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UK ISPs To Make Voluntary Net-Neutrality Commitment

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the almost-like-there's-a-market-for-neutrality dept.

The Internet 75

Mark.JUK writes "A UK government advisory body, the Broadband Stakeholders Group, has confirmed that most of the major fixed line internet providers in the country will next week sign-up to a new Voluntary Code of Practice on Traffic Management Transparency. Recently everybody from the European Commission to the UK government has called upon ISPs to be more 'transparent' with their traffic management policies, which until now have been too vague and often fail to inform customers about any background restrictions that might be being imposed upon their services. The new code is likely to surface as a result of last year's Net Neutrality consultation — the principal of treating all internet traffic as equal — by the country's communications regulator. Ofcom is not expected to enforce any tough new rules, largely due to a lack of evidence for market harm, but will recommend greater transparency from ISPs. However, to most providers, transparency usually means yet more unreadable small print."

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Net neutrality in Europe? (-1, Troll)

Biff Stu (654099) | more than 3 years ago | (#35448612)

It must be socialism!

Self regulation = no regulation (4, Insightful)

Dutchmaan (442553) | more than 3 years ago | (#35448644)

Self regulation is just toothless regulation, basically letting a business say, 'ya.. thats kind of a cool idea.. and if it's convenient i might consider it'

Re:Self regulation = no regulation (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35448742)

Self regulation is just toothless regulation, basically letting a business say, 'ya.. thats kind of a cool idea.. and if it's convenient i might consider it'

True, but this is certainly better news than the conceivable opposite story: "UK ISPs Form a Voluntary Group Vowing to Never Enact Net Neutrality". Actual legislation with teeth behind it is what is ultimately needed, but take what you can get when it's given to you.

Re:Self regulation = no regulation (1)

click2005 (921437) | more than 3 years ago | (#35448838)

FTFA:

To function properly IPTV services often require new content agreements and distribution models in order to become economically viable.

Translation: They're going to be trying to charge IPTV services like iplayer, youtube for non-throttled access to their customers.

Giving ISPs some flexible to do this, while not impeding standard access, may be needed. However, its success still rests upon content providers wanting to play ball.

Translation: We'll ignore any attempts to shake down IPTV providers.

Meanwhile most ISPs remain fearful of the problems that could result if they were to penalise popular internet sites or services too aggressively.

Translation: By ALL doing it, content providers will have no choice but to pay.

Re:Self regulation = no regulation (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 3 years ago | (#35449260)

To function properly IPTV services often require new content agreements and distribution models in order to become economically viable.

And why should we care if IPTV services are economically viable? If they need to have such "vertical integration" then there's something wrong with their business model.

TV is just fine, thank you very much. The less we make the Internet into TV the better.

There has to be real Net Neutrality. People who provide bandwidth should not be providing content. That is monopolistic.

Re:Self regulation = no regulation (1)

microbox (704317) | more than 3 years ago | (#35449434)

TV is just fine, thank you very much. The less we make the Internet into TV the better.

No way, TV sucks. I only watch stuff via the internet or DVD. That is the future, and the content providers are being dragged to the party by the likes of thepiratebay. Just like TV, content providers have to charge a nominal fee for an internet service, because the first to prefect this will own the future. It is a far superior way to consume media.

Re:Self regulation = no regulation (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 3 years ago | (#35450124)

That is the future, and the content providers are being dragged to the party by the likes of thepiratebay.

And the girl with the short skirt was just asking for it.

Seriously, you need to contemplate that "they made me do it" explanation of why the Internet needs to be destroyed by turning it into TV.

And if TV sucks, then TV needs to get better. That can be done without turning the Internet into Cablevision.

Re:Self regulation = no regulation (1)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 3 years ago | (#35453154)

Having TV run over the internet is no more turning it into Cablevision than having TVs use electricity turns your power company into Cablevision. Turning the Internet into TV would require the REMOVAL of OTHER services. Adding new uses to the system can not do it.

Re:Self regulation = no regulation (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 3 years ago | (#35456150)

Turning the Internet into TV would require the REMOVAL of OTHER services.

Do you really not realize that the telecoms that are trying to turn the Internet into their private pay-TV network intend to remove lots of services when they become the primary content providers on the 'Net?

Look at the effort to crush or co-opt Internet radio.

It used to be that if you had an Internet connection, you could publish what you want, say what you want. What's going to happen when the ISPs start "prioritizing" their own traffic ahead of yours? Well, sure, it's their right to do it because it's their network since you were so happy to give it to them.

ISPs should not be allowed to provide content. Period.

Unless there are significant Net Neutrality rules, the best we can hope for is the Internet to become AOL, only with more commercials and less independent content.

Re:Self regulation = no regulation (1)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 3 years ago | (#35456668)

IPTV vs. Net Neutrality is a false dichotomy. In fact, most people recognize that Net Neutrality inherently encourages IPTV by allowing more players in the market. I agree that Net Neutrality is important. I agree that ISPs should not be allowed to provide content. That doesn't change the fact that TV over the internet is better than the crappy system we have now where the data provider has 100% control over the content.

Re:Self regulation = no regulation (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 3 years ago | (#35458250)

That doesn't change the fact that TV over the internet is better than the crappy system we have now where the data provider has 100% control over the content.

That's interesting. I never really thought of TV that way. But you're right. The "data provider" (I'm using the US tv model because that's what I know) is always the content provider. Stations broadcast and stations create (or buy) the content. It creates an incentive to consolidate ownership of tv stations nationwide so that you have our current situation (the same for radio) where a few corporations own almost all TV stations and have monopolistic control over content. "Market forces" if they exist, cannot work.

But if Television is the disaster it seems to be, that's an even greater argument for Net Neutrality. Because if the data providers are going to be content providers then its bound to turn out to be the same sort of monopolistic, un-democratic and anti-market failure as TV.

I really don't care that much if TV is delivered via the Internet, as long as it does not hamper our access to bandwidth for our own purposes. I'm not a TV watcher anymore, so I don't really have a horse in that race beyond wanting to protect the "open" nature of the Internet. I feel like the more commercial it becomes, the more it is diminished. If there is a need for a worldwide network for commerce, then let commerce build it themselves rather than co-opting the public network that became the Internet. Commerce was not the initial purpose of the Internet after all.

Thank you for causing me to see this issue a little differently, friend.

Re:Self regulation = no regulation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35450278)

Oh, you mean like it costing more to get certain parts without issue.

Re:Self regulation = no regulation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35451588)

why should we care if IPTV services are economically viable?

Because I've already paid my TV license which pays for BBC iPlayer, and I already paid my ISP for a connection. Why should more of my license fee be used to buy off my ISP?

Re:Self regulation = no regulation (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 3 years ago | (#35452072)

Because I've already paid my TV license which pays for BBC iPlayer, and I already paid my ISP for a connection. Why should more of my license fee be used to buy off my ISP?

You misunderstand my meaning. I don't think an additional penny should go to buy off the ISP. We've got different situations here in the US. Regarding the BBC and your telecoms, affiant sayeth not.

I don't believe TV should be delivered by the Internet. There. I've said it. We've got perfectly good broadcast systems. Cable systems. Satellite systems. All delivering 100 lbs of shit into people's homes every single second of every day. Why in Dog's name to we have to deliver fucking TV on the Internet, too?

Enough TV.

Re:Self regulation = no regulation (1)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 3 years ago | (#35453326)

We should deliver it via the internet because it is more convenient, has the ability to offer a greater range of choices, has the ability to stimulate competition by allowing smaller players to enter the market, and most of all, there is no good reason not to.

We do not have perfectly good broadcast cable and Satellite systems. The current systems are just the best we have been able to get until now.

Your complaint is on par with someone claiming that we didn't need electric lights because we had perfectly good candles for producing light.

Re:Self regulation = no regulation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35453388)

We have a broadcast system and it sucks. We have an non-broadcast system and it is better, largely due to it's on-demand nature and increased flexibility. That's why Internet streamed programming is better.

Re:Self regulation = no regulation (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#35451922)

To function properly IPTV services often require new content agreements and distribution models in order to become economically viable.

Translation: They're going to be trying to charge IPTV services like iplayer, youtube for non-throttled access to their customers.

Actual translation: iPlayer uses more bandwidth than the BBC can provide, and they work around this by placing caching proxies on partner ISP networks (as they do for other BBC content). This reduces costs for both parties - the BBC doesn't need as much bandwidth and the ISP doesn't have as much off-network traffic. Other services use CDNs like Akamai to achieve the same result. Some definitions of network neutrality would prevent this, but neither the ISPs nor the content producers want that because it would raise costs for both parties.

Re:Self regulation = no regulation (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 3 years ago | (#35449182)

but take what you can get when it's given to you.

When dealing with the corporate world, "taking what you can get" is a recipe for getting nothing. It just doesn't work that way. Consumers have a power which precedes corporate power. We have been brainwashed not to believe that, but it's still true.

If you say you'll "take what you can get", they'll do "whatever they can get away with".

Re:Self regulation = no regulation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35451432)

The problem at the moment is that we can't make a rational choice as consumers because the traffic management policies are secret. The ISPs have not promised a neutral net, but they have promised to publish their policy. That seems to me a hugely important step because now we get to choose.

Re:Self regulation = no regulation (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 3 years ago | (#35452344)

The ISPs have not promised a neutral net, but they have promised to publish their policy.

And we know we can trust the telecoms.

Re:Self regulation = no regulation (1)

Jurily (900488) | more than 3 years ago | (#35450852)

1. Promise Net Neutrality.
2. Convince government to do nothing, citing promise.
3. Wait until the issue dies down, both in the media and in legislation.
4. Back down from promise.
5. PROFIT!!!

Re:Self regulation = no regulation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35448776)

Is that ALL ISPs.. Including through mobile networks?

With Skype/SIP over GoogleVoice I'm betting they'll find some way to protect their revenue streams.

I'm betting even on broadband there will be exceptions for BitTorrent/IPlayer and other
high bandwidth traffic.

With IPTV taking off over here I cant see BT/VM/Sky allowing streaming services to eat into their profits without them having
some kind of angle.

On the other hand it might be a ploy to get some sites to pay for traffic.

ISPs: We've done our part now dont you think web host should do their part?
Government: Well.. i'm not sure.
ISPs: Have some campaign finance.
Government: Sounds like a great idea.

Re:Self regulation = no regulation (1)

Threni (635302) | more than 3 years ago | (#35448810)

Yes, I'm more interested in how the UK allows `unlimited internet` of a few tens of megs per month. What's the penalty for these clowns breaking their promises? Court/legal action? Or a promise to "try harder"?

Re:Self regulation = no regulation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35448976)

Penalty? They won't even get called up on it.

My particular brand of "unlimited" is 20Mbit, until I've downloaded 3.5GB (per day), when it drops to a much "fairer" 5Mbit. Fuck you Richard Branson, you can stick your space ship where the sun doesn't shine.

Re:Self regulation = no regulation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35451774)

If you don't like Virgin's service then move to another ISP you whinging cry baby.

Re:Self regulation = no regulation (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#35451986)

If you're going to troll, at least get your facts right [virginmedia.com] . The 20Mb/s package from Virgin Media (which is not even partially owned by Branson, it just licenses a trademark from him), allows 7000MB between 10am and 3pm, and 3500MB between 4pm and 9pm before throttling kicks in. There are no limits at other times, so you can saturate the link and download 126GB/day in the 14 hours between 9pm and 10am and between 3pm and 4pm, you're just limited to staying under 10500MB at peak times. Given that this allows you to download more in two days than Comcast's monthly cap, and about an order of magnitude more than most other UK ISPs allow for the same price, you must lead a pretty happy life if this is your biggest complaint.

Re:Self regulation = no regulation (1)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 3 years ago | (#35448998)

It's voluntary, too. You needn't expose anything you don't (insert your ad here! contact Virgin today!) tell anyone that you're putting your (Read The Times! google ads) stanching anything.

Re:Self regulation = no regulation (1)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 3 years ago | (#35450308)

Straight off the bat it does look like PR=B$, "balance the performance of their networks, which allows the majority of customers to avoid being unfairly affected by a minority of heavy users". As everyone knows that is a lie, it has always been a lie and will always be a lie.

Heavy users drawn down 24 hours a day. The problem with bandwidth is peak load times, not the 24 hour a day load. Those peak time when everyone hooks up, like weekdays immediate after work and school finishes or early morning weekdays when everyone logs in and updates or lunch time when everyone stops work and does their private stuff. Even the 'heavy users' also log in at those times for the same reason, but the reality is to be a heavy users the bulk of your traffic is off peak times when it makes little difference, except of course to the corporate PR=B$.

Now when it comes to heavy users, let's differentiate between up-loaders and down-loaders. A heavy user up-loader is not a heavy user, they just have a lot of request coming in from light users seeking the information or service provided. Attacking up-loaders is all about anti-competitive practices, about killing off competing products and services, about making it impossible for example to create and publish their own content for sale by direct download, now that is the reality of the anti-net neutrality liars.

Re:Self regulation = no regulation (1)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 3 years ago | (#35452086)

No.

The bandwidth paid is the bandwidth paid. Yeah, there are heavy users. Uploaders, downloaders, isochronous, asych, bisynch, uploaders/downloaders, it's all good and it's been that way since the beginning of the commercial use of the Internet. Many people are spoon-fed a mix of 90%down 10%up. That's the biggest part of the problem. Unless you get a symmetrical connection, they're robbing you, in my opinion.

Re:Self regulation = no regulation (1)

CrackedButter (646746) | more than 3 years ago | (#35449000)

Not when there are tens and tens of ISPs in the UK, all working under local loop unbundling, a policy the EU requires for fairer competition

Contract (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35449002)

It sure as hell does work if they enter into a legal binding contract.

Re:Self regulation = no regulation (2)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 3 years ago | (#35449166)

In other news, the Energy Industry has made a voluntary commitment to not pollute, and drug dealers have made a voluntary commitment to only sell "the bomb" and only add 15% baby laxative to white heroin. And prostitutes have made a voluntary commitment to not fake orgasms.

An opportunity to be responsible (1)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | more than 3 years ago | (#35449624)

I think what we have here is more of a opportunity from the regulator. Essentially the ISPs are encouraged to play nice and have the regulator give them some leeway, otherwise the regulator will decide how the game will be played. Regulators in European nations are usually more effective than their North American counter-parts, based on what I have seen.

Re:Self regulation = no regulation (1)

Americium (1343605) | more than 3 years ago | (#35449922)

Self regulation works wonders in a free market, however wired internet providers are often monopolies, often enforced by law, at least they are here in the USA, it's often illegal to lay down new fiber next to a competitor, just like it is for telephone lines and power lines. So obviously after the free market is completely destroyed, and regulation is entirely necessary.

This was why Verizon ans Google didn't wanna bother with regulating wireless, since there is still competition between at least 4 big companies, which seems pretty bad already. So obviously wired internet is in a much worse state, and it's seldom you have 4 high speed ISPs to choose from.

The idea of self regulation is that there is so much competition, regulation would stifle innovation.... clearly high speed internet is here and isn't dropping in price, so there isn't anymore innovation to stifle and regulators need to step in.

Re:Self regulation = no regulation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35450560)

> So obviously wired internet is in a much worse state, and it's seldom you have 4 high speed ISPs to choose from.

The article is about the UK, where I have a choice of over 80 ISPs and at least six last-mile delivery technologies.

Please take your "poor USA" missive elsewhere.

Re:Self regulation = no regulation (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#35452010)

The article is about the UK, where I have a choice of over 80 ISPs and at least six last-mile delivery technologies.

Six? I'm intrigued. I thought I had pretty good options here, and I have the option of Virgin cable (DOCSIS3) or ADSL for wired, or 3G mobile broadband. I suppose I could get up to 6 if I counted GPRS, EDGE, UMTS and HSPA as separate options, but I wouldn't really count GPRS or EDGE as serious options and UMTS and HSPA don't really count as distinct. What are the other three options that you have?

Re:Self regulation = no regulation (1)

TheGreatHegemon (956058) | more than 3 years ago | (#35450322)

Entertainment Software Rating Board [wikipedia.org] ?

I understand a lot of self regulation has failed, but it can work if there is fear of external regulation.

Re:Self regulation = no regulation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35450468)

> ya.. thats kind of a cool idea.

We don't say "ya" in Europe. Germans, some Swiss and most Austrians say "Ja", which is perhaps what you are trying to mimic.

Re:Self regulation = no regulation (1)

Dutchmaan (442553) | more than 3 years ago | (#35469592)

> ya.. thats kind of a cool idea.

We don't say "ya" in Europe. Germans, some Swiss and most Austrians say "Ja", which is perhaps what you are trying to mimic.

You see here in America we say ya... as a shortened form of yes.. phonetically speaking it probably did derive from "ja" but since I'm not posting from Europe nor am I European, 'ya' is perfectly acceptable and understood.

Re:Self regulation = no regulation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35450604)

Self regulation is just toothless regulation, basically letting a business say, 'ya.. thats kind of a cool idea.. and if it's convenient i might consider it'

Not necessarily. I work in the energy sector for a company that is not technically regulated by the federal government. Part of the agreement was that in lieu of being federally regulated that we would self regulate. To put some teeth to the self regulation, a third party organization being created to verify compliance and institute hefty fines. Simple violations can receive fines up to $1m per incident per day (i.e. two servers that don't meet password complexity requirements == $2m per day), but are usually settled in the $200k - $500k range. As a result, we don't ignore compliance.

Self regulation in itself is toothless, but when hefty fines are instituted by a non-government third party it tends to have more meaning.

Re:Self regulation = no regulation (1)

Mr_Silver (213637) | more than 3 years ago | (#35451100)

Self regulation is just toothless regulation, basically letting a business say, 'ya.. thats kind of a cool idea.. and if it's convenient i might consider it'

Sometimes yes, sometimes no.

The most effective form of self regulation (here in Europe, at least) is when Governments say to companies "sort out some sort of self regulation quickly that we think is reasonable - or we'll do it for you and you'll accept it whether or like it or not".

Although I admit that this isn't so much "self regulation" more "coerced self regulation".

Re:Self regulation = no regulation (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#35452070)

The down side of this is that it lets the government enforce regulation without appearing to. For example, in the UK we have all of the major ISPs 'voluntarily' subscribing to the IWF's block list. Because the IWF is not a government body, it is completely unregulated and unaccountable. If you complain about this to your MP, you get a reply back saying that the government does not censor the web - ignoring the fact that the ISPs only do because they were told that the government would enforce censorship (to protect the children!) if they didn't.

the principal (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35448672)

the principal of treating all internet traffic as equal

Who is this guy, and how can we give him power over the entire internet?

Voluntary self-regulation works. (5, Insightful)

unity100 (970058) | more than 3 years ago | (#35448786)

It has worked very well with Union Carbide, Goldman Sachs, BP, and many more.

really. it works ..... it works because organizations founded purely on the principle of profit, act against their potential profit, and think about the public first. they have high moral and ethical standards. and if they fail, they are accountable. because, corporations arent 'people', and the perpetrators of the failure can be punished. They never can just ditch the haywire corporation, and just start a new one with the immense profits - no, our system prevents that - you, sir, are accountable for all of your actions. you should remember that.

or, maybe these are only true in an alternate reality, and in the world we lived in, opposite of all of the above holds true.

Re:Voluntary self-regulation works. (1)

chrylis (262281) | more than 3 years ago | (#35448920)

If they're held responsible for the effects their actions have on the public, it can be amazing how quickly they respond. Give financial firms bailouts and limit the liability of oil companies, and then don't be surprised if they act irresponsibly.

Re:Voluntary self-regulation works. (1)

microbox (704317) | more than 3 years ago | (#35449448)

They are bailed out and excused because they are too big to fail. I don't think there is any way around that. However, the public should be able to demand scalps from within the company. Incompetence is not an excuse when it costs so many people so much. These people should be very concerned about the public good when they make decisions in a business that is too big to fail. I have no doubt that the real brass will create fall-guys and scape goats to cover for them, which is why we need a strong independent judicial arm that can investigate managerial malfeasance and neglect. Hence rules and regulations. But the regulators seem all bought up at the moment, and work on the side of the regulatee, instead of protecting the public good.

Re:Voluntary self-regulation works. (1)

chrylis (262281) | more than 3 years ago | (#35449844)

"Too big to fail" is utter nonsense. Make it clear that no business is going to get bailed out, and then let the failures fail.

Regulators always end up working more for the regulated industries than the public at large; it's known as regulatory capture and is a predictable result of the fact that the regulated industries spend lots of time lobbying the regulators on the specific issues while the public at large is too busy paying attention to Charlie Sheen.

Re:Voluntary self-regulation works. (1)

MysteriousPreacher (702266) | more than 3 years ago | (#35451342)

Yeah, it is insane. If a business reaches the mythical "to big to fail" status then it should either be subjected to intense scrutiny to ensure that some wanker at the wheel isn't presiding over the next bank crash, or just nationalise the damn thing.

Re:Voluntary self-regulation works. (1)

chrylis (262281) | more than 3 years ago | (#35452034)

Nationalizing it just ensures that some wanker will be at the wheel. Make it known that a crash means that the shareholders take a bath, and you'll get some serious scrutiny from institutional and other big players.

Re:Voluntary self-regulation works. (1)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 3 years ago | (#35453542)

If they are "too big to fail", then they are "too big to exist". Any company that is too big to fail should be split up for redundancy's sake.

Re:Voluntary self-regulation works. (1)

ShakaUVM (157947) | more than 3 years ago | (#35449852)

>>It has worked very well with Union Carbide, Goldman Sachs, BP, and many more.

Well, I'm pretty sure that net neutrality one way or the other isn't going to gas and kill an entire town's worth of Indians, hyperbolic debate aside. You should also realize that India had a 49% stake in Union Carbide, so your socialist belief about "government-run industries being more responsible" is complete bullshit. The USSR was the very worst nation on earth for the environment.

Voluntary self-regulation is typically a step an industry will take to prevent the government from regulating them. Oftentimes, the government actually prefers this, and will only step in to regulate if the industry fails to police itself. This threat is often good enough to keep the industry in line.

Re:Voluntary self-regulation works. (1)

Antisyzygy (1495469) | more than 3 years ago | (#35450020)

The USSR was the very worst nation on earth for the environment.

And now China is polluting so much it travels all the way to Montana.

Voluntary self-regulation is typically a step an industry will take to prevent the government from regulating them. Oftentimes, the government actually prefers this, and will only step in to regulate if the industry fails to police itself. This threat is often good enough to keep the industry in line.

Citation needed. I have yet to see any voluntary regulation work on any corporation when profits are at stake.

Re:Voluntary self-regulation works. (1)

ShakaUVM (157947) | more than 3 years ago | (#35450450)

>>Citation needed. I have yet to see any voluntary regulation work on any corporation when profits are at stake.

If the ESRB isn't a good example for you, then you can look at most professional sports leagues (FIFA, MLB, NFL, etc.) that regulate themselves to avoid having the government do it for them.

They seem to make plenty of money.

Re:Voluntary self-regulation works. (1)

Antisyzygy (1495469) | more than 3 years ago | (#35452454)

The Sports leagues have an incentive to keep games fair and sportsmanlike for the fans so its not really self-regulation in the sense that they are in danger of being regulated. I suspect sports leagues would be self-regulating without any government pressure. ESRB is a good example. However, do you really think that ISP or any telecom company will opt-in to net neutrality when there are buckets of money to be made by behaving in a monopolistic or oligopolistic way? I don't think so.

Re:Voluntary self-regulation works. (1)

ShakaUVM (157947) | more than 3 years ago | (#35452524)

>>The Sports leagues have an incentive to keep games fair and sportsmanlike for the fans so its not really self-regulation in the sense that they are in danger of being regulated. I suspect sports leagues would be self-regulating without any government pressure.

Well, yeah. Voluntary regulation doesn't mean there's no incentive to do so.

>>However, do you really think that ISP or any telecom company will opt-in to net neutrality when there are buckets of money to be made by behaving in a monopolistic or oligopolistic way?

My magic 8-ball is murky. But given the fact that engaging in bad behavior will call down the regulators on them... maybe.

But Comcast / Verizon / etc are pretty bad already at these sorts of things.

Re:Voluntary self-regulation works. (1)

Antisyzygy (1495469) | more than 3 years ago | (#35450002)

What boggles my mind, is that the blood of the wealthy classes hasn't been running down the streets if so many people feel the way you do. I am speaking metaphorically, I do not advocate killing people. There comes a point when you have to realize that the majority of Americans feel the same way you do and probably vote along the same lines as you, and yet these politicians who cater to big business keep getting re-elected or new ones come in. Its true, Congress has record low approval ratings by the average American. When do we stop bitching about it (or in your case, being satirical / sarcastic) and do something when we know the whole system doesn't actually put people in office you voted for?

Re:Voluntary self-regulation works. (1)

Americium (1343605) | more than 3 years ago | (#35450016)

I don't even know where to start with how poor your analysis is. Those companies were prevented from being regulated by the free market precisely because the government stepped in, well besides Union Carbide, but they got sued to the tune of almost $1 billion and that prevented who knows how many future incidents.

Goldman Sachs was selling derivatives, marketable because of the demand created by Fanny and Freddy, and had a huge market in large part because Glass–Steagall was repealed (so now any bank can use deposits to invest). When they went bankrupt they got bailed out, so instead of being jobless and broke, they are still rich because the government gave them money, and they gave AIG money, who owed a lot to Goldman for all those credit default swaps(bets that Goldman won) had to be paid. Now nobody will learn their lesson because the free market was prevented from working. Profits???? they went bankrupt.

BP was also about to go bankrupt, but then Obama said they wouldn't sue them that much and started toning down the rhetoric. In any event, the reason why people did high risk drilling in the gulf is because there is a $75 million cap in damages written in law by the US government, which obviously Obama is skirting to go after BP.. This law was too spur drilling. Without the low cap, unsafe deep water drilling would be much less likely to occur.

It's another classic case of liberals blaming companies for making decisions based on laws the liberals wanted passed. The only thing I can see people as seeing as bad is that the banks all sold their loans to Goldman to package up into derivatives, but that's because FDIC wasn't repealed, just Glass–Steagall, which essentially makes the US banking system guaranteed to be unstable and highly risky. This guaranteed your deposits, so the average person doesn't care what investment his bank is doing, not should he care, since the government guarantees the money. And at the same time, the bank can do whatever the hell they want with the money, super high risk, whatever, even though it's FDIC insured. So bankers gladly play high risk on Wallstreet since it's not their money, and the investors (regular people putting money in the bank), never look or care how they are doing.

Re:Voluntary self-regulation works. (1)

Americium (1343605) | more than 3 years ago | (#35450044)

The people getting rich from making stuff I want are the people that don't think about me? Nobody forced me to buy their product, yet I'm sure you want the government to forcefully take my money and waste it on something.

So if they guess wrong and lose money, they should not only go bankrupt, but each new successful business they create, be it changing the name/product or whatever, they should be chased down for their failure. The risk of hiring people and creating jobs does not always work out, and if it doesn't, they must be held responsible! And if they succeed and create thousands of jobs.... well then, now they must be truly evil and really not care about the public..... it's the fucking public that made them rich and profitable because they provided a service so good, the public willfully gave them money!

20/20 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35448912)

With transparency, you'll clearly see how you get screwed!

The inter net is already somewhat prioritized: ftp, udp, http... Why let the wealthy mess with a system that has served the populous so well for so long?

If ISPs need to "manage traffic" because they oversold bandwith, then they should be heavily penalized in some fashion AND lower their rates.

It's a good idea (1)

RJBeery (956252) | more than 3 years ago | (#35449172)

This is the first resolution that I feel is a good idea. LET THE MARKET DECIDE, not politicians and not CEOs. If a company signs up for Traffic Management Transparency, and is subsequently throttles their bandwidth based on data content, the lawsuits will make the cost savings of their throttling irrelevant. If another company publicly refuses to adhere to the TMT guidelines while remaining economically viable then the market has spoken. PLUS, since it's a voluntary code of practice it can be implemented IMMEDIATELY ALL OVER THE WORLD.

Also, net neutrality is a little more complex than "Big Corporation wants to charge me MORE for access to [political website]!!!!". While I personally find that possibility to be remote, I think that the possibility of 911-type emergency VOIP calls to be dependent upon a reliable connection to be in the very near future. Ask yourself if you want to be in a situation wherein you cannot connect to a 911 operator because the 13 year old fapper next door is downloading pr0n! Just sayin, it isn't necessarily as black and white as many seem to make it out to be.

Random thought...in the recesses of my mind, I believe I recall a "priority bit" in the TCP/IP spec...

Re:It's a good idea (1)

RareButSeriousSideEf (968810) | more than 3 years ago | (#35449336)

If we set the establishment letting politicians decide, we'll eventually get "priority tiers" with things like "crucial news" and "infotainment" and "incendiary soapbox," and Fox News and NPR will keep switching buckets with each swing of the pendulum. ~

Re:It's a good idea (1)

Antisyzygy (1495469) | more than 3 years ago | (#35450040)

Guess what? The CEO's and Politicians ARE the market. They control everything, but grant you some illusion that you have as much of an ability to achieve what they achieved in their life so you believe its all fair. Do you seriously think that a collection of day-traders moves the market? Human beings are random and irrational, and they do things perpendicular to eachother all the time. What occurs in market pricing most of the time is Brownian motion, which is basically totally random and extremely difficult to predict. Whenever you see a big move, its because big money traders (those with multi-millions or billions of dollars) have decided to reach consensus and move the market as they want it to. Day-traders make money by gambling. Professional traders make money by conspiracy, corruption, and playing along with eachother as they sap the money from those stupid enough to try to get into their game. Its like a poker champ toying with a novice.

Re:It's a good idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35450190)

So when a government entity or large pension fund is obliged to buy/sell an enormous volume of stock and inevitably gets screwed in the process, day-traders are just idiot gamblers who have no means of taking advantage of the anomaly?

I do believe that you have no actual knowledge of the subject that you are ranting about. Good day to you, sir.

And for users who would prefer cheaper service? (1)

RareButSeriousSideEf (968810) | more than 3 years ago | (#35449204)

First off, it seems like the title of this /. article is a bit misleading; they seem to be agreeing to traffic-shaping transparency, not necessarily neutrality.

But let's say there was a neutrality provision put in place prohibiting traffic shaping. Under those rules, how would providers ration service if total usage was regularly exceeding their capacity? If they beef up their networks enough to accommodate the consumers eating bandwidth at >= 80% of their downstream speed (a group that may well grow in numbers if throttling and shaping were verboten), should the rest of the customer base have to subsidize it? What about the low-income users who just need access to email and interwebz at the minimum cost possible, and in exchange would gladly have speeds limited for traffic matching the most strenuous of usage patterns? Do they get an option?

US users constantly shout that "unlimited means unlimited" (and I agree, it does, though few service agreements actually contain such a phrase), so a user with a connection averaging 2.5Mb downstream could eat up ~800GB/month. But another user might like to have 10Mb downstream speeds available, though he rarely exceeds 3GB in monthly usage. Shouldn't that guy be able to buy a plan that limited Hulu, Netflix and torrent speeds but gave him his 10Mb speeds for nearly everything else?

For me, this comes down to the right to contract. Why shouldn't people have the right to enter into any contract they wish to, with any terms they wish to, for any product or service that's legal under other terms, provided those terms are fully disclosed and agreeable to all parties to the contract? That seems like a pretty basic right.

Re:And for users who would prefer cheaper service? (1)

misexistentialist (1537887) | more than 3 years ago | (#35449384)

But another user might like to have 10Mb downstream speeds available, though he rarely exceeds 3GB in monthly usage. Shouldn't that guy be able to buy a plan that limited Hulu, Netflix and torrent speeds but gave him his 10Mb speeds for nearly everything else?

Why would this person need 10Mb ever? "Unlimited" internet means bandwidth limited to the maximum speed. Unlimited freedom means freedom to do stuff under the constraints of reality.

Re:And for users who would prefer cheaper service? (1)

RareButSeriousSideEf (968810) | more than 3 years ago | (#35449508)

What does it matter why? Maybe he wonders why anyone would need 800MB in a month, ever. Maybe he likes to get his 10MB attachments quickly. I have a 50MB connection st work, and it's fantastic, noticeably better even for the frequent small downloads I do there. I would love if they had the same speeds available for less money given a usage cap.

The point is, why does anyone need to impose a universal system that takes this sort of freedom away from others?

Re:And for users who would prefer cheaper service? (1)

guruevi (827432) | more than 3 years ago | (#35450176)

The reason (once again) why these types of 'contracts' shouldn't exist is because they'll end up being very one-sided. They are already one sided because you have NO CHOICE. It's either Provider 1 Residential or Provider 1 Commercial and if you're lucky you may have Provider 2 who has a totally different infrastructure.

The Internet is becoming a utility like electricity, postal mail, gas or water. There is no artificial limit on my water, my mail or my electricity because I live slightly farther away or because I use more in a month than my neighbor does. I literally pay a fixed fee for the service provider of my water, gas and electricity depending on the width of the pipe or kwh the wires can handle (bandwidth) and I pay another entity for what energy I consume (product). The ISP is the provider of the pipe, I cannot consume it's pipe, they do not cease to exist because I use them so my ISP charges me a fixed fee for the width of the pipe. I do occasionally pay another entity for products used on the Internet such as music or videos.

Those utilities you have at home are also regulated because you can't have a choice (there is only 1 line for each utility) so that's why the ISP's should be regulated.

Re:And for users who would prefer cheaper service? (1)

RareButSeriousSideEf (968810) | more than 3 years ago | (#35451070)

So is your issue more with having only one choice, or is it more with people and corporations being able to enter willy nilly into contracts you think are less mutually beneficial than they do? For example, would you withhold the regulation mandate for WiMax providers?

The funny thing is, the sort of thinking that says "companies must be forced to provide x because they are the only choice" is exactly what delays people from actually having another one. It helps keep competition to a minimum. People considering investing in ISP expansions and upgrades look for the most upside potential with the least risk, and the more power regulators wield over their operations, the greater risk that projected ROIs from an expanded service won't materialize. And incidentally, I have at least 5 choices for broadband; 3+ for DSL over the phone line, and another 2+ for cable broadband, so the 1-line-per-house phenomenon doesn't preclude competition if the area is inviting to providers.

Also, if wired providers are making inordinate profits, how much motivation is there for non-wired providers to move in? But if the margins are already slim and the non-wired providers get subsumed under the same regulatory net, then how much motivation is there? 20 years ago, there was no broadband in my area. I first had it available 10 -11 years ago, and it was barely a megabit. I pay less now than I did then, and I get about 15 megabits down on the 2nd cheapest plan. I watch the majority of my TV on Hulu and Netflix without stutter or buffering problems, and without exceeding the 250GB/month I'm supposed to limit myself to. WiMax in my area is relatively new, and it's regulated about like the wild wild west. Nobody has to offer me unmetered 4G WiMax service. Until recently, nobody did. Most carriers still don't, but one started to, so I switched. And already, the price has dropped, and it's pretty competitive with other providers' metered services. Now other providers are talking about offering unmetered plans. This all happened without lawmakers intervening on my behalf.

IMO, the evidence says we're best off in the long run when regulations only exist to discourage monopolies and outlaw artificial ones (like when municipalities get a kick-back for exclusively permitting one cable provider in).

Lastly, if a company ran the broadband cable to your house and that's all they did, then the "width of the pipe" argument would hold. But there is marginal cost to an ISP for additional units of bandwidth consumption, and a small percentage of users is usually responsible for making them upgrade their routing capacity when, for 80% of their customers with the same sized pipes, the current equipment would be fine for another 5 years. I can't see how it's fair to make 80% of normal users subsidize network upgrades necessitated only by the heavy usage patterns of the other 20%. Essentially, the more-well-off are telling the less-well-off, "I don't care if you want a less expensive plan. You can't have it. I want my torrents running 24/7, I want legislators to guarantee it like a civil right, and I don't want to pay extra for it. You having a minimalist option would threaten all that, and besides you're not smart enough to decide what you need anyway, so shut up and pony up for what I say the minimum service should be."

Re:And for users who would prefer cheaper service? (1)

guruevi (827432) | more than 3 years ago | (#35452192)

So is your issue more with having only one choice, or is it more with people and corporations being able to enter willy nilly into contracts you think are less mutually beneficial than they do? For example, would you withhold the regulation mandate for WiMax providers? Both - first of all, most people are stupid and don't know what they enter into which is not bad unless you are impacted. You may have noticed that as a collective, society is locking itself into these contracts even for those who don't want to (eg. the Euro, the Patriot Act, DMCA, ...). If your neighbors lock themselves into a contract with a provider that uses anti-competitive practices, you won't have much when it comes down to your choices. And people will simply pay for what is currently the best available option even if that is not the best for their own future. The other issue, if you only have one choice you are forced into a contract with that provider. Sure there are alternatives but they are usually not feasible (I could drill my own well or get satellite but how much would that cost). As far as the WiMAX providers go (and any wireless) they use up a shared, limited resource, all usage of shared limited resource should be both open to new business as well as regulated against anti-competitive practices otherwise those who can afford the biggest amplifiers win. Also, if wired providers are making inordinate profits, how much motivation is there for non-wired providers to move in? Wireless and wired are different services imho. Yes you can get to the Internet wireless but a wired system will always have more bandwidth. For soho and commercial, wireless is not an alternative. In the end, everything needs to be connected to a wired provider at some point. If in your area you have 1 wired provider and 10 wireless, the wireless will always cost more than the wired providers since the cost of the wireless is the cost of the wired to the wireless company + overhead and profit. There needs to be more wired providers first (currently there are maybe 14 in the whole US) so the wireless providers can build out an infrastructure based on competitive pricing for bandwidth. You're lucky in your area and that probably happened because of regulation that made it easier for new business to be established OR a true open and free market which is very rare in the developed world. In my area, there are 2 wired providers, 1 viable wireless for home internet and 2 wireless providers who are actually subsidiaries of the 2 wired providers (you have to bundle them with their wired solutions). The wireless provider has to buy it's wires from the 2 wired providers. 1 of the wired providers purchased a contract for 100 years to be the established DSL provider while the other just purchased all the CATV copper the government put in the ground for pennies. So wireless is freakin' expensive, slow and capped. Wired is slightly less expensive, slow and capped. Also, 250GB - you can burn that in a couple of days with full IPTV, Hulu and Netflix. But there is marginal cost to an ISP for additional units of bandwidth consumption And it is really marginal near to non-existant. The providers buy in bulk bandwidth and have to put in the equipment whether you use it or not. As shown before, those people that are now using much will soon be the market demand. They should follow those and try to be competitive against others to fulfill those needs instead of spending their money on bribing officials to lock down the market and waging war against new businesses.

Re:And for users who would prefer cheaper service? (1)

RareButSeriousSideEf (968810) | more than 3 years ago | (#35456406)

We can definitely agree that there are deficiencies in the menu of current offerings; the market isn't perfect and never will be. At the end of the day we both want the fastest service possible with the most choice for the least cost. I just think that prior experience in most other industries suggests that less regulatory intervention brings that about faster than political micro-managing does. Our differences of opinion aside, thanks for a thoughtful conversation on the topic.

They should follow those and try to be competitive against others to fulfill those needs instead of spending their money on bribing officials to lock down the market and waging war against new businesses.

I wholeheartedly agree, and that's probably my biggest argument against putting the decision in politicians' hands. Governments should ideally just do things like building big 3ft square commonly-maintained wire channels (or similarly high-capacity towers, as suits the terrain and climate) that any provider could lease by the cross-section and linear distance. Consumers have a few different lines from the house to the junction, and for each they can decide which spigot to attach to. If governments were constrained to simply maintaining the levelness of the playing field and lowering barriers to new entrants -- instead of micro-managing the industry -- tempted businesses would have much less opportunity to conspire and collude with politicians against consumers.

And people say the U.S. isn't socialist. (0)

J'raxis (248192) | more than 3 years ago | (#35449954)

So in a country that people deride as stereotypically socialist, net neutrality is accomplished voluntarily, whereas in the purportedly "free market" U.S., the government tried to coerce ISPs to do this. What's wrong with this picture?

Our corporatocracy is more highly developed... (1)

ibsteve2u (1184603) | more than 3 years ago | (#35449986)

So in a country that people deride as stereotypically socialist, net neutrality is accomplished voluntarily, whereas in the purportedly "free market" U.S., the government tried to coerce ISPs to do this. What's wrong with this picture?

We tend to regulate here in the U.S. 'cuz we have a much more highly-developed corporate organism whose ability and willingness to consume anything - from human beings to the planet itself - has been on exhibition continuously for over 100 years.

(Doesn't that sound better than America has displayed a startling capability for breeding a scummier, greedier subspecies of humans?)

Re:And people say the U.S. isn't socialist. (1)

cyber-vandal (148830) | more than 3 years ago | (#35452036)

The UK is stereotypically socialist? In which universe?

Ofcom not expected to enforce any tough new rule (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35450158)

Because Ofcom are a bunch of pussies staffed by the golf buddies of the people who control who goes on in the UK's ISP industry.

Ofcom, Ofwat - ineffective useless morons who pick up a paycheck for doing nothing, rather like their friends at the FSA (Financial Services Authority).

Yet another misleading article summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35453584)

This Code of Practice is actually the complete opposite of net neutrality. Its all about being open about HOW they shape traffic, not NOT shaping traffic.
The Code of Practice also says that all LEGAL content should be accessible, not simply that all content should be accessible.
It seems to clearly promote the idea that ISPs should/will start blocking sites arbitrarily deemed "probably illegal" by themselves, such as Pirate Bay, Wikileaks, etc etc.

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