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FCC Chair: It's Ok For ISPs To Discriminate Traffic

Soulskill posted about 9 months ago | from the pay-per-bit dept.

The Internet 365

sl4shd0rk writes "Remember when the ex-cable lobbyist Tom Wheeler was appointed to the FCC chair back in May of 2013? Turns out he's currently gunning for Internet Service Providers to be able to 'favor some traffic over other traffic.' It would set a dangerous precedent, considering the Open Internet Order in 2010 forbade such action if it fell under unreasonable discrimination. The bendy interpretation of the 2010 order is apparently aimed somewhat at Netflix, as Wheeler stated: 'Netflix might say, "I'll pay in order to make sure that my subscriber might receive the best possible transmission of this movie."'"

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What Internet? (5, Insightful)

Neuroelectronic (643221) | about 9 months ago | (#45602123)

All I see is a bunch of telecom fiefdoms expanding their influence. It was nice having an internet for a while, but TCP/IP was never built to enforce network neutrality, and you can't stop technology from breaking old protocols and extracting value from communication before that value can be delivered to the real intended recipient.

Deep Packet Inspection is Piracy. Return the favor.

Re:What Internet? (5, Insightful)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 9 months ago | (#45602325)

There are technological countermeasures that can be investigated. Encryption, obstucated protocols, decentralisation. Ideally some day truely decentralised mesh networking (I personally think CAN is key to making that workable), but that depends not just upon improving technology but also having a dense enough population of activist-enthusiasts.

Re:What Internet? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45602505)

This has been a cat and mouse game for a long time now... and the cat is starting to be the one winning.

Yes, one side has encryption, oddball protocols, and decentralization, but the other side has the ability to block anything that isn't known [1], and then look at it later, perhaps with the intent to arrest and jail the source.

[1]: There are products out there that will proxy SSL traffic using their own root CA key, and anything that they can't proxy gets blocked, so the 443 https proxy does get stopped. This is trivial to do with BlueCoat, an appliance that is a must in any enterprise IT department for legal compliance.

Re:What Internet? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45602943)

The SSL intercept simply doesn't work without the ZOMG SSL CERTIFICATE MISMATCH - DO YOU TRUST THIS SITE message

Of course, businesses will install the Bluecoat certificate locally on all PCs within the building so no such error will surface, and ISPs could sneak their own version into their AOL style install discs.

Re:What Internet? (4, Insightful)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 9 months ago | (#45603151)

"This has been a cat and mouse game for a long time now... and the cat is starting to be the one winning."

Gaming the political system is not "winning". It's cheating. There is a very big difference.

Re:What Internet? (1, Insightful)

Ralph Wiggam (22354) | about 9 months ago | (#45603173)

Where are these official rules that determine what's allowed and what's cheating?

Re:What Internet? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45602831)

With white-listing your encryption, obfuscation, etc. can be easily defeated.

Re:What Internet? (5, Informative)

jxander (2605655) | about 9 months ago | (#45603053)

Netflix (being called out by name in this instance) has offered a decentralization solution. They've offered to install storage nodes to hold the majority of their library within Comcast's network and minimize traffic... but comcast said NO, as it would compete with their own digital movie delivery methods.

OTOH... (1)

msauve (701917) | about 9 months ago | (#45602997)

there is a place for QoS, which is useful for things like VoIP and streaming video. The question is who pays, and how do you insure it's fair?

The solution may be to allow a source to pay for a better QoS classification (since that's where the marking is done), but also force ISPs to be charge all comers equally. That means separating existing companies which provide both content and transport into separate legal entities. Alternately, they remain combined but are not allowed to provide QoS treatment to their own services, so they can't do cost shifting.

But it's all pretty pointless unless the various backbone providers agree to honor the markings coming into their networks - QoS simply doesn't work unless it's end-to-end. Good luck with that. How does a service on ISP A get better service guaranteed for traffic going to a customer on ISP B? I think that's the real problem, QoS is only guaranteed within a provider's network, which naturally favors their own services (and other services contained within their network).

Re:OTOH... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45603149)

"The question is who pays"
As always the consumer pays. If netflix has to pay more they will pass it on.

News to me (5, Informative)

paiute (550198) | about 9 months ago | (#45602137)

Here I thought the outrageous check I write to Comcast every month was supposed to pay for them to pipe me the best possible signal from whatever website I choose. Silly me.

Re:News to me (-1, Troll)

Threni (635302) | about 9 months ago | (#45602459)

No, it was always just you choosing for-profit company A over for-profit company B; perhaps because of a logo or shitty free router or something.

I'd rather companies didn't discriminate, but it's hard to come up with a compelling argument for why they should be legally forbidden from doing so. As long as it's out in the open, take your pick and sign up.

Re:News to me (3, Informative)

reve_etrange (2377702) | about 9 months ago | (#45602483)

Discrimination and double-charging are two separate issues. We know that wireless carriers (and off-and-on, wired ones) have been discriminating for years. So far they have not been double-charging.

Re:News to me (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45602491)

Because it's bad for everyone and especially bad for the smaller websites? It's also not like many of these guys have monopolies in certain areas.... Oh, wait.

Re:News to me (4, Informative)

ZombieBraintrust (1685608) | about 9 months ago | (#45602503)

Cable companies are goverment enforced monopolies in most of the country and consumers don't have a market to choose from. They can choose the cable monopoly or the phone monopoly for thier internet.

Re:News to me (1)

simtel (798974) | about 9 months ago | (#45602757)

I'd love to have the option to choose the cable monopoly - in my area AT&T provides (shitty) internet, TV and phone, with no options for anything else.

Re:News to me (4, Interesting)

crunchygranola (1954152) | about 9 months ago | (#45602893)

Cable companies are goverment enforced monopolies in most of the country....

In my community the local government is trying to get Verizon FIOS to lay cable and provide service to challenge Charter, but Verizon is not interested.

Cable companies like to claim their monopolies are "enforced" by government, but really cable companies are perfectly happy with having the map carved up into highly profitable monopoly fiefdoms.

Re:News to me (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45602539)

Because in many areas you simply do not have a choice. Its ISP A on this side of the road and ISP B on the other side. even though the cable is laying 5 ft from your door, ISP B will not run to you.
its all Greed. they took in billions of dollars a year and spent it on lining the pockets of the CEO and not the infrastructure like they should have.

Re:News to me (1)

ttucker (2884057) | about 9 months ago | (#45602663)

It's all greed. FTFY

Re:News to me (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45602599)

The reason is that communication companies enjoy a boatload of easements without which they couldn't exist. Try to run a communication line across town and see how far you get. Heck, try linking a fiber line to your neighbor on the other side of the road. Public land, public rules. That means our rules.

Re:News to me (2)

PhoenixFlare (319467) | about 9 months ago | (#45602653)

If you actually have a real choice, then great for you, most of us don't.

In my neck of the woods, it's either one cable company ($89.95 for 25 meg at the moment) or craptastic 1-3 meg Verizon DSL for whatever they charge.

Even when I lived 10 miles from DC, the only choice was still Cox or DSL. Verizon never did deign to bring FIOS out, despite a neverending barrage of ads and mailers.

Re:News to me (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45603063)

As long as cities/towns/etc can equally provide fiber/etc networks with no restrictions (but there are restrictions in some places due to lobbying by incumbents). if they want the right to put the banhammer down on municipal fiber because it impacts their business, they cannot cry when netflix or someone wants their service to exist without being specifically targeted. i think we should move to more municipal broadband. 1gbps for everyone, and tor nodes all over the place =)

When will we learn? (2)

oDDmON oUT (231200) | about 9 months ago | (#45602157)

The revolving door of DC squirts another lobbyist/shill into a position of public power and we're left holding the bag.

But there again, most shee..rrr...Americans will only complain if something keeps them from watching the latest Idol.

Re:When will we learn? (0, Offtopic)

Rockoon (1252108) | about 9 months ago | (#45602389)

Actually, it was not the idol fans that asked for this.

The people here at slashdot were very vocal in their support for letting the FCC include the internet on its agenda, because it came in a pretty package titled "network neutrality" -- in spite of the fact that many of us old timers told you that it will end badly if you let the FCC have any sort of authority over the internet.

The previous guy at the FCC was also a shill. He was just a slightly different shill, but working for the same business interests that the new guy is working for. The guy before that, also a shill for the very same business interests. Its shills all the way down.

Shashdot, putting their dreams ahead of reality since 1997.

Re:When will we learn? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45603137)

So let's say we didn't let the FCC have any authority over the Internet. What then? ISPs would just ignore net neutrality.

Great... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45602175)

The internet is turning into cable. Pay money to see what we want you to see and nothing else.

Re: Great... (1)

peragrin (659227) | about 9 months ago | (#45602463)

If this was expanded properly we can get the law overturned..

Just tell teabaggers that they have to pay extra to watch Rush Limbaugh and fox news over the internet as their cable company and rush haven't come to an agreement in how much rush and fox have to pay.

Everyone uses Netflix. Tell people they now have to pay three times for access to fox mews and see how long this lasts

well... (3, Insightful)

buddyglass (925859) | about 9 months ago | (#45602177)

I might be okay with this if it came with a regulatory requirement that ISPs practice full disclosure of their preferences w.r.t. traffic type. That way at least consumers can "vote with their wallets" in markets with more than one provider.

Re:well... (5, Insightful)

mrchaotica (681592) | about 9 months ago | (#45602287)

LOL, as if the exactly two providers (one cable, one DSL) in each market wouldn't "coincidentally" adopt exactly the same anticompetitive policies!

Re:well... (1)

buddyglass (925859) | about 9 months ago | (#45602425)

Voila, business opportunity for a third competitor to enter the market and immediately differentiate itself.

Re:well... (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | about 9 months ago | (#45602527)

Nope, the monopoly franchises have already been doled out. The only new entrants allowed by law are crappy wireless ones.

Re:well... (1)

buddyglass (925859) | about 9 months ago | (#45603009)

There's a small competitor where I live that (afaik) runs on top of the major carrier's existing cable. Not wireless.

Re:well... (2)

crunchygranola (1954152) | about 9 months ago | (#45602927)

Ah, the imaginary "third competitor" capitalized at the necessary tens of billions of dollars (to set up a meaningful competitive network) that does not already have highly profitable monopoly turf to defend in an unspoken "gentleman's agreement" with other cable providers. Who would that be, now?

Re:well... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45602319)

Why would you be OK with it? It cannot and will not provide any benefit to you, but it will drive up costs. You can only be at a disadvantage. In the example provided in the summary, Netflix would pay ISPs to provide "better" service. To offset that cost, Netflix is now going to cost you extra. If your ISP is providing a crappy service, that needs to be taken up with your ISP. No bribes need to be involved in this.

Now, this is before it becomes accepted and abused, even. If this is allowed, then what do you think is going to happen to services that refuse to pay off ISPs? They'll get "limited" bandwidth as a punishment. That means the services you may want will essentially become unusable.

Re:well... (0)

buddyglass (925859) | about 9 months ago | (#45602495)

I'm not a Netflix customer. Netflix paying money to my ISP creates a new equilibrium in which the rates charged to me by my ISP may be lower. Moreover, I don't think the steady state is one where I have to choose my ISP based on which services it provides (e.g. contract with X if you use Hulu; contract with Y if you use Netflix, etc.)

Re:well... (4, Insightful)

mrchaotica (681592) | about 9 months ago | (#45602609)

Netflix paying money to my ISP creates a new equilibrium in which the rates charged to me by my ISP may be lower.

No. It only ever creates a new equilibrium where your ISP's profits are higher.

Re:well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45602623)

Are you listening to yourself? The rates charged to you may be lower?

Re:well... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45602709)

So you're not a Netflix customer? Well, guess what? All the things you DO use your internet connection for will be throttled back since they aren't a "premium" service. If you don't want to chose ISP based on the services they do provide, then why would you support a system that does exactly that?

In my example that I provided, the ISP would NOT limit your ability to access Netflix content if they weren't paid off. That is the system that you are for some reason supporting. What I was saying is that Netflix was perfectly capable of installing more servers so that their customers would get better service. Google already does exactly this with Youtube; content can be cached at ISPs so that frequently accessed stuff doesn't need to be constantly resent from across the country.

Re:well... (1)

buddyglass (925859) | about 9 months ago | (#45603157)

My contention is that if the law came with a disclosure requirement the end result would not differ significantly from the current status quo.

Re:well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45602771)

In what for-profit industry are profits deliberately left on the table? I'd like one admission to whatever planet you live on, please!

Re:well... (1)

buddyglass (925859) | about 9 months ago | (#45603139)

Additional revenue streams change the equation. Maybe with a huge influx of cash from somewhere other than its traditional customers an ISP might be able maximize profitability by lowering the rates it charges to end-users and stealing share from its competitors. Obviously its competitors will try to do the same thing. Hence the notion of equilibrium. The steady state may be for the providers to charge their end-users lower rates and instead gouge the big providers.

Consider this hypothetical: Foo and Bar each sell widgets. Their profit margins are approximately 10%. There's a new technological advancement that cuts their costs in half and takes their margin from 10% to about 50%. What you seem to be arguing is that such a development would have no impact on the price at which widgets are sold. I contend that it would almost certainly result in a decrease in the cost of widgets.

Re:well... (1)

Teun (17872) | about 9 months ago | (#45602919)

Don't worry about missing out on paying for your content, Porntube is already in negotiation.

Re:well... (1)

OrangeTide (124937) | about 9 months ago | (#45603011)

expect to pay the same rate, but get less for your money.

Re:well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45602321)

I might be okay with this if it came with a regulatory requirement that ISPs practice full disclosure of their preferences w.r.t. traffic type. That way at least consumers can "vote with their wallets" in markets with more than one provider.

Oligopoly [wikipedia.org] not just a fun word to say.

Re:well... (1)

crunchygranola (1954152) | about 9 months ago | (#45602971)

Oligopoly [wikipedia.org] not just a fun word to say.

Yes indeed. Locally they are monopolies. Nationwide it is an oligopoly, and all cable providers pitch in to maintain it. Owning a money machine beats having to compete. That requires innovation and efficiency, and cuts profit margins. Corporate America hates that.

Why are ISPs bad for wanting this? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45602189)

I think it's fair. If Netflix (or any other content provider) doesn't like it - they are free to create their own network and do as they wish.

Re:Why are ISPs bad for wanting this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45602351)

I think it's fair. If Netflix (or any other content provider) doesn't like it - they are free to create their own network and do as they wish.

Only if the incumbent ISP will get there wires and fiber out of my paid for public right of way first. Then it would be fair. I am sure Comcast would work really well with all of that coax and fiber rolled up in their own repair yard. At that point Netflix could then go about buying up right of way for a new network.

Re:Why are ISPs bad for wanting this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45602393)

Because it is nothing short of bribery. We have anti-trust and anti-competition laws in place for a reason.

There is, however, nothing stopping Netflix from doing something within their power to improve their service without resorting to paying off ISPs. For example, they can pay for caching servers to be in place at those same ISPs so that content can be provided to its customers quicker and cheaper.

Re:Why are ISPs bad for wanting this? (1)

OrangeTide (124937) | about 9 months ago | (#45603043)

caches installed at Comcast locations would be a great idea, and honestly big ISPs ought to pay Netflix for hosting such things because it reduces the amount of traffic that comcast must switch outside of their network (which is part of their costs). The "pay" might be a discount for co-location that helps cover the rack space and electricity, but seems like a useful idea.

Another corporate schill? Thanks Obama. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45602201)

resident Barack Obama said, when announcing Wheeler as his choice in May, that "for more than 30 years, Tom has been at the forefront of some of the very dramatic changes that we've seen in the way we communicate and how we live our lives." (Not necessarily positive changes; just changes)

Same hand different puppet. Corporate oligarchy > democratic republic... hooray for free^H^H^H^Hfiefdom.

Re:Another corporate schill? Thanks Obama. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45603051)

Got to keep the money supply happy you know. What did you expect? A free, open, level playing field? This is playing the politics game for keeps man.

The Fox is guarding the hen house and who is surpr (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45602217)

The Fox is guarding the hen house and who is surprised?

They're already paying (5, Insightful)

wiredlogic (135348) | about 9 months ago | (#45602237)

Netflix already pays for their connections to the internet. Consumers already pay in kind for their connections. The middlemen are already making money hand over fist. They would just like to avoid playing in a free market so they can make even more money.

Re:They're already paying (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45602473)

In a free market they would be allowed to discriminate traffic. Just like you'd be able to vote with your wallet and choose between the two providers available, who happen to have the exact same discrimination list.

Re:They're already paying (1)

bob_super (3391281) | about 9 months ago | (#45602541)

s/would/will

Re:They're already paying (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45603087)

Huh?

Re:They're already paying (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45602721)

In a free market they would be allowed to discriminate traffic.

You seem to think that this would be a good thing.

Re:They're already paying (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 9 months ago | (#45602957)

Force them to say loud and up front, "We, Comcast (or Time-Warner or Whoever) intend to slow down Netflix so it is crappy unless they pay us some of what you pay them."

If they are proud and this isn't scurrilous behavior, let them put it in blinking lights in their ads and on the first page of their contract.

Those were the good old days! (1)

OrangeTide (124937) | about 9 months ago | (#45603073)

Netflix should encourage every customer to call Comcast tech support. which ought to cost the company more money than it's worth. But it would still result in Netflix going out of business, Amazon shutting down their video on demand services, and Comcast finally being the only option available. We can go back to cable company monopolies like in the good old days!

Re:They're already paying (0)

RobertinXinyang (1001181) | about 9 months ago | (#45602629)

Do you really think Netflix is paying for the proportion of the internet that it uses?

"The report from Sandvine, a company that sells Internet traffic-management systems, finds that Netflix use accounts for 33 percent of all downstream traffic in North America during the peak hours between 9 p.m. and 12 a.m. By contrast, Amazon and Hulu only account for 1.8 percent and 1.4 percent of downstream traffic, respectively." http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-57546405-93/netflix-gobbles-a-third-of-peak-internet-traffic-in-north-america/ [cnet.com]

Very simply, netflix's business strategy is to shift the cost of business to other users. They are creating a negative externality. Not surprisingly, what results is exactly what economic theory says will happen; more of the good is produced than would be produced if the producer were paying the full costs of production. This effectively limits the potential for competitors to develop and it discourages netflix from pursuing more efficient means of production (more efficient transmission algorithms).

One might make th e"public good" argument about the internet; however, the marginal cost of adding another 'netflix' (a full competitor) would not be 'effectively zero.' thus, large consumers, like netflix can not treat the internet as a public good. Even though a smaller user, whose marginal cost IS effectively zero, can.

Re:They're already paying (3, Insightful)

TechyImmigrant (175943) | about 9 months ago | (#45602821)

So what? I pay my ISP for 20Mbits/s so that I can watch Netflix.

This is good for Netflix, the ISP and the consumer. The bandwidth is paid for on both ends.

The alternative is cable or dish, which is way more expensive.

The "percentage of traffic" argument is meaningless when most of that Netflix traffic is cached on Netflix provided boxes at the ISP. The last mile wires are not shared. The incremental cost to use them vs. not use them is 0. The incremental cost for the ethernet in the plant is also 0.

If it wasn't Netflix, it would be someone else. Or spread across multiple someone elses. The streaming is pulled by the viewers and the viewers are going to stream.

 

Re:They're already paying (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45602871)

No, Netflix is paying a service provider for every bit of bandwith they use. If this isn't enough, their service provider should raise their fees.

Re:They're already paying (2)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45603029)

Do you really think Netflix is paying for the proportion of the internet that it uses?

Netflix pays for their end of the connection, and the users pay for the other end.
Now the ISPs (and you, apparently) want Netflix to pay for both ends of the connection while also collecting from the users.

Very simply, netflix's business strategy is to shift the cost of business to other users [...] This effectively limits the potential for competitors to develop

Wouldn't a lower cost of entry encourage competition?

pursuing more efficient means of production (more efficient transmission algorithms).

You can only compress video so much.
And none of the ISPs will let you use multicast. [wikipedia.org]
So instead, netflix will put local streaming servers [netflix.com] at ISPs to reduce their overhead.

Re:They're already paying (1)

Dunbal (464142) | about 9 months ago | (#45603059)

It's only a negative externality when you have cable companies charging for bandwidths they have no intention of providing (ie lying or committing fraud), other than in short "bursts". Otherwise it's calling "getting the most for your money" because you paid for it. If you paid for 5Mb/s I promise you that you will never accidentally get 10Mb/s from your ISP, whether you watch Netflix or check your e-mail.

Re: They're already paying (4, Insightful)

JonBoy47 (2813759) | about 9 months ago | (#45603147)

I have every confidence that Netflix is paying for all the bandwidth they're using, as are Netflix's subscribers. If there's congestion In-between then it's the backbone providers to upgrade, and build that into their cost structure.

Even trying to make it sound good? (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 9 months ago | (#45602261)

Jesus, it's like he's testing the public to see if they can be convinced to care at all about net neutrality. NETFLIX is the example you choose? What were some examples you decided wouldn't be good to mention?

Wheeler: "Say a hospital doesn't want children to die unnecessarily because they couldn't get information, maybe their ISP will charge them highway robbery to prevent your son or daughter from dying. Oh, my secretary is shaking her head at that, okay, maybe a bad example. Porn? If you don't pay the monthly fee, you won't be able to see boobies unless you stop me? Hmm still no... Oh, I know! NETFLIX will pay more because AT&T will demand it. Yes? Okay, sounds like that's the best example I could come up with. Oh, and your ISP will also charge you an arm and a leg, on top of the arm and leg you're already charged, so they'll be getting double the money for less service if I'm allowed to make the rules, which I am. Oops, I think I'm back over the line. I'm also having second thoughts about strangling this puppy to demonstrate what this will do for the economy."

Re:Even trying to make it sound good? (2)

bagboy (630125) | about 9 months ago | (#45602337)

He likely chose Netflix due to the fact that it now accounts for 50 percent of all North American Fixed Network Data, per Sandvine report Nov 11, 2013. Those are big numbers and indicate that Netflix is big enough to use in examples.

Re:Even trying to make it sound good? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45602557)

you mean netflix + youtube is near 50%

Re:Even trying to make it sound good? (2)

TechyImmigrant (175943) | about 9 months ago | (#45602869)

He is deliberately muddling net neutrality with QoS. They are not the same thing. It is to the benefit of the telcos that he does this. They can try to kill net neutrality by arguing that QoS is fine (which it is), rather than arguing that blocking based on traffic type is fine (which it isn't).

Startups? Go abroad (1)

bob_super (3391281) | about 9 months ago | (#45602307)

Between the patent wars and the ISPs soon racketing you if you want to reach customers, the US is quickly becoming a very hostile place for tech and internet startups. The big guys will buy the few who somehow make it.

Innovation, being risky, won't be favored by the remaining huge consortiums living off virtual monopolies, so any progress will have to come from abroad.

Devil's Advocate (1)

ScottCooperDotNet (929575) | about 9 months ago | (#45602323)

Is it OK for streaming communication (YouTube, Netflix) or online gaming (StarCraft 2, FPS) to take precedence over email?

Re:Devil's Advocate (1)

bigfinger76 (2923613) | about 9 months ago | (#45602507)

Sure. You set QoS on your router.

Re:Devil's Advocate (1)

TechyImmigrant (175943) | about 9 months ago | (#45602897)

Right. But it isn't QoS which is the problem. It is the ISP blocking based on vendor or traffic type or device. So they block your video provider in preference to their own. Or they block your choice of device in preference to their own set top box.

Re:Devil's Advocate (2)

silas_moeckel (234313) | about 9 months ago | (#45602567)

Sure, but it's not OK for Email provider A to take precedence over provider B.

There's Your Hope and Change (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45602345)

You got what you voted for.

The other side of the coin (2)

EmagGeek (574360) | about 9 months ago | (#45602357)

'Netflix might say, "I'll pay in order to make sure that my subscriber might receive the best possible transmission of this movie."

Verizon might also say, "We're not going to allow Netflix traffic to a subscriber in excess of 1mbit/sec, PERIOD."

Re:The other side of the coin (1)

reve_etrange (2377702) | about 9 months ago | (#45602509)

Most likely, it would be Comast saying that. Or does Verizon have a television service (AFAIK they don't in the West)?

Re:The other side of the coin (1)

bob_super (3391281) | about 9 months ago | (#45602689)

Verizon will just point out that HD (or 4k) Pay per view is a lot more reliable when they do it.

It doesn't take many "inadverterent" breaks in a movie to make people believe Netflix is garbage. Hey, look, the internet is fine, ok? Just see how good your speedtest numbers are.

It's teh Free Marketz!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45602419)

Come on, government nut suckers... show me the power of your heavy handed regulation now. Show me how the government is going to have me from an assfucking in this case.

Let's not just give in (4, Informative)

Traze (1167415) | about 9 months ago | (#45602421)

Whitehouse.gov [whitehouse.gov] Sign the petition, and at least get your voice out there.

Who know's? It might not fall on deaf ears.

Re:Let's not just give in (4, Funny)

bmo (77928) | about 9 months ago | (#45602565)

They have a special printer that prints out those petitions on toilet paper.

--
BMO

As I say whenever this topic comes up... (5, Interesting)

HaeMaker (221642) | about 9 months ago | (#45602431)

If I am Netflix, Google/YouTube, Amazon, etc. and an ISP comes to me asking for money for preferential treatment, I would just say: "Pay me $1/subscriber, or I will block your users from my site--you know, just like how you pay ESPN for their content..." I find it hard to believe these sites need ISPs more than ISPs need these sites.

Re:As I say whenever this topic comes up... (1)

Bob9113 (14996) | about 9 months ago | (#45602667)

If I am Netflix, Google/YouTube, Amazon, etc. and an ISP comes to me asking for money for preferential treatment, I would just say: "Pay me $1/subscriber, or I will block your users from my site--you know, just like how you pay ESPN for their content..." I find it hard to believe these sites need ISPs more than ISPs need these sites.

That is precisely what will happen next. Of course, only the big players will have the guns to show down the ISPs; presto -- the big players will get best QoS and the indies will all have to pay or be put in the slow lane. One more hobble on small businesses and independent media; a bit less oxygen for disruptive competition.

Re:As I say whenever this topic comes up... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45602715)

The BBC's iPlayer in the UK has threatened any ISP who tries this with being put on a name and shame list.

http://www.ispreview.co.uk/story/2010/11/18/bbc-system-to-name-and-shame-uk-isps-that-throttle-iplayer-broadband-traffic.html [ispreview.co.uk]

How long before this happens in the USA forcing the ISPs to back pedal and pretend nothing happened?

Hopey Changey (5, Informative)

EmagGeek (574360) | about 9 months ago | (#45602433)

        "I am in this race to tell the corporate lobbyists that their days of setting the agenda in Washington are over. I have done more than any other candidate in this race to take on lobbyists â" and won. They have not funded my campaign, they will not run my White House, and they will not drown out the voices of the American people when I am president."

        -- Barack Obama, Speech in Des Moines, IA
        November 10, 2007

Re:Hopey Changey (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45602699)

Oh boy, you found an example of a politician saying one thing and do another.

Quick, call the media as clearly this is very rare.

Re:Hopey Changey (1)

onyxruby (118189) | about 9 months ago | (#45602827)

Every once in a while a post comes along that needs attached to the story instead of the comment section. Editors, this is just such a post.

Re:Hopey Changey (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45602873)

Every once in a while a post comes along that needs attached to the story instead of the comment section. Editors, this is just such a post.

Seriously.

Re:Hopey Changey (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45602891)

Seriously.

Well of course! Did you think he was joking?

What the hell? (5, Insightful)

HeckRuler (1369601) | about 9 months ago | (#45602535)

Wheeler: "Netflix might say, "I'll pay in order to make sure that my subscriber might receive the best possible transmission of this movie."

Huh, that's funny. I though I ALREADY PAID the ISP to get the best possible transmission.

Oh, I'm sorry, you wanted to buy access to ALL of the Internet? You only bought basic Internet. That simply doesn't include Netflix. But it includes Youtube now that Google ponied up some cash. You need to pay the premium rate to get Netflixs. Plus an extra surcharge for Wikipedia because they said something nasty about us once.

The Almighty Monopoly (3, Insightful)

Thruen (753567) | about 9 months ago | (#45602553)

Three cheers for letting cable companies abuse their government-assisted monopolies! At this point, most of us get our internet from the same people who offer on-demand video services on top of regular television for a much higher price than Netflix. Options in most areas are limited to one sometimes two sources for broadband (Sources that also provide TV) or dialup, if you can still find that. Now, they're going to take advantage of their near complete control of the internet to shut out any possible competition to the outdated and undesirable cable TV overpriced bundle business model, full of stuff nobody will watch. If only there were some system of rules that was already in place meant to prevent businesses from leveraging a monopoly in one market to take control of another... If only...

Information please (1)

Alain Williams (2972) | about 9 months ago | (#45602581)

Can someone tell me how the cost of an Internet connection breaks down. As I see it there are 3 components:

  • 1) consumer residence to ISP point of presence (PoP) ''the last mile''
  • 2) PoP to ISP core infrastucture
  • 3) ISP links to elsewhere

I do realise that my breakdown is somewhat simplistic; net neutrality is all about the cost of (3) compared to the cost of (1)+(2). If (3) really is much greater than there might be an argument for not streaming lots of data (eg video) round the globe. If (3) is not the lion's share of the cost then attempts to prevent net neutrality are more about controlling access to the consumer for the ISP's commercial gain.

I assume that any cost in paying for a free consumer broadband modem, installation costs, and similar, have been amortised (ie not part of the above calculation)

Re:Information please (2)

Todd Knarr (15451) | about 9 months ago | (#45602817)

That's the problem: for residential ISPs #3 is a huge cost. Since they forbid users from running servers, almost all traffic is from the rest of the world (where the servers are) to their users. That means a big imbalance of traffic at their connections to the backbones, more traffic inbound to the ISP than outbound from it. Since payment and rates are based on balance of traffic, the ISPs end up paying a lot. The ISPs aren't in a good negotiating position. Individually they're each an overwhelming chunk of the backbone provider's revenue, the backbone can afford to lose a residential ISP and not take a killer hit. The ISP, though, needs the backbone connection because in the end that's what all of their customers are paying for. If as a Comcast Internet subscriber you can't browse the Web, can't play your on-line games, can't stream video from Netflix, then what use is that Comcast Internet service to you? You'd just cancel it and save yourself the money. And the alternative, allowing users to run servers to even out the traffic balance, can't be done. The ISPs have oversubscribed their networks and otherwise taken advantage of traffic asymmetry to cut costs, and their networks now can't handle heavy upstream traffic loads.

The ISPs could, of course, adjust their prices to reflect the actual cost of connections. They don't want to do that, though, because the first one to do that would lose all their customers to the rest. Plus in many cases those ISPs enjoy a local monopoly or duopoly thanks to public-right-of-way access agreements, and if they start raising prices their customers are going to push local and state governments to either regulate the ISPs or void those agreements and remove the monopoly/duopoly. The desire to keep that's at the heart of ISP opposition to municipal Internet service, you can see how much they want to keep it. They could absorb the costs, but that cuts into their profit margins and they don't want that either. So they're kind of stuck. The only thing they can do is try and wring money out of parties that don't have any direct connection to them who can't really do anything to them.

Must be wrong date (1)

mi (197448) | about 9 months ago | (#45602591)

Remember when the ex-cable lobbyist Tom Wheeler was appointed to the FCC chair back in May of 2013?

No way, no how! Such a thing could only have happened during a RethugliKKKan Presidency. You must've gotten the date wrong.

Figures this guy is a cable shill (4, Insightful)

JonBoy47 (2813759) | about 9 months ago | (#45602605)

The internet already provides the viable infrastructure for on-demand video delivery, as demonstrated by the litany of devices that support Netflix playback.

The Great Recession already saw many people belt-tighten by canceling their cable TV. Subscriber numbers are in slow decline. Netflix, YouTube and Hulu are just a few content deals away from completely destroying the value proposition of cable TV for remaining subscribers. Cable companies believe their only hope of keeping that revenue from disappearing is to make sure their internet service isn't viable for video delivery. Net neutrality means they can't manage their network traffic and make netflix et al unusable for their subscribers.

Cue the new FCC chief.

Wheeler just using what he learned on K Street (2)

JoeyRox (2711699) | about 9 months ago | (#45602773)

On K Street whoever funnels the most money to a politician gets the most sympathetic ear. Wheeler is proposing the same corrupt concept for ISP traffic. It likely comes natural to him as a lobbyist and I doubt he even realizes there's anything wrong with it.

Time Warner throttled me (1)

IDreamInCode (672260) | about 9 months ago | (#45602857)

I just posted a thread over on reddit [reddit.com] about Time Warner throttling my server. A 200mb download file download from them at 100kiB/s even though many TWC clients had 50mbit connections. That same 200mb file could be downloaded at 10mbit (2,000 kiB/s) when a proxy server was used.

Re:Time Warner throttled me (1)

TheloniousToady (3343045) | about 9 months ago | (#45603093)

Maybe you should call Time Warner's help line. By the time you get to talk to someone, your download will be done. They're very helpful that way.

(sorry, couldn't resist. :-)

I like my connection to discriminate (3, Interesting)

raymorris (2726007) | about 9 months ago | (#45603065)

While I tend to agree with most people posting and I'm generally in favor of net neutrality, I also like playing devil's advocate, looking at both sides.

My SSH connection uses about 0.001 Mbps. Latency on SSH is really annoying, because it means each time you type on key you have to wait for that letter or number to show up on the screen. So for SSH you use very, very little bandwidth, but it needs to be low latency.

Netflix is opposite - it uses up 1,000 times more bandwidth, and latency doesn't matter at all (though jitter does). During peak hours, when the ISP is 1 Mbps short of perfect performance in a certain area, does it make more sense to annoy the shit out of 500 customers using SSH and other interactive low bandwidth applications, or should the one customer's Netflix packets get queued, which he won't even notice. (The Netflix movie will just begin one second later).

Given the very real choice of annoying 500 customers who aren't asking for much bandwidth vs. an imperceptible difference in one customer's movie, I think the choice is obvious. Better to not annoy any customers by giving the interactive packets priority.

That's what I'd want my ISP to do even if both connections are mine. I'd much rather have an unnoticeable 1% quality reduction in the YouTube video I'm watching than have lost or slow packets in my SSH. I WANT my ISP to discriminate between low priority, high bandwidth sites (video) versus high priority interactive.

It might also be useful to get real and talk about what this actually means in practice. YouTube and Netflix are HALF of the traffic load. Without those two, the existing infrastructure would deliver everything else TWICE as fast. Philosophical discussions are interesting, but at the end of the day, would you rather get stuff done much, much faster and allow the cat video to buffer for 1.5 seconds?

Technical issue? Not likely, (1)

iiiears (987462) | about 9 months ago | (#45603107)

Agency functionaries wait impatiently for their chance to try the revolving door.

    There is no technical solution for regulatory capture. We (voters) don't pay as much as lobbyists. Our wallets don't support campaigns. Few of us after a long day at work care to read the congressional record.
     

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