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Florida VoIP Provider Files Net Neutrality Complaint With FCC

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the fungible-phonecalls-upset-rigid-rules dept.

Communications 70

New submitter himilean writes with this snippet from PC World: "A Florida VoIP carrier has filed a net neutrality complaint against a Georgia utility and broadband provider, after the utility accused the VoIP firm of theft of service for using its network to deliver voice service without paying for it. L2Networks filed the net neutrality complaint with the U.S. Federal Communications Commission Tuesday, the first formal complaint since the FCC passed net neutrality rules in December 2010. L2Networks' filing comes after the telecommunications manager for the City of Albany Water, Gas & Light Commission, a municipal utility in Georgia, filed a theft-of-service complaint with the Dougherty County Police Department in Albany earlier this year." Asks himilean: "So, would this not be considered the most abusive power of all within the legal system? Does this mean if I Skype my buddy and he's on Comcast, Comcast can file theft charges against me?"

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Net neutrality is good! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40090295)

Right? Totally going to make the US Internet better!

Re:Net neutrality is good! (1)

kommakazi (610098) | more than 2 years ago | (#40090343)

or at least die trying

Watch awt, yall. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40090391)

Thars somthin goin awn dowhn thar in Al-binny!

I thought that IP Over Sewer was a just a joke... (2)

jeffb (2.718) (1189693) | more than 2 years ago | (#40090431)

...although, now that I think about it, you can get in trouble for flushing unapproved content.

Re:I thought that IP Over Sewer was a just a joke. (3, Funny)

NatasRevol (731260) | more than 2 years ago | (#40090521)

Everything unapproved is just...ummm......

Crap, I forget how to end this joke.

Re:I thought that IP Over Sewer was a just a joke. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40090755)

I usually P over toilet, not sewer.

Re:I thought that IP Over Sewer was a just a joke. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40090949)

I would recommend that next time you try peeing into the toilet, not over it.

Re:I thought that IP Over Sewer was a just a joke. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40091263)

You're thinking of Google TISP [google.com] .

4 step plan (3, Insightful)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#40090487)

1. start isp
2. let users access the internet
3. sue the internet
4. profit ???

how stupid is the isp here?

You a step (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40090577)

You missed an important step...

1. start isp
2. let users access the internet
3. charge users for accessing the internet (sustainable)
4. users get what service they pay for (NOT theft of services)
5. profits

It never ceases to amaze that people are allowed to get degrees without ever having to take economic sustainability 101.

Village epic fail once again LOL

Re:You a step (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#40097561)

You missed an important step...

1. start isp
2. let users access the internet
3. charge users for accessing the internet (sustainable)
4. users get what service they pay for (NOT theft of services)
5. profits

It never ceases to amaze that people are allowed to get degrees without ever having to take economic sustainability 101.

Village epic fail once again LOL

why would you need to charge the users if you define others on the internet providing service to the users as theft of service and sue those service providers for profit? that's how idiotic this municipal isp is.

Re:You a step (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40099541)

I can tell that you make a lot of sense by how the Internet collapsed, and all ISPs went bankrupt when Microsoft bundled NetMeeting with Windows, and when AIM and ICQ built in voice calls. Skype was the killing blow for the industry. I really miss the Internet.

Re:4 step plan (1)

billstewart (78916) | more than 2 years ago | (#40092223)

The ISP is the town government's water monopoly. Are you sure you want municipal Internet service?

Re:4 step plan (2)

KlomDark (6370) | more than 2 years ago | (#40092859)

I am absolutely sure I don't want municipal internet service. Maybe municipal fiber service as an empty last-mile pipe, that multiple ISPs can feed data over rather than just one incumbent provider.

But that would introduce competition, which introduces innovation, which is bad for Fascists.

Re:4 step plan (1)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 2 years ago | (#40096273)

There are four levels of service, slashdot loves car analogies so it works like this.
There are the highways, which take services intercity, interstate and international.
Then there are the main roads which distribute services throughout the city.
Then there are suburban streets which distribute services from main roads to every other street.
Then there is the kerb to the house, the final service.
The ISP really should only do the kerb to the house. By breaking it down you can more readily generate competing services at each level, one wholesaling to the other with the ISP providing retail services. Of course when the government provides the whole lot, they can then sell it at a price to promote the general welfare regardless of cost and use taxes to subsidise it during the initial uptake until full coverage is achieved, ensuring everyone gets it at an equal price.

Complicated (3, Insightful)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#40090491)

This is a little complicated. From the article:

L2Networks purchases ethernet transport from Albany Water in order to serve its voice and Internet customers, Beahn said. The theft-of-service complaint stems from a single customer that uses L2Networks VoIP service over Albany Water's broadband service, he said. L2Networks also provides IP transit services to Albany Water, he said.

There's no simpler way to put it than the article quote above. What is obvious is there is a massive civil contract dispute going on, and its not entirely certain who is right and wrong. What is certain is this is merely an escalation. One side pays money to rent space and were locked out during an outage (who caused that outage?).

The real tragedy, beyond the net neutrality issue that is a minor part of this hyper dysfunctional relationship, is the rule of law is gone in the USA. If you have a civil contract between two citizens/corporations, nothing happens with law enforcement until after a judge makes a decision. But if one party in a civil contract is in any tangential way involved with a local government, then before a judge is involved, you can expect police harassment, criminal charges to be filed, etc.

This is what scares me away from municipal fiber / municipal wireless. In a civilized world it would work, but in the USA, if you are a municipal internet customer and open a trouble ticket, you could realistically expect the police to break down your door, stomp your puppy to death, and beat you, because thats just how law enforcement rolls in the land of the free.

I prefer getting access from my local cable monopoly... whats the absolute worst thing they can do to me as retaliation, disconnect my modem and tv? Intentionally screw up the paperwork and send my account to collections for service and hardware for at most a couple hundred bucks?

Hmm A couple hundred bucks and maybe an "accidental" disconnect, vs stomping family pets to death and beating people. I think I'll avoid municipal internet, thanks.

Re:Complicated (1)

rmdingler (1955220) | more than 2 years ago | (#40090617)

Sounds like the last time Grand High Sherriff's men stopped by my place looking for my scofflaw siding contractor....jackboot-smeared puppy all over the carpet. That little fella had a lot of guts though.

Re:Complicated (1)

silas_moeckel (234313) | more than 2 years ago | (#40090681)

I would tend to want to avoid municiple internet though I think there role should be fiber to the home. Where they just take care of the fiber and manage the cross patching to whoever wants to provide services. Could they be a provider for services above that sure just not the only ones.

Re:Complicated (3, Insightful)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#40090943)

>>> if one party in a civil contract is in any tangential way involved with a local government, then before a judge is involved, you can expect police harassment, criminal charges to be filed, etc.

It's always been this way. Look-up the history of Eli Whitney when he was trying to defend his patent over the cotton engine. The local government usually defended the farmers or inventors who had hand-built copies of Eli's work, and interfered with the ongoing civil lawsuit.

Re:Complicated (1)

grantus (261016) | more than 2 years ago | (#40090979)

Yes, this is a complicated issue that seems to stem from a business dispute. Looking back, I could have done a better job characterizing the issue that way.

Grant Gross

Re:Complicated (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#40091013)

>>>I prefer getting access from my local cable monopoly... . I think I'll avoid municipal internet, thanks.

The best scenario would be fiber owned by the state government (just like roads) and each customer gets to decide what brand internet they want to purchase: Comcast or Cox or AppleTV or Verizon or MSN (just like they choose what brand car to drive).

Of course you make a good point about how corporations, shitty as they are, are actually BETTER than government. The government can suck money directly from your paycheck, or bust down the door of your house, or drag you off to jail. A corporation can not.

Re:Complicated (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40091393)

The government can suck money directly from your paycheck, or bust down the door of your house, or drag you off to jail. A corporation can not.

And why can't a corporation do anything of those things? Government, that's why.

I'll admit it's a fine line between a government powerful enough to enforce the rule of law and a government powerful enough to steamroll over your rights... actually, I take that back. There is no line, more like an overlap. Government becomes powerful enough to trample your rights long before it becomes powerful enough to enforce the rule of law. Which is why we have things like oversight of what the fuck government is doing, along with finely detailing exactly what government is allowed to do, and if government isn't explicitly permitted to do something, government is forbidden to do it.

Though I will also admit that we seem to be lacking in enforcing any of the things that keeps government in check... my point is simply that without government, a corporation would be just as bad. They're just labels for "rich and powerful" after all.

Re:Complicated (1, Interesting)

BlueStrat (756137) | more than 2 years ago | (#40093427)

The government can suck money directly from your paycheck, or bust down the door of your house, or drag you off to jail. A corporation can not.

And why can't a corporation do anything of those things? Government, that's why.

No, because if some private corporation sends jack-booted thugs to my door, they'd better bring plenty of body bags. I have the right and the ability to defend myself from assault by another private entity. My neighbors would also join the turkey-shoot as well, I'm quite certain.

Government, however, can send in SWAT teams, the Nat. Guard, or even the full-on military. Legally. On behalf of the corporations. That's why a relatively weak central government is one of the keys to maintaining freedom.

Corporations and other rich & powerful interests cannot corrupt government powers and departments that do not exist. It's the only real protection there is. This is why the Constitution was written to severely limit Federal power.

Governments are made up of greedy, weak, power-hungry, corruptible people, and most everyone has a price. Government oversight only works until the people in the oversight panels/committees, etc, are themselves corrupted/compromised.

There will always be government corruption, no matter what safeguards you put in place. The only way to truly and effectively limit the damage it can do is to limit the size, scope, and power of the central government.

The more things government is tasked with, the more powers and money you give it, the more opportunities for corruption there will be, the more attractive it makes it to corrupting influences, and the more damage it can do.

This isn't rocket-surgery, people.

Strat

Re:Complicated (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40100381)

Perhaps i'm just being too philosophical.. a rose by any other name and all that... but anyway...

No, because if some private corporation sends jack-booted thugs to my door, they'd better bring plenty of body bags. I have the right and the ability to defend myself from assault by another private entity. My neighbors would also join the turkey-shoot as well, I'm quite certain.

And? This somehow does not apply if those "jack-booted thugs" call themselves "the police"? Oh, because the consequences are different? Well that isn't always the case. History shows that the consequences of your example can rise to the same level of the consequences of doing the same to "the government's" jack-booted thugs.

The only way to truly and effectively limit the damage it can do is to limit the size, scope, and power of the central government.

Didn't bother fully reading my post I see...

Which is why we have things like oversight of what the fuck government is doing, along with finely detailing exactly what government is allowed to do, and if government isn't explicitly permitted to do something, government is forbidden to do it.

Re:Complicated (1)

BlueStrat (756137) | more than 2 years ago | (#40103551)

No, because if some private corporation sends jack-booted thugs to my door, they'd better bring plenty of body bags. I have the right and the ability to defend myself from assault by another private entity. My neighbors would also join the turkey-shoot as well, I'm quite certain.

And? This somehow does not apply if those "jack-booted thugs" call themselves "the police"? Oh, because the consequences are different?

It's different because the private jack-booted thugs don't have armies and artillery and an air force and the force of a national government behind it.

Well that isn't always the case. History shows that the consequences of your example can rise to the same level of the consequences of doing the same to "the government's" jack-booted thugs.

I'm sorry, but this isn't medieval times nor a feudal system where Lords and Guilds did what they wished under the authority of a King and/or the church. Even then, they needed the permission of, or at least a blind eye turned, by the ruling powers to do what they did. If a Lord or Guild defied the King (or the church in some cases), their heads would roll.

Which is why we have things like oversight of what the fuck government is doing, along with finely detailing exactly what government is allowed to do, and if government isn't explicitly permitted to do something, government is forbidden to do it.

Which is why the first thing that's done by those desiring more government power or those wishing to corrupt that power is to corrupt, compromise, and/or make effectively powerless those oversight bodies. Usually by appointing themselves and their allies as the overseers.

One need only look at the career path of the majority of those tasked with oversight...private sector job/career, to government position overseeing their field, to again employed in the private sector by those he benefited while in government at outrageously high salaries...usually as a "consultant" that has one or two meeting a year to maintain the fiction.

Your contention that government can effectively oversee itself and prevent itself from abusing it's own power is ludicrous to the extreme.

It's the fox guarding the hen-house writ large.

And finally;

"History also shows that as government grows, liberty decreases." - Thomas Jefferson

"My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government." - Thomas Jefferson

"The essence of government is power, and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse." - James Madison

"That government is best which governs least." - Thomas Paine

"Nip the shoots of arbitrary power in the bud, is the only maxim which can ever preserve the liberties of any people." - John Adams

You'll have to forgive me if I take their opinions over yours. They have a bit more credibility and positive track record when it comes to the subject of freedom and government size, scope, and power.

Strat

Re:Complicated (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40109431)

Your contention that government can effectively oversee itself

Um, no. I never said anything about government overseeing itself, I talked about us, the people, overseeing government. So both times I said the below, you thought I was talking about government overseeing itself?

Which is why we have things like oversight of what the fuck government is doing, along with finely detailing exactly what government is allowed to do, and if government isn't explicitly permitted to do something, government is forbidden to do it.

You'll have to forgive me if I take their opinions over yours.

Except that my opinion, which you seem to be continually misunderstanding (or I'm just expressing poorly), is that an overlord is an overlord is an overlord, whether they are called "government", "a corporation", or "Nelson Muntz". And in the face of posts such as cpu6502's which makes it sound like they want no government (they have previously stated an acceptance for a minimal level of government, but then they go and post the above, and I cannot parse it as anything other than "I want anarchy"), I am simply trying to acknowledge that we need some government (can't seem to google it, so perhaps it was mis-attributed, but there's a quote like "ideally we would have no government, but that is not practical, therefore we do have government" that I've seen attributed to Thomas Jefferson).

Re:Complicated (1)

BlueStrat (756137) | more than 2 years ago | (#40109979)

Your contention that government can effectively oversee itself

Um, no. I never said anything about government overseeing itself, I talked about us, the people, overseeing government. So both times I said the below, you thought I was talking about government overseeing itself?

The way your post was worded, yes, it seemed as if you thought that all we needed was just some more "oversight committees" and other government cruft whose only job is to make it appear like there's some sort of control or limits.

As far as we, the people, being the oversight, that's been our job all along from the beginning.

"When people fear their government, there is tyranny. When government fears the people, there is liberty." - Thomas Jefferson

"What country can preserve its liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the Spirit of Resistance." - Thomas Jefferson

Unfortunately, over the last number of decades, our educational system has been compromised (many, including myself, believe this is no accident) such that people have become effectively cheated of a proper education, and have become ignorant, fat, and lazy.

They've not been taught the value of freedom, the importance of their duties as citizens, nor how to think critically. US history and the history of the revolution for independence, and the history and background of how the founders came to the conclusions they did and why the Constitution was written the way it was hasn't been taught in any meaningful way in our public schools for a long time.

"Liberty cannot be preserved without a general knowledge among the people." - John Adams

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free...it expects what never was and never will be." - Thomas Jefferson

"Knowledge will forever govern ignorance; and a people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives." - James Madison

"The advancement and diffusion of knowledge is the only guardian of true liberty." - James Madison

Additionally, the moral standards of our society have also been heavily attacked as well over the last number of decades, as God has been all but banished from the public square. Freedom of religion has been perverted to now mean freedom from religion, which was never the intention.

"Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other." - John Adams

"Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports." - George Washington

"It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded...on the gospel of Jesus Christ!" - Patrick Henry

but there's a quote like "ideally we would have no government, but that is not practical, therefore we do have government" that I've seen attributed to Thomas Jefferson).

I too remember something similar, and I'm also not sure who/where the exact quote came from.

George Washington had something to say along similar lines.

"Government is not reason, it is not eloquenceâ"it is force! Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master." - George Washington

Far too many people these days view government as their friend, when nothing could be further from the truth.

Strat

Re:Complicated (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40135741)

Well to be clear, I don't view them as my friend, just a necessary bully that (in theory) is accountable to we the people.

I think we also got off on a tangent. We both believe that government is necessary, correct? I'm not, at this time, discussing the exacts of what powers a government should hold, simply that.. there are two lines in the sand. Crossing over one represents attaining enough power to begin infringing on the rights of others, while crossing over the other represents attaining enough power to be an effective government. And I believe that you cross the first described line long before crossing the second described line. If you disagree with that, then we should be discussing that. If you had been addressing that, then I missed it and apologize.

Though I suppose without a clear definition of what an "effective government" is, no such discussion can truly take place. And I have not decided for myself what all constitutes an "effective government".

Re:Complicated (1)

BlueStrat (756137) | more than 2 years ago | (#40136763)

We both believe that government is necessary, correct?

Basically agreed.

I'm not, at this time, discussing the exacts of what powers a government should hold, simply that.. there are two lines in the sand. Crossing over one represents attaining enough power to begin infringing on the rights of others, while crossing over the other represents attaining enough power to be an effective government. And I believe that you cross the first described line long before crossing the second described line. If you disagree with that, then we should be discussing that. If you had been addressing that, then I missed it and apologize.

Any power the government holds can be abused and infringe on individual rights and liberties. That line starts at anything above zero. Basically that's what government is, the people ceding some of their freedom and rights conditionally to the government in exchange for, and in the interest of, forming a nation and governing it.

My views could probably be largely described as "practical libertarian". I'm aware that some government is necessary, but the things that can be dealt with in the private sector should be left to the private sector. The default should always be for less/smaller government and fewer laws and regulations where possible and practical. Government is like fire. You use only as much as you have to, and you keep it tightly controlled & monitored while keeping a fire extinguisher at the ready.

I also strongly believe that the government needs to return to being restrained by the plain reading of the Constitution. As long as the government and politicians can selectively enforce, reinterpret, and outright ignore any part of the Constitution they find inconvenient, there will never be Rule of Law, only the Rule of Men...corruptible, weak, greedy, venal, power-hungry men. America will never regain any of her past greatness, or for that matter avoid a collapse, until the Rule of Law is reestablished.

Strat

Re:Complicated (1)

Crosshair84 (2598247) | more than 2 years ago | (#40093693)

And why can't a corporation do anything of those things? Government, that's why.

I hate to break this to you, but Rollerball is not a documentary. I'm sorry to have to shatter your entire worldview.

How would it be profitable for Ford, in a true free market, to go around and force people in North Dakota to buy Ford vehicles? Mercenaries are very expensive and the local areas would have their own private police/security forces that would oppose them along with local citizenry. Where has this ever happened in history?

The only reason it is profitable for corporations to send GOVERNMENT to do the same is because the corporations do not pay the full cost of of that coercion, society at large pays for it, not the corporation itself. Halliburton doesn't pay the costs of the US going to war. If you could somehow force the corporations to pay the full costs of that enforcement you would see them suddenly not be so supportive of it because it would be unprofitable.

Re:Complicated (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40099951)

Rollerball is not a documentary

Sorry, what is "Rollerball"? I was looking at history. You know, like the East India Company, or the industrial revolution robber barons, just to name a few examples.

How would it be profitable for Ford, in a true free market, to go around and force people in North Dakota to buy Ford vehicles?

cpu6502 listed three distinct actions.

1) Suck money directly from your paycheck.

2) Bust down the door of your house.

3) Drag you off to jail.

None of those amount to forcing me to buy their products, nor did I say anything about being forced to buy their products. You are putting words in my mouth and I kindly ask that you stop.

Re:Complicated (1)

Crosshair84 (2598247) | more than 2 years ago | (#40109209)

Sorry, what is "Rollerball"? I was looking at history. You know, like the East India Company, or the industrial revolution robber barons, just to name a few examples.

No, you have been reading propaganda, not history.

The East India Company was backed and subsidized by the British government in the form of special tax and regulatory privileges. Check your history book about something involving Boston and Tea in the late 1700's. Those weren't East Indian Company troops enforcing the Tea Tax.

The "Robber Barons" were nothing of the sort. They were the ones who made your lifestyle today possible. Lets look at Standard Oil for example.

(From roman_mir)

Standard oil was the company that always reduced prices of its product over DECADES and was very successful because it could deliver an ever cheapening, good quality product to the market. The company that had 150 competitors by 1911.

By 1870 Standard Oil had 4% of the market share. The tools and technologies it invested in allowed it to create efficiencies and cut costs and pass cost savings to the consumers.

1869, price of refined oil was 30 cents per gallon.
1874, price of refined oil was 10 cents per gallon.
1885, price of refined oil was 8 cents per gallon.
1897, price of refined oil was 5.9 cents per gallon.

So by 1897 the prices were 5.9 cents, you can calculate how many times the prices fell from 1869 levels as an exercise.


The same thing with Carnegie, through his efforts the price of steel fell by about 90% thanks to his innovation and increased efficiency. Vanderbilt did similar in steamships and railroads. James J. Hill's Great Northern Railroad turned a profit in 1893 when the government subsidized railroads all went bankrupt. (The post-civil war transcontinental railroad was a shoddily built financial disaster.) I recommend you read the book, "The Myth of the Robber Barron's", to get some real history in your head as to what they did.

Do you consider Steve Jobs a Robber Barron? Is society worse off because of him? Would we be better ff if the world had never seen his innovations? Does his getting rich make everyone else poorer? If someone today developed a way that cut the price of gasoline in half, would you resent him for becoming rich or thank him for making your life better by halving the price of gasoline?

cpu6502 listed three distinct actions.

1) Suck money directly from your paycheck.

2) Bust down the door of your house.

3) Drag you off to jail.

NONE of those are possible without government being involved in some form backing that behavior. Ford goon tries to suck money from my paycheck? The local sheriff hauls them off the jail for theft. Bust down my door? They get carried out in a body bag and I bill the goons estate for the cost of the bullet. Drag me off to Jail? As soon as both of us show up the goon will be the one in jail and I'll be pressing charges for kidnapping.

None of those amount to forcing me to buy their products, nor did I say anything about being forced to buy their products. You are putting words in my mouth and I kindly ask that you stop.

Then WHY did you respond to: The government can suck money directly from your paycheck, or bust down the door of your house, or drag you off to jail. A corporation can not. by saying: And why can't a corporation do anything of those things? Government, that's why.

All I did was point out your statement as false by pointing out the reason corporations don't do those things is because it is not and cannot be profitable to do so. If I have misunderstood you then take the time to clarify your statement. What you write after that is nothing more than bald assertions about how the world without strong government would resemble something from the movie "Rollerball" with nothing to back up such statements.

Re:Complicated (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40135893)

NONE of those are possible without government being involved in some form backing that behavior.

Or if you don't have any government at all.

Ford goon tries to suck money from my paycheck? The local sheriff hauls them off the jail for theft.

What local sheriff? You got rid of your government, and with it, your local sheriff. Also, ever hear of a thing called "the company store"?

Bust down my door? They get carried out in a body bag and I bill the goons estate for the cost of the bullet. Drag me off to Jail? As soon as both of us show up the goon will be the one in jail and I'll be pressing charges for kidnapping.

You make an awful lot of assumptions about your ability to defend yourself from unknown threats. Maybe circumstances really are so far in your favor as to warrant that, but for the average person, I doubt it.
Also, pressing charges? With who? Remember, you got rid of your government.

If you did not mean to express the idea that we should dissolve our government, then I apologize. But it sounded that way to me.

None of those amount to forcing me to buy their products, nor did I say anything about being forced to buy their products. You are putting words in my mouth and I kindly ask that you stop.

Then WHY did you respond to: The government can suck money directly from your paycheck, or bust down the door of your house, or drag you off to jail. A corporation can not. by saying: And why can't a corporation do anything of those things? Government, that's why.

Um, what? I think we've got a communications issue going on here. So I'll be blunt. I do not consider any of the three things listed to be the same as being forced to buy a product.

But I will also say that it was an overly simplified statement. What cpu6502 said makes it sound like we can dissolve our government and corporations can be trusted to then do the right thing. And that is simply laughable.

What you write after that is nothing more than bald assertions about how the world without strong government would resemble something from the movie "Rollerball" with nothing to back up such statements.

Such a statement is rather ambiguous, but I intentionally left it undefined how much power I think a government should have, so.. fair enough. I left it undefined because I do not know what all power I think a government should hold. Only that...

There are two lines in the sand. Crossing over one represents attaining enough power to begin infringing on the rights of others, while crossing over the other represents attaining enough power to be an effective government. And I believe that you cross the first described line long before crossing the second described line. However, I've since realized that without a clear definition of what an "effective government" is, no discussion about my "two line" theory can truly take place. And I have not decided for myself what all constitutes an "effective government".

Re:Complicated (1)

Yakasha (42321) | more than 2 years ago | (#40093749)

The government can suck money directly from your paycheck, or bust down the door of your house, or drag you off to jail. A corporation can not.

The MPAA, RIAA, and every other major lobby scoffs at your silly attempt to separate corporate and government powers.

Re:Complicated (1)

QuantumRiff (120817) | more than 2 years ago | (#40091109)

Your forgetting when Apple appeared at the house of someone who 'found' an unreleased iphone, with actual police officers and their own security.. searched the house.. no record of a call, or report being filed.. Took a long time, and a lot of attention about it from some media for those officers to get into trouble..

Re:Complicated (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40091801)

Failure to turn found property in to the police is a crime in most states; selling it doubly so. The police were well within their rights to get involved.

Re:Complicated (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40092471)

Didn't that guy call apple up and say what amounted to 'Hey, I found what looks like a prototype iPhone' and the people on the other end of the phone said 'hey, we don't know what you're talking about'?

Re:Complicated (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 2 years ago | (#40092917)

Bullshit. Ever heard of a search warrant? Yes, with one of those, uniformed officers can search your premises, but that doesn't make it OK for private security contractors (mercenaries) to come along, and without a warrant, police aren't allowed in your residence at all.

Re:Complicated (1)

Stan92057 (737634) | more than 2 years ago | (#40094257)

Oh ya like the police neverrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr broke the law and searched without a warrant. All they have to say is i smell weed or any other bullshit excuse. And also laws are made constantly trying to make it legal to search without a warrant. Hell what about all the DUI check points that's searching without a warrant.

Re:Complicated (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 2 years ago | (#40094615)

Ok, you have a point, but my point is that at least there's some semblance of legality there; there's supposed to be a warrant, and many times charges are indeed thrown out because cops didn't follow procedure correctly or evidence is tainted. With the military, there's no such thing. If they want to bust into an innocent person's house, there's nothing stopping them, and they do it all the time.

Plus, just because the USA is going down the tubes as far as law enforcement becoming a paramilitary organization and civil rights and liberties disappearing doesn't mean the rest of the civilized world is doing the same. (The words "rest of the" are probably superfluous here.)

Re:Complicated (5, Interesting)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 2 years ago | (#40091243)

This is what scares me away from municipal fiber / municipal wireless. In a civilized world it would work, but in the USA, if you are a municipal internet customer and open a trouble ticket, you could realistically expect the police to break down your door, stomp your puppy to death, and beat you, because thats just how law enforcement rolls in the land of the free.

Well, that depends on what city you live in and who is running things there. A decade back I called the Mayor (who actually talked to me!) complaining about the taste of the city water; I had to buy a filter and take water to work with me, city water was undrinkable. I was never harrassed orr threatened, and the water tasted very good just two days later.

She retired and we got a new Mayor, and after my (now ex) wife was in an accident with a city truck that had run a red light, I got pulled over every damned day.

But corporate monopolies can fuck you over, too. The city owns the power company, and we have (but not for long I fear, we got a new Mayor after Davlin committed suicide) the lowest rates and the best uptime in the state, and customer service is about as friendly as it could possibly be. Two F2 (nearly F3) tornados hit here on March 12, 2006 and completely destroyed the electrical infrastructure in a large swath of he town. The entire town was without power for several hours, and a week later everyone's electricity was back on. It took a month for anyone to get landline phone or cable service back. The city's scars from the tornado were still there two years later; it was a humungous mess.

That June a weak F1 hit the St Louis area. A month later I visited a friend in Cahokia (in the path of the tornado, right across the river from St Louis) and he still had no power, but that was the only evidence that there had even been a tornado.

So all in all, after my experiences, I'd pick municipal internet over corporate internet any day. They just raised our electric rates, and I expect the Mayor (the real head of the power company) to not be re-elected because of that.

If the service is municipal owned and the rates are high and the service is shitty, the mayor loses his job. In a corporation, you have no pull whatever. What are you going to do, buy your electricity from another provider?

Now, if this was Chicago instead of Springfield, I wouldn't want to contract for city-run ANYTHING.

Re:Complicated (2)

operagost (62405) | more than 2 years ago | (#40091581)

If the service is municipal owned and the rates are high and the service is shitty, the mayor loses his job. In a corporation, you have no pull whatever. What are you going to do, buy your electricity from another provider?

In PA, you can do just that. I have switched my electricity provider twice since the price caps were removed (thus making electricity choice relevant) and ended up with a cheaper rate each time. I will have to go back and check old bills because my "green" efforts have reduced my usage somewhat, but I believe my cost per kWh is lower now than before the deregulation... and that's with 100% green sources. Or course, the local monopoly has to remain in place to maintain the lines, so our rate for delivery is about the same.

Re:Complicated (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40091743)

CA tried this experiment too, but we got Enron and rolling brownouts.

Re:Complicated (2)

operagost (62405) | more than 2 years ago | (#40092833)

PA has had dereg since 1996, no caps since 2010 and so far, no brownouts or Enrons. CA had its brownouts while the caps were still in place, because bogus shutdowns caused limited supply and in turn increases in prices. The infrastructure bottleneck between north and south enabled this; it should have been fixed as part of the agreement. PA and CA both embarked on dereg at about the same time; PA's worked.

Get a Cable Modem, Go To Jail (1)

billstewart (78916) | more than 2 years ago | (#40092277)

Comcast actually has done things this egregious - maybe you remember the "Get a Cable Modem, Go To Jail" [mit.edu] event from the late 90s. But it's pretty rare.

Re:Complicated (1)

Lost Race (681080) | more than 2 years ago | (#40092293)

There's no simpler way to put it than the article quote above. What is obvious is there is a massive civil contract dispute going on, and its not entirely certain who is right and wrong.

It's not complicated at all. L2N peers with Albany, but the traffic is not balanced so L2N pays Albany for the connection. That's their relationship.

L2N is an ISP; some of their customers use VOIP. Albany thinks they should get an extra cut for the "VOIPness" of L2N's traffic over their network, because they have a local monopoly on old fashioned 20th century style voice telephony services.

This is a very clear-cut standard case of net neutrality violation, an attempt to seek rent from third parties to prop up a nearly obsolete business model.

Re:Complicated (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#40092837)

I was looking at the toxic business relationship angle, you're looking at it from a completely different angle.

Look at the history... even the article notes that they used to get along years back. Then foolishness gets started which has steadily escalated for years. Net neutrality is being used as a weapon in todays battle in the multi-year war between that company and the local water utility. If I interpret you correctly you are analyzing how well they're applying that individual weapon. I think your interpretation is correct. However I'm writing about the overall war, it seems pretty scorched earth between those two and there's a long history of pretty much every other weapon being unleashed.

However I've worked telco last 20 years (never in this disputed area) and I've never heard of a telco-type provider having such a toxic relationship with the locals. The story is not so much that its the first (of many?) net neutrality but it takes possibly the worlds worst, most toxic business relationship to even consider trying a network neutrality fight.

I will say as a telecom veteran that sometimes "legally bad things" are done but usually they're worked out in a civilized manner without the feds, or the local cops, or judges getting involved. For example, I was not involved in, but I am aware of a situation, many years ago where one companies CO tech literally stole another companies unused plugin card to restore an outage. Technically all terribly illegal and the cops and FBI should have been called in (this was a $50K SONET card...), people should have been fired, big old blow up and news releases and security investigations all COULD have happened, but didn't. You see, its a small world, and even smaller in telecom, and we all have to work with each other, and despite a little bad blood, eventually after certain people talked politely with other people, invoices were generated and paid and everyone is more or less happy with how it turned out. Another example, when the locals dig up our fiber, our techs didn't get into fist fights or call the cops on each other or get into blame games, we just kinda fix it.

Calling the feds in is just more fuel on the fire. I'd keep an eye on this story, its probably going to blow up more before it settles down. This is just battle maneuver 342 out of 923 or whatever.

The outrage! (2)

TheSpoom (715771) | more than 2 years ago | (#40090667)

Hey! Police! This startup is messing with my city-guaranteed monopoly! Take em down, officers!

Re:The outrage! (1)

zlives (2009072) | more than 2 years ago | (#40090923)

wonder if they file charges against porn web sites... clearly they should be the only one to screw the customers

Re:The outrage! (1)

kjs3 (601225) | more than 2 years ago | (#40094667)

Didn't read the article, eh? Don't understand the issues I see? How'd you miss your face with that knee-jerk.

Re:The outrage! (1)

cbiltcliffe (186293) | more than 2 years ago | (#40110719)

Hard to knee yourself in the face when your head's up your ass.....

burglary (1)

NynexNinja (379583) | more than 2 years ago | (#40090803)

So, the next time someone calls my home phone while I'm not home, I should file burglary charges against them... They should be charged with filing a false police report.

Local Minnows (1)

glorybe (946151) | more than 2 years ago | (#40090819)

Here we have an instance of a tiny fish wanting to gobble up a huge national-international issue. If there is a case to be made it needs to at least resolve the issue for the entire nation. The hazard rests in the government simply not liking people to be able to communicate. Governments universally seem to dislike the ability of people to communicate easily.

Not your concern... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40090849)

IP traffic is IP traffic. Why does my ISP care what all those packets contain, or where they are headed? I pay them to move my packets across the wire and route them properly; nothing else.

Multi utility should be banned (1)

aglider (2435074) | more than 2 years ago | (#40091003)

Either you provide Power, or water, or broadband or phone or TV.
The fact that everything runs on your pipes/cables/em waves does not mean you are the one and only provider.
At least for the sake of market freedom.
And finally, what's written in the EU contract?

Re:Multi utility should be banned (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#40091127)

I don't think the European Union contract has anything to do with this. AND: The theory was that government should provide all these "necessities" to the citizen: power, water, sewer, and internet. They believed the government would do a better job than for-profit company. (Ooops... they were wrong.)

Re:Multi utility should be banned (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40091917)

The theory was that government should provide all these "necessities" to the citizen: power, water, sewer, and internet. They believed the government would do a better job than for-profit company. (Ooops... they were wrong.)

No, the theory is that government should provide things, not necessarily just the necessities, to citizens where for-profit companies wouldn't

The goal isn't to be "better" than for-profits. If it was, government wouldn't ever contract things out to private for-profits

Whether or not government *should* be providing things when for-profits wouldn't is a whole other matter, one which does not have a final answer, as life keeps changing.

Re:Multi utility should be banned (1)

JimMcc (31079) | more than 2 years ago | (#40093179)

No, the theory is that government should provide things, not necessarily just the necessities, to citizens where for-profit companies wouldn't

But what about instances where private for-profit companies provide poor quality unreliable service? Should a municipality, if petitioned by the citizens, respond "We're sorry, but a private company is already providing that service."?

We live in a rural community. People consider themselves lucky to get DSL. There is no cable option. Some people get long range WiFi. We consider ourselves to be extremely lucky because we can get 3mb DSL service. The service is, for the most part, fairly reliable, but we have periods of very poor throughput and lots of dropped packets. The local telco has shown very little interest in building out to provide faster more reliable service.

Our local co-op owned power company is looking seriously at building out a strong, fast, reliable broadband system. They already have a good chunk of fiber in place throughout the area for use by the county and a few businesses. They want to build out using wireless solutions for the last mile. Except for a few "Wi-Fi is damaging my brains" type people, the local folks are strongly in favor of it.

Rural infrastructure problems are exactly the areas where the standard municipality Vs business issues break down. Businesses don't see enough profit to warrant expanding or even maintaining the services. If municipalities don't step in, then people have to do with substandard service or no service at all.

Re:Multi utility should be banned (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40097735)

Rural infrastructure problems are exactly the areas where the standard municipality Vs business issues break down. Businesses don't see enough profit to warrant expanding or even maintaining the services. If municipalities don't step in, then people have to do with substandard service or no service at all.

And thus, the government created the Universal Service Fund, which is used to subsidize build-outs into rural areas. Originally it was just for phone, "back in the day", but recently the USF coffers have been pried out of the cold, monopolistic hands of the Telco's and will be used to subsidize broadband (ADSL, cable, fiber) in rural areas instead of the phone lines.

Incidentally, the USF subsidies are the only reason DSL has ever been able to compete with cable. When your entire plant is already built with somebody else's money, and data can be sent over that same plant, you're riding the gravy train. Well, the gravy train is coming to the end of the tracks for the Telco's, and they're going to have to compete on a somewhat more level playing field for the first time.

Re:Multi utility should be banned (1)

aglider (2435074) | more than 2 years ago | (#40092041)

EU=End User

Government nets, we want this? (1)

zerosomething (1353609) | more than 2 years ago | (#40091063)

And again why do we want the governments running our networks? They will be more likely to do this kind of stupid thing and get away with it.

room for debate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40091223)

hmm, many have called for last mile wiring to be owned by the public, and declared a utility. Such actions would stop greedy, money grubbing corporations from robbing the locals. I am curious to see how municipal broadband plays out in reality. I hope to see how this all plays out.

Re:Government nets, we want this? (3, Insightful)

Bengie (1121981) | more than 2 years ago | (#40092929)

Around here, the government WANTS faster internet, but the Cable company keeps complaining when competition moves in or the state tries to lay its own. The people want it, the people are willing to pay a fair price for it, the Cable companies are not willing to do it.

Actually, this was more like the past decade. The people finally won and we're getting fiber state wide. State is laying the infrastructure and leasing and/or selling at whole sale, while also providing grants/loans for local ISPs to upgrade/expand their infrastructure.

fk you cable!

Local Resident Here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40092325)

Local government is corrupt. We recently had a city official buying cars with city money and giving them to friends for personal use. Same city official was allowed to continue using his expense account after he was let go. This is only one of many examples, so this story should be no surprise.

Captcha: bilges

Not the whole story (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40092749)

According Ars Technica, the complaint about stealing service is separate from this issue. It looks like L2 took a cable modem, tapped into a node on a pole and ran a fiber connection to a business, powering the modem with 2 car batteries. The account was residential and was being sold to the business as a fiber connection.

Re:Not the whole story (1)

TheSpoom (715771) | more than 2 years ago | (#40093309)

Oh. If this is the case, they were, well, actually stealing service. In that case, fuck em.

Course, I'd want to see evidence first.

Why didn't they go after Netflex (1)

Stan92057 (737634) | more than 2 years ago | (#40094305)

Why didn't they go after Netflex as well ? They have a lot bigger pockets to pick to fill the local coffers

Re:Why didn't they go after Netflex (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40099021)

They can afford real lawyers

ISP? Internet SERVICE Provider (1)

bogidu (300637) | more than 2 years ago | (#40094983)

ISP - You provide me with access to The Internet, what I choose to do with that access is none of your business. I SO hate what the net has become.

they're all thieves? (1)

sixsixtysix (1110135) | more than 2 years ago | (#40095513)

so wouldn't any other service that uses the isp's bandwidth, without being a customer themselves, also be stealing bandwidth? they either have to accuse everyone or no one.
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