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Net Neutrality Bill Aimed At ISP Data Caps Introduced In US Senate

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the fire-up-a-torrent-to-celebrate dept.

Communications 151

New submitter Likes Microsoft writes "Yesterday, Senator Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) introduced a Net Neutrality bill aimed at ISPs using data caps soley for profiteering purposes, rather than the 'traffic management' purpose they often claim. The text of the bill is available at Wyden's Senate page. It would require ISPs to be certified by the FCC before implementing data caps. It says, in part, 'The [FCC] shall evaluate a data cap proposed by an Internet service provider to determine whether the data cap functions to reasonably limit network congestion in a manner that does not unnecessarily discourage use of the Internet.' In a statement, Wyden said, 'Americans are increasingly tethered to the Internet and connecting more devices to it, but they don’t really have the tools to effectively manage data consumption across their networks. Data caps create challenges for consumers and run the risk of undermining innovation in the digital economy if they are imposed bluntly and not designed to truly manage network congestion.'"

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151 comments

Sen. Wyden. (5, Insightful)

MachineShedFred (621896) | about a year ago | (#42361679)

Dear Senator Wyden,

Thank you for actually being a good Senator, that introduces good bills that create or change laws that help out the average US Citizen. I'm glad I voted for you the last time you were on the ballot, and if I still lived in Oregon I'd vote for you again.

Re:Sen. Wyden. (4, Interesting)

Synerg1y (2169962) | about a year ago | (#42361811)

If the FCC actually started to regulate the ISPs... it's too much to hope for. But then if even if the FCC starts regulating ISPs, look at what happened in the big pharma / FDA world, the FDA got bent over and ISPs have deep pockets like big pharma, so it may happen again.

Re:Sen. Wyden. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42362045)

I think this is extremely lucky aspect of the EU right now.

The market is roughly the same as the US (a bit bigger actually), but there's a lot of small-middle-large sized telco and ISPs (as opposed to the super-sized AT&T and friends), so the politicians have a vested interest in trying to make sure the companies operating in their own interest group will have a future. I certainly hope this will lead to even more regulations about sharing infrastructure, in addition to the current telephone line sharing one.

In the US it's the other way around, the major telco's have massive work forces so crippling them by forcing actual competition on them would be very bad for the company and the politicians (Aka, cuts to the workforce).

I hope for the American people that this goes through. I pay 14 eur/month for unlimited "upto" 21Mbit (It's 5-10Mbit'ish usually) 3G, and 30eur/month for 100/10Mbit FttB (Ethernet for the last bit). No caps, and I can't complain about the bandwidth much.

Re:Sen. Wyden. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42362379)

Yeah, I can't help but wonder if the FCC wouldn't agree that blocking or throttling certain file sharing technologies falls into "functions to reasonably limit network congestion in a manner that does not unnecessarily discourage use of the Internet".

I'm not the sort to think a regulation free environment solves all ills, but I don't know if I'm comfortable with the FCC signing off on individual network congestion mitigation techniques, either. I also don't love the tone, which sounds a bit like, "if you're profiting too much, we'll need to step in." I don't care what the ISP's make. What I care about is developing healthy competition. I don't feel like we really have that.

Re:Sen. Wyden. (2)

Synerg1y (2169962) | about a year ago | (#42362515)

Agreed, healthy competition would be a much better alternative in the long run, but we're at a breaking point here, 4-5 companies in the states own the infrastructure for these services and are free to do with it as they please. And so far, they have, Comcast wanted to charge me $75 for basic internet if I didn't accept their promo plan, I'm pretty sure it doesn't cost them $10 (I'd love a real figure for this) to deliver this internet to me... 700%~ profit? Somethings gotta give.

P.S. this is why ISPs always have "promos", they're still making tons of money at what we think is "cheap" internet

Re:Sen. Wyden. (0)

datavirtue (1104259) | about a year ago | (#42363463)

Oh, $75 for an unlimited internet connection that is probably clocking 10-100Mbps, I feel so sorry for you. My only decent internet option is Verizon 4G at $80 per month with a 10GB transfer limit. The last two months I have been billed $200 a month. Can't watch movies or it will cost more, can't download games from steam....the list goes on. I don't even want to talk about it.

Re:Sen. Wyden. (4, Insightful)

fredprado (2569351) | about a year ago | (#42363493)

When healthy competition does not exist which is more often than not the case in our world, regulation, inefficient as it may be, is the only way to combat abuses.

Re:Sen. Wyden. (-1, Troll)

bradley13 (1118935) | about a year ago | (#42361941)

Dear Senator Wyden

Thank you for your good intentions, but...just why is this a task for the federal government? An ISP uses local infrastructure to provide service to local residents. Only in the strangest of cases (Texahoma) will an individual transaction cross state lines. The Commerce Clause does not apply. This is not the business of the federal government.

Anyway, surely you have more important things to worry about? [brillig.com]

Re:Sen. Wyden. (5, Insightful)

afidel (530433) | about a year ago | (#42362103)

Considering basically every transaction carried out over the internet is an interstate transaction you couldn't be further from reality.

Re:Sen. Wyden. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42362195)

All you have to do is note the Libertarian cant to his assertion to know that he couldn't be further from reality.

Re:Sen. Wyden. (1)

lee13se (778395) | about a year ago | (#42362129)

Only in the strangest of cases (Texahoma) will an individual transaction cross state lines.

The bill defines an ISP as "an Internet service provider that imposes a data cap on consumers of the provider" I believe that would include AT&T, Verizon, and the like that have data caps on mobile internet service.

Re:Sen. Wyden. (1, Interesting)

ninetyninebottles (2174630) | about a year ago | (#42362131)

Thank you for your good intentions, but...just why is this a task for the federal government?

Okay, I'm curious. Are you trolling or is your understanding of interstate commerce drawn directly from (and only from) poorly researched libertarian pamphlets?

Re:Sen. Wyden. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42362443)

Practical Reason #1: Because nobody else is doing it. ISPs are basically like utilities in function; natural monopolies that are exquisitely well positioned to price-gouge, because the nature of their business is effectively insulated from competition, and they are completely reliant on the government to deploy infrastructure at all in the first place (Can you imagine how many property owners you need to deal with to lay cable?)

Pedantic Legalistic Asshole (This is you) Reason #1 : Because the internet is a needed part of interstate commerce, and by screwing with it locally, you screw with your resident's ability to conduct interstate commerce.

"Go screw yourself" Reason #1 : Because they took federal subsidies to function, you will shut up and listen, or we will yank funding, cripple you, and give it to someone else. See why highway constructors must play nice with the Federal Government or die.

Re:Sen. Wyden. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42361963)

Eh... it's certainly a nice gesture, but I'm quite leery about this. The government has historically been bad at understanding technology (especially the modern civilian internet). The ISPs have historically been spectacular at fleecing people who don't understand technology (including local governments, re: exclusivity deals for sub-par service), and using those fleeced people to trap the people they can't outright fleece (again, exclusivity deals). Something tells me the ISPs won't have any trouble convincing the FCC that their service "needs" these caps in place, with heavy emphasis on the sarcasm quotes.

Re:Sen. Wyden. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42362065)

Dear Senator Wyden:

Please state the specific Section and Article within the Constitution which grants Congress the power to enact such legislation.

Re:Sen. Wyden. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42362609)

I hope you have the same desire for *every* piece of legislation that is proposed. (I know I do.)

Re:Sen. Wyden. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42362637)

Interstate commerce.

Why do you Libertarians have to be so fucking pants-on-head retarded?

Re:Sen. Wyden. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42362777)

Speaking of retards, that phrase doesn't even exist in the Constitution.

Re:Sen. Wyden. (4, Informative)

LiENUS (207736) | about a year ago | (#42363309)

"pants-on-head retarded" ? no it probably doesn't exist in the constitution but Article I, Section 8, Clause 3 says "To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;" that's a fancy way of saying they have the authority to regulate interstate commerce. How applicable it is for 99% of the stuff they say allows it I wont argue, but the constitution does in fact give them the authority to regulate commerce among the states.

Re:Sen. Wyden. (2)

Dexter Herbivore (1322345) | about a year ago | (#42362135)

Dear Senator Wyden,

Thank you for actually being a good Senator, that introduces good bills that create or change laws that help out the average US Citizen. I'm glad I voted for you the last time you were on the ballot, and if I still lived in Oregon I'd vote for you again.

I'm too cynical, my immediate reaction is "What is he getting from this, and does it have any real chance of passing?".

Re:Sen. Wyden. (2)

datavirtue (1104259) | about a year ago | (#42363503)

Because his family members and friends are pissed about data caps on their phones. This is one bit of lobbying I don't mind though.

Re:Sen. Wyden. (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42362163)

Senator Wyden,

I have never lived in Oregon, but I do work in Chicago, and will happily vote for you twice in any future election.

Re:Sen. Wyden. (1)

Mephistophocles (930357) | about a year ago | (#42362317)

Yeah, I'm not sure I like this actually. All this really does it put data caps in the hands of the government - doesn't mean they're going away. I'd rather not have them at all, but if they're going to happen I'd rather the providers control them than the FCC.

Re:Sen. Wyden. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42362951)

Well most likely the government would at least make sure that the damn ISPs own services (like Comcast On Demand or their services via XBox) aren't mysteriously "exempted" from the cap in a bid to get rid of Netflix, Hulu, etc. We all know that the major streaming players put their content into large distributed content management (DCM) systems that live in the same data centers as the ISPs so the bogus claims they have of "wah, increased transit (peering) costs because netflix, wah" are crap anyway. In fact, now that cable has gone all digital, they shouldn't exempt TV service either. I want to either have no cap or have a cap that is completely agnostic to whatever protocols or data is transmitted over it. My TiVo can record 4 streams at once through the m-card. If I do that, I am consuming more resources than the person recording one stream. Count it in the cap or don't cap at all. This is where government intervention makes sense. We can't rely on any "invisible hand" of the market since the companies were typically granted monopolies in many areas when they agreed to run the wires there. Since the market isn't free, it does need regulation.

Re:Sen. Wyden. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42362429)

There is always a loophole. They will all just switch from Unlimited plans to the Cell Phone Model. 250gb for $60 a month!

Re:Sen. Wyden. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42363477)

I assume you read the bill? Unless my reading of the bill is wrong, there are a few small points you may wish to consider...
1) IANAL, but it seems the bill makes no allowment for an ISP that does not have a data cap. It seems to codify into law that all ISPs will have a data cap, and provide monitoring of user traffic to determine usage and monitoring tools for those users.
2) Failure to provide these tools results in fines, the abililty for users to get money from from the government for any overage charges, and any funds in the money gained by fines goes into the General Fund to ostensibly "fight the deficit" - yeah right.
3) This bill is an example of administrative law, which in my opinion is a bad idea. They are giving carte blanche to the FCC to do as they wish. My opinion is that if it's important enough to have a law on, it's important enough for the legislators to actually create rather than "some unnamed beurocrat will decide..." type crap.
4) The article nor the bill thus make any mention of how often re-certification would have to happen - i.e. if this law had always existed, we could be stuck with 1990 level data caps and might not be able to do anything about it.

So THANK YOU, dear Senator Wyden for trying to mess up the internet, in a bill that, from the headline, sounds like a good idea. Afterall, headlines and perception is all that really matters.

Does the FCC have this authority? (-1, Redundant)

cayenne8 (626475) | about a year ago | (#42361695)

While I heartily applaud this move and something in the right direction, and the ultimate goal is a good one, I have to wonder...

Does the FCC actually have the authority to do this? Won't they be slapped down again?

How about congress actually pass a LAW on this, after all, they are supposed to be the legislators, eh?

Re:Does the FCC have this authority? (4, Informative)

degeneratemonkey (1405019) | about a year ago | (#42361721)

Well, no, the FCC does not have the authority to do this. This story is about a bill that would grant the FCC such authority.

It won't pass though, because there is a lot more money against than there is in favor.

Re:Does the FCC have this authority? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42361729)

the FCC would have the authority IF the law gives it to them. they've run into trouble before when implementing policy or rules without a law to back it up.

Re:Does the FCC have this authority? (3, Informative)

jhoegl (638955) | about a year ago | (#42361735)

The law is created in the bill. The FCC is the enforcer or "over watch" of the law.
Much like when you contact the FCC for a spectrum use violation.

Re:Does the FCC have this authority? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42362537)

as long as the bribes are taxable.

jr

Re:Does the FCC have this authority? (1)

sconeu (64226) | about a year ago | (#42361739)

Does the FCC actually have the authority to do this? Won't they be slapped down again?

The FCC is part of the Executive. If explicitly directed to do so by Congress, it's in their purview. They got "slapped down" before, because the court said there was no law authorizing the previous effort.

Re:Does the FCC have this authority? (2)

larry bagina (561269) | about a year ago | (#42362105)

You forgot the third option: slapped down because the law giving them authorization was unconstitutional.

All four major carriers are interstate (2)

tepples (727027) | about a year ago | (#42363451)

A mobile network operator with coverage in multiple states engages in "commerce [...] among the several States", which the Constitution grants the Congress power to regulate.

Re:Does the FCC have this authority? (2, Informative)

StormReaver (59959) | about a year ago | (#42361779)

How about congress actually pass a LAW on this, after all, they are supposed to be the legislators, eh?

I know most people don't bother reading the stories here, but did you bother to even read the summary (which actually does a decent job of summarizing the story)?

This is a bill. Bills become laws if they are approved by Congress.

Re:Does the FCC have this authority? (5, Informative)

DragonWriter (970822) | about a year ago | (#42361785)

Does the FCC actually have the authority to do this?

This isn't the FCC doing something, its a member of Congress proposing a law directing the FCC to do it. If they pass the law, then the FCC will, ipso facto, have authority to do it (assuming, of course, that Congress has Constitutional authority to pass the law.)

How about congress actually pass a LAW on this, after all, they are supposed to be the legislators, eh?

That's exactly what Senator Wyden is proposing: Congress passing a LAW that would ISPs from imposing data caps without prior approval of the specific cap meeting specific requirements from the FCC.

Re:Does the FCC have this authority? (0)

DigiShaman (671371) | about a year ago | (#42362237)

Which is a good law. Of all proposals, I really like the framework of this one. Caps are not out of the question if they're substantial infrastructure reasons to justify them. But the idea of using caps to shake more money out of people's pocket is absurd. In a free market, we would never have to worry about this kinda of racket going on. But I think we've all established that the ISP industry is anything but a 'free market' for all sorts of reasons.

My only concern is that the FCC might go too far in making an ISP lose too much profit in that the infrastructure doesn't get upgraded anyways. Or, industry players start dropping out much like doctors leaving healthcare. Once you start making deals with the Devil (Government), there are always repercussions. Always!

end of the world (1)

alienzed (732782) | about a year ago | (#42361727)

or simply the end of us putting up with corporate bullshit. Must feel like the end of the world for the greedy...

Re:end of the world (1)

wierd_w (1375923) | about a year ago | (#42361759)

(Looks for suitable cover from retun fire...)

"Well, It *is* dec. 21 today..."

[Hits the dirt.]

Re:end of the world (2)

Dexter Herbivore (1322345) | about a year ago | (#42362179)

It's already over in Australia. We've discovered here that the Mayan apocalypse was actually only referring to anyone who's still trying to do their Christmas shopping. Seriously, have you been anywhere near a shopping centre (mall) in the last few days?

Re:end of the world (1)

Patch86 (1465427) | about a year ago | (#42362465)

Not that I'm trying to justify any of this nonsense, but- why would the Mexico-dwelling Mayans have predicted the end of the world in Australian local time?

Presumably we've got about another 11 hours, until midnight Mexican time, before we're "in the clear", so to speak.

Netflix... (5, Interesting)

sandytaru (1158959) | about a year ago | (#42361747)

We start approaching our monthly ISP imposed data cap of 150 GB just from watching Netflix. One room mate nearly busted us through when she started watching the new Dr. Who series, beginning from the first David Tennant episode on up.

If I remember right, Netflix currently accounts for about one third of all total Internet data usage.

Re:Netflix... (1, Informative)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#42361783)

Netflix pays for transport, so do you. The problem is the man in the middle it seems.

If this really is a problem for you, you could lower the default stream quality on the netflix website.

I would instead suggest you try to see if there is another provider in your area.

Re:Netflix... (3, Interesting)

sandytaru (1158959) | about a year ago | (#42362303)

Nope. ISPs are given a virtual monopoly on their method of delivery. We have AT&T DSL and that's all we can get through the phone lines. We had tried Charter cable, but their data cap is the same at 150 GB, and their QoS was ten times worse and the bill was twenty dollars more.

We've talked about going to a business grade fiber connection at $200/month, but that's only on the table if one of us has a true telecommuting job. As it is, our offices are 15 minutes away and neither of us work enough from home to justify it.

Re:Netflix... (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#42362411)

In some areas that is true. I have the option of FIOS, DSL from a couple providers or TWC.

I did intentionally limit the areas in my city I would live to select for FIOS though.

Re:Netflix... (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | about a year ago | (#42362705)

We've talked about going to a business grade fiber connection at $200/month, but that's only on the table if one of us has a true telecommuting job.

I obviously know nothing about where you live, but you could try and find a neighbor who's willing to split the cost.
I know a few technically inclined people who live alone, but split a highspeed bill with their neighbor and everyone is happier for it.

Re:Netflix... (2)

Sponge Bath (413667) | about a year ago | (#42362051)

...started watching the new Dr. Who series, beginning from the first David Tennant episode on up.

This is important stuff, worthy of a regulatory fix. I'm not being sarcastic.

Re:Netflix... (1)

Real1tyCzech (997498) | about a year ago | (#42362247)

Gotta wonder why his wife skipped Christopher Eccleston. It got much darker after him (where they instated the new rule where someone had to die in every episode, it seems).

Re:Netflix... (4, Informative)

cluedweasel (832743) | about a year ago | (#42362617)

My ISP has a 150Gb limit too. When we moved here it was unlimited. Then the ISP proposed a 30Gb monthly limit. After a local campaign, they acted like they were going to go bankrupt after upping it to 100Gb. Now it's 150Gb. I called them when the 100Gb limit came in and asked them how I was meant to use Netflix and the like with 100Gb. their answer was to use their own VOD system. To me, there's the heart of the matter - it's not the cost of transport, it's protecting their own revenue from online competitors. BTW, this ISP (Bend Broadband) is in Mr. Wydens district and he was receptive to complaints about their data caps.

Re:Netflix... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42362831)

I don't think my ISP has a cap.

I have had Netflix running on one or more of my computers almost constantly for over a month(sick me, sick kids...) and not a peep about it from my ISP.

I pay $26 a month for a 20 DSL Mbps connection.

You would have to be pretty stupid to overpay for a tiny cap.

Not good (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42361749)

This is a great idea in theory. In practice, it will give ISPs incentive to actually allow service to degrade to the point where "data cap functions to reasonably limit network congestion". This will result in an overall lower quality of service and even more profits for the cable guys. After all, who are you going to switch to?

Wary (5, Insightful)

HaZardman27 (1521119) | about a year ago | (#42361841)

Couldn't this serve to discourage ISPs from improving their infrastructure? If they let their infrastructure age, they'd be spending nothing on improvement, and would eventually be allowed to put data caps in place as bandwidth usage increases.

Disclaimer: Didn't RTFA.

Re:Wary (4, Informative)

Microlith (54737) | about a year ago | (#42362007)

Couldn't this serve to discourage ISPs from improving their infrastructure?

They don't need any prompting to not improve their infrastructure. Their "solution" is to impose arbitrary limits and offers slow service to stretch their profit margins by not improving their infrastructure. Competition is necessary for them to improve and they fight vigorously to deny it, suing municipalities to prevent them from offering their own lower cost, higher quality services.

Re:Wary (4, Insightful)

DigiShaman (671371) | about a year ago | (#42362055)

The ISP industry is an oligopoly. In some cases, monopoly depending on where you live. Good or bad, you can thank the government for limiting new players entry into this market. So the idea of 'free market' can be thrown out the window in this discussion.

Caps are bad in that they foster regression of infrastructure. Simply put, there's massive profits in scarcity. That's econ 101.

"Good or bad" (1)

davidwr (791652) | about a year ago | (#42362545)

One very good reason why land-based telecommunications is a monopoly is that laying new wires is disruptive to other infrastructure.

About the only way to have a competitive land-based Internet is to "split the baby" and have a local regulated monopoly own and manage "the last mile(s)" and have independent companies provide "Internet service" at a co-location or point-of-presence site.

In other words, do to Internet services what a federal judge did to Ma Bell in the early 1980s.

By the way, in some parts of the United States about 10-15 years ago, DSL services were "split" in this way. You got "bare DSL" from your local regulated telephone company and you got "Internet" services from one of many companies that had "co-located" equipment at your local telephone switching office. For reasons that would likely make conspiracy theorists proud, many areas that used to operate this way no longer do so.

Re:Wary (1)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | about a year ago | (#42363131)

I would love to hear how you would see the telecoms market play out if government regulation is removed. Keep in mind that monopolistic rent-seeking is the most profitable state for a company, and that companies a legal obligation to their shareholders to maximize profit. Keep also in mind that there are currently large multinationals playing in the telecoms market.

Show your work, and pay attention to whether costs rise or fall and whether services rise or fall.

Re:Wary (1)

arielCo (995647) | about a year ago | (#42362075)

If you had, you'd know that he's against about discriminatory data caps, such as "150 GB on anything but our [partner's] streaming video services":

“A covered internet service provider may not, for purposes of measuring data usage or otherwise, provide preferential treatment of data that is based on the source or the content of the data,” (.pdf) Wyden’s bill reads.

It goes further to question data caps in general, but that's a pricing scheme and has nothing to do with neutrality.

Re:Wary (2)

Doctor_Jest (688315) | about a year ago | (#42362153)

I suspect in some markets, that might be the case. The true problem is government-sanctioned monopolies. There needs to be competition. Where I live, there are two providers of Cable service, and the requisite DSL. Only DSL has a cap, and quite frankly, it's useless compared to the two cable companies. This idea of capping usage at a certain amount is not about traffic management at all. It's about trying to squeeze money out of customers. Throttling bandwidth during peak usage is more logical, but since they're not really doing it for that reason, they cap data. The FCC could, in the absence of market forces (competition), be more stringent about not gouging customers. After all, the company got a monopoly sanctioned by the local government... they wanted that sort of control. So since they wanted to play in that arena, the government who granted the monopoly should force their own regulations on them, backed by the regulatory power of the FCC. Or the ISP can let competition in. It's their choice. Normally, I'm market focused and loathe government interference, but since the market has been fiddled with by the government already to prevent competition and true market forces, I don't mind them manipulating the monopoly ...

Re:Wary (3, Insightful)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about a year ago | (#42362171)

Couldn't this serve to discourage ISPs from improving their infrastructure? If they let their infrastructure age, they'd be spending nothing on improvement, and would eventually be allowed to put data caps in place as bandwidth usage increases.

They have no incentive currently. In fact, applying data caps is how they decided to make more money instead of building out infrastructure to meet demand. Look, data caps don't help congestion at all (except, perhaps, through fear of using your service?) If the services are over-subscribed then at peak times the load is more than the bandwidth they advertise -- Think rush hour traffic. Would limiting the distance you could drive per month reduce the demand for car lanes during rush hour? Ni, ni and ni... That's just silly! Instead what you'd do is limit your over all use so that you were assured driving distance when you needed it. This means that there would be less Traffic on Off Peak Times -- When there is plenty of bandwidth available! This is also why metered bandwidth is a farce, unless they charge a lot more during peak times.

There has to be enough hardware in place to handle that peak load, the number of bits doesn't matter over a month -- It only matters during off peak times: The hardware is still there, it's just not being used. The Current doesn't matter, it's the Pressure / Voltage! The Wires have to be big enough for peak usage, not for total power used in a day, week or month, it's not like you use up the electrons and the wires have to be replaced... THINK MAN!

You must understand, it's more profitable in the short term to over sell bandwidth than to build out infrastructure. The data caps are merely an attempt to squeeze more money out of the system. WTF does it matter if you use netflix or bittorrent all night long when there is plenty of bandwidth to go around? The problem is that there are more folks trying to use the same sized pipe during peak times -- Not that the damn routers run out of bits!

MY PIPES! DE CAPS DO NOTHING!

Re:Wary (1)

lightknight (213164) | about a year ago | (#42362955)

Ask yourself this: what is less expensive, imposing data caps on customers, or upgrading capital infrastructure? In the short term, it's data caps. Over the long term, it's upgrading infrastructure.

See, there are people here trying to make a quick buck. Telecom infrastructure needs to be upgraded every few years, and the upgrades are not terribly expensive (we're talking about Verizon here, who can make their own chips / write their own code, easily, if other manufacturers raise costs too high; I mean, they're Bell Atlantic, they have the resources). Anyway, some business fart somewhere probably came to the conclusion, based off of the 20 minutes or so he was awake in Finance class, that they can make a lot more money by putting off upgrades a little longer, and simply increasing costs. Now, any seasoned business type who has run their own company will be groaning right now, as they are aware of all the hidden gotchas to this idea, which is why smarter types avoid it. And those gotchas? One of them is this -> what happens if your customers, fed up with your shit, begin switching to a competitor who is not 'playing ball' by putting off their upgrades to increase their profit margins? An inexperienced type will think "Oh, then I'll just start upgrading my stuff, which will prevent more from switching, and I can convince the others to come back with special deals / etc." But in reality, the first types to switch will be the heaviest users, the most technical of the bunch, and probably the angriest. Angry, with long memories, which even the market cannot understand -> revenge botches all calculations. It's something like having 100,000 full-time marketers with your most prized customers giving them their undivided attention -> I mean, when a non-tech is looking to subscribe to an ISP, who the hell do you think they trust to give them an honest answer? It's not the people on TV. It's their family or friend tech, who will tell them to stay away from your cheap ass. You know, the guy who has been giving away free tech support for years? They'll get a phone call like this -> "Hey lightknight, I am thinking of switching to {ISP with data caps}. I've seen their ads, what do you think?" And I will respond -> "Dude, I had them for 6 months, and they terminated my account because I went over the limit. That's going to be a problem for you if you like NetFlix / Hulu / YouTube / etc. You should really go with {ISP without data caps}." And they will respond -> "Lightknight, you're right. This other guy costs less, and gives us more. Thanks."

If you are, in any way, shape, or form, a tech company, or have heavy ties to tech companies, pissing on techs is a death sentence. The "thanks for recommending us to all your friends, but we're going to have to let you go" approach has destroyed many a tech company. And telecom companies are tech companies, like it or not.

Your customers are always going to go with the guy who offers a faster connection, for a lower price. That's all you need to know about networks. Sure, occasionally other things are added to the equation (latency, QoS, etc.), but in general, if you have a faster connection that your competitors, you already have those things.

And I will say this about Verizon -> I do not care for their wireless services (haven't had them before, but they are very expensive), but their FIOS service? Someone should get promoted for that. Running a fiber line to the customer's house has always been the end game for networking. It's the checkmate move of the networking world. Once someone deploys fiber, it's over. And why is fiber so important? Because it's a plastic or glass tube, which transmits light, and is unaffected by EM interference. It can go miles without repeaters, and upgrade costs are only for the equipment at both ends, not the fiber itself. Once laid, unless a backhoe cuts through it, their job is done. The amortization of fiber is just beautiful from an accounting standpoint -> that little piece of plastic could go centuries before needing to be replaced. The only thing faster than light is something that hasn't even been invented yet.

More Regulation (4, Informative)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about a year ago | (#42361869)

An alternative to this would be to finally break the monopoly faced by many Americans on their broadband cable services.

I live in an area served by both FIOS and Cablevision, and neither have caps, and have played them against each other to get discounts on my service bills.

Re:More Regulation (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42361959)

Seconded. I used to live near a military base. The town I was in had granted a monopoly to a cable company; the military base had refused to grant anyone a monopoly, and had two competing vendors, one of which was the same company that had the monopoly in the town. Guess who got new channels first, got better rates, and got better service? Yeah - the people on the base.

Re:More Regulation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42362011)

An alternative to this would be to finally break the monopoly faced by many Americans on their broadband cable services.

I live in an area served by both FIOS and Cablevision, and neither have caps, and have played them against each other to get discounts on my service bills.

But wouldn't this mean less regulation? You effectively allowed two players of a free market to compete with each other.

Re:More Regulation (1)

afidel (530433) | about a year ago | (#42362203)

It doesn't do that much because you still have an oligarchy, I have four serious broadband options where I live, two cable providers, AT&T U-Verse, and a fixed wireless provider. Guess what, they all cost about the same for the same packages despite the fact that they all have about a 40% gross profit margin which is well above the norm for most industries. I don't have any caps, which is nice, but the small number of players means I still don't have a meaningful amount of competition.

Re:More Regulation (1)

MobyDisk (75490) | about a year ago | (#42362659)

One way to do this would be to follow Australia with their National Broadband Network [wikipedia.org] : The government established a fiber network, but commercial service providers can connect to the network to provide internet service. It sounds like the service providers can use that network to provide service. I'm unclear if multiple providers can cover the same area though, which would provide the real competition.

The Wikipedia article also states that they also made sure that "new fibre networks are required to be open access and charge similar prices; these rules are known as the "anti-cherry picking" provisions" which sounds like Network Neutrality to me.

Dear Investment Opportunity Wyden (3, Funny)

ohnocitizen (1951674) | about a year ago | (#42361911)

Let's cut to the chase. In the modern political arena our money faces no obstacles whatsoever. It is up to you whether that money supports you in your next run for office or pours into your precious state decimating not only your own campaign but every other congress critter down-ticket along party lines. Not that we enjoy threatening our investment opportunities, far from it. Its just business.

Hugs and Kisses,

ISPs

You don't know Oregon politics. (1)

MachineShedFred (621896) | about a year ago | (#42362901)

If you had any idea how Oregon politics works, you would know that being replaced isn't going to happen. Senator Wyden won't face a primary challenger who is also a Democrat, because the Democratic Party is still pretty happy with his voting record. In a general election against a Republican, Wyden will only have to carry 4 or 5 counties in order to win re-election, and he'll carry them by ~77% of the vote because Portland and Eugene are wildly liberal, and unless a major political shift happens, they won't vote Republican for anything.

This is Wyden's seat until he retires, pisses off the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, or decides to officially move to New York. This is both good and bad - he's politically secure to "do the right thing" or "do whatever pays the most." So far, he's done the right thing.

IF this passes? A partial "remedy" exists... apk (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42361917)

Don't "haul down" as much, & certainly (adbanners) you don't REALLY need, via this tool I created:

APK Hosts File Engine 5.0++ 32-bit & 64-bit:

http://start64.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=5851:apk-hosts-file-engine-64bit-version&catid=26:64bit-security-software&Itemid=74 [start64.com]

Not only does it block out those adbanners (which HAVE been infested many times with malicious code over the years now lately), but it also protects you vs. KNOWN malicious sites/servers/hosts-domains that host malwares &/or malicious script code , as I produced evidences of that here before on this site -> http://yro.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2368832&cid=37021700 [slashdot.org] too... & FAR more - like the fact it's NOT owned by advertisers like GHOSTERY &/or ADBLOCK are... talk about "foxes guarding the henhouse"... you'd have to be a real "cluck" to use those, now, @ least (imo, because of that fact)!

See list in my 'p.s.' below. It enumerates what this program's data outputs (a custom hosts file) can do that's good, for you, the end-user of them.

It has a 32-bit model, + a 64-bit one in the distro itself, & can be installed anywhere (I'd go as far as saying it's a "portable" app, since it has no configuration storage necessary really, but I am not sure if it meets ALL the requirements for that!)

---

QUESTION:

What I would like to know, & perhaps you /.'ers can answer it for me with some documented proofs, is:

What percentage of websites in general IS adbanner related material vs. the pages they are loaded on, in general/on average, & from a fairly reliable study from a reputable site... thanks in advance!

APK

P.S.=> What's it do for ME, or anyone else that uses custom hosts files? The link enumerates it, but here it is again for your reference:

---

1.) Blocking out malware/malscripted sites.
2.) Blocking out Known sites-servers/hosts-domains that are known to serve up malware.
3.) Blocking out Bogus DNS servers malware makers use.
4.) Blocking out Botnet C&C servers.
5.) Blocking out Bogus adbanners that are full of malicious script content.
6.) Blocking out known spammers &/or phishers.
7.) Blocking out TRACKERS.
8.) Getting you back speed/bandwidth you paid for by blocking out adbanners + hardcoding in your favorite sites (faster than remote DNS server resolution).
9.) Added reliability (vs. downed or misdirect/poisoned DNS servers).
10.) Added "anonymity" (to an extent, vs. DNS request logs).
11.) The ability to bypass DNSBL's (DNS block lists you may not agree with).
12.) More screen "real estate" (since no more adbanners appear onscreen eating up CPU, Memory, & other forms of I/O too - bonus!).
13.) Truly UNIVERSAL PROTECTION (since any OS, even on smartphones, usually has a BSD drived IP stack).
14.) Faster & MORE EFFICIENT operation vs. browser plugins (which "layer on" ontop of Ring 3/RPL 3/usermode browsers & are generally written in slower INTERPRETED languages (e.g. AdBlock = python/perl/javascript)- Whereas by way of comparison, the hosts file operates @ the Ring 0/RPL 0/Kernelmode of operation (far faster) as a filter for the IP stack itself which is written in C & Assembly language...).
15.) Custom hosts files work on ANY & ALL webbound apps (browser plugins do not).
16.) Custom hosts files offer a better, faster, more efficient way, & safer way to surf the web & are COMPLETELY controlled by the end-user of them.

---

So - IF you don't want to be:

A.) Tracked
B.) Spammed
C.) Speed/bandwidth hogged by ads (as well as electricity, CPU cycles, RAM, & other forms of I/O as well)
D.) Hit by malware or malicious scripts (for better "layered-security"/"defense-in-depth")
E.) Hit by DNS poisoning redirection (OR DNS servers being "downed") losing reliability
F.) Blocked out & have even more 'anonymity' (to an extent vs. DNS request logs) + being able to "blow by" what you may feel are unjust blocks (in DNSBL's)... ...& more? See the link above...

---

... apk

Re:IF this passes? A partial "remedy" exists... ap (2)

Dexter Herbivore (1322345) | about a year ago | (#42362063)

Did /. just get spammed by an ad from someone who's anti-ad? Oh, the irony...

Anti Ad, Anti malware, anti spyware, & more... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42362593)

"Did /. just get spammed by an ad from someone who's anti-ad? Oh, the irony..." - by Dexter Herbivore (1322345) on Friday December 21, @01:30PM (#42362063)

I'm not selling anything - it's free, + works as I said, in BOTH 32-bit + 64-bit Windows Portable Executable formats, & all that was put up in return to my points in it?

A technically unjustifiable downmod -> http://yro.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3332993&cid=42361917 [slashdot.org]

(Apparently, vs. my technical expertise there? That's ALL mere trolls like yourself have vs. its points!)

Of course, lastly: THOSE unassailable technical points are NOT going to "go well" with 3 types of people out there online, profiting by advertising & nefarious exploits + more @ YOUR expense as the consumer:

---

A.) Malware makers & the like (botnet masters, etc./et al)
B.) ADVERTISERS - the TRULY offended ones, as it is their "lifeblood" in psychological attack galore, tracking, & more, etc.!
C.) Webmasters (who profit by ad banners, but fail to realize that those SAME adbanners suck away the users' bandwidth/speed, electricity, CPU cycles, RAM, & other forms of I/O they PAY FOR, plus, adbanners DO get infested with malicious code, & if anyone wants many "examples thereof" from the past near-decade now? Ask!)

---

* QUESTION: Which one of those are you?

APK

P.S.=> As to adbanners messing folks up on a NUMBER of levels? Well - Proof's in the pudding in theses concrete, verifiable, & UNDENIABLE evidences thereof:

---

THE NEXT AD YOU CLICK MAY BE A VIRUS:

http://it.slashdot.org/story/09/06/15/2056219/The-Next-Ad-You-Click-May-Be-a-Virus [slashdot.org]

Yahoo, Microsoft's Bing display toxic ads:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/09/16/bing_yahoo_malware_ads/ [theregister.co.uk]

Malware torrent delivered over Google, Yahoo! ad services:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/09/24/malware_ads_google_yahoo/ [theregister.co.uk]

Rogue ads infiltrate Expedia and Rhapsody:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/01/30/excite_and_rhapsody_rogue_ads/ [theregister.co.uk]

Google sponsored links caught punting malware:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/12/16/google_sponsored_links/ [theregister.co.uk]

DoubleClick caught supplying malware-tainted ads:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/11/13/doubleclick_distributes_malware/ [theregister.co.uk]

Yahoo feeds Trojan-laced ads to MySpace and PhotoBucket users:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/09/11/yahoo_serves_12million_malware_ads/ [theregister.co.uk]

Real Media attacks real people via RealPlayer:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/10/23/real_media_serves_malware/ [theregister.co.uk]

Attacks Targeting Classified Ad Sites Surge:

http://it.slashdot.org/story/11/02/02/1433210/Attacks-Targeting-Classified-Ad-Sites-Surge [slashdot.org]

Hackers Respond To Help Wanted Ads With Malware:

http://it.slashdot.org/story/11/01/20/0228258/Hackers-Respond-To-Help-Wanted-Ads-With-Malware [slashdot.org]

Ruskie gang hijacks Microsoft network to push penis pills:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/10/12/microsoft_ips_hijacked/ [theregister.co.uk]

Major ISPs Injecting Ads, Vulnerabilities Into Web:

http://it.slashdot.org/story/08/04/19/2148215/major-isps-injecting-ads-vulnerabilities-into-web [slashdot.org]

Two Major Ad Networks Found Serving Malware:

http://tech.slashdot.org/story/10/12/13/0128249/Two-Major-Ad-Networks-Found-Serving-Malware [slashdot.org]

NY TIMES INFECTED WITH MALWARE ADBANNER:

http://news.slashdot.org/story/09/09/13/2346229/new-york-times-site-pop-up-says-your-computer-is-infected [slashdot.org]

MICROSOFT HIT BY MALWARES IN ADBANNERS:

http://apcmag.com/microsoft_apologises_for_serving_malware.htm [apcmag.com]

ADOBE FLASH ADS INJECTING MALWARE INTO THE NET:

http://it.slashdot.org/story/08/08/20/0029220/adobe-flash-ads-launching-clipboard-hijack-attacks [slashdot.org]

London Stock Exchange Web Site Serving Malware:

http://www.securityweek.com/london-stock-exchange-web-site-serving-malware [securityweek.com]

Spotify splattered with malware-tainted ads:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/03/25/spotify_malvertisement_attack/ [theregister.co.uk]

Demonoid Down For a Week, Serving Malware Laden Ads:

http://yro.slashdot.org/story/12/08/02/1427257/demonoid-down-for-a-week-serving-malware-laden-ads [slashdot.org]

Google's DoubleClick spreads malicious ads (again):

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/02/24/doubleclick_distributes_malware/ [theregister.co.uk]

Ad networks owned by Google, Microsoft serve malware:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/12/13/doubleclick_msn_malware_attacks/ [theregister.co.uk]

Hackers Use Banner Ads on Major Sites to Hijack Your PC:

http://www.wired.com/techbiz/media/news/2007/11/doubleclick [wired.com]

---

* Per my subject-line above - who's doing the damage here? Not end-users... and they wonder WHY folks block out adbanners?? Come on!

APK

P.S.=> Plus, there IS this as well:

Adbanners slow you down & consume your bandwidth YOU pay for, as well as CPU cycles, RAM, & other forms of I/O that cost money in electricity:

ADBANNERS SLOW DOWN THE WEB: -> http://tech.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=09/11/30/166218 [slashdot.org]

---

And people do NOT LIKE ads on the web:

PEOPLE DISLIKE ADBANNERS: http://yro.slashdot.org/yro/08/04/02/0058247.shtml [slashdot.org]

---

As well as this:

Users Know Advertisers Watch Them, and Hate It:

http://yro.slashdot.org/yro/08/04/02/0058247.shtml [slashdot.org]

---

Advertising Network Caught History Stealing:

http://yro.slashdot.org/story/11/07/22/156225/Advertising-Network-Caught-History-Stealing [slashdot.org]

... apk

Re:IF this passes? A partial "remedy" exists... ap (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42362483)

Good question. I hope you get an answer. I am curious also.

Let's all move (1)

Amorymeltzer (1213818) | about a year ago | (#42362021)

This guy is seriously the number one reason I have and will ever have for wanting to move to Oregon. I am tired of writing letters to my representatives and senators telling them to be more like him, and tired of writing him letters thanking him for fighting for MY rights even though I can't vote for him.

Paved with good intentions, but... (4, Interesting)

jettoblack (683831) | about a year ago | (#42362067)

While this law sounds reasonable on the surface and seems well enough intentioned, looking at the past history of government regulations, I can't help but assume that even if this were to pass, the law will be twisted and manipulated to the point that it actually hurts the end users or stifles competition. Perhaps the requirements for compliance with the law will be so onerous that small ISPs cannot compete, leaving only the big players and a high barrier to entry, or it will prevent new innovative business models and force us to stick with the status quo even if a better alternative is found.

For example, the regulations for bidding for government contracts were intended to level the playing field, reduce corruption, and lower costs. But as the regulations became more and more complicated (trying to plug the loopholes), only the biggest contractors with government bidding officers and on-staff lawyers can actually get through all the red tape. The result is that small players cannot compete and costs go up. The regulations ended up doing exactly the opposite of what was intended.

Re:Paved with good intentions, but... (1)

terpri (853344) | about a year ago | (#42362257)

There are *no* requirements for compliance for ISPs that don't impose data caps. What specific provisions in the bill do you think will lead to "loopholes" and "red tape"?

Re:Paved with good intentions, but... (2)

Hatta (162192) | about a year ago | (#42362315)

For similar reasons, we should deregulate assault, theft, and fraud. Because government regulation always leaves the little guy at a disadvantage.

Monopolies, AOK? (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about a year ago | (#42362091)

When did monopolies official become not only OK, but pretty much government enforced.

Back in the day the government was used to prevent monopolies and ensure that reasonable alternatives existed who did not all work together to fix prices. Now all the government seems interested in doing is ensuring that monopolies exist and survive, and placing ineffective restrictions on them.

Re:Monopolies, AOK? (4, Interesting)

preaction (1526109) | about a year ago | (#42362335)

The government exists to regulate monopolies that must exist, like power, gas, water, waste disposal, police, fire, and transportation, and break those that must not, like telephone, computer hardware, and computer software.

Those monopolies I listed must exist because of the barrier to entry and the potential consequences of a monopoly. Electricity and gas being necessary to survive winter, or even summer for some folks, a company cannot be allowed to hold someone's life for ransom. Water is a necessity of life, which is why it's provided by the city government (who holds a monopoly on it). On the other hand, there are things a monopoly can do better than competition, like take a loss on serving certain customers because the loss is made up by less costly customers, or make a large capital investment because they can take a credit risk and be assured that customers have no other choice (in a more competitive market, risk is heightened).

Of course, what I've just said is a good argument for government-owned fiber to the home (except for the "necessary for life" thing, which is only a matter of time).

Re:Monopolies, AOK? (1)

celle (906675) | about a year ago | (#42363527)

"Of course, what I've just said is a good argument for government-owned fiber to the home (except for the "necessary for life" thing, which is only a matter of time)."

    Actually, it is necessary for life. What do you think 911 calls go through now? Carriers use public networks for life support services like for most others. /rant
The shit should have been nationalized years ago and the isps should have seen breakup and prison time after the rip-offs in the nineties and maybe a few death penalties for the current stealing. Treat them with the same amount of mercy they treated us. /rant

        I know, how about taking away the common carrier and monopoly status that they enjoy and take back the last mile that the public actually paid for. Then the cities don't have to build out infrastructure and just have to do maintenance.

Re:Monopolies, AOK? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42362573)

You really don't understand what hte FCC does outside of making sure your MP3 player doesn't cause problems for someone's pacemaker. Do you?

I've heard (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about a year ago | (#42362181)

I've heard talk, from a few different Execs at a few different ISPs in private meetings that the new thing they are getting ready to test is data caps that only count up during prime time. Kind of like how cellphones has "unlimited nights and weekends" but it would be more the opposite... you'd get unlimited from 12am to 4pm or so... Then have strict caps during prime time.

Not so great for Netflix users... but those are the real problem for the ISPs. File sharing users could schedule their downloads outside of those hours and free up a lot of bandwidth, and they'd not be losing file sharing customers to other, un-regulated, but slower services.

Nothing wrong with metered service per se (1)

davidwr (791652) | about a year ago | (#42362241)

The problem isn't the "cap," it's the excessive charge for overages or incremental units.

$30 for "up to" a fixed amount of data use plus many times that $much for double-the-fixed-amount usage is ridiculous.

If the $30 buys me 150GB (typical land-line) or 3GB (wireless), twice that amount (everything else being equal) should be no more than $60. It should actually be less because the "fixed costs" of providing service should be in that first $30.

Oh, one more problem... (1)

davidwr (791652) | about a year ago | (#42362365)

Many if not most ISPs have too-cozy relationships with "non-Internet" data providers such as voice-telephone, text, and video-services (i.e. cable tv, satellite).

This cozy relationship is an obvious conflict of interest in favor of discouraging people from using the Internet as a substitute for other services. If a cable company charges a "metered" rate of, say, $30 for 150GB, then the "TV" data should count towards that 150GB as well. Since people won't tolerate a sudden increase in their combined TV+Internet bill, this will necessarily mean either a drastic cutting of the "TV" part of the bill or a lowering of the "per GB" cost on the "Internet" side.

Let's say the cable company chooses the 1st route, and your "Internet" bill is $30 per 150 but the average household's Internet bill is $50 due to how much TV they watch, but their "TV" bill drops from $50 to $30, leaving the total bill the same. The customer is also a subscriber to NetFlix or a similar service. For every hour they are watching NetFlix, they are probably giving up an hour of Cable TV. Their "Internet + CableTV + NetFlix" bill remains pretty stable.

With today's setup, those ISPs who no longer "all you can eat" plans put customers in the awkward position of getting all the Cable-TV they want for no "per GB" cost, but having to pay per GB for NetFlix.

Take great care, Ron (1)

ThatsNotPudding (1045640) | about a year ago | (#42362243)

I recommend Senator Wyden should stay off small planes, lest he suffer the same kind of 'accident' as Senator Paul Wellstone (D).

Seems sensible on its face (1)

Slyfox696 (2432554) | about a year ago | (#42362269)

Just from the broad strokes painted in the summary, this seems like a good idea and a good piece of legislation for Americans. Seems to even include the sorely lacking bit of common sense, which is so often absent in legislation these days.

Given the amount of common sense and overall good it would do, my guess is this bill will never pass.

good bill, level playing field (1)

swschrad (312009) | about a year ago | (#42362287)

this would put an end to bait-and-switch service contracts, such as "unlimited service" which cuts you off after 4 gigs a month, and insure you compare apples to apples when you buy data services. however, I would like to see spelled out as a national benchmark a solid disclosure of when caps are placed. "to protect network" does not mean a damn thing. "we will cap the top 1/2 percent of users and/or anybody who is utilizing over X gigabits of data per day" tells you what you need to know. nobody does that at present.

Wireless Carriers (2)

ebinrock (1877258) | about a year ago | (#42362291)

I wonder if this would apply to the wireless (cell phone) carriers as well. I mean, recently I watched one hour of a movie on my smartphone (and yes, I watched it using my data plan because the nearest free wi-fi wasn't capable of handling the kind of bandwidth required for streaming video -- that's something that's got to change, too), and that one time of viewing ate up close to 1 GB of my 4 GB plan. Sure, in this case it was entertainment, and I could have used more discretion, but what if it was an instructional video I had to see in the field for my job, and there was no [fast, reliable] wi-fi around? What's the point of moving forward in technology with the ability to stream video to mobile devices if the data plans are all severely limited in that respect? What, so people are always expected to wait until they're in a spot with [again, fast and reliable] wi-fi, which is usually indoors, to be able to see any kind of video on their mobile devices? What a crock! The wireless carriers need to get it together and get back to unlimited data plans with a ton more bandwidth. We pay a hell of a lot of money for these plans (and are often locked into them for two years); the least they can do is upgrade their networks to fit the times -- not only with fancy bell-and-whistle features like 4G LTE (and I do appreciate the faster speeds, mind you!), but also more BANDWIDTH so they don't have to impose these ridiculously low data caps for tons of $$$. We Americans pay some of the highest rates for cellular service in the civilized world.

Cap and Compete (1)

ThatsNotPudding (1045640) | about a year ago | (#42362337)

How about: ISPs are freely allowed to impose data caps, but if they do, all their monopolistic franchise agreements are null and void.

Re:Cap and Compete (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42362491)

How about: ISPs are freely allowed to impose data caps, but everything sent over the connection has to be in those caps.

Re:Cap and Compete (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42362861)

How about data caps are illegal, period. ISPs must maintain a minimum of 115% of data bandwidth of what they have subscribers for.
50,000 subscribers at 20Mbit requires 1.15 Tb of bandwidth availability... better get cracking on those upgrades...

Data caps suck but so does legislation (2)

WaffleMonster (969671) | about a year ago | (#42362641)

If your going to legislate anything how about opening up the last mile cable monopolies to competition as was done with the telephone network for DSL?

You will never solve anything if your answer to side effects of lack of effective competition is legislation. Most of our pricing and service issues can can be traced back to effects of prior decade of nonstop consolidation in the ISP market to the point where in too many areas there is no other ISP to choose from.

I have a feeling if you pass such legislation the ISP will just drop your speed for the rest of the month to work around the inconvience... see your not capped..wink wink..... good luck with that netflix video.

With few exceptions caps in USA have some analogy to electricity usage and rush hour in that peak usage is all that matters. While you could argue pricing structures more closely matching the cost of production are better..another argument could be made that caps are easier for the user to understand, minimizes cost of any metering infustructure and puts least mental constraints on natural tendancies of users.

There is also the idea that any legislation benefits large ISPs who have staff, power and money to get their way disadvantaging the smaller ones we ought to be doing everything possible to promote to increase competition and systematically reign in fat, lazy, selfish tendancies that accompany being a monopoly.

Regulators, mount up (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42362685)

This is clear and makes sense, is a necessary anti-predatory regulation, and exactly the kind of thing that the FCC was created for. Unfortunately, because of those things, it doesn't have a shot in hell in the House right now...

Kinda torn on this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42362731)

If the ISPs would just act rationally, we wouldn't be in this mess. As much as I'd like to be able to move an unlimited number of bytes for a fixed price, nothing else in life works that way. The more electricity I use, the more I pay and the electric company is not going to cut me off for using more than some arbitrary amount of electricity. I just give them more money. Same with water and gas. The cable company is the only one that's ever threatened to disconnect me and refuse to provide future service if I use too much of their product and provides no way for me to pay more money to move more data.

Fortunately, they've temporarily lifted the cap. For now.

Way To Go Sen Wyden! (2)

detain (687995) | about a year ago | (#42362745)

This has been needed since netflix type video services started getting popular. You cant use internet video streaming without hitting a bandwidth cap pretty fast unless your ok with gameboy resolution in your stream. Movies simply dont look that good unless you view them at full resolution, and netflix at HD resolution is up to 2GB/hour. Leaving your internet tv streaming during the day will eat up most any bandwidth cap.

feasibility (1)

DriveDog (822962) | about a year ago | (#42362863)

Fine idea, but I'd think unlikely to pass, given the relationship between Comcast, Verizon, etc. and Congress.

I propose that the FTC do their job and regulate advertising. ISPs must state what caps they might impose, in very simple terms, along with EVERY advertisement—that is, any mention, of their service. Then trust us well-informed citizens to make decisions, make noise, whatever. Oh yeah, and there's going to have to be some reasonable competition to decide among. Oops.

What does this have to do with net neutrality? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42362879)

While the big ISPs are crooked enough that they'll almost certainly abuse data caps to keep profits rising while their networks languish, rather than funding infrastructure and increasing the caps to keep pace with technology, that's entirely separate from the double or triple-billing scams which they propose which net neutrality is needed to prevent.

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