind of control.

The funny thing is that the same politicians and commentators feeding you those lines are also in support of an "internet kill switch" for the president. They dislike net neutrality, which is government regulation limited to preventing preferential bandwidth based on business interests (maintaining the status quo that's only recently begun to shift), but they love the idea of giving government the power to shut down the internet to prevent political opposition. Oh, to prevent cyber attacks, you say? Excuse me while I unplug my sensitive systems from the internet and go about my merry way.

Net Neutrality is important (5, Insightful)

vonkohorn (688787) | more than 3 years ago | (#35122072)

To begin talking about Net Neutrality, it helps to clarify what the internet is. It’s simply data sent via TCP/IP (the protocol for sending data through routers). Some people host web sites, others connect to their company e-mail, others do other things - it’s all the internet.

Understanding that the internet is just a connection using TCP/IP, then Net Neutrality is simple, too. Net Neutrality simply means that your ISP may not interfere with the internet. They may not censor your packets (the data that is sent via TCP/IP). This means they can’t censor your news, keep you off of Skype, or otherwise interfere with your TCP/IP communications.

Any compromise on this is wrong for two reasons: 1) Your ISP should not have the right to interfere with your free speech, and 2) ISPs should not be able to tax the value creation of the media industry.

ISPs should not be able to interfere with consumer access to media companies, nor tax those companies for access to consumers. ISPs should not be able to interfere with our speech or block our access to the speech of others.

ISPs are in the business of providing internet access, but they don't own the internet; any attempts to eliminate net neutrality would violate our consumer rights and hurt the economy.

Re:Net Neutrality is important (3, Insightful)

Palmsie (1550787) | more than 3 years ago | (#35122096)

Net neutrality is a government regulation insomuch as free speech is a regulation that speech is regulated to be free. Net neutrality is merely forcing the Internet to be free and unbiased. Politicians (both liberal and conservative) like to paint a picture of net neutrality as a regulation, which is as silly as the Internet as a bunch of tubes.

Re:Net Neutrality is important (0)

Arker (91948) | more than 3 years ago | (#35123856)

The irony is they are technically correct, but practically wrong, and the reason for the disconnect is that they have over the past couple centuries abused the word 'regulation' till it's almost unrecognisable.

Re:Net Neutrality is important (1)

commodore6502 (1981532) | more than 3 years ago | (#35125170)

>>>forcing to be free and unbiased.

Ironic.

"Force" and "free" don't belong together. I think it would be better to describe it as a Monopoly (comcast, verizon, et al) that has abused its powers over the customers, and therefore the government has stepped in to regulate the corporate tyrant. It's not ideal nor is it free, but it works.

Re:Net Neutrality is important (1)

gangien (151940) | more than 3 years ago | (#35125524)

You are wrong. It's most definitely regulation, by just about any definition. And forcing freedom is an oxymoron.

Re:Net Neutrality is important (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 3 years ago | (#35122224)

ISPs are in the business of providing internet access, but they don't own the internet; any attempts to eliminate net neutrality would violate our consumer rights and hurt the economy.

They own and control the access points. Many also own the higher level links. Some even own vast chunks of the content flowing across it.. So yes, in effect they do 'own the internet'.

But i do agree they need to be slapped down before things get more out of hand. In today's society the internet is more like a public utility, much like electricity became long ago, and should be treated as such. Not really 'required' for life, but modern life without it would be difficult at best.

Re:Net Neutrality is important (4, Insightful)

internettoughguy (1478741) | more than 3 years ago | (#35122284)

ISPs are in the business of providing internet access, but they don't own the internet; any attempts to eliminate net neutrality would violate our consumer rights and hurt the economy.

They own and control the access points. Many also own the higher level links. Some even own vast chunks of the content flowing across it.. So yes, in effect they do 'own the internet'.

But i do agree they need to be slapped down before things get more out of hand. In today's society the internet is more like a public utility, much like electricity became long ago, and should be treated as such. Not really 'required' for life, but modern life without it would be difficult at best.

Exactly, things that require vast infrastructure, like roads, water, gas, electricity, communications all require antitrust regulation (which imo net neutrality is a type of) because the barrier to entry is so vast. Regulation is justified and infringes no ones property rights, because these things are usually built on vast tracts of public land using public funds.

ISPs are a *utility* (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35123212)

ISPs are a utility, like a power company. A power company cannot choose to provide power to your branded toaster over a cheap Chinese 'counterfeit' toaster. Yet in the world of ISPs, this is what they want to do.

Enough is enough. ISPs forward packets to users. Meter the packets, heck, even limit the rate of packets to users that are using too many resources! But DO NOT tell me that one packet is better than another - ALL packets are created of equal bits and should be treated as such. Classification of which packet is more desirable than another is up the the end user, NOT the ISP.

ISPs must be regulated like utilities. They must provide advertised connectivity with advertised (total) bandwidth, be it caps or no caps. Either way, all packets much be treated as equal, and the sooner it is the law and enforced, the better.

Re:Net Neutrality is important (3, Interesting)

powerspike (729889) | more than 3 years ago | (#35122244)

If an ISP starts charging for access to users / sites, then they should become responsible for those users/ data transmitted, remove the safe harbor provisions in the DCMA etc, that would stop a lot of them in the their tracks outright.

Re:Net Neutrality is important (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35123228)

Your assertion that the ISPs have to choose between two positions is hopelessly naive.

In an age where banks get to privatize their profits and socialize their losses, do you really think the ISPs won't find a way to eat your cake and keep theirs too?

Re:Net Neutrality is important (3, Insightful)

alvinrod (889928) | more than 3 years ago | (#35122248)

Some interference may not be a bad thing. If I'm using Skype, I wouldn't mind if the ISP gave my packets priority over someone's email. Realtime audio and video is a lot more time sensitive and if someone has to wait a few extra milliseconds for their email, I don't think that they would notice or even care.

I don't think there's anything wrong with prioritizing certain types of traffic, especially if it would improve service quality for most of the end users. Where I would draw the line is when they start to differentiate based on who's providing the packets or where they're going. For example, you can prioritize streaming video, but you can't prioritize YouTube ahead of Netflix.

Depending how interference is defined, what's permissible under net neutrality could vary widely.

Re:Net Neutrality is important (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35122504)

Maybe I would mind if my email is 100 ms later than normal.
Maybe I wouldn't.
If I decide that my traffic is low priority thats fine, but the ISP shouldn't decide for me.

Re:Net Neutrality is important (4, Insightful)

mpeskett (1221084) | more than 3 years ago | (#35122600)

If I'm using Skype, I wouldn't mind if the ISP gave my packets priority over someone's email.

That would have been a better statement if you'd said you don't mind your ISP giving someone else's Skype call priority over your email. 'Cause I see no reason why you would mind your packets getting pushed up the queue (unless you disagreed with the principle of the thing).

Maybe if they allowed packets to set a flag to volunteer to be given lower priority, then there's no way to game the system into giving your higher priority than the default "everyone is equal" priority.

Except then if that caught on in a useful way, some ass would pop up and not follow the norm, so that their massive downloads seemed faster than everyone else because they were still asking for the same priority as VoIP, while everyone else was voluntarily taking the slow lane.

That there is the reason we can't have nice things like consumer-friendly QoS; someone, somewhere, will always be trying to abuse it.

Re:Net Neutrality is important (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#35123338)

Or they could guarantee everybody a certain amount of priority packets to do with as they please. If you want to use them for skype you could, if I want to use them for something stupid, I'd be free to do that. Of course the problem with that is that it would reduce the amount of bandwidth that they could oversell by.

Re:Net Neutrality is important (1)

Apocros (6119) | more than 3 years ago | (#35123368)

I've made this point before [slashdot.org] (seems more recent than 2009... where did the time go...?), but there's no reason to give an infinite amount of high-priority bandwidth to anyone. That is to say, customers could promote/demote their packets based on whatever criteria they choose, but once the monthly quota of high-priority data has been reached, everything is auto-demoted to whatever level is appropriate to ensure minimal interference to those who are playing fairly.

Re:Net Neutrality is important (1)

Zenin (266666) | more than 3 years ago | (#35124542)

That would be easy...if only a given person's packets only ever traversed a single company's network.

But that's not the Internet.

To reach practically anywhere your packets will be carried by a half dozen or more independently owned and operated networks. How does each network track your specific bandwidth allocation to know when they should drop your priority? Why should they care anyway, they aren't your direct ISP? And we haven't even gotten into tracking this with non-static IPs that are most frequently used.

And even once that's all done, how do you train users to micro-manage all their internet applications such that their email gets low priority, games get high, etc?

I'd love for my WoW and Counter-Strike packets to get top priority over other peoples p0rn torrents and Facebook refreshes, but humans are just too naturally selfish for that to ever be the case. The only practical answer is to not prioritize anything.

Re:Net Neutrality is important (1)

Apocros (6119) | more than 3 years ago | (#35125784)

Obviously there are implementation hurdles, and those may be high enough that it's not worth the effort (or cost). But, if such a scheme were implemented, your ISP might track your ratio, but subsequent networks would track the ratio of your ISP, or the backbone connections, etc. So you'd need some sort of wide-scale peering agreement that the network will tolerate X% of high priority packets, and that X applies to all users, and everyone on the network can effectively enforce that. You may be right though, that from a practical standpoint, it may be easier or more fair (for everyone) to not bother with such a scheme.

Re:Net Neutrality is important (1)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 3 years ago | (#35126856)

Except then if that caught on in a useful way, some ass would pop up and not follow the norm, so that their massive downloads seemed faster than everyone else because they were still asking for the same priority as VoIP, while everyone else was voluntarily taking the slow lane.

This really isn't all that hard. Make three traffic queues: the normal one that everyone uses by default, a high-priority queue with low bandwidth, and a low-priority queue with high bandwidth. Let that Skype call get near-real-time performance, up to 64Kbps.

Of course, most of this is academic because you can't easily shape inbound traffic, and the received:sent ratio for most home users is pretty darn high.

Re:Net Neutrality is important (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 3 years ago | (#35124880)

Some interference may not be a bad thing. If I'm using Skype, I wouldn't mind if the ISP gave my packets priority over someone's email. Realtime audio and video is a lot more time sensitive and if someone has to wait a few extra milliseconds for their email, I don't think that they would notice or even care.

Indeed. I would prefer to delay web page accesses by 0.1 seconds so that others' VOIP works without interruption, as long as they do the same so that my VOIP works without interruption as well. So if my ISP offered me completely hands-off serivce, and service with this tradeoff (for the same price), I'd choose the latter, even though it's delaying some of my traffic. Put another way, to achieve the same interruption-free VOIP in the hands-off manner, I'd have to get a dedicated line that has guaranteed bandwidth, which would be much more expensive.

Re:Net Neutrality is important (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35125102)

even a coward anon like me can come up with a simple solution to abuse your proposal.
big companies strike a behind doors deal with isps into classifying their packets as somehow different than the smaller companies and then letting the isps publicly and openly discriminate between competitors on this basis. this, with the added sneakiness of somehow patenting packet behavior or making it difficult for small companies to replicate the same packet behavior.
In a small capsule - 'you can prioritize streaming video, but you can't prioritize YouTube ahead of Netflix' - the classification of the kind of packets itself can be altered according to the benefit of big companies.

Re:Net Neutrality is important (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35125266)

Would you mind if they decided that unencrypted http from approved sites and netflix would be full speed, and everything else would be thrown in the QoS trashbin?

So what if your netflix competitor, encrypted connections, or OS updates were unusably slow.
The other users are getting their streaming media like they want.

Re:Net Neutrality is important (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#35125296)

Perhaps we should be trying to set some kind of standard for how much packet delay is acceptable... because I'm okay with your skype being prioritized over my email but not over my realtime gaming. Essentially only services known to not be lag-sensitive can be delayed. Seems like it's a bad idea. So perhaps instead we should NEVER use QoS to prioritize YOUR packets over MINE (or vice-versa) and instead only use QoS to prioritize YOUR skype packets over YOUR email packets, and otherwise queue round-robin by subscriber.

Re:Net Neutrality is important. Very. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35123834)

The ISP's are unlikely to actually try to censor traffic; but the would like to be able to prioritize traffic; give better service to people/companies who are willing to pay more. Consider the airline industry; a seat is not just a seat; in fact the person sitting right next to you could have paid much more, or much less for his seat. So the ISP's will argue that not all data packets are created equal.

But the Internet is different from airlines in that all the networks are inter connected. So if one ISP starts charging for priority traffic, it could affect the sort of service that other ISP's and networks see.
And there is always the likely-hood that the ISP's will use economic means to 'help out' their friends who do want the internet censored. If Wall street can break the law as a favor to their good customers, you think the ISP's won't?

Re:Net Neutrality is important (1)

subk (551165) | more than 3 years ago | (#35124518)

Slashdot is REALLY going downhill... I remember when posting a link on /. meant that the server it lived on was dead in 15 minutes. Now I have to see "101" posts get modded up? Sheez...

Congress has a responsibility... (2, Insightful)

sesshomaru (173381) | more than 3 years ago | (#35122150)

Congress has a responsibility To support America's richest fatcat aristocracy from upstarts and mushrooms. Puppets work for those who pull their strings.

That is what it exists to do these days.

They don't want anymore Googles. They'd rather such things were strangled in their cribs.

Re:Congress has a responsibility... (1)

Securityemo (1407943) | more than 3 years ago | (#35122260)

If I was a completely corrupt government functionary, I would at least have an eye towards utilizing disruptions in the market and replacement of key players for my own advancement. Static power relations goes for the people above me too. And I can only be lucky/healthy/alive for so long.

Re:Congress has a responsibility... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35122904)

This is currently rated +5 Troll - you're living the dream man!

Can we change slashdot's tag line PLEASE (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35122156)

News for (Liberal) nerds. (No longer covering) ... News that matters.

Re:Can we change slashdot's tag line PLEASE (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35122242)

I'm sure you can get your properly knee-jerk conservative coverage of technology somewhere else.

Like:

* Research continues in the field of stem cell research, despite critics' charges that stem cell researchers eat babies
* Net neutrality legislation threatens corporate profit margins, promotes terrorism
* Does Obama's CTO want to kill old people?

Coupled with a few anecdotes about how those "eggheads" think they know so much more about technology than the Average Joe because they're "educated" about it. Who are they to tell us that our CD trays aren't meant for holding coffee?

Re:Can we change slashdot's tag line PLEASE (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35122402)

If being a liberal means freedom on the internet rather than corporate fascism . . . well, count me in.

Lots of folks want to make money from the Internet (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 3 years ago | (#35122426)

It's like the Gold Rush in California or Alaska. They figure, that if the Internet is open and free, that will cut into their profits. So anyone with money and influence looking to make a buck off the Internet will contact their "friends" in Washington. They want to control the flow of information. Just look at Rupert Murdoch's antics to see what I mean.

"People on this Internet thingie are stealing my news content . . . and not paying for it!"

Um, Mr. Murdoch, is it OK, if we steal your content, and pay for it?

I think some rough times are ahead for the Internet. I hope that some politicians are wise enough to recognize what is really good about the Internet. But, personally, I'm rather skeptical that that will happen.

But an internet that can spread the truth... (3, Insightful)

ibsteve2u (1184603) | more than 3 years ago | (#35122464)

...devalues Citizens United.

Re:But an internet that can spread the truth... (1)

HeckRuler (1369601) | more than 3 years ago | (#35126846)

Damn that's a depressing wiki article. How much funding do these type of political nutjobs get? It's a non-profit, right? Where would I go to take a look at their books?

Also, back in 08 I had a discussion with a republican friend. He mentioned how Obama didn't take public funds. I shot back that republicans were a lot better at funneling money around campaign finance laws. This here would be a prime example of that. A little on the crazy side, but it still fits the bill.

We all payed for the physical lines (1)

Stan92057 (737634) | more than 3 years ago | (#35122662)

We all payed for the physical lines and everything needed to run the internet one way or another. How much has our government "Us" given to theses cable company to run new lines upgrade lines. If we have subsidized theses company's in any way they shouldn't get full say on who can do what on the internet because they really don't "Own" the internet, we all do because we have all payed.

Re:We all payed for the physical lines (1)

dakameleon (1126377) | more than 3 years ago | (#35123224)

First off, it's "paid", not payed. and it's "companies", not company's.

Secondly, chances are the only way you paid for these lines via the government was the government allowing near-monopolies in the telephony market. In America, the infrastructure was built by the companies - the original being Ma Bell [wikipedia.org]. Subsequent upgrades are also courtesy of the telecoms and ISPs.

Re:We all payed for the physical lines (1)

kenh (9056) | more than 3 years ago | (#35123236)

I keep hearing about Broadband adoption monies in the various stimulus plans, so the answer is the government (us) is taking our money (they don't have any of their own) and giving it to broadband companies to run miles and miles of fiber and coax into under-served neighborhoods that were never economically viable for the cable companies/ISPs (if they were, they would have expanded into them already, unless they knew if they dragged their feet they could get free/cheap government monies to help reduce the capital expenditure to expand their market.

Nearly every public school, library, and municipal building has "E-Rate" subsidised internet access, based on taxes imposed on consumer phone service.

Hundreds of thousands, if not a million or more low-income houses have subsidised phone service, either the gov't directly subsidises their phone bill OR their carrier has been given Rural Access monies to pay for infrastructre to expand into underserved area.

What The F! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35122672)

Ms Congresswomen,

Your presumption necessitates the Non-exintence of Mr. Pres. Barak Hussain Obama!

[FBI and Secret Service have been alerted.]

So Ms. Congresswoman, allow me a simple question.

Is your right-hand index finger on the trigger of a rifle that you are holding and pointed to he head of Mr. Pres. Barak Hussain Obama?

The FBI and local police are waiting for your answer.

-308

Re:What The F! (0)

kenh (9056) | more than 3 years ago | (#35123284)

She pandered to her constituents, and Slashdot dutifully picked up the story assuming it was a sincere effort to effect change in America...

You want to make the internet "fair" - fine, everyone can only have one datacenter. Why shoud some companies have a multi-site advantage just beciase they are better funded - what about the unfairness of Google being able to buy all the servers they want while my technologically advanced start-up* can not? Their success should be taxed, regulated and restrained to allow me the chance to compete, right? By setting regulations to "help the little guy" (me) you are hurting the "big guy" (Google)...

* I don't realy have a start-up.

Maybe I'm thick... (1)

kenh (9056) | more than 3 years ago | (#35123164)

But as I understand Net Neutrality, the groups that support it don't want ISP to be able to charge higher fees for faster/better access to their networks, right? If so, how does that make other connections slower? It's like arguing that Priority Mail service makes First Class mail slower.

Just because something faster exists, it doesn't make everything else slower.

Now, making a competitors packets actually travel slower through your network IS wrong, and I get that, but everytime I hear the argument expressed, I hear the confusing, illogical definition I first presented (can't sell faster access because it makes everyone else slower)...

BTW - While "'a climate of openness and innovation" surely helped Google, I suspect butt-loads of Internet Bubble cash didn't hurt their chances for success...

Re:Maybe I'm thick... (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#35123360)

Priority Mail is via the USPS in the US, which is run by the federal government. The problem is that sites with deep pockets would have a competitive advantage over sites which couldn't afford to pay the ransom. As a result sites like Youtube and Flikr would have an advantage over sites that wish to compete with them in the future because those sites would be slower to load.

Additionally, there's no guarantee that sites would be able to get sufficient bandwidth as ISPs are unlikely to be willing to spend money on upgrading that bit of infrastructure when they can get more for the priority lines.

Get the picture? Sure it's not like 100% going to happen, but I'd say it's much more likely than the scenarios that we want.

Re:Maybe I'm thick... (1)

sparky555 (986576) | more than 3 years ago | (#35123420)

I'm already paying Comcast for a certain level of service (not that they actually provide anything close to what's advertised), but they'd also want someone like Netflix to pay to send their data to me (which is what *I'm* paying Comcast for). In a better functioning market, Comcast would have an incentive to get the fastest possible connection to Netflix so that I'm a happy Comcast customer with great connectivity to Netflix. Since they're a near monopoly (slower DSL is the only other option I have), they don't need to make me particularly happy, because I don't have a better option to get high-speed access to Netflix. Comcast knows that, and can hold my eyes hostage and ransom Netflix to get better connectivity to me.

To more specifically address your question, let's assume that Comcast upgrades their network so that they now have sufficient bandwidth to me that Netflix can stream 1080P, and I as a customer pay for a connection sufficient to stream 1080P. Netflix pays for connections sufficient to stream to me in 1080P. What the ISPs want to do is refuse to actually provide the connectivity that they're obviously capable of, and that their customer has paid for, unless Netflix also pays them to carry the data *to the ISP's subscriber*.

As for the "climate of openness and innovation," lets say I want to start a competing video streaming service. Netflix has been making money for a while, and can afford to pay residential ISPs for better access to their subscribers. If I can't afford to do that, I can't stream in 1080P, and my service never gets off the ground, even if I've paid for sufficient uplink capacity, and my subscribers have paid the ISP for sufficient downstream capacity. If I don't pay my subscribers' ISPs for faster access, I can't send data to them at a rate that both they and I have paid our respective network providers for. The ISP must have the capacity if they're able to sell me that "faster" access, so if I don't pay they must be slowing my data down.

Maybe the ISPs will never throttle below the data rates they're providing in 2011, but they should have incentive to build out their networks to provide higher capacity for things like Blu-Ray quality streaming video. If they do build such capacity (and as a customer I should expect them to try) but won't transmit non-paid data at that rate, they are making everything else slower than it would otherwise be. I'm paying them for best effort, and expect their best effort to keep getting better.

When an ISP says they want to charge higher fees for faster/better access to their networks, what they really mean is that they want to charge higher fees for faster/better access to their subscribers (who requested that data, and paid the ISP to receive it). If they actually had to compete for business, they'd be the ones wanting to pay for faster/better access to the sites/services that their customers wanted to get to.

Re:Maybe I'm thick... (1)

Lloyd_Bryant (73136) | more than 3 years ago | (#35123450)

But as I understand Net Neutrality, the groups that support it don't want ISP to be able to charge higher fees for faster/better access to their networks, right? If so, how does that make other connections slower? It's like arguing that Priority Mail service makes First Class mail slower.

Consider this analogy: You're shopping in a store, and step into a line to check out. Such lines are normally strictly FIFO (First In, First Out), so the amount of time required for you to reach the register is based solely on how long it takes the people ahead of you to check out.

Now, add in a special policy of the store, where certain customers have "priority checkout", and are allowed to cut into the line ahead of anyone already in line. Each time such a customer cuts into the line, it adds to the amount of time it will take you to reach the register.

Your ISP is charging you X number of dollars per month for access to their network. YouTube's ISP is charging them X number of dollars per month for access to their network. You ISP and their ISP have some sort of agreement that they will take packets from each other's network.

Then your ISP goes to YouTube, and says "for X dollars per month, we will push your packets to the head of the queue, providing the best possible service to your customer". Sounds okay? Sure, unless you happen to be Netflix, whose packets are now being being pushed back in the queue because YouTube's packets are cutting into the line...

Re:Maybe I'm thick... (1)

bidule (173941) | more than 3 years ago | (#35123524)

But as I understand Net Neutrality, the groups that support it don't want ISP to be able to charge higher fees for faster/better access to their networks, right? If so, how does that make other connections slower? It's like arguing that Priority Mail service makes First Class mail slower.

If you want to pay the USPS extra for priority mail to Britain, go ahead. This is between you and your postal office. If I want have mail delivered to me hourly, that's between me and my postal office. I shouldn't have to deal with your postal service, nor should you have to deal with mine. There should be no preferred service for Japan. That's what Net Neutrality is about.

So yes, the only ISP allowed to sell faster service to Google is Google's ISP. Not mine, nor yours. If my ISP wants extra money to improve my QOS for streaming, they have to ask me for money. My ISP should give the same QOS to all my streaming requests, whether they come from Netflix or YouTube. That's what Net Neutrality is about.

What is a big no-no is my ISP holding my streaming requests hostage until Netflix pays them extra money.

I hope this is enough for you to stop misunderstanding the issue.

Re:Maybe I'm thick... (1)

Spad (470073) | more than 3 years ago | (#35124010)

Because, to extend your analogy rather badly, there's only so much room in the mail van and if it's full of Priority Mail then your First Class stuff will have to wait for the next van - and don't make the naive assumption that they'll use all that Priority Mail money to buy more vans, because we all know that won't happen.

Re:Maybe I'm thick... (1)

thegarbz (1787294) | more than 3 years ago | (#35124160)

It's like arguing that Priority Mail service makes First Class mail slower.

There's a fallacy brought about by someone who hasn't seen their first class mail getting slower. The problem is one of finite resources and delay in transmission. The post office is for want of a better description over resourced for the load of priority mail they are sending. The priority mail doesn't arrive any faster between routes, and there's not enough of it to jump the queue at the endpoints.

Now scale it up. Assume that instead of 1 package in 100, 10 packages are now priority mail. The backlog of priority mail delivery gets larger so they decide the only way to meet that is to either employ more staff (install a faster router in the network), increase interstate backhaul capacity with more trucks / planes (install a bigger pipe in the network), or simply to re-purpose some of the first class delivery people over to the priority mail to help with the queue (slow down all non-prioritized traffic).

This is the fundamental problem of premium traffic and resource scarcity and ultimately what you can see in the postal service is exactly what the net neutrality discussions are already about. Consider this. It's 8pm, you need a part for your computer because your computer needs to be working before morning, but the part is only available in another state. Call the post office and tell them you need an interstate delivery withing a few hours and see what their response is. Well this is the situation we found ourselves in. One of the compressors for a large refinery unit wasn't working, part was available, unit cost us a fortune in downtime. We paid $15000 to the supplier to charter a plane and fly the part to us within a few hours. (This is Microsoft dollars in the 90s)

Now suppose you're a small refinery trying to get a foot in the door with us. You can't afford $15000 for fast delivery, instead you're going to take (a much smaller than the big refinery) hit in availability and cost and instead get the part in 2 days time. In the mean time your competitor by virtue of their big pockets has supplied more and more customers. (This is Google dollars in the 90s).

With finite resources ultimately economics come into the equation and dollars are your bargaining chip. The internet was always an anomaly where the dollars didn't speak and regardless of how much money you had you couldn't make use of limited end point resources any faster than your competitor. This is exactly what allowed Google to rise up out of the garage and compete with the far wealthier competition.

Re:Maybe I'm thick... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35126542)

Just because something faster exists, it doesn't make everything else slower.

You would be correct, except that the Internet is constantly getting faster due to new technologies.

In a system where the average speed is always rising, giving priority to certain people DOES lower all everyone else's speed to below average.

The controversy is over peering prices (1)

George_Ou (849225) | more than 3 years ago | (#35123316)

The real fight, not the cosmetic fight over ISPs censoring content which they can't do anyways, is over the government setting peering and interconnect prices even though this has always been set by the free market. In this case, the hardline Net Neutrality proponents want to set ISP peering rates to zero, or at least heavily regulated by the ISPs. The FCC tried to compromise by putting out incoherent regulations that would outlaw paid prioritization but not outlaw paid peering which are essentially the same thing (see http://www.digitalsociety.org/2010/12/fccs-utter-incoherence-on-paid-prioritization/ [digitalsociety.org]). The FCC thought that compromise rules wouldn't get them sued by the ISPs and slammed by most of congress, but that happened anyways.

Re:The controversy is over peering prices (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 3 years ago | (#35125552)

not the cosmetic fight over ISPs censoring content which they can't do anyways

Sure they could, either by intercepting DNS requests for a site and returning a bogus IP, or by dropping packets too or from some IP address. Both of those would be quite simple to pull off if you're in control of the routers in between the clients and the site you're trying to censor. Would it take effort? Yes, but not all that much.

Remember what this whole fight started over: SBC went to Google and basically said "Nice website you have there, it would be a shame if something were to happen to it."

I'm truly confused... (1)

BudAaron (1231468) | more than 3 years ago | (#35123870)

I hear many different definitions of net neutrality but it seems to come down to the internet should be free. That's all well and good but I also realize that it just ain't the way it works. I pay Cox a significant amount of money for internet access. Everyone who runs a connection to my house is looking for money. I believe Cox also charges if you go over a certain useage level. Soi we don't have net neutrality now and never have had. So will someone please tell me what the phrase really means?

Re:I'm truly confused... (1)

Spad (470073) | more than 3 years ago | (#35124018)

Net Neutrality is the principle that traffic on the internet is treated equally regardless of source or destination.

i.e. Traffic from Google to you or Bing to you (or vice versa) should both be assigned the same priority and treated in the same way.

That is not to say that you can't give higher priority to, say, VoIP than to Bittorrent as long as you give that higher priority to *all* VoIP traffic and not just Skype (for example).

The basic problem is that you pay Cox money to provide an internet connection. Google pays their upstream provider for the same service (yes, it's more complicated with orgs of Google's size, but it's the same principle). They meet in the middle and you can both send data to each other. What Cox wants to do is levy a charge on Google for using the connection that *you're* already paying for, you know, to make sure those nice packets don't get lost along the way amongst all the ones from Bing.

One of the few topics in which I agree with most l (1)

Radamax (1858866) | more than 3 years ago | (#35125594)

One of the few topics in which I agree with most liberals.

US Government, stay out of my internet! (1)

ArrowFire (1991568) | more than 3 years ago | (#35126522)

Freedom is the only answer. Freedom is what made Google great. The ONLY thing the government is capable of doing is enacting force, which obviously takes someones freedom away. How can taking away freedom help the internet? US Government, stay out of my internet!
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