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Legislation Would Prohibit ISPs From Throttling Online Video Services

Soulskill posted about 10 months ago | from the net-neutrality-limps-into-the-barn dept.

The Internet 222

Dega704 sends this story from Ars: "A Senate bill called the 'Consumer Choice in Online Video Act' (PDF) takes aim at many of the tactics Internet service providers can use to overcharge customers and degrade the quality of rival online video services. Submitted yesterday by U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), the 63-page bill provides a comprehensive look at the potential ways in which ISPs can limit consumer choice, and it boots the Federal Communications Commission's power to prevent bad outcomes. 'It shall be unlawful for a designated Internet service provider to engage in unfair methods of competition or unfair or deceptive acts or practices, the purpose or effect of which are to hinder significantly or to prevent an online video distributor from providing video programming to a consumer,' the bill states. A little more specifically, it would be illegal to 'block, degrade, or otherwise impair any content provided by an online video distributor' or 'provide benefits in the transmission of the video content of any company affiliated with the Internet service provider through specialized services or other means.' Those provisions overlap a bit with the FCC's authority under its own net neutrality law, the Open Internet Order, which already prevents the blockage of websites and services. However, Verizon is in court attempting to kill that law, and there is a real possibility that it could be limited in some way. The Consumer Choice in Online Video Act could provide a hedge against that possible outcome."

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Not going to happen (4, Informative)

TheNastyInThePasty (2382648) | about 10 months ago | (#45415513)

Too many Dems are in bed with Hollywood and too many Repubs will scream about socialism because it places limitations on big business.

Re:Not going to happen (5, Informative)

Xicor (2738029) | about 10 months ago | (#45415549)

all i can think about is time warner and youtube. all youtube videos are throttled so horribly with time warner that i cant even watch 480p. time warner also cuts off the buffering after a certain amount of time, so you cant just leave it buffering all day either.

Re:Not going to happen (4, Interesting)

girlintraining (1395911) | about 10 months ago | (#45415597)

all i can think about is time warner and youtube. all youtube videos are throttled so horribly with time warner that i cant even watch 480p. time warner also cuts off the buffering after a certain amount of time, so you cant just leave it buffering all day either.

That's why when I browse Youtube, I use a plugin that lets me download the .mp4 files raw... then they can throttle all they want. I just have 20x connections going at a time. Because fuck you Time Warner, that's why.

Re:Not going to happen (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45416219)

The is the way content should be consumed - LOCALLY.

Re:Not going to happen (5, Informative)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about 10 months ago | (#45415659)

all i can think about is time warner and youtube. all youtube videos are throttled so horribly with time warner

Here's how to fix it. A good friend suffers under TWC and applied that fix over a year ago (that site is not the only one to discuss, just the first one I clicked on in google), since then youtube has been great for him.

http://mitchribar.com/2013/02/time-warner-cable-sucks-for-youtube-twitchtv/ [mitchribar.com]

Re:Not going to happen (4, Insightful)

Technician (215283) | about 10 months ago | (#45415707)

This is one of the reasons I dropped Comcast. As soon as an alternative was an option, I switched. Dropped my price about $10 per month (beyone the promotoion rate) and increased by BW by 3X. Now Comcast wants me back offering "faster than DSL" Xfinity brand service.

I tell them every time that they blew their chance at retention. The answer is good competition. Market forces will kill companies that provide poor service. This does not work where there is a monopoly market.

Now a 3rd option is in my area. Haven't noticed any throtteling on Netflix or Youtube. Even a test torrent worked just fine. Until Quest screws up, I'll stick around. I even have 3 VOIP lines with other providers that show no sign of throtteling. 2 lines are on an ATA (Linksys PAP2T-NA) and the third is a softphone Google Talk/Voice.

Always avoid the companies with a media divison to protect. Remember the Sony Diskman. Too DRM Serial copy protected to be of any real studio use. Hard disk recorders and Digital Audio Workstations simply took the market. Cable companies will find a void they created will be filled by the competition.

Verizon does have something to fear. There may be lawsuits when upstream congestion causes 3rd party content to be delivered slower than their own content not due to throtteling on their part. This law can only cause them headaches even if they don't throttle.

Re:Not going to happen (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45415723)

time warner also cuts off the buffering after a certain amount of time, so you cant just leave it buffering all day either

I see that happening too, not on Time Warner, and assumed it was a youtube bandwidth-cost-savings-feature. Youtube doesn't want to send you data that you might never even watch.

Re:Not going to happen (5, Interesting)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 10 months ago | (#45415727)

I don't think that's Time Warner. I'm with Rogers here in Canada, and I get the same experience. I've heard similar complaints from people with all kinds of ISPs. Basically the problem, as far as I know, is that Youtube is broken. Youtube tries to cut down on network usage, so they try to stream it to you just fast enough so that you only ever have a minimal amount in the buffer. The problem comes when the connection fails, or you sneeze, or it's tuesday, and the stream slows down just a bit. This causes your buffer to empty, which makes the video stop. There' also major problems with them reconnecting to the stream. Once the connection is dropped, or the buffer is empty, you pretty much have to reload the whole page before it can start streaming the video again. I spent 20 minutes trying to watch the last 10 minutes of a 1 hour video last weekend because this was happening continuously. I can watch videos all day every day with any other streaming service, but for some reason, Youtube just can't get it's act together.

Re:Not going to happen (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45415853)

It's Youtube's own design that (now) prevents full-length buffering, not any TWC is doing.

Re:Not going to happen (2)

alen (225700) | about 10 months ago | (#45416207)

depends on the video

youtube has caching servers to cached the most popular videos inside the ISP's network, everything else has to fight for bandwidth

i've had youtube problems on AT&T, verizon, ios, android, on almost any platform.

Re:Not going to happen (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45415579)

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy will testify before the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee tomorrow at 10 a.m. EDT at a hearing to discuss strengthening transparency and accountability within EPA.
Hearing details:

WHO: EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy

WHAT: Testimony before the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee

WHEN: 10 a.m. EDT, Thursday, November 14, 2013

WHERE: 2318 Rayburn House Office Building

Re:Not going to happen (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about 10 months ago | (#45415595)

And if it does happen, it's designed to support the big names like Netflix and Youtube, not net neutrality for anyone else, who can't afford their own custom legislation.

Re:Not going to happen (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45415713)

But both sides can agree that making money is always good.

Re:Not going to happen (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45415797)

And then the capitalists will scream corporatism because the telecommunications industry is not a capitalistic market.

Re:Not going to happen (1)

Scowler (667000) | about 10 months ago | (#45415851)

Who in Hollywood would seriously object to this legislation, outside of Comcast-controlled entities?

Re:Not going to happen (1)

TheNastyInThePasty (2382648) | about 10 months ago | (#45416337)

You have a point in that the ISPs are not directly related to Hollywood. However, limiting the number of content providers (by making access to any but the big providers incredibly slow) reduces competition and makes it easier for content providers and producers to charge absurd rates. Competition is always bad for business..

Re:Not going to happen (1)

TWiTfan (2887093) | about 10 months ago | (#45415933)

It's almost more depressing to watch someone even try at this point.

Re:Not going to happen (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45416309)

Not going to happen is good. Youtube and netflix now consume 50% of internet traffic and I have least interest in either. I am not ready to provide 50% subsidy to these people from my internet bill. You want to consume more data, go pay more.

Re: Not going to happen (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45416481)

That would be the other Way around youtube and netflix dont consume, they transmit. So if moste people with à isp consumes data from youtube and netflix Why should they not get a bigger slice from the pay?

false equivalence (0, Flamebait)

globaljustin (574257) | about 10 months ago | (#45416331)

Too many Dems are in bed with Hollywood and too many Repubs will scream about...

anything

FTFY

Repubs will scream about *anything* end of story.

You are dead wrong about "Hollywood's" opposition to this bill. It is the copyright organizations, not filmmakers who lobby against this.

This is a good bill. Just accept it. Just b/c its not perfect doesn't mean it should go forward.

Democrats *will* vote for it. Enough GOP'ers might let it pass the House.

That's my challenge. Watch this bill. Watch ***ANY BILL*** and it is always GOP obstructionists.

Overall, this is a step in the right direction.

Video only? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45415535)

Should be illegal to 'block, degrade, or otherwise impair ANY content'

Re:Video only? (4, Insightful)

cheesybagel (670288) | about 10 months ago | (#45415623)

Precisely. That was the point behind net neutrality as a principle.

Re:Video only? (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about 10 months ago | (#45415677)

Profit first, principle second.

Re:Video only? (1)

denis-The-menace (471988) | about 10 months ago | (#45415911)

no no no
It's Pork, Profit then Principle.

People at the very bottom.

Re:Video only? (1)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | about 10 months ago | (#45416035)

Profit first, principle second.

Profit *is* the principle... From Better Off Ted [wikipedia.org] (one of the funniest work-place shows ever), season 1, episode 4, "Racial Sensitivity":

Veronica: "Money before people," that's the company motto. Engraved on the lobby floor. It just looks more heroic in Latin.

Re:Video only? (3, Insightful)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 10 months ago | (#45415821)

I'd be fine with it remaining legal as long as ISPs were required to put it in flashing text at the beginning of their agreements: Warning! We deliberately degrade services that do not pay us extra.

Freedom is about making decisions with knowledge, not about scam behavior where the person is hoping you miss some detail of boilerplate, where their business model, if honestly written down, goes something like, "...and here we hide the scam mechanism, hoping the consumer relies on it, because if they notice it, statistically most will balk."

Re:Video only? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45415983)

I'd be fine with it remaining legal as long as ISPs were required to put it in flashing text at the beginning of their agreements: Warning! We deliberately degrade services that do not pay us extra.

Freedom is about making decisions with knowledge, not about scam behavior where the person is hoping you miss some detail of boilerplate, where their business model, if honestly written down, goes something like, "...and here we hide the scam mechanism, hoping the consumer relies on it, because if they notice it, statistically most will balk."

Yeah, yeah, competition is great except how choices do you have for your ISP in any given area?

Re:Video only? (2)

spacepimp (664856) | about 10 months ago | (#45416291)

Sadly with the for the most part mini monopolies sanctioned around the US for Cable Co's and Verizon I think the ISP's would gladly have the blinking neon agreement there if they could get away with it. Where would you go?
Deal with it!
I'd rather they didn't tempt fate.

Re:Video only? (1)

dszd0g (127522) | about 10 months ago | (#45415839)

I would word it "any legal content." You wouldn't want to word it "ANY" as that would mean they wouldn't be allowed to block malware or DoS attacks and such. If ISPs weren't allowed to block DoS attacks that would be crippling.

Re:Video only? (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45416453)

God damn, here we have another dumb fucktard that is all for "net neutraility' but things it's the ISPs responsibility to block malware. You want to run 50 servers at your house, but grandma better get cut off the internet if she starts sending out spam.

The problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45415867)

Should be illegal to 'block, degrade, or otherwise impair ANY content'

It wouldn't be a problem if one could just download the entire movie instead of this streaming horseshit. Streaming is just to make Disney comfortable that no one is downloading their precious rip-offs of ancient legends and folk tales - streaming makes the old farts comfortable.

You know, Roku or whoever puts a Gig of memory in the device, they download a huge chunk at a low priority (like when you're getting food, drinks, take a piss, ...) and then watch away.

But nooooo, the content providers can't stand the though of a big cache because someone might steal their content! Oh nos!

Re:Video only? (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 10 months ago | (#45415871)

That's what I was going to say. This is a good idea but the scope of it is too small because it's far too specific.

Re:Video only? (1)

odysseus_complex (79966) | about 10 months ago | (#45416115)

..without the consent or knowledge of the consumer.

Why should it be illegal for an ISP to provide a network in which non-real time transfers (eg. streaming video, VOIP) are not allowed and optimizes its network for offline or bulk transfers?

Re:Video only? (2)

spacepimp (664856) | about 10 months ago | (#45416389)

Because in the US they have sanctioned many localized monopolies for Cable/Telcos/ISP's. If there was a true alternative for broadband and you were not beholden to the local monopoly then you could go elsewhere. For the most part in the US you cannot. Therefore there is no need for the cable co's or telco/isp to compete for your business. They can then make the internet a la carte. Oh you want the premium plus package if you want to be able to go to Google and ESPN.com. Wait you want Netflix? that'll cost you an extra ten to use that service. Of course you can always rent movies from comcastFlix and get your sports news on comcastSports and use ComcastSearch for only a little bit more per month.
Look at the state of the cable box and the arcane dreadful interface experience. If you could go somewhere else do you think they wouldn't be improving them?

Whose networks are those? (1)

mi (197448) | about 10 months ago | (#45415539)

Just who owns the networks, that Senator Rockefeller and his esteemed colleagues are trying to regulate? Do they belong to The People[TM], or to the Internet Service Providers competing with each other?

Re:Whose networks are those? (2)

jythie (914043) | about 10 months ago | (#45415603)

Well, private ownership is a construct of government, and government is a construct of a citizenry, so both.

Re:Whose networks are those? (2)

DaHat (247651) | about 10 months ago | (#45416143)

private ownership is a construct of government

Just like murder & arson are constructs of government... codifications in law of what was/is a long standing convention.

Re:Whose networks are those? (4, Insightful)

Qzukk (229616) | about 10 months ago | (#45415649)

Do they belong to The People[TM], or to the Internet Service Providers competing with each other?

False dichotomy. They belong to internet service providers who don't compete with anyone, and who openly argue that they shouldn't allow other companies' services (eg Hulu, Netflix, and Vonage) to compete with their services (Cable TV and/or Telephone).

Of course, the bill won't do a thing for Vonage, but it's a start, and maybe when I stream a 1 minute 1080p video from youtube without having it take 5 minutes to buffer on UVerse and the world doesn't end? People might think "hey maybe there's something to this".

Re:Whose networks are those? (4, Informative)

Jason Levine (196982) | about 10 months ago | (#45415969)

In addition, many of these networks were built thanks to an infusion of taxpayer dollars to the companies in question in exchange for some promises that the ISPs then "forgot" about when it came time to deliver (and used their lobbying muscle to prevent anyone holding them to their promises).

Re:Whose networks are those? (1)

mi (197448) | about 10 months ago | (#45416087)

They belong to internet service providers who don't compete with anyone

Where I live, FiOS certainly does compete with Comcast — and a number of DSL-providers. The only legitimate role I see for the government is to further this competition.

and who openly argue that they shouldn't allow other companies' services

Whatever PR-game the ISPs are playing, it is theirs to play. My question stands...

Re:Whose networks are those? (1)

Pinhedd (1661735) | about 10 months ago | (#45415695)

The networks carrying the traffic belong to the ISPs but the data travelling across the networks does not.

Re:Whose networks are those? (1)

mi (197448) | about 10 months ago | (#45416199)

Really? Reading Slashdot, one gets an impression, that once you create a copy of the data, the copy is yours to do as you please...

Re:Whose networks are those? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45415719)

And how much public support in the way of easements and rights of way helped them build it? How many people were more or less forced to allow this to pass through their property?

Sorry, but ISPs are common carriers. And if they want to retain that, they need to be willing to allow you to download stuff from the internet without them deciding they're not getting paid enough.

That a bunch of ISPs want to be douchebags and charge consumers for the stuff the ISP can't charge them for isn't the problem of the consumers.

Fuck the ISPs if their belief is they get to be both a common carrier *and* an entity which can restrict what's on their networks so they can extort a little more money out of the consumer. Fuck them all.

Re:Whose networks are those? (2)

Holi (250190) | about 10 months ago | (#45415863)

>Sorry, but ISPs are common carriers

Unfortunately they are not. Nor do they want to be
But really in no uncertain terms, and we have gone over this time and time again on this site, ISP's are not Common Carriers.

They are considered ESP's (Enhanced Service Providers) by the FCC>.
So lets please not start this nonsense up again.

Re:Whose networks are those? (4, Insightful)

Holi (250190) | about 10 months ago | (#45415819)

Are you talking about the parts that are run on public and private property (not owned by the isp), Because if that's the way you want to play. I am ripping every cable down that is not on THEIR property.

You see they were granted easements in return for providing us a service. When they start limiting that service they should lose their right of way and then they won't have a network anymore.

Re:Whose networks are those? (1)

neminem (561346) | about 10 months ago | (#45415883)

ISPs competing with each other? What world are you living in, the 90s? ISPs don't compete with each other anymore, then they'd have to care about their service and pricing.

Re: Whose networks are those? (2)

StikyPad (445176) | about 10 months ago | (#45415943)

Doesn't matter. I own my car, my house, and my gun, and there are plenty of restrictions on what I can do with any of those things, because they affect other people. There are even more restrictions on what I can do with the one thing I own unquestionably: my body. Ownership is not the question here.

Re: Whose networks are those? (2)

mi (197448) | about 10 months ago | (#45416343)

I own my car, my house, and my gun, and there are plenty of restrictions on what I can do with any of those things, because they affect other people

If those people are simply your customers, then the best way to help them is by creating competition to your business.

Speaking about your car, house, and gun — do you honestly accept all restrictions imposed as just? I doubt it...

Re:Whose networks are those? (1)

DutchUncle (826473) | about 10 months ago | (#45416277)

They belong to the ISPs, who have been *saved* from competing with each other through government-ordered monopolies ("Why bother building out duplicated services?"). (NYC is one of the worst examples.) Since government allowed them a monopoly, government has a right to insist they allow open usage.

Re:Whose networks are those? (1)

alen (225700) | about 10 months ago | (#45416329)

interstate commerce, the government can regulate them

Re:Whose networks are those? (1)

lgw (121541) | about 10 months ago | (#45416441)

The networks that matter are often owned by government-granted monopoly providers. This law makes good sense in that batshit-insane and stupid context.

Wait.. (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 10 months ago | (#45415541)

Why only online video services? What about my torrents?

Re:Wait.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45415615)

Torrents will be un-throttled, so obviously you should torrent everything and cancel your online video services.

Re:Wait.. (2, Insightful)

Scowler (667000) | about 10 months ago | (#45415675)

Torrents are typically downloads, so throttles only affect download time, not video quality. And given how many copyright violations occur via torrents (percentage-wise), not sure the protocol deserves very many legal protections at this point in time.

Re:Wait.. (4, Insightful)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 10 months ago | (#45416127)

And given how many copyright violations occur via torrents (percentage-wise), not sure the protocol deserves very many legal protections at this point in time.

Now there's an attitude that deserves no respect... like copyright itself. I don't want anybody deciding what protocols I can transmit/receive. I only want a pipe. That's what the ISPs should provide. Throttling is a form of censorship.

Re: Wait.. (-1, Troll)

Scowler (667000) | about 10 months ago | (#45416305)

Your sense of entitlement is that which deserves no respect. And I have no idea how you grabbed "censorship" out of this discussion.

Re: Wait.. (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 10 months ago | (#45416477)

The "sense of entitlement" that you people all like to hammer everybody else with comes from the copyright holders. I'm trying to combat that. Regardless, whenever I hear people bring up "your (my) sense of entitlement", I know they are trolling, and my regular response to such crap is not safe for work.

Throttle piracy! Yay! (2)

sabt-pestnu (967671) | about 10 months ago | (#45416437)

The bill being discussed is a very limited form of the Network Neutrality concept.

> given how many copyright violations ...

By that metric, http and https do not deserve protection either. Consider the many many sites that have "pirated" movies, images, lyrics, term papers, basic research available through those protocols.

I find your ragging on the torrent protocol based on the content moved by it disturbing. But you've hit the inference on the head, though: netflix and youtube have a lot of money riding on "neutrality" for their content. Bittorrent does not.

When You See... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45415575)

When you see a bill titled "Consumer Choice in..." you'd better look real close at the fine print and last minute riders. It's probably not going to deliver what you expect; see CISPA, Patriot Act...

Why just video? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45415589)

I also don't want Verizon intentionally de-prioritizing my Vonage VoIP traffic, for example. Or a cable company that's tied to CNN.com making MSNBC.com's images load slower to make the site seem less appealing to read from.

What we need is a very stiff, broader law that says, in a nutshell: ISPs provide bandwidth, period. In selling Internet Access, you're not allowed to block, degrade, or de-prioritize select traffic based on the type or source of said traffic. You're not allowed to effect the same by over-prioritizing preferred sources or types of traffic. Legitimate QoS for the purposes of improving overall customer experience is ok, but the QoS rules have to be (a) publicly details to your consumers, and (b) optional, with a zero-cost option to disable the QoS-prioritization of a given customer's in- or out- bound traffic.

Re:Why just video? (3, Insightful)

x181 (2677887) | about 10 months ago | (#45415657)

Additionally, any violations of these laws will result in life imprisonment for the board of directors and all executives.

Re:Why just video? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45415875)

I see you're one of those bleeding hearts against the death penalty!

Re:Why just video? (1)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | about 10 months ago | (#45416129)

Additionally, any violations of these laws will result in life imprisonment for the board of directors and all executives.

Not harsh enough. They should be forced to get root canals from dentistry students getting their instructions live via videos streamed over that company's network. [ Any other ideas? ]

Re:Why just video? (1)

roccomaglio (520780) | about 10 months ago | (#45416365)

Congratulations! You have been named to the board of directors of a major public company.

Re:Why just video? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45416449)

Additionally, any violations of these laws will result in life imprisonment for the board of directors and all executives.

Yeah, what has "innocent till proven guilty" ever done for us anyway? Let's get rid of it, surely that will only produce good and desirable outcomes!

Re:Why just video? (2)

Scowler (667000) | about 10 months ago | (#45415729)

Netflix and Youtube alone is over 50% of traffic. Non-video-service, non-torrents, is peanuts, and there is no reason why ISPs would want to discriminate against it, given existing US regulations. (VOIP might have been a concern a few years ago, but I think the idea of the major USA ISPs discriminating against those services is already waning.) So it seems focusing new legislation on streaming video services is probably wise.

Double ediged, tv networks like this bill (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45415619)

Prohibiting 'provide benefits in the transmission of the video content of any company affiliated with the Internet service provider through specialized services or other means.' would kill those Netflix buffer servers netflix wants to install on ISP's.

Re:Double ediged, tv networks like this bill (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about 10 months ago | (#45415689)

I don't see how. Co-hosting to avoid backbone usage isn't the same as giving priority to packets from/to specific servers.

Reasonable throttling (1)

Agent.Nihilist (1228864) | about 10 months ago | (#45415661)

I'm against throttling as much as the next guy, but I do see the need to manage bandwidth on a large scale.
I'd think any ban on streaming video throttling should allow throttling down to a minimum of the video's bitrate +20%.

If you are streaming an hour long 10GB video, does it matter if it buffers in 10 minutes or 48 minutes? As long as there are no service interruptions the experience to the user would be exactly the same.

No such thing (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45415765)

How about managing bandwidth by setting throughput and/or total transfer limits, and then letting me use it on whatever kind of data I want to? It's nobody's business what kind of data I'm sending through the pipe I paid for.

Re:No such thing (2)

Agent.Nihilist (1228864) | about 10 months ago | (#45415909)

You are advocating not overselling line capacity. While noble, this would result in large decreases in top speeds, a large increase in pricing or both.
If the throttling was limited to bitrate +20%, as long as the video source has available bandwidth you can hit play and watch till the end, or skip to any point in the video and continue watching without pause.
The only users that would be affected would be those using steam capturing software, something generally against the ToS of whatever service they are using.

This would allow far more bandwidth to be available for other users, meaning generally faster speeds in other services. Ideally, the ISP would just build more infrastructure, but we all know they won't do that until they have to. Unfortunately we can't force them to do that, so allowing for throttling without effecting the user experience is the better solution.

Re:Reasonable throttling (3, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | about 10 months ago | (#45415811)

I'm against throttling as much as the next guy, but I do see the need to manage bandwidth on a large scale.

That's what usage based billing is for. If some users download huge amounts and that costs them money, charge the individual users for that bandwidth.

I thought the 'common carrier' status meant they were required to send everything without preference. Because since if they lost their common carrier status, they'd be responsible for things like child porn.

As usual, these companies are asking for all of the protections of being a common carrier without any of the responsibilities and obligations.

However, throttling the service of someone else (like Netflix) because your customers are using that service (and so they can push you to using their competing service) is a pretty one-sided outcome for the ISPs.

Re:Reasonable throttling (1)

Agent.Nihilist (1228864) | about 10 months ago | (#45416353)

The problem with this is most consumer connections do not have guaranteed bandwidth, meaning that legally speaking, it's perfectly fine for you connection speeds to drop to 1/100th of its rated value from heavy use by other users.
Using my 10GB hour video as an example along with a 1000 user node , the 10 minute(unthrottled) client would use 18 MB/s for ten minutes, or 1.8 GB/s of bandwidth for 100 users. If their connection node only has 2 GB/s of bandwidth available that leaves 200 MB/s for the remaining 900 users.

If the steaming was throttled to bitrate+20%, then that same video, at the same quality with the same experience(hit play watch video) would instead only use 3.5 MB/s.
400 users could then watch the video simultaneously, while still providing 600 MB/s of bandwidth for the remaining 600 users.

In other words, 4 times as many users can utilize the same service while allowing 3 times more bandwidth for everyone else, and the only people negatively affected are those attempting to rip the stream. Even then they aren't prevented from doing so, just prevented from using bandwidth from someone that's actually watching said video, and not violating the sites ToS.

Re:Reasonable throttling (2)

rickb928 (945187) | about 10 months ago | (#45415855)

"f you are streaming an hour long 10GB video, does it matter if it buffers in 10 minutes or 48 minutes?"

That is the whole point of neutrality. If they make me wait 48 minutes for my online video, but theirs starts playing in 10 seconds, am I steered towards their solution? And why, because it;s cheaper, better, or just because they messed with the packets?

Fairness, monopoly practices, and the concept of Internet service as a utility and not a service in and of itself are at stake here. If you let your ISP dictate what you can and can't reach without interference, you will see them interfere with everything. And you will not have Internet access, you will have Comcast or Time-Warner or Cox or Verizon. And whatever they wish to let you have. For whatever extra fee they can get away with.

Whether they disclose it or not. You'll never know.

Re:Reasonable throttling (3, Interesting)

Agent.Nihilist (1228864) | about 10 months ago | (#45415985)

I think you misread that a bit.
Both the 10 minute buffer and the 48 minute buffer can hit play and start watching immediately. The example is an hour long video, the difference being the 10 minute download used 5 times the bandwidth for the same end effect, meaning in a bandwidth limited scenario that user prevent 5 other users from being able to do the same thing.

That's the basis of the idea, allowing throttling that doesn't effect playback, but prevents spikes in usage from preventing others the same access.

Re:Reasonable throttling (2)

mrchaotica (681592) | about 10 months ago | (#45415913)

How is the ISP supposed to know the difference between "streaming" and "downloading to a mobile device to watch later (as fast as possible because I'm trying to get out the door)?" Moreover, why would we want the ISP to know the difference?

Re:Reasonable throttling (1)

Agent.Nihilist (1228864) | about 10 months ago | (#45416079)

You don't "stream" a download. It's a totally different type of traffic that is already easily identifiable, they already know the difference
And again, the idea in the OP is to limit throttling to bitrate +20%, meaning that would could just hit play and it would go without buffering.

Re:Reasonable throttling (1)

Jason Levine (196982) | about 10 months ago | (#45416019)

The problem is when your only ISP is $CABLE_COMPANY and they also sell on-demand cable TV packages which are being hurt by companies such as Netflix. You are thinking of canceling your cable TV package to go Online-Video-only, but notice that those videos buffer so much slower than $CABLE_COMPANY's offering so you stick with $CABLE_COMPANY. In reality, $CABLE_COMPANY is slowing down online video delivery to bolster their own video offerings. Of course, $CABLE_COMPANY won't admit to this and will just say they are "managing the bandwidth."

If it passes... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45415663)

...(which it probably won't, but..) be sure to cancel/resubscribe to your service. Otherwise this bill does nothing to help you.

nothing in this section shall affect any contract, understanding, or arrangement that was entered into on or before December 1, 2013.

Doh! (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about 10 months ago | (#45415697)

Forget all this half-assed farting around.

Just return the law to the state it was before the 2005 Brand X SCOTUS ruling [aclu.org] that neutered network neutrality.

Haha, right. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45415699)

Legislation Would Prohibit ISPs From Throttling Online Video Services

I'm willing to bet it either:
A. Won't pass.
B. Has more holes than swiss cheese.
C. Passes with so many addons that the original bill loses it's power.
(yes I'm too damn lazy to read the bill atm)

Come on, when's the last time that any big company had a law actually effect how they do business?

So this is what it has come to? (1)

TsuruchiBrian (2731979) | about 10 months ago | (#45415741)

Those provisions overlap a bit with the FCC's authority under its own net neutrality law, the Open Internet Order, which already prevents the blockage of websites and services. However, Verizon is in court attempting to kill that law, and there is a real possibility that it could be limited in some way. The Consumer Choice in Online Video Act could provide a hedge against that possible outcome."

We now pass a bunch of redundant laws so that it is harder to repeal them? As a software person, I am horrified.

Re:So this is what it has come to? (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 10 months ago | (#45415935)

Are you also horrified by ASLR, DEP or the very concept of layered security?

So it has come to this. (2)

mrchaotica (681592) | about 10 months ago | (#45415993)

There's a huge opportunity for improvement by applying programming ideas to the legislative process (version control, "parsing" the laws to find duplicate code, conflicts, etc. -- legalese seems a lot more like a programming language than regular English, by the way)... The hard part would be getting the lawyers to care.

Also, you're doing it wrong [xkcd.com] .

Why just video? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45415745)

Why just video? There are all sorts of underhanded profit to be made by cable companies and telecoms entering unrelated markets, and then intentionally degrading the performance of their competitors. I'm not sure what's so special about video; they've done this with VoIP phone service and a host of other products. Full network neutrality legislation is the answer; this seems like a weird patch for the benefit of a single industry who lobbied hard.

Alright... (3, Funny)

Jawnn (445279) | about 10 months ago | (#45415763)

Who missed the payment to that prick Rockefeller? Come on guys. You had one job - buy off enough Congressmen and Senators so we don't have to worry about this net neutrality crap. Now we're going to have to double his fee and go through all the political theater so he can save face.

Re:Alright... (1)

alen (225700) | about 10 months ago | (#45416225)

you're an idiot

he wants to amend a law that congress has been amending for decades to keep competition in the marketplace

Unintended consequences (1)

eyegone (644831) | about 10 months ago | (#45415805)

Imagine an ISP/television provider that uses their IP network to deliver both services. It sure sounds like this would prohibit them from prioritizing the IPTV traffic.

So much for watching that World Cup match; your neighbor has p0rn to torrent!

Re:Unintended consequences (1)

bmacs27 (1314285) | about 10 months ago | (#45416095)

It's spelt pr0n

Will never pass... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45415843)

Republicans will never allow their paying customers, being the ISP's, to lose revenue.

Does not go far enough (1)

RobertLTux (260313) | about 10 months ago | (#45415873)

What should be floated is

The Following methods of shaping an ISP client shall be allowed

1 measures designed to limit bandwidth served to what is contractually required.
2 Caching of In Network Content or measures designed to identify in network "nodes" so that CLIENT SOFTWARE can choose in network nodes.
3 Protocol Preference measures as long as ANY Client or server will benefit

All other measures shall result in a fine not less than 25% of the ISPs Gross income (to include all sources ie advertising and Content Company/Parent Company income) and this must be paid in CASH with a weekly added fine of 5% (compounded monthly).

Why is it 63 pages? (1)

hsmith (818216) | about 10 months ago | (#45415893)

Pork? Bullshit? Seems to be a bunch of bullshit to me.

Separation of copper and content (1)

Ichijo (607641) | about 10 months ago | (#45415897)

This is why cities ought to own the copper and let individual households or neighborhoods choose who gets to deliver content over those wires.

Open Secrets - Jay Rockefeller (4, Informative)

Tenebrousedge (1226584) | about 10 months ago | (#45415977)

His profile [opensecrets.org] doesn't seem to have Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon listed as major contributors, so I'd guess this man is honestly trying to do something for his constituents. It's also worth noting that he is doing this in spite of Verizon being a major source of funding. Also related and notable, he is retiring at the end of the current Congress -- he came out in favor of gay marriage this year [wikipedia.org] too, and in West Virginia that probably means something. I get the impression he's trying to leave a good legacy, and it's nice to see that.

Going to backfire, badly (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45416049)

For mobile internet customers it'll mean degraded service and exploding traffic bills, as telcos have been re-encoding videos to be "more suitable" for devices with small screens and not that much processing power.

Not that I condone the practice of meddling with data streams like that (and worse; inserting ads and whatnot), but I expect a lot of people will be miffed that their "user experience" of using mobile internet services will be changed by this bill.

Summary (1)

fulldecent (598482) | about 10 months ago | (#45416065)

REAL STORY:

That we are still discussing this topic in 2013 is why Apple hasn't released the Apple TV yet.

Comcast Sued (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45416123)

Comcast was sued for throttling P2P traffic in the past ( http://www.dslreports.com/shownews/Comcast-Settles-Throttling-Class-Action-106097 ). Why is it ok to throttle traffic now?

Legislation kickstarter (1)

Okian Warrior (537106) | about 10 months ago | (#45416141)

What we need is a way to measure the money put into legislation like this. Perhaps a "kickstarter" for political action.

NetFlix probably hasn't put much into the political process. The ISPs have made more campaign donations, so this legislation is pretty-well doomed from the start.

We need a website where people can pledge donations to candidates who vote for or against specific legislation, sort of like Kickstarter for laws. Unlike kickstarter, people (corporations, too!) could pledge a specific amount either "for" or "against" a specific law. This would give lawmakers an easier and much more efficient way of judging which laws are most valuable to society.

This would also make political advocacy more efficient. Rather than donating to PACs or lobbyists, the public could send money directly to the pockets of the legislators involved. In economics-speech, It adds "liquidity" to this particular market - eliminating middlemen (who are only rent-seekers) and passing the savings along to the end-user.

The "invisible hand" of economics is often touted as the most modern and efficient way to solve a complex problem, yet we labor under an antiquated 250-year-old political system which is slow and inefficient.

Let's upgrade to more modern methods. We need a kickstarter system for laws.

already obsolete (1)

datapharmer (1099455) | about 10 months ago | (#45416385)

Well with http/2 using ssl by default why not just deliver all video over an encrypted channel. If it all looks the same it makes traffic shaping much harder (especially if you use your own dns).

Underhanded limitations (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45416421)

This is bullshit. I'm pretty sure that this legislation's single purpose is to weaken network neutrality further by removing specific cases where monetary interests apply.

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