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Verizon Announces Pay-Per-Use 'Turbo Boost' For Smartphones

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the insert-coin-insert-coin-insert-coin dept.

Networking 129

renek writes "In one of the most brazen attacks on net neutrality to date, Verizon has announced it will offer a so called 'Turbo Boost' for smart phones that run on its wireless network. 'Verizon will publish an API that could allow consumers to 'turbocharge' the network bandwidth their smartphone apps use for a small fee, executives said Tuesday. Verizon anticipates that a customer running an app on a smartphone will have the option to dynamically snatch more bandwidth for that app, if network congestion slows it down, said Hugh Fletcher, associate director for technology in Verizon's Product Development and Technology team. The app, however, must be running what Verizon referred to as the network optimization API it is currently developing, and hopes to publish by the third quarter of 2012.'"

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129 comments

If... (3, Informative)

msauve (701917) | more than 2 years ago | (#37954674)

this is simply local cache (like Akamai), which is what it sounds like, it's a service, not a violation of net neutrality.

Re:If... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37954708)

Sounds more like a fob-code like method of QoSing your connection ahead of the other plebs

Re:If... (1)

gman003 (1693318) | more than 2 years ago | (#37954740)

Funny, from how I read it (even the article!), it sounds more like "pay $0.02 to give your packets priority over everyone else" than any sort of caching, mirroring or other legitimate practices.

Something like Akamai doesn't even make sense for smartphones, where the biggest bottleneck is usually between the tower and the phone, not between the ISP and the source server.

Re:If... (2)

msauve (701917) | more than 2 years ago | (#37954786)

That's still net neutral. I don't see anything here which favors any particular service/provider.

Re:If... (1, Informative)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 2 years ago | (#37954858)

It favors those who pay more. That's the whole problem that net neutrality is against.

Essentially, it promotes monopolies by ensuring that big, established companies can degrade the (relative) quality of competing services by smaller companies, who can't afford to pay for the privilege.

Re:If... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37954880)

Wha? This is about an end user being able to pay more money to get a speed boost when they want it.

Re:If... (4, Informative)

msauve (701917) | more than 2 years ago | (#37954966)

"It favors those who pay more. That's the whole problem that net neutrality is against."

Huh? You don't pay your ISP more for more bandwidth today? It's not reasonable/acceptable for an ISP to charge on that basis?

If anything, this seems like a good thing, since it's granular, and pay-as-you-go -- instead of simply paying for monthly bandwidth you may or may not take advantage of, simply buy a minimal level of bandwidth, and pay more as needed.

Finally, you're wrong. Net neutrality is all about preventing service providers from charging unfavorable rates for access based on the service (especially competitive services, e.g. charging more for Netflix bandwidth than for a cable Internet provider's own IPTV offerings). There's nothing to indicate that is the case in this instance, that they would charge less for increased B/W to their own services than other ones.

Re:If... (2)

davester666 (731373) | more than 2 years ago | (#37956302)

But if you think about it, it can easily be against net neutrality, but just in a sneaky way.

First, it means they have to throttle your network connection, otherwise why would you push to get a burst. And if everybody does it in your area, you get no benefit anyway, unless Verizon holds back some bandwidth from being used at all. And if they do hold back some bandwidth from everybody, then what are they selling you, 90% of 4G? 80%?

Second, suddenly bandwidth becomes low enough for streaming to be problematic, so if you want to stream netflix or do facetime or skype, you need to push for a burst. And keep pushing to keep watching. So sad you can't use that VOIP app without paying extra. Maybe you should just make that long distance call using Verizon.

This is just a way to charge you again for what you've already paid for.

Re:If... (1)

msauve (701917) | more than 2 years ago | (#37956620)

"First, it means they have to throttle your network connection, otherwise why would you push to get a burst."

No, it does not imply that at all. It works the same way any other network QoS works, by putting a priority on certain packets. There's no throttling required in order to offer a premium service - wireless bandwidth is naturally constrained, multiple users compete for a limited amount of bandwidth. This simply allows a user to pay to have some of their packets placed at the head of the line.

Re:If... (1)

thejynxed (831517) | more than 2 years ago | (#37956792)

There's every indication that they would charge less for their own services. Their services will come either with the "Turbo" built-in automatically (More than likely it will say Turbo-Enabled or something, while in the background the bandwidth will always have been there and given the highest priority in QoS to begin with), or it will be "free" for their services and the services of "favored" partners, aka, the ones who they've managed to extract a hefty fee from.

Everyone else will have to pay for artificially reduced service and then pay again per-use to have it brought back up to par of the service level they already signed up for.

This is just an end-run around and a nose-thumb at any NN rules and another money-grab that is pretty typical of Verizon Wireless. They kill several birds with this stone (artificially create bandwidth scarcity, increase revenues/profits based upon that artificial bandwidth scarcity, reduce infrastructure roll-outs, avoid any pesky FCC rules until the FCC gets enough complaints that they finally do something).

Re:If... (1)

afabbro (33948) | more than 2 years ago | (#37954968)

It favors those who pay more.

By your logic, a company that offers 1Mbps, 7Mbps, and 14Mbps at-home DSL at different rates is somehow violating net neutrality.

Re:If... (1)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 2 years ago | (#37954992)

That's wrong.

Net Neutrality ("NN") is the idea that a service provider does not give preferential treatment, or penalize, any network traffic based on any financial interests they have in said traffic.

This has nothing to do with NN, since it is not the financial interests of the service provider at work, but the whims of the users themselves.

Sure, Verizon may make more money, but this is *equal* opportunity to any application out there to incorporate this new feature. The feature itself is simply a choice to go faster. I fail to see how that is any different than temporarily purchasing a faster connection.

If Verizon chooses what applications can benefit, and has deals favoring specific content providers with "strategic business relationships" or with its own content, than that would be violating the principles of NN.

That does not seem to be the case since they will be publishing an API that is seemingly available to all software developers.

Re:If... (1)

fferreres (525414) | more than 2 years ago | (#37955786)

For the very reason that it's not upgrading your bandwith. You already had it. I didn't RTFA but from summary, you are prileging your traffic AGAINST others that paid for a given bandwith. Their skype wont run unless they pay, and the price will be exactly that amount that maximizes profit for the carrier, creating infinite incentive for bottlenecks so that my service is usable. Those that apologized are mistaken. This is a horrible precedent. Starting with this API, network congestion is an asset to the carriers. Prepare your wallets if you play online games, use VOIP or anything that requires quality of service.

Re:If... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37955202)

No... Users pay in app for faster speeds. The company that sold the app has nothing to do with it.

Re:If... (1)

einhverfr (238914) | more than 2 years ago | (#37956338)

It favors those who pay more. That's the whole problem that net neutrality is against.

Essentially, it promotes monopolies by ensuring that big, established companies can degrade the (relative) quality of competing services by smaller companies, who can't afford to pay for the privilege.

There's a big problem here. A lot of Net Neutrality proponents I have talked to see this as a way to protect VOIP. However in reality, if you can't guarantee quality of service, I don't see how you can reliably converge networks (also assuming Network Neutrality only applies on IP and higher levels, then it wouldn't affect MPLS backbones which could offer QoS guarantees to a circuit-switched client network (PSTN) while refusing to offer them to a packet switched IP-based network.

So where does that leave voice services? Not over the standard IP networ, that's for sure.

This is a major reason I am opposed to network neutrality. I think you'd get more mileage by requiring behavioral solutions to behavioral problems (i.e. better antitrust laws) than you get by technology mandates/bans (network neutrality laws).

Re:If... (1)

meerling (1487879) | more than 2 years ago | (#37956744)

You have a network that is congested, so you pay the provider extra money, and for a short time, they make your data the priority over everyone else, which of course means they go down in priority. That totally favors not just their own company/customers, but only those customers that pay more money. And yes, it really would degrade service for everyone not paying.

It's the whole slices of pie thing. If it's fair and everyone gets an equal slice, no biggie, unless too many people want some, then the slices get smaller (network congestion, not enough bandwidth to go around). Then along comes Fred who's friends with the guy serving the pie, he slips Fred some cash, and suddenly he's got a slice that's bigger. Since neither the number of people wanting slices hasn't changed nor has the pie gotten larger (the network didn't miraculously gain capacity) everybody else's pieces get smaller. So you see, they not only get a larger piece of pie, they take away pie from everyone else.

This is exactly the types of shenanigans Net Neutrality is supposed to prevent.

Re:If... (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 2 years ago | (#37954746)

this is simply local cache (like Akamai), which is what it sounds like, it's a service, not a violation of net neutrality.

Even if it's grabbing more data channels for a fee, that's just price rationing, so long as it's available to all comers. Burstable bandwidth isn't a new idea - but if it's billable you don't want it automatic (or there'd be another outcry).

And, hey, the 1% doesn't need to wait for their downloads.

Re:If... (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 2 years ago | (#37954824)

Even if it's grabbing more data channels for a fee, that's just price rationing

The point is that it's "price rationing" for the providers of the content, rather than consumers. Cellphone users already pay for their bandwidth, but this makes it so that you as a provider also have to pay if you want to get priority over other apps (or, rather, to prevent them from getting priority over you).

So I don't know what you mean by "just" price rationing. This is exactly why we need net neutrality in the first place, practically a textbook example of what people said will ultimately happen.

Re:If... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37954874)

Uh.. you as a provider, what? This is so that a user running an app that includes the appropriate API can, at the user's discretion and dime, get a priority transfer.

Do you... get all similarly uppity at the mail service? Because everybody pays basic postage for basic delivery, but you know.. those fucking bastards with their next day air service are just ruining general mail delivery. You have to pay for next day to prevent other shippers getting priority over you!

Re:If... (1)

Sancho (17056) | more than 2 years ago | (#37954884)

Users could have the option to pay for the extra bandwidth via a separate microtransaction API Verizon is developing and hopes to have in place by the end of 2012, Fletcher said.

So it's users paying to be put in a higher priority queue. It's possible that providers would have to pay to license the API, but I didn't see anything about that in the article.

Re:If... (1)

msauve (701917) | more than 2 years ago | (#37955002)

"Cellphone users already pay for their bandwidth"

Actually, AFAIK, today cell phone users typically pay based on the volume of data (newer plans charge based on GB/mo) they use. This service extends that so they can also pay for improved bandwidth/latency (i.e. QoS).

Net neutrality is all about preventing service providers from gaining competitive (monetary) advantage for their own services, not about pricing based on free market supply and demand.

Re:If... (2)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 2 years ago | (#37955100)

You're right - I had initially missed the fact that they're still charging the user here (though I would be extremely surprised if, pretty soon, there won't be an option for app author to pay in lieu of the user, with some convenient flat rate fee...).

However, there is still a catch: if they merely wanted to let users pay for extra network speed, they'd just need to make their own app that lets them do so. Indeed, such things already exist, though I'm not aware of any examples among U.S. cellular providers. But, instead, they offer the API that lets developers integrate that functionality on a per-app basis. It sounds like it actually means that, if you, say, pay to get "turbo mode" in Skype, it will not apply to any other app used on the phone - otherwise why bother with app integration at all? If so, they've found a nice (and not very ethical, if you ask me). way to make their customers pay over and over again for the same thing. But, yeah, I guess this doesn't touch on net neutrality in its current shape.

Net neutrality is all about preventing service providers from gaining competitive (monetary) advantage for their own services

Not so. The canonical example of net non-neutrality is when ISPs provide services at some default (i.e. artificially degraded) speed, but allow content providers to pay extra for the privilege of having their traffic delivered at full speed - exactly what is proposed here, except that a different party pays for it. So it's almost there, they just need to make one last step - and I'll be surprised if they won't do so eventually.

Re:If... (1)

msauve (701917) | more than 2 years ago | (#37955176)

"Not so. The canonical example of net non-neutrality is when ISPs provide services at some default (i.e. artificially degraded) speed, but allow content providers to pay extra for the privilege of having their traffic delivered at full speed"

Yes, so. Why shouldn't both endpoints be treated equally (either "user" or "service" can pay for improved bandwidth/QoS), as long as the ISP isn't favoring their own services? The only difficulty is in how they would "charge" themselves to offer improved service, in order to maintain an equitable basis with competitors.

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Re:If... (1)

tsotha (720379) | more than 2 years ago | (#37954828)

I doubt it. The provision for different levels of service on a per-connection basis is baked into LTE. It's the only way you can do VOIP on a congested network without getting unacceptably crappy sound quality.

That said, I don't have a big problem with this. Bandwidth isn't an unlimited resource, and people who simply must stream HD movies to their mobile can pay a bit more.

Re:If... (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 2 years ago | (#37954870)

That's not the point. The problem is that e.g. Netflix can have a seemingly better service than e.g. Vdio simply because they are a bigger company and can afford it.

Imagine if on your desktop using IE was much faster than Firefox or Chrome just because Microsoft has more money than Mozilla to pay for "priority". How would the browser landscape be today?

uh, no (1)

way2trivial (601132) | more than 2 years ago | (#37954932)

it's like this.
I can pay 14.95 for dialup,
25.95 for dsl
  42.95 for cable modem
64.99 for fios
or 499 for a t-1 fraction.

I choose to connect to vdio or netflix, after I pay for my connection.

the payee is the USER of the web service, which every service they choose to use, verizon will charge the user for bandwidth

Re:If... (1)

msauve (701917) | more than 2 years ago | (#37955284)

"Netflix can have a seemingly better service than e.g. Vdio simply because they are a bigger company and can afford it."

And why not? In your example, it's the Netflix subscriber which is actually paying. Why shouldn't they have the choice of paying for better service? Why should Vdio and Netflix be treated differently, as long as both are offered the same price for the same service level? Should I not be able to pay for improved service at both ends of a home media server - mobile device connection, where I am both provider and service, if I so choose? As long as the carrier doesn't use their position to have a service cost advantage, it's still net neutral. You're confusing transport, where net neutrality should apply, with services.

Re:If... (1)

stanlyb (1839382) | more than 2 years ago | (#37955074)

When they start to charge for a bottle of water, then you know the end is near...., oh, wait, but they actually do!!!

Re:If... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37955592)

No, this is nothing like Akamai.
 
Akamai co-locates their cache servers in each of the major ISP's networks. They pay the ISPs for this arrangement. They then charge the producers of the content (not the consumers) to distribute bits to their cache servers. The producers have an incentive to do this for two reasons:

  1. 1. They no longer have to pay transit fees for data, as it is originated from the domain on which it is consumed. This is usually saves them money.
  2. 2. Latency of transmission is dramatically reduced because of (1).

Instead, this is charging consumers for performance for which they have already paid.

Re:If... (1)

stephanruby (542433) | more than 2 years ago | (#37955772)

Yes, but does Akamai charge you the consumer as well? That answer is no. Akamai does not charge both the site and the consumer to connect them together.

Also, Akamai does not get special privileges, special considerations for eminent domain, exemptions from some types of liability, nor subsidizations from the government like most cell networks and other common carriers do.

Re:If... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37956194)

FUCK VERIZON! and all the rest of the telcos. They are as bad as - or worse - than the financial whores who are stealing America blind. They are crimping America's potential. Damn them all! I wish OWS would identify and name the senior executives at companies like this and march in front of their homes, for months!

IT IS NOT LOCAL CACHE (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#37956222)

"I think one of the things that you could do is guaranteed quality of service,"
"I think you could anticipate that maybe you'll have a Skype call that starts going bad," Fletcher said. "Wouldn't you like to be able to hit the turbo button and have that come back up to be a good call?"
"The network optimization API will likely expose attributes like jitter, latency, bandwidth, and priority to app developers, Fletcher said."
"When asked if Verizon would put the turbo button as an option that would be presented to the customer using the phone, Fletcher replied, "Absolutely, yes.""

so it's not about local cache. it's about getting network priority by paying extra per day. NOTHING FUCKING ELSE. it's not a violation of net neutrality per se, as anyone could buy that turbo access. but it's about selling you a service and then selling that same service to someone else if he pays more or putting you at the same level if you pay more. and uh wanna bet that they just happen to non-optimize for skype on their non turbo service..

Re:If... (1)

meerling (1487879) | more than 2 years ago | (#37956730)

No, it's not a cache, unless it has time travel to allow it to cache Skype data streams that don't even exist yet...
(Yes, it was Hugh Fletcher, associate director for technology in Verizon's Product Development and Technology team that used Skype as an example.)

How is this different... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37954706)

...from an ISP offering (for example) 1Mbps and 10Mbps connections at different prices?

It's actually better for the consumer, since you can buy the increased speed for a small amount of time as opposed to being forced to buy for a month or even multiple years at a time.

As long as this API is open to all developers, it's not a violation of Net Neutrality.

Re:How is this different... (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#37954800)

The difference is that in theory they're supposed to provision a certain amount of bandwidth for 10mbps and a lesser amount for 1mbps, in this case there's a lot of sleight of hand that can go on to make it hard for customers to know if they're getting what they're paying for.

Testing a connection for the provided bandwidth is relatively straightforward if imperfect, this would be an absolute nightmare to verify.

Re:How is this different... (1)

msauve (701917) | more than 2 years ago | (#37955092)

"The difference is that in theory they're supposed to provision a certain amount of bandwidth for 10mbps and a lesser amount for 1mbps"

What US cell provider are you on, which currently provides different bandwidth to different users (as opposed to charging by volume, and ignoring 3g/4g equipment capabilities)?

Re:How is this different... (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#37955164)

You're being obtuse, the example was ISP, which implies not cell phone.

Re:How is this different... (1)

msauve (701917) | more than 2 years ago | (#37955356)

You're being off topic. The discussion is about a new cellular network service Verizon intends to offer.

Re:How is this different... (1)

AdamWill (604569) | more than 2 years ago | (#37956410)

but the OP asked "How is this different from an ISP offering (for example) 1Mbps and 10Mbps connections at different prices?", and this entire sub-thread is a discussion of that OP's example. So *you're* the one who's off-topic, bub.

Re:How is this different... (0)

tukang (1209392) | more than 2 years ago | (#37954830)

It's not. In fact, it's EXACTLY the same. They're trying to charge 2 different people for the EXACTLY SAME THING.

Re:How is this different... (2)

msauve (701917) | more than 2 years ago | (#37955390)

"it's EXACTLY the same."

No, it's very different. Today, US cell providers charge based on volume (GB/mo, but everyone gets the same bandwidth), on a long term contractual basis. This service offers fine-grained bandwidth increases (QoS), on an as-needed, pay-as-you-go, basis.

Re:How is this different... (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 2 years ago | (#37954832)

The question is, does the consumer always pay? Or can the app developer choose to foot the bill, so to speak, and get a permanent "turbo boost" for his app?

No developer will pay for this. (1)

blanks (108019) | more than 2 years ago | (#37954714)

So now software developers will have to pay a fee to get "good" data speeds?

And to top that off now developers will need to design 2 versions of their application for every type of version phone / OS and everyone else. Way to go guys.

Re:No developer will pay for this. (3, Interesting)

blanks (108019) | more than 2 years ago | (#37954752)

Did a quick re-read and it turns out they are going to offer it for free to developers in hopes of forcing customers to click on a button to get charged for better network speeds.

Somehow if their network is too saturated this client api will speed up their network they are saying. Oh, no it wont, they will simply throttle other paying customers while charging you an additional fee for a service you are all ready paying for.

Oh and a great quote from the article :

  "And just because you request a high quality of service doesn't mean you're gonna get it."

Re:No developer will pay for this. (1)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 2 years ago | (#37954808)

Oh and a great quote from the article : "And just because you request a high quality of service doesn't mean you're gonna get it."

Well naturally. I expect that this will primarily be used in areas with poor signal quality. Prioritization doesn't affect the Faraday properties of the building you're in.

Re:No developer will pay for this. (1)

stephanruby (542433) | more than 2 years ago | (#37955834)

Did a quick re-read and it turns out they are going to offer it for free to developers in hopes of forcing customers to click on a button to get charged for better network speeds.

Just like the Amazon app store, there is also no reason they won't start charging developers for this service (in a reverse-auction fashion) once they have enough of them using it. Reverse-auction seems to be the new buzzword for carriers these days (not just the Amazon app store). Carriers are already starting to reverse-auction us (the developers) for better placement. The next logical step is to start reverse-auctioning us for better latency as well.

Turbo Button (2)

rossdee (243626) | more than 2 years ago | (#37954716)

I've been around long enough to remember the Turbo Button - it slowed the CPU to 8Mhz to be compatible with some games.

Re:Turbo Button (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 2 years ago | (#37954844)

I've been around long enough to remember the Turbo Button - it slowed the CPU to 8Mhz to be compatible with some games.

Oh, man - I had a bunch of games on 5.25" floppies that where the speed of the game depended on how fast the processor was! I had to give up on Lunar Lander after I'd upgraded to a 20MHz 80286...

Re:Turbo Button (1)

matazar (1104563) | more than 2 years ago | (#37954888)

My first computer had that button. I never could actually figure out what it did. Of course that never stopped me from randomly pressing it hoping something awesome would happen.

Re:Turbo Button (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37954988)

My first computer had that button.

My first computer had that button. It was always on and I still wonder why they put it there.

Re:Turbo Button (2)

maeglin (23145) | more than 2 years ago | (#37954912)

I've been around long enough to remember the Turbo Button - it slowed the CPU to 8Mhz to be compatible with some games.

I believe it actually slowed the ISA bus down to be compatible with a slower standard and the CPU was clocked at a fixed multiplier so, as a side-effect, it too slowed.
 
Anyway, I just enjoyed it 'cause it was an actual button on my PC. I wired the PC speaker through it to allow me to enable/disable to bleeper if it got out of control. (I changed the turbo setting using the keyboard lock.)

Re:Turbo Button (1)

anorlunda (311253) | more than 2 years ago | (#37956654)

In the 70s there was a minicomputer called the Interdata 1. It had a speed knob. The idea was to allow slowing down the CPU enough to watch instructions execute one at a time for debug purposes. In real life, programmers criticized for writing too slow programs would try to crank the knob up another notch. They would twist harder and harder until the knob snapped off. Every Interdata 1 I ever saw had the knob snapped off.

Turbo (1)

doesnothingwell (945891) | more than 2 years ago | (#37954718)

Didn't we leave this turbo marketing turd behind in the 80's? Please get NASA started on the B ark, before its too late. I think I saw turbo toothpaste just recently and it lessened my will to live.

Re:Turbo (2)

istartedi (132515) | more than 2 years ago | (#37954954)

Yeah, but this is cyberturbo. I hope you don't kill yourself after reading that.

More channels, more power (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37954728)

This sounds like (on the CDMA system) that they simply allocate more channels to the device. The way CDMA works is every device speaks and listens at the same time, but only pull the the data they asked for.

On Cable "turbo boost" just temporary allocates more channels in the same way.

It's like saying "I have a pipe 14Mbits big, how many 1Mbit pipes are available?" with the network normally giving you only 6 pipes unless you trigger the boost, and drops one pipe from 6 other users who aren't really using it.

Special switch on the phone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37954738)

They need to put a special switch on the phone, and a 7-segment LED readout. Sounds like more hassle than it's worth. Just paint '33' on your phone and it'll do the same thing.

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for a small fee (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37954798)

"for a small fee"? When has a cellphone company done that on an ala carte basis? Usually things are only affordable if you buy way more of it than you need; if you need something on a one-time basis, they typically charge you a thousand times more for it.

In other words... (5, Insightful)

milbournosphere (1273186) | more than 2 years ago | (#37954812)

"We'll sell you on bandwidth speed we don't have, and then charge you to actually use it."
This is bullshit for quite a few reasons.

Re:In other words... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37954854)

Somehow being able to buy yourself out of a network congestion seem like a slap in the face in net neutrality. What if the congestion wasn't there in the first place...
 

Re:In other words... (2)

Solandri (704621) | more than 2 years ago | (#37955552)

It's worse than that. "We'll take away regular bandwidth that other customers have already paid for, and give it to you instead if you pay us extra."

I have no problem with them charging extra if they're going to add bandwidth and sell it to people who pay extra. But if they're going to implement this without increasing bandwidth, they're robbing Peter to pay Paul, without compensating Peter for the decreased bandwidth they're subjecting him to. Unlike regular economics, network bandwidth is a zero-sum game if the carriers aren't taking steps to increase it.

Re:In other words... (1)

Memophage (88273) | more than 2 years ago | (#37956156)

Right. Giving Verizon incentive to slow down your traffic in the middle of your Skype call so you'll pay them more money? Doesn't sound like a good idea. I'm pretty sure that would be a deal-breaker for me.

Discount ro run slow? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37954956)

How about a discount when I agree to run slow. Or maybe they could pay me when I don't use my phone or it's off.

And all of a sudden.. (4, Insightful)

SuperCharlie (1068072) | more than 2 years ago | (#37954970)

Nothing seems to work so great without "turbo boost"..

Re:And all of a sudden.. (1)

green1 (322787) | more than 2 years ago | (#37955044)

And that's the real problem, I have no problem with them giving extra speed for extra money (that's how it works on my DSL line at home, my 15 meg package costs more than a 6 meg package, but less than a 25) Unfortunately though, it seems highly unlikely that this new feature will magically have more bandwidth than exists today. Instead it seems more likely that they'll simply drop everyone's current speeds down, and then charge people extra to get back to what they thought they were already paying for...

Re:And all of a sudden.. (1)

SuperCharlie (1068072) | more than 2 years ago | (#37955082)

Exactly.. there should be some kind of minimum level of service (maybe like their advertised rate to their data center perhaps?) they must provide you or rebate some of your fee.. but no.. there is enough lobbying to make sure *that* will never happen.

Re:And all of a sudden.. (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 2 years ago | (#37955752)

Question - does any cell carrier advertise the speeds they give?

All I see and hear are "blazing 3G" or "awesome 4G superspeed", which doesn't really say anything.

Anytime speeds are mentioned, it's theoretical perfect network speeds, like 14.4Mbps for the iPhone 4S, 21Mbps for "4G" phones, etc.

Re:And all of a sudden.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37955576)

"Okay, Kitt. Turbo-boost!" The phone flies out of your hand and flies across the street, shattering into a million pieces. "Sorry about that, Michael. I feel that I might have overcompensated."

Have I Said "Verision Can Blow Me" This Week? (1)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 2 years ago | (#37955068)

Hmm... Twice. Oh well. Version can blow me.

You know, the vast majority of the time, I and my cell phone are in range of a wifi network. If my cellphone's a suitably unlocked Android and can connect to an Asterisk server somewhere out there on the internet using Sipdroid, the vast majority of the time I really don't need to talk to a cellular service at all. The more Version and the other cellular services make me say they can blow me, the more effort I'm going to be putting into making that strategy viable. So keep it up, fuckers, because one day it will be revealed to people that you are no longer necessary, and when that day comes I'll be quite happy to tell you you can blow me for the last time.

Re:Have I Said "Verision Can Blow Me" This Week? (1)

erayd (1131355) | more than 2 years ago | (#37955212)

...can connect to an Asterisk server somewhere out there on the internet using Sipdroid...

Android 2.3+ has a native SIP client that integrates with the dialer - no need for a third-party app at all.

Re:Have I Said "Verision Can Blow Me" This Week? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37955268)

Sounds like you might be interested in Line2 by Toktumi [line2.com] . I just signed up after only 2 days of their free trial.

It is basically a commercialized version of Sipdroid with incoming number simplified.

I signed up for for the Pro account for use of a (small) business line to keep my personal and work life seperate, not to mention unlimited incoming and outgoing calls for $15/month. Works over Wifi, 3G/4G or cell network. I opted for a vanity toll free number but i doubt you would need that.

Depending on where you live, you can port in your existing number or a new local number for free.

An interesting deal (4, Insightful)

tftp (111690) | more than 2 years ago | (#37955096)

As many already said, this has nothing to do with net neutrality. However it has everything to deal with fraud.

You, as a customer, are buying a cell phone and a plan that comes with it. You are expecting certain performance of the wireless link, and you are getting it for the moment. But later the cell operator decides to sell your bandwidth to the highest bidder! In the end everybody pays the "turbo" fee to get any bandwidth at all, but everybody is back to square one... except the cell company who has now more money. Time for the "hyper-turbo" sales campaign then, to fleece the sheep once more?

Re:An interesting deal (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37955984)

Does no one think that they won't intentionally slow data streams to encourage the use of their shiny new profit maker?

Network upgrades? What network upgrades? (1)

webdog314 (960286) | more than 2 years ago | (#37955134)

So much for their incentive to upgrade. Now if their network is overloaded, it's a selling point. Brilliant marketing actually, even if it is a slap in the face to net neutrality.

Hay..wait a minute.. (2)

SuperCharlie (1068072) | more than 2 years ago | (#37955138)

What if the "turbo boost" is still within the advertised, agreed upon, paid for bandwidth.. how can "network congestion" magically appear and disappear from within the same level of service?

Not anti neutrality at all (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37955144)

Berners-Lee definition is "If I pay to connect to the Net with a given quality of service, and you pay to connect to the net with the same or higher quality of service, then you and I can communicate across the net, with that quality of service," and its a very useful definition. I don't see anything wrong with Verizon charging more for better service. This would be a violation of net nuetrality if Verizon made decisions based on the content. This may be nothing more than the ability to dynamically pay for better service.

Re:Not anti neutrality at all (2)

rrossman2 (844318) | more than 2 years ago | (#37955318)

The issue is it sounds like it isn't the same quality of service. The cell phone providers are placing caps and other limits in place with claims the networks can't handle the increased demand. So if they are already congested, and people are paying more to have their apps/services bumped ahead of others who are paying the rates imposed to have certain speeds etc, its just a money maker for the cell carriers. Pretty soon you'd have to pay the extra fee just to have the same service quality you had before they offered the boost wince everyone is now doing it.

Think about it as the line skip at an amusement part. When its new and only a few use it, well its ok. But as more and more use it, suddenly the "skip the line" line is now just how the old regular line was, with all the people paying more getting pretty much the same service they had before, and those left in the original line are completely hosed. The only way you can keep this for getting out of control is to place limits on the "line skipping" (Turbo mode), but what incentive does the company have to limit it since everyone will end up paying as the "original line" gets worse and worse, and there's no other real options since the phones are locked, they're most likely under a contract, and I'm sure the other big carrier will end up doing the same thing.

Uh huh (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 2 years ago | (#37955172)

Umm can we get slower but unlimited data back, please? I don't need tens of megabits to download email.

This stupid-ass nickel and diming is why banks are having to kiss the asses of half a million people.

Re:Uh huh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37955558)

You're not receiving the right email.

good opportunity (2)

Tom (822) | more than 2 years ago | (#37955186)

Make sure this becomes their greatest failure - either slapped down by court with hefty fees, or driving away customers in droves, and nobody is buying it.

If this fails dramatically, chances that others will copy it are very much reduced.

hmm (1)

buddyglass (925859) | more than 2 years ago | (#37955210)

Ignoring the technical impracticality of this idea, the most equitable solution would seem to be one based on bidding. When local network usage is low and bandwidth isn't constrained its cost is very, very low, and there are hardly any restrictions on both total usage and maximum rate. When local network usage is high and bandwidth is at a premium, each potential user is forced to bid on it. It's a limited resource; those willing to pay the most get whatever amount they're willing to pay for.

Re:hmm (1)

Zorque (894011) | more than 2 years ago | (#37955536)

Considering the fact that you generally want faster internet speeds in order to download things in less time, I'm pretty sure a system that takes as much time as an auction would be of any benefit.

Re:hmm (1)

fferreres (525414) | more than 2 years ago | (#37955884)

You are a genius. Let's also solve the traffic as well and reduce taxes: reserve one lane on every highway, and if you want to to avoid a 5 hour trip to work, you just pay a little more than your friend directly in front. If everyone pays, then it's not working. Wait, just raise the toll until many can't pay. Now that's life....arriving at work on time in 20 min. Isn't it worth the $500 per monthyou can afford to pay?

Let's also solve water scarcity, crowded public parks, access to beaches, electricity scarcity, crowded metros and many other problems. Lack of funds in your public school? No problem, when teachers become scarce, just bid to enter that math class that is at full capacity. I have many other great ideas. Thanks

Re:hmm (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#37956746)

how would you like to go to mcdonalds and then after you've made the deal to purchase the burger they then two minutes later tell you and other customers who need a burger that you must bid on the burger to actually get it?

that system isn't _technically_ infeasible. it's pretty simple technically. BUT it doesn't go well with signing up for a monthly contract which the operator also wants you to do. signing up people for monthly high speed and then introducing this is just a slap on the face.

if you just paid let's say 3 dollars a day maximum for any high speed internet you want and only on the days you used it.. I think many people in usa would be just happy with that, and then you could order it for 7 days if you opted for a bit cheaper per day price, let's say 8 bucks for a week - and then after if you don't use it you don't have to pay or let's say 30 bucks for an entire month of 4mbit capped, or 20 bucks for 1mbit capped(that's speed capped - NO TRANSFER CAPS). oh wait that's how prepaid wireless internet works in Finland... (forty euros get's you a month of airtime and a dongle). USA needs more carriers who work with the same technology, otherwise it's just about shafting customers.

Am I the only one who sees this as a temp SLA? (1)

storkus (179708) | more than 2 years ago | (#37955402)

I don't see this as a network neutrality thing at all, but rather--especially when "micro-transactions" are mentioned--as a temporary SLA boost. As I read the description, if the network is loaded down and you just HAVE to have whatever you're doing get through and are willing to pay for it, you can pay the fee and *BAM* your network priority went up for that app for that transaction or specified period of time: other than the temporary nature, I don't see this as any different than prioritization of traffic based on an SLA you'd see on any other provider. Since it's the customer (app user) and not the app author who pays, this is network-neutral by definition.

Now all that said, what this *DOES* exacerbate is the argument about having to shell out $10/GB: you're already paying through the nose, and now you have to pay MORE just to be able to use your device (or app) at certain times of day? Here's a better idea: do what they do with phone minutes and have peak and off peak times, with off-peak being unlimited. It's a lot more fair and you know what you're getting. Good luck getting a modern wireless company to think in terms of real "fairness", of course...

Perverse incentive? (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#37956142)

If this capability is in use, then wouldn't Verizon have an incentive to make their regular, non-turbo service, well, crap? If people are satisfied with the regular service, they'll have no reason to pay extra for the turbo mode. I doubt Verizon will deliberatly drop packets, but I imagine that once the turbo money rolls in they'll be in no hurry to upgrade their network and thus reduce demand for their new turbo service.

Car Analogy! (1)

Alphanos (596595) | more than 2 years ago | (#37956312)

Time for a car analogy! Cellular bandwidth is like the traffic on your morning commute. Recently there have been complaints of traffic jams, delays, and generally slow transit speeds. However, adding more lanes to the roads is expensive, so instead the road operator has come up with a fantastic solution. They will sell Turbo Boost buttons for drivers to install in their cars. If wielders of a turbo button feel that their commute is too slow, then by pressing the button they can technomagically force all other drivers to exit the lane the button user is driving in, thus clearing a fast path for them. Of course the lane changes aren't forced on other button wielders.

This amazing innovation is sure to solve the traffic problems in no time.

"Fast Pass" theme park analogy (1)

bLanark (123342) | more than 2 years ago | (#37956528)

When you go to a theme park, you can buy a "Fast Pass" which allows you to jump the queue. Everybody has paid for entry, but some can pay extra for special access, stroll up and jump on without waiting 40 minutes. Personally, I hate the things, as *I'VE*ALREADY*PAID* but it does make a good day out a great one, sometimes.

This is exactly the same, except that in the theme park, you *know* that the park is busy, and so can make the decision. But online, you can't see the length of the queues (or even how busy the car park is). As others have said, the provider can screw you by artifically limiting your bandwidth, in the hope that you will buy a "boost." In the theme park, it's apparent when you need to buy a pass. with mobile comms, it's not.

And, this is nothing to do with net neutrality, which is more like "I'm gonna delay your skype packets because you should be using our VOIP product or our residential telephone service." Unless, the boost API is only built into certain apps. I'm expecting a seperate phone-wide applet that says "gimme n minutes of boost for $x".

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