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Robert McMillen: What Everyone Gets Wrong In the Debate Over Net Neutrality

samzenpus posted about 3 months ago | from the it-was-never-fair dept.

The Internet 270

ygslash writes "Robert McMillen of Wired claims that we have gotten Net Neutrality all wrong. While we are all busy arguing about whether there should be regulations preventing large content providers from getting preferential bandwidth, McMillen says that not only have the large content providers already had preferential bandwidth for ten years, but that by now this has become an inherent part of the structure of the Internet and in practice cannot be changed. Instead, he says, the Net Neutrality discussion should be about ensuring a free and open competitive market for bandwidth, so that anyone who wants bandwidth can purchase it at a fair price.

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Everybody is wrong... (4, Insightful)

supertrooper (2073218) | about 3 months ago | (#47297633)

...but he got it right? Sure, why not.

Re:Everybody is wrong... (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47297681)

He absolutely got it right. "Net neutrality" commies would apparently argue that a restaurant should be forced to have all entrees at the same price, e.g. lobster $5, hamburger $5, corn dog $5. What are there, maybe a dozen or so of us left in Amerika that believe in free markets?

Re:Everybody is wrong... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47297711)

No, the net neutrality "commies" would have the taxi which takes you to the restaurant drive at the best speed, and not slow to a crawl if your restaurant of choice hasn't paid off the taxi company.

Re:Everybody is wrong... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47297725)

Actually, a better analogy would forbidding a restaurant from different prices for faster or slower service.

But, it is BS because very few restaurants have something that is even close to the monopoly that ISPs have in areas.

Re:Everybody is wrong... (1)

mellon (7048) | about 3 months ago | (#47298011)

No, that would be a good analogy if the FCC were going to require Amazon and Newegg to sell their stuff at the same prices. Which they are not going to do, as far as I know.

Re:Everybody is wrong... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47297757)

I don't think anyone is saying all entrees should be priced equally. What?

Re:Everybody is wrong... (5, Insightful)

pepty (1976012) | about 3 months ago | (#47298365)

This analogy is falling apart, but: It's not a demand that all entrees be equally priced. It's whether the guy who owns ALL of the restaurants in town can charge more for fish and deliver it cold and 20 minutes after the other seafood entrees sent to the table if that fish was sourced from a competitor instead of from his own fishing boat like the other seafood items. Not really a problem in a competitive market, but a big problem in monopolies and duopolies.

Re:Everybody is wrong... (4, Insightful)

bickerdyke (670000) | about 3 months ago | (#47297787)

No. The problem without net neutrality would be that a provider charges on both sides.

Or to pick up your restaurant analogy. Everyone is paying for their internet access already. Different prices, according to a free market. Dialup custumers pay $5 for their cornbread internet connection, Cable/Dsl customers pay Lobster prices for fast internet connection, and companies like Google and Netflix pay several complete buffets at a dozen restaurants to connect directly to each of the restaurants internet backbones.

The proposed anti-neutrality would make it legal for corn farming assosications to pay a restaurant money for serving cornbread to anyone, no matter if they ordered and payed for cornbread or lobster. Or in internet terms again: artificially slow down delivery to customers who already paid more for a faster internet connection.

Re:Everybody is wrong... (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47298121)

No. The problem without net neutrality would be that a provider charges on both sides.

Or to pick up your restaurant analogy. Everyone is paying for their internet access already. Different prices, according to a free market. Dialup custumers pay $5 for their cornbread internet connection, Cable/Dsl customers pay Lobster prices for fast internet connection, and companies like Google and Netflix pay several complete buffets at a dozen restaurants to connect directly to each of the restaurants internet backbones.

The proposed anti-neutrality would make it legal for corn farming assosications to pay a restaurant money for serving cornbread to anyone, no matter if they ordered and payed for cornbread or lobster. Or in internet terms again: artificially slow down delivery to customers who already paid more for a faster internet connection.

Your argument is incoherent.

First, what is wrong with a provider charging on both sides? If Netflix wants to push terabits of data through a network, why shouldn't the network owner be able to charge Netflix for that? You baldly state "The problem..." and provide no support as to why your "problem" is just that. Given that it's the way the internet currently works, how do we know prohibiting such behavior would result in any improvement?

Hell, I'll go you one better: given that Netflix has always paid for its bandwidth, why is it wrong for Netflix to bypass backbone companies like L3, save their money, and work directly with ISPs to get Netflix content onto the ISPs network for faster delivery to users? That's simply cutting out a useless middleman.

Why is that wrong? Because you don't like it?

Second, how does that support your restaurant analogy? Bandwidth is finite. How do you define "artificially slow down delivery" in a world of finite bandwidth and complex and continually changing network topologies? So Hulu and Netflix have to have the same performance to every customer? No matter what the physical network layout is between server and user?

Re:Everybody is wrong... (4, Insightful)

BronsCon (927697) | about 3 months ago | (#47298211)

First, what is wrong with a provider charging on both sides? If Netflix wants to push terabits of data through a network, why shouldn't the network owner be able to charge Netflix for that? You baldly state "The problem..." and provide no support as to why your "problem" is just that. Given that it's the way the internet currently works, how do we know prohibiting such behavior would result in any improvement?

The first thing wrong, here, is your understanding of the issue. Netflix pays their provider already, and they push their data through their provider; that provider, then, pushes the data through the next provider, and so on, and so forth, until it reaches the intended user. In essence, it is not Netflix pushing the data through each provider, but rather each consecutive provider pushing the data to the next, and they all have peering agreements which should cover situations where there is an imbalance in traffic. None of this is, nor should be, of any concern to Netflix or the end user, so long as they are both paying their respective providers.

Post a package from the US to China. Do it. Pick a random address in China, put a random item in a box, drive to the post office, and send the box to that address. How many providers carry that box? At least 2. How many do you pay? One. We're talking about the same concept, here.

Re:Everybody is wrong... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47298283)

If they give me free corn bread with the lobster paid by the manufacturer, why would I be pissed? If I don't like the bread I can always opt to not eat it. :s

Re:Everybody is wrong... (3, Interesting)

AnontheDestroyer (3500983) | about 3 months ago | (#47297823)

He absolutely got it right. "Net neutrality" commies would apparently argue that a restaurant should be forced to have all entrees at the same price, e.g. lobster $5, hamburger $5, corn dog $5. What are there, maybe a dozen or so of us left in Amerika that believe in free markets?

And here we have the real misunderstanding. Does anyone know if there is some right-wing organization out there that is trumpeting this idea? I have only seen it from Republicans ("conservatives"). I don't see it often, so it strikes me as a strawman that a few Dunning-Kruger head-cases are manufacturing on their own, but it would be nice to know if it has a source.

Re:Everybody is wrong... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47297971)

No, idiot. It's like a restaurant that only serves cheeseburgers. You can either pay $50 to get in the fast lane and get your cheeseburger fast, or you can eat your $5 cheeseburger cold.

Re:Everybody is wrong... (2)

mellon (7048) | about 3 months ago | (#47298055)

More importantly, it's the only restaurant in town, and there are no grocery stores. So if you want a cheeseburger, you go there. And because of that, they can charge you extra for better service, because nobody else is able to offer you service at all. Honestly, the restaurant analogy doesn't work very well.

Re:Everybody is wrong... (-1, Redundant)

BronsCon (927697) | about 3 months ago | (#47298241)

I made it work [slashdot.org] , actually...

Re:Everybody is wrong... (2)

whistlingtony (691548) | about 3 months ago | (#47298287)

Perhaps if the restaurant charges you for the hamburger, and then turns around and ALSO tells the farmer that he'd better pay up or they won't serve his beef to the customers, while the restaurant is starting a beef farm.

Re:Everybody is wrong... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47298349)

More importantly, it's the only restaurant in town, and there are no grocery stores

And also it's illegal for anyone else to try to open their own restaurant or grocery store.

Re:Everybody is wrong... (1)

BronsCon (927697) | about 3 months ago | (#47298229)

Actually, it's more like a food counter with different chefs paying rent for their kitchen space (more rent = more space), customers paying at the counter (which then takes a cut) when they order, and some chefs also paying rent at the counter to be allowed to serve their food faster. Except that the counter and the kitchen are owned by two separate companies, which already have an agreement to allow the food traffic to flow freely.

Re:Everybody is wrong... (4, Insightful)

Penguinisto (415985) | about 3 months ago | (#47297983)

What are there, maybe a dozen or so of us left in Amerika that believe in free markets?

If the ISP/telecom market were truly a free market, you might have had a point.

Re:Everybody is wrong... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47298215)

What are there, maybe a dozen or so of us left in Amerika that believe in free markets?

If the ISP/telecom market were truly a free market, you might have had a point.

And to be clear: a "real" market generally has multiple buyers and sellers so there is competition. What is present in many locations is either a duopoly at best, and a monopoly in you're unlucky. (At least for "high speed" Internet, ignoring things like satellite services.)

Re:Everybody is wrong... (4, Insightful)

whistlingtony (691548) | about 3 months ago | (#47298315)

I love the Free Market crowd. I usually just challenge them to show me a free market, one that isn't tinkered with by a large organization (government or private) anywhere in the world.... I'll wait.

Free Markets are a useful tool to explain some economics concepts, but do not exist in real life.

Re:Everybody is wrong... (1)

mellon (7048) | about 3 months ago | (#47298045)

If you want to use your restaurant analogy, what he's saying is that if the restaurant charges _me_ $5 for a hot dog, they also have to charge _you_ $5 for a hot dog. But no, that analogy still doesn't work, because what's going on here is that the ISP has the only path between you and the greater internet. And they are saying to online services, "look, guys, if you want to get a clean connection to our customers, you have to pay the vig. otherwise, we put you on the congested router, and your customers switch to someone who paid the vig." This is a problem because it disadvantages new entrants to the market: it is anti-competitive. So yes, us pro-competition "commies" want that stopped. I'm not clear on how that makes us commies, but whatever...

Re:Everybody is wrong... (1)

machineghost (622031) | about 3 months ago | (#47298361)

There are no free markets in the ISP business.

Re:Everybody is wrong... (2)

91degrees (207121) | about 3 months ago | (#47297797)

He's either right or he's wrong. But the popularity of the other opinion doesn't affect this. Only the actual facts.

Re:Everybody is wrong... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47297997)

...but he got it right? Sure, why not.

Because "everybody" who's actively pushing pro- or con-net neutrality arguments (Netflix, Google, etc on one side, ISPs on the other) has huge amounts of money bet on their horses in the race.

Re:Everybody is wrong... (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47298093)

I argue pro net neutrality because I enjoy the Internet, like how it has operated the majority of my life, and like to look at picture of cats with captions over their heads. My horse in the race is small and colorful and espouses the merits of sharing and kindness. I am not Netflix, or Google, or an ISP. I am still part of "everybody". When the arguments about "what should be done" exclude the voice of the people, and is the exclusive argument of the big-money players, then it's time to burn it all down.

Re:Everybody is wrong... (5, Insightful)

mellon (7048) | about 3 months ago | (#47298001)

Well, his chart is a good clarifying bit. But aside from that, he seems to be in complete agreement with John Oliver and all the other stories I've read on the topic: the problem is, truly, not with fast lanes, but with slow lanes. If they were not dicking with Level 3 by giving them a more congested link than they give Google, we would have nothing to complain about. The point about the last mile is also true, and going back to Common Carrier-based regulation would address that point, because it would re-open the ability of the FCC to require carriers to sell last-mile bandwidth to their own internal business units for the same price that they sell it to competitors. This is not something new to the discussion, although I will admit that not every article about Net Neutrality covers it.

So I guess this article is worth reading, because I think it does hit on all the major points, but the characterization that it's the first to do so, and that everybody else has gotten it wrong, is essentially clickbait. Forgivable, since in this case the article is worth reading.

Re:Everybody is wrong... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47298225)

This is exactly the problem, it isn't the fast lanes. I don't think anyone who wants a fast lane and wants to pay for it is wrong, and the companies offering it should be allowed to provide it.

The biggest problem, as I see in Canada is that there are ONLY two lines running to my house, one line is owned by Bell, the other owned by Rogers. This means that any service I get is dictated by their equipment.

I can go to other providers who have, by law, been allowed to use this last mile, but that doesn't mean Rogers or Bell can't dick around with my connection.

I'm fine to pay the carriage fee to Bell, or Rogers to get to my house, whatever, they ponied up the cash to install the lines, so charge a $5.00 a month fee, or $10.00 a month fee for the last mile, but if I am paying for it it better damned well work and there better be someone responsible to actually manage it.

On top of that, then I should be able to choose whomever I want to provide my service, and technically I can and do, but I should be allowed to purchase a 10-30-100-150Mbps connection, and HAVE that bandwidth available.

Again net neutrality is not about whether or not I have a 1Mbps connection or a 1Gbps connection, those are all options on the menu of choices. What is important is that when I pay for 1Gbps, with unlimited bandwidth that whether I open Facebook, the Globe & Mail, a Porn site, download a bit torrent or connect to Netflix, NOBODY should be able to touch the speed of my connection, or throttle my traffic based upon the type of traffic.

Let me state that again:
Net neutrality is not about the speed of the connection it is about someone modifying the speed of my connection based on the type of data I am accessing.
If I explicitly pay for a connection that is going to be 'Speed X' and there is no stipulation that connections to Netflix will be down-speeded, then that is what I should get.

This does NOT mean that my connection to Netflix is guaranteed, not in the least, but my connection through my provider CAN NOT be messed with, unless I have a package, or service that suggests otherwise.

If Granny only wants to get a 1Mbps second connection so she can check email or look at videos on Facebook, then sell her that connection, but don't turn around and sell me a 10Mbps connection and tell me that the reason my connection to Netflix is slow is because of the backhaul on the internet when I know damned well that you have sole my 10Mbps connection to 12 Grannies who all happen to be watching the world cup of knitting at the same time, in the hopes that you will get a quicker return on your investment.

Re:Everybody is wrong... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47298303)

Sure, but you can get that now already. Look for a business subscription and they will sell you 1gbps (or even more) with no caps and no QoS and nothing. You probably will not be able to afford it though. The only effect of net neutrality is that all connections will be advertised at low speed with a low data cap.

Re:Everybody is wrong... (1)

alen (225700) | about 3 months ago | (#47298273)

CDN's have been around since the late 1990's
google and other edge providers have been doing direct connections to ISP's for a long time as well

today's net neutrality arguments seem to be done by a bunch of blogger retarts who think Netflix should get everything for free because they like netflix and hate cable TV. and they have no idea how the internet really works and think everything is streamed or sent thousands of miles via tier 1 backbone networks which isn't true at all. everyone has been staging their content as close to the users as possible for many years now and spending a lot of money to do it

Why not both? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47297651)

Why can't we have both what McMillen is asking for, AND prevent fast lanes. That seems the *most* logical of all. They are not exclusive, they are two separate systemic problems.

Re:Why not both? (1)

oh_my_080980980 (773867) | about 3 months ago | (#47297953)

Exactly! The problem is he's ignoring the HUGE political obstacle to reclassification of ISPs as common carries. That's pretty much a non starter. But there is some political support for NOT double charging people. Netflix pays for access, you pay for access but Comcast wants to charge you a second and third time for access to Netflix. The irony is it has nothing to do with bandwidth and everything to do with Netflix competing against Comcast's video on demand service. By forcing Netflix to charge more for its service Comcast can offer a cheaper video on demand service.

The author fails to grasp what is happening.

Re:Why not both? (1)

UPZ (947916) | about 3 months ago | (#47298257)

McMillen says that not only have the large content providers already had preferential bandwidth for ten years, but that by now this has become an inherent part of the structure of the Internet and in practice cannot be changed.

Everything is *always* in a state of change. Bad argument made by McMillen. There are many ISPs who don't have prioritized access for Google/companyx. Comcast/Verizon/ATT operate only within US, their prioritized access model does not exist the rest of the internet world.

When a journalist writes such poor quality articles you kinda do have to wonder about their motivations ($$$) as well as of their publishing company who approves it for publication.

Re:Why not both? (4, Interesting)

Talderas (1212466) | about 3 months ago | (#47298329)

The charging both sides isn't actually that insane. I know I risk being downmodded for this but it's really all a matter of how the Internet is structured. There's multiple ways to get from Point A to Point B and some paths are going to be congested more than others. I personally think that we should be paying for what we send and not what received and that's how I can agree with both sides paying for me to get Netflix.

If I buy bandwidth from my ISP, I expect them to provide the outbound performance that I have paid for based on the SLA we agreed to. This means that if my SLA to Comcast is 50Mb then I should be able to send 20Mbps. Comcast should be engaging in deals to ensure they can send my traffic at 50Mb. I also expect them to not in any way shape or form throttle or shape traffic too me assume it's not exceeding my SLA (ignoring QoS reasons). Anything more than that should not be in the confines of my agreement with Comcast because anything else is outside of Comcast's direct control. Comcast doesn't dictate what providers send traffic to me so there's no way to tell if it will come from L3, Cogent, or some other provider. There's no way to tell if a content provider is going to be traffic balancing across multiple providers or shoveling all their traffic through just one provider. That makes guaranteed download speeds virtually impossible.

The same thing should apply to Netflix. If they engage a provider for 50Gbps and the provider isn't capable of supporting 50Gbps then that provider should be engaging its peers in order to meet the SLA it signed with Netflix.

Re:Why not both? (5, Informative)

BronsCon (927697) | about 3 months ago | (#47298307)

There's nothing wrong with Netflix, Hulu, Google, or anyone else for that matter, going directly to an ISP and saying "Here's some equipment; if you install it, your users will be able to get our content, which is a big reason they pay you, faster." There is, likewise, nothing wrong with the ISP saying "Sure, let's get that equipment installed. It's gonna cost you $10,000.00/mo to use our facilities and backbone." And, there's nothing wrong with the two parties agreeing to, and implementing that. What's wrong is the ISP moving the intermediary providers (e.g. the backbones) between them and the provider wishing to install their equipment onto slower links until the provider agrees to pay the fee (at which point, the intermediary becomes irrelevant and probably remains on the degraded link), thereby degrading service for everybody. Especially when there is a peering agreement between the ISP and the intermediary provider and/or the intermediary is willing (and even asking or begging) to pay for the link they were on before.

And if you think that's not exactly what happened, please, explain this [washingtonpost.com] .

Strawman (5, Insightful)

jythie (914043) | about 3 months ago | (#47297655)

While there might be outliers, I generally do not hear the pro-NN crowd claiming that direct peering or colocation should be outlawed, only that traffic should not be shaped based off its origin. So if some data comes in through, say, Level 3, all that should matter is that the data is coming through that pipe, not where it originated from on someone else's network.

Re:Strawman (2, Informative)

Trepidity (597) | about 3 months ago | (#47297665)

Outright traffic shaping part of the debate, but not the entire debate. Some of the higher-profile NN disputes have been over peering agreements, e.g. Comcast's refusal to increase its peering with Level 3, who is Netflix's provider, because of Comcast's claims that the benefit of the peering agreement is asymmetric.

Re:Strawman (5, Insightful)

jythie (914043) | about 3 months ago | (#47297793)

I have a hard time swallowing the 'asymmetric' argument. Comcast's customers are, after all, paying for access to that data, Comcast is supposed to simply be a path. If the cost of delivering that data is really that unfair on Comcast, then they need to charge their customers more and build out more infrastructure to support the increased load. That is what we pay them for.

Re:Strawman (1)

Trepidity (597) | about 3 months ago | (#47297839)

I tend to agree, but I'm just pointing out that you'd still have these problems even if traffic shaping were banned. If you want to avoid cases like the Comcast-Netflix one, afaict some kind of regulation of peering is needed, because otherwise companies like Comcast can just use selective peering denial as their strategy.

Re:Strawman (1)

rahvin112 (446269) | about 3 months ago | (#47298021)

All the last mile networks WILL be traffic asymmetric. In the past that was never an issue. Now that they see the opportunity to increase revenue AND protect their own video offerings they see an opportunity to extract rent on the traffic. This won't hurt Netflix but it will be a major barrier to entry to the video streaming field. And that is exactly the problem with it, it is anti-competitive at it's core.

Re:Strawman (4, Insightful)

Bengie (1121981) | about 3 months ago | (#47298125)

I made the same mistake my first read through. They were not talking about asymmetric bandwidth, but asymmetric value. Comcast finds it more valuable to not provide the service their customers paid for than to spend money investing into their infrastructure to actually deliver what they advertise.

This is a competition problem. It's hard to use the law to create competition, but it's easy to put restrictions on what a company can do.

What we really need to do is just classify what Comcast et al are doing as fraud. They should have to deliver what they advertise and not have an escape from providing sub 1% service because "up to".

If Ford advertised that their car got "up to" 40mpg on the highway, then you took their car out on a 65mph interstate with no traffic and got 0.5mpg, I'm sure Ford would be in a word of hurt.

Re:Strawman (5, Informative)

Jason Levine (196982) | about 3 months ago | (#47298065)

Comcast is supposed to simply be a path

And this is one of the problems. Comcast is a path, but it is also a company with a video service that Netflix competes with. The more people use Netflix, the less they use Comcast's video service. So if Comcast can slow Netflix down until they pay Comcast money for "fast lane access", then Comcast doubly-wins: 1) Netflix might need to raise prices to cover the additional costs making Comcast's video services cheaper by comparison (or, at least, not as expensive) and 2) Even if people still use Netflix instead of Comcast's video services, Comcast will still profit off of their usage (twice: once for the customers paying Comcast for the Internet connection and once for Netflix paying Comcast not to slow them down).

If ISPs were forced to remain separate from content services companies, this wouldn't happen.

Re:Strawman (1)

alen (225700) | about 3 months ago | (#47298289)

sender pays to send their data or traffic has been around for a long time until netflix started playing games and demanding free bandwidth as a competative edge

Re:Strawman (1)

BronsCon (927697) | about 3 months ago | (#47298347)

Agreed. Between two intermediary providers I could see this, but when it is your end user directly requesting the traffic, there is nothing but upside in allowing them to do so, and as quickly as you possibly can. Happy customers stick around through bigger rate hikes, after all.

Re:Strawman (2)

ArhcAngel (247594) | about 3 months ago | (#47297801)

Outright traffic shaping part of the debate, but not the entire debate. Some of the higher-profile NN disputes have been over peering agreements, e.g. Comcast's refusal to increase its peering with Level 3, who is Netflix's provider, because of Comcast's claims that the benefit of the peering agreement is asymmetric.

It is entirely asymmetrical but that is of Comcast's own doing. They sell more bandwidth than they can provide to their ISP customers. Of course in the contract agreement the term they use is "up to xMbps" so they can simply say "sorry we only guarantee xMbps to business class customers". This is by design. Comcast (or just about any US ISP today) depend on the consumer overpaying for what they use. The trouble only comes when they start actually using the bandwidth they thought they were paying for. Which isn't a problem if it is to Comcast's in network properties. But Comcast's peering connection to Level 3 has been saturated (over 90% capacity) 24/7 for over a year now and yet Comcast refuses to add more capacity. That's not just Netflix traffic. That is all traffic coming from Level 3.

Re:Strawman (1)

wiggles (30088) | about 3 months ago | (#47298153)

> Comcast's peering connection to Level 3 has been saturated (over 90% capacity) 24/7 for over a year now

Got a source on that? Not that I doubt you, just looking to back up that claim.

Re:Strawman (4, Informative)

ArhcAngel (247594) | about 3 months ago | (#47298345)

> Comcast's peering connection to Level 3 has been saturated (over 90% capacity) 24/7 for over a year now

Got a source on that? Not that I doubt you, just looking to back up that claim.

While he doesn't come right out and say the name of any specific ISP Mark Taylor VP of Content and Media at Level 3 points his finger [level3.com] at 5 major US ISP's that have been saturated for over a year and refuse to upgrade their connection. Take that revelation and combine it with this graph [washingtonpost.com] which shows 8 Major ISPs and the relative speed with which Netflix traverses them and the 5 companies he references become pretty clear. Granted the graph does originate from Netflix so grain of salt and all that but I'm inclined to believe the data.

Re:Strawman (2, Interesting)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 3 months ago | (#47298219)

Outright traffic shaping part of the debate, but not the entire debate. Some of the higher-profile NN disputes have been over peering agreements, e.g. Comcast's refusal to increase its peering with Level 3, who is Netflix's provider, because of Comcast's claims that the benefit of the peering agreement is asymmetric.

The problem is Netflix refuses to sign reciprocal peering agreements. Neflix signs up with Level3 and makes no guarantees that they wont switch overnight. And in fact, that's exactly what they do. The providers understand this, give Netflix discounts and then charge the ISPs an fortune. The price Netflix pays to Level3 for a 10gig trunk is heavily discounted because Level3 knows how high profile that traffic is. When Comcast comes to them for the same sized trunk so they can get that data uncongested, Level3 jacks the price way up. With other content providers like Google or whomever... the ISP would go to Google and say "The rates with level3 are too high, can we move to a provider with better rates?" and Google would work with you. Netflix refuses. They go with the cheapest, irrelevant of the impact on their users and then they make a stink in the media to make it appear like it's all the ISPs fault when they are equally to blame.

So what's started to happen is providers like Level3 have turned the screws a bit too tight on the ISPs. The ISPs are balking now and just refusing to sign. So now the customers are hurting. It's basically a game to see who will blink first. Netflix or the ISPs. The best solution for this problem is either regulation on providers like netflix that forces them to play nice, or regulation that would force providers to charge the same price for the same trunk weather it's coming or going.

I work in the industry and hear the people that negotiate these peering agreements constantly complain about Netflix. The impression I get is that they feel Netflix is outright hostile to ISPs. It's almost as if they're intentionally trying to hurt them.

Re:Strawman (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 3 months ago | (#47298037)

Wait, your subject refers to your own comment, right?

the Net Neutrality discussion should be about ensuring a free and open competitive market for bandwidth, so that anyone who wants bandwidth can purchase it at a fair price.

While there might be outliers, I generally do not hear the pro-NN crowd claiming that direct peering or colocation should be outlawed,

That is literally the opposite of what this article is about. It's about making internet-level connections the standard, as opposed to backwater filtered-down double-natted bullshit-level connections where QoS is even an issue. In short, either forcing providers to share the last mile (again!) or decoupling infrastructure from service. The internet is meant to be peer to peer, but the current model has made it seriously client-server. This was a necessary step at one point. Today, it's ridiculous.

There's really only one good way to handle this situation, because of the physical realities involved regarding cable runs. Pass a law, take the physical networks of any notable size or of any size but with a state-, city-, or locality-protected monopoly away from the providers, take over its management and return the money in the form of credit for future use of the system, run it at cost including any necessary governance. Instead of maintaining the full network, though, replace it with a mesh over time, starting with the last mile and working back towards the cities. Cable companies can still exist, but they will be a little more like TV stations. Decoupled from the physical network, they can concentrate on content delivery. Customers will still be motivated to acquire service from a local provider, because of the nature of the mesh network. Fiber-based long hauls will permit the cable companies to feed their CDNs. Obviously, a customer could simply subscribe to the network instead of to a single local provider, which would automatically route them to the best provider for their particular link utilization.

So if some data comes in through, say, Level 3, all that should matter is that the data is coming through that pipe, not where it originated from on someone else's network.

As long as content and carrier are linked, it will always matter where the content originated. That's why I believe it's critical to segregate them.

Re:Strawman (1)

jellomizer (103300) | about 3 months ago | (#47298161)

The issue that I see with Network Neutrality is this.
You pay for bandwidth (say 15mbs), as the customer you have paid your ISP to get data at that speed.
The Internet Service Provider has paid their own ISP a lot more money so they can support millions of customers at 15mbs. So they are paying more for service.

Now Non-NN want to charge the Service Provider for service to the customer that they are already paying for. It is in essence double dipping.

"Free and open"? As Stallman what that means (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47297663)

"the Net Neutrality discussion should be about ensuring a free and open competitive market for bandwidth, so that anyone who wants bandwidth can purchase it at a fair price"

"Free and open"? As Stallman of FSF what that means and theyll probably get an answer they couldn't handle.

He doesn't understand net nutrality. (5, Insightful)

gurps_npc (621217) | about 3 months ago | (#47297675)

The debate about net neutrality is not really about 'equal' speeds. That concept is a ridiculous over-simplification. People in NYC get faster internet access, particularly to things like stock trades that are hosted in NYC, than those in Nome, Alaska. Similarly, when the USA's Constitution says all people are created equal, we don't mean that they all have the same IQ, or are all entitled to the same retirement plan (Sad to say we don't even mean they are all entitled to the same healthcare).

No. Net neutrality is about ISP's not violating their contracts with their customers.

My ISP works for ME. I pay them to provide X amount of service. As such they are legally required to provide me with X amount of service, even if take full advantage of their service and use X amount of service every single second of the day. They can't promise me 10gb/second, and then only give me 10gb/second for ten minutes a day, switching to 5 gb/second after those ten minutes.

They are perfectly allowed to give me MORE than 10gbs a second, if someone else - like say Google - offers to pay for it.

But they can decide to not give me 10gbs because netflix refuses to bow down to extortion from them, even if I am using all 10gbs every second of every day of every month. Nothing netflix or other companies do gives them permission to break their contract with me.

Re:He doesn't understand net nutrality. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47297783)

Don't you have some form of contract law where you live? Why would further rules which just reiterate existing rules in particular situations do anything other than give bureaucrats employment (necessitating a further drain on the tax payer)?

Hiding behind the fine print (1)

tepples (727027) | about 3 months ago | (#47297837)

Don't you have some form of contract law where you live?

Contract law doesn't help if both wired broadband ISPs that serve your area hide behind provisions that they add to their boilerplate contracts [wikipedia.org] to provide unsatisfactory service. Regulation would at least make these provisions more conspicuous, or perhaps make it easier for competitive ISPs to enter the market if the incumbent's service is unsatisfactory. For example, a service with a 300 GB/mo cap would have to be advertised as "1 Mbps burstable to 50 Mbps".

Re:He doesn't understand net nutrality. (1)

ArhcAngel (247594) | about 3 months ago | (#47297831)

Net neutrality is about ISP's not violating their contracts with their customers.

My ISP works for ME. I pay them to provide X amount of service.

This is where the fine print comes in to play. You are paying for a connection to the internet and promised up to X amount of service. There may or may not be a guaranteed minimum speed spelled out but no ISP promises peak speeds without paying extra for the promise (Business class).

Re:He doesn't understand net nutrality. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47297935)

There may or may not be a guaranteed minimum speed spelled out but no ISP promises peak speeds without paying extra for the promise (Business class).

And that, of course, misses the forest for the trees. Because I doubt that NN occurs on "Business class" connections any more than they occur on "Consumer class" connections. And even if they did, the very notion that only businesses should see the sort of neutrality that comes with an Internet Service Provider smacks in the face any concept of fairness which is a cornerstone of contracts. This notion that a contract has very vague terms allowing an ISP to do whatever it pleases by the letter of the contract is absurd precisely because it's a lopsided vagueness.

It's one of the big things I have a problem with when it comes to America--not that it's unique in this regard, but it's a very noticeable, notable, and repeated story--: an intentional over interpretation of contracts by the letter of what's written under some belief that such a system avoids the arbitrary or oppressive nature of a spirited judgement of intent or fairness of the contract (or the law) which has resulted in unreadable service agreements and EULAs, armies of lawyers for companies, and a sue happy populace which sees any lack of stipulated contract as a basis to sue for millions. It's all a gaggle of insanity.

Re:He doesn't understand net nutrality. (2)

ArhcAngel (247594) | about 3 months ago | (#47298253)

And that, of course, misses the forest for the trees. Because I doubt that NN occurs on "Business class" connections any more than they occur on "Consumer class" connections. And even if they did, the very notion that only businesses should see the sort of neutrality that comes with an Internet Service Provider smacks in the face any concept of fairness which is a cornerstone of contracts. This notion that a contract has very vague terms allowing an ISP to do whatever it pleases by the letter of the contract is absurd precisely because it's a lopsided vagueness.

You seem unfamiliar with the legal system in general as this type of conduct is practiced the world over since the dawn of lawyers. The very intent of the legalese [about.com] these contracts espouse is deception. I in no way approve of this practice but to deny its efficacy is simply denial.

To expound on my previous post. Last mile ISP's like Comcast use a business model to oversell a finite resource much like a time share condo in a resort town except the ISP customers don't have to book their internet access in advance. They protect themselves legally by placing conditional statements in their contracts with their customers absolving them of any LEGAL expectations the customer has. This has been very lucrative as 90% of their customers have consistently used less than 10% of their allotted bandwidth at any given time. This has been gradually changing as content streaming has become more mainstream and accessible to the less technically inclined. Up to this point NN isn't even part of the equation. Where it becomes paramount is when Comcast is knowingly causing the degradation of its customers internet experience by refusing to address issues on its own network caused by the increase in traffic through its peer partners AND instead extorting the companies that provide the content Comcast's customers are requesting.

Re:He doesn't understand net nutrality. (1)

gurps_npc (621217) | about 3 months ago | (#47298071)

Which is why we need net neutrality, as opposed to simply trusting that the ISP will abide by their ADVERTISED service, as opposed to sneaking fine print into the contract like you discussed.

Re:He doesn't understand net nutrality. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47297853)

I think you're missing the point entirely. Why doesn't the ISP just alter their customer contracts so that it is legal for them to throttle any sites they want? We can't just argue "ISPs have to uphold the contracts they write with their customers" because ISPs are an oligarchy and will simply write contracts that benefit them only. We need net neutrality because if Google is allowed to pay more for higher speeds, higher speeds will be the new standard, and new innovative companies / internet services won't be able to compete fairly with large (a lot of revenue / cash) companies like Google.

Re:He doesn't understand net nutrality. (1)

silas_moeckel (234313) | about 3 months ago | (#47297883)

And when you get 10kbs a second by provider A and 5kbs by provider B with no provider C, your still screwed. Of course their own services and those of trusted partners can do 10gbps.

Re:He doesn't understand net nutrality. (1)

alen (225700) | about 3 months ago | (#47298323)

and like every networking company that speed is on the ISP's network, not the entire internet like some retarts like to claim now. and even then it's all shared bandwidth with others in your networking segment. always has been.

the reason netflix is fast here in NYC is because cablevision has an open connect appliance and netflix has their own presence in downtown manhattan in the same building as every ISP and networking provider in the area. when i stream netflix here it comes from 10 miles away. if you want to live way out in the sticks, don't expect everyone to serve you

"Should" is the worst word in the English language (2)

kruach aum (1934852) | about 3 months ago | (#47297689)

Why does everything need a normative judgment attached to it? The interesting part of TFA is the information about the structure of the internet and how that has developed (or not) over the past ten years (as this was new to me, though it may not be to you), not the author's opinion about what he thinks are the right topics to debate and which ones are wrong.

Re:"Should" is the worst word in the English langu (1)

Shatrat (855151) | about 3 months ago | (#47297939)

I agree, this is really about the ISPs actually providing the product that they've sold and there's no need to get into what 'should' happen or what people 'deserve'.
I wouldn't put too much weight on the article author's description of how the Internet works. He gets some of the concepts right, but the implications wrong.
Peering is a win-win for absolutely everyone. It's not preferential treatment, it's a way for two networks to reduce both of their IP transit monthly bills. We don't need less peering, we need more peering. The only traffic that should be hitting paid transit for an ISP are packets heading for smaller networks and the other side of the globe, which are not within reach to peer with.
The US network is built on direct peering, it wouldn't work at all without it. We are slowly catching up to the EU where peering fabrics are more popular. This means that an ISP can use one port to peer with dozens or hundreds of other networks.
Peering doesn't disadvantage smaller ISPs and content providers, because it's still more affordable for them than buying transit.

Re:"Should" is the worst word in the English langu (1)

Shatrat (855151) | about 3 months ago | (#47297987)

Replying to my own comment here, but Content Delivery Networks aka Caching is also a win-win for everyone. It keeps IP traffic local and cuts down on the amount of bandwidth that has to leave the ISPs network and burn up transport bandwidth and possibly also increased transit costs. The customer gets faster service, the ISP gets reduced costs, the Content Provider has a better product. This is also something we need more of for the Internet to continue to grow.

i think he's a gay (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47297691)

screaming

He is right...but (1)

MatthiasF (1853064) | about 3 months ago | (#47297709)

He isn't taking the regulation far enough.

We should not only enforce fair pricing on interconnects (perhaps even require public data on them) but we should also be demanding that Quality of Service (QOS) is honored from end to end.

There are numerous applications that are running across the Internet today that require higher QOS levels but the priority gets dropped 2-3 hops out so they can only be run on local LANs or private WANs.

What's wrong with unregulated? (0, Troll)

rodrigoandrade (713371) | about 3 months ago | (#47297713)

Our lives are already regulated by governments all the way to hell and back and look how messed up it is now.

Regulating internet will lead to more expensive and less efficient service for all. The only winning parties will be politicians and lawyers, as usual. The population always loses with regulation.

Re:What's wrong with unregulated? (1)

oh_my_080980980 (773867) | about 3 months ago | (#47297991)

You mean more than it already is...try again Zippy. FYI those regulations are brought you by lobbyists representing large corporations. Why do you think the derivatives market remains un-regulated.

Libertarians fiddle while Internet is burning (4, Insightful)

sinij (911942) | about 3 months ago | (#47297741)

Libertarian market driven approaches of 'perfectly informed' customers having access to 'flexible supply' are only workable on paper. Sure, it would be nice if we could get there, but meanwhile our situation continuing to deteriorate. Time to abandon this quixotic quest.
 
What we need is "mostly works for most people most of the time", and to get there we need policy with teeth that mandates Net Neutrality. Sure, it won't prevent all abuses, but we only need to prevent worst of them and let the rest play out in courts.

Re:Libertarians fiddle while Internet is burning (2)

OzPeter (195038) | about 3 months ago | (#47297857)

Libertarian market driven approaches of 'perfectly informed' customers having access to 'flexible supply' are only workable on paper.

I think that the obvious rebuttal of this Libertarian argument is GM and the ignition switch issue(*). When companies have all the power to disseminate information about their products there can never be an informed customer.

* Or the Ford Pinto where the cost of law suits was balanced against the cost of fixing an issue.

Re:Libertarians fiddle while Internet is burning (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47297893)

Libertarian market driven approaches of 'perfectly informed' customers having access to 'flexible supply' are only workable on paper.

Libertarians typically view the market as dynamic and constantly evolving, filled not with "perfectly informed" customers, but people that have reasons for doing what they do and that respond to incentives.

As a market anarchist, I agree with the general idea of wanting "mostly works for most people most of the time" but I strongly disagree that a "policy with teeth" is the way to achieve this. You're painting a false dichotomy so wide you could park a truck there.

Re:Libertarians fiddle while Internet is burning (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47297911)

Are you referring to the government backed monopolies as a Libertarian outcome? These markets are so deeply government backed and controlled that pretending it's a failure of anything resembling a free and open market is purely a political play to smear the libertarian's name.

Re:Libertarians fiddle while Internet is burning (1)

silas_moeckel (234313) | about 3 months ago | (#47297923)

We need neutrality today and we need municipal fiber to the home tomorrow.

Re:Libertarians fiddle while Internet is burning (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47298079)

Strawman much?

If wireless carriers could perform, we wouldn't need NN. The market would take care of it. What's been proven is that there is not, in fact, any competition in the wired internet space in the US, and as such, we do need government protection from duopolistic behavior.

That a 'free market' isn't physically possible in this realm doesn't mean Libertarianism is bunk. I mean, you can think that, but this debate isn't proof for your theory.

Re:Libertarians fiddle while Internet is burning (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47298249)

Libertarian market driven approaches of 'perfectly informed' customers having access to 'flexible supply' are only workable on paper. Sure, it would be nice if we could get there, but meanwhile our situation continuing to deteriorate. Time to abandon this quixotic quest.

Well, first the US needs a "flexible supply", i.e., more than just 1-2 ISPs in any given geographic area. There need to be 4+ ISPs that people can choose from.

Then we'll see a 'real' market and prices that reflect that competition.

a fair price for a biased product... (5, Insightful)

smoothnorman (1670542) | about 3 months ago | (#47297753)

...is not a worthy goal. Robert McMillen is essentially saying "the market is historically uncompetitive" (and thus broken) "but that's not the point" (i always love it when people tell me that their point is the point) "you should be able to receive [only] that broken product at a fair price". If he actually believes and understands what he's saying then he's promoting a system of government supported monopolistic and anti-capitalistic cronyism. (i'll leave it to Godwin to apply a label to that system)

Yeah, and electric cars are impossible to build (5, Interesting)

Ramirozz (758009) | about 3 months ago | (#47297755)

When someone with technical background says "It cannot be changed" it smells corruption. There are times when things cannot be changed because technical constrains (that should fade with time), time, money, etc. Everything can be changed if it is well designed and based on something real. But this is based on money and profit, it can change, and it should be chaged, as soon as possible. This is not a technical problem or limitation, this is stupidity at the service of profit.

Re:Yeah, and electric cars are impossible to build (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47297829)

Maybe if it is based on the laws of the universe it can be difficult to change. Like a circular object with a circumference 10 times its radius...

No (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47297765)

The solution is NO regulation.

Re:No (1)

oh_my_080980980 (773867) | about 3 months ago | (#47298005)

You mean what we have now. Awesome we can even more for crappy service. Pinhead.

Simple solution (3, Interesting)

future assassin (639396) | about 3 months ago | (#47297769)

If you offer internet access you can't offer any vertically integratred services that will cause conflict of interest in the way you run the network.

Re:Simple solution (1)

oh_my_080980980 (773867) | about 3 months ago | (#47298017)

THANK YOU! The ISP portion should be spun off. Comcast's merger with Time Warner is all about competing against Netflix in the video on demand service. Since they control the pipes to and from Netflix, we and Netflix get screwed.

Customers are getting fraudulently double dipped (1)

bigpat (158134) | about 3 months ago | (#47297795)

If we wanted to go back to AOL's gated network of the 1990s we would invent a time machine and cover it with AOL CDs.

We the customers are paying for a certain amount of bandwidth to the Internet and we have long since paid for the build out of the Fiber Optic network infrastructure through our monthly payments. It is simply fraudulent to be charging customers a fixed price for bandwidth and then effectively limiting peering to other networks so as to create an incentive for other networks and content providers to pay off the Telecoms to provide that telecoms customers their content as a service... these are services we as customers are already ostensibly paying for or are requesting. It isn't like a content provider can turn on your computer or tv and make you download their content... the Internet is primarily about end users initiating some communication and either the computer on the other end responds or not. Verizon or Comcast sitting in the middle and deciding which communications should get a fast lane based upon who has the most cash is just a bad way to run a communications network and a bad way to regulate a free market.

Sure transparency in what kind of peering arrangements telecoms have with other companies all contracts regarding quality of service or internet connections could be useful for regulators who might have the time to spend years sifting through all that paperwork to figure out what is good for the free market or not, but it is no substitution for net neutrality which would assure customers that they are actually getting the bandwidth and good faith service they are paying for rather than perniciously getting fleeced at both ends with service that the telecoms feel free to effectively throttle down whenever they feel like it despite apparent contracts with their customers to provide a certain level of service.

The real issue is stopping bandwidth overselling (4, Insightful)

Joe Gillian (3683399) | about 3 months ago | (#47297811)

What the author of the article gets wrong is the idea that there can ever be a "free and open" market for bandwidth. The holders of the most bandwidth are always going to be major corporations, because they can pay for the infrastructure necessary to keep them going. Sure, I'd love to have my own backbone connection and the server infrastructure to back it up, but in practice that will never happen unless I take out a bunch of loans and somehow manage to start my own ISP (and not be immediately sued out of existence by Big Telco or Big Cableco). It's a financial issue, not one of net neutrality.

The real issue here is that the United States will never have bandwidth and speeds equivalent to those seen in parts of Europe and Asia unless we start regulating what the ISPs can sell and how they can sell it. Right now, an ISP can promise a connection that goes "up to" any arbitrary amount of bandwidth and get away with it even if they never deliver speeds anywhere close to the upper limit. This allows them to charge more and more for the same inadequate connection. If we start regulating their advertising and start forcing the ISPs to upgrade infrastructure to remain competitive, that's how we'll get the connection speed other countries do. That, in my mind, is part of what net neutrality is - being able to buy comparable connection speeds for a reasonable price no matter where in the world you are or which ISP you're dealing with.

Re:The real issue is stopping bandwidth oversellin (2)

asylumx (881307) | about 3 months ago | (#47297995)

I have to say that while I agree that the marketing is devious, in practice my bandwidth has always been at least as good as the "up to" amount the companies have promised. I don't defend these companies in general, but the "up to" speeds & marketing is going to be a hard one to argue against if it's not currently a problem.

I think the lack of market competition is a much bigger problem than marketing techniques. Customers can't "vote with their dollars" because their only two realistic options are 1. internet or 2. no internet.

Re:The real issue is stopping bandwidth oversellin (1)

oh_my_080980980 (773867) | about 3 months ago | (#47298027)

$200/month. You could do it. Cable prices are getting to that point.

IANA Network Engineer, but... (3, Insightful)

Joel Cahoon (2906501) | about 3 months ago | (#47297827)

I fail to see how CDNs and direct peering agreements between ISPs and content providers are particularly relevant to the debate over Net Neutrality. As an analogy:

Comcast owns all of the land and roads in a city (or region, or neighborhood). Google wants to deliver goods to customers in that city, but their warehouse is in another city. Google and Mom-n-Pop Content Provider, Inc. both use the same publicly funded highway to get their goods into the city, and the same Comcast-owned roads to deliver to customers throughout the city. Comcast can deliver goods faster because they have a warehouse in the city. So Google pays to build an air-delivery network (peering) and a warehouse in the city (CDN). I don't see the problem with any of this. The analog to net neutrality, then, becomes whether or not to allow Comcast to (abuse its monopoly ownership of the roads to) raise or lower the speed limit for individual delivery trucks, based upon whether or not they belong to Google, Comcast, or Mom-n-Pop.

As I've said, IANANE, so feel free to point out any relevant inconsistencies in this analogy. On an 'unrelated' note, Amazon...

Re:IANA Network Engineer, but... (1)

Talderas (1212466) | about 3 months ago | (#47298081)

There's a lot of stuff muddying the waters. I think a lot of the noisiest players in the game are also those who seem to be engaging in hypocritical or unusual behaviors.

For instance, Netflix is the only content provider that seems to be making a stink. Others like Google have not made a stink and in fact Google did have some CDN services inside Comcast's network. I'm actually wondering why Netflix wasn't able to get the same sort of deal going on and I don't think the fault is in Comcast's court.

Netflix also seemed to, a couple months back at least, continue to send traffic down congested links (say pushing through Cogent) instead of utilizing less congested links (pushing through L3). Now, maybe that's because L3 is going to charge Netflix way more for utilizing the link. Who knows, but it's not a behavior engaged in by other CDNs like Akamai.

Level 3 terminated its peering agreement with Cogent because Cogent was sending L3 far more data than it was receiving. They said it wasn't fair that L3 was subsidizing Cogent and wanted Cogent to pay them. Meanwhile, L3 is sending more data to Comcast than Comcast to L3 but L3 thinks that they shouldn't pay Comcast.

Re:IANA Network Engineer, but... (3, Interesting)

Shatrat (855151) | about 3 months ago | (#47298255)

Netflix does have a CDN program. They will provide a caching appliance free of charge to ISPs which will immediately reduce the load on that ISPs network. The only reason not to participate is if the goal is not to provide service and reduce costs, but to artificially choke back Netflix to make the ISPs own video product more competitive. The Open Connect appliance is actually a pretty cool design.
https://www.netflix.com/openco... [netflix.com]

Telecoms have to go (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47297835)

Telecoms are the ultimate middle-man which no one wants. They add little value to the ecosystem.

The main reason we are in this sticky situation is because we allowed one company to provide both the infrastructure and services on top of that infrastructure. A few years back Israel passed a law preventing infrastructure companies from bundling services (in essence, forcing them to split into two different companies) and it led to a substantial price drop and an increase in competition.

I am more than happy to pay infrastructure companies for the pipes, but they should have no right to charge different prices depending on what goes over those pipes.

If a services company wants to double-dip (charging both ends) I will happily switch to a different provider while retaining the same infrastructure. Their loss, not mine.

But... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47297855)

Does your mom have enough bandwidth to take in my fetid cock?

Fail (1)

mbone (558574) | about 3 months ago | (#47297879)

I expect better from someone in his position.

Feels like a fallacy... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47297889)

While the article doesn't come out and say "People should not support Net Neutrality because fast lanes already exist," it does feel like that is the vibe. I think that the delivery service analogy works the best in describing the situation:

* Comcast is running a package delivery service; they take a box from somewhere in the country and deliver it to your house.
* Netflix wants to send you a bunch of boxes: "Orange is the New Black" with an episode per DVD, so you pay Netflix for your boxes AND some money to Comcast to deliver 10 boxes to your house.
* However, Comcast is really peeved at all the work they have to do for Netflix; so, Comcast talks to Netflix and says "Pay us or these boxes are going to be delivered at a rate of one per month." Keep in mind that your boxes are already bought-and-paid AND you paid for the shipping.

The article is basically saying "Well, of course it is going to be delivered at the rate of one box per week; Netflix is in Alaska and the guy's house is in Florida! It has always worked this way! What Netflix SHOULD do is 1) be super rich (lucky for Netflix) and 2) pay Comcast to set up a mini-warehouse in their shipping department in Florida to guarantee a better delivery rate."

However, that is NOT the problem; the problem is that Comcast is artificially slowing the rate of delivery based on who sent the boxes.

The Net Neutrality argument is not about money, it is not about peering, it is not about the customer getting his boxes as quickly as possible. The argument is about preventing the worst-case scenarios at a very general level.

Comcast notices that they have been paid to deliver boxes filled with flattened boxes with Verizon labeling; they decide that the best way to route these boxes is through the Netherlands, then Australia, then South Africa, then Greenland, then... making sure that these boxes take what feels like MONTHS to get to your house.

He's the one who got it wrong... (1)

QuietLagoon (813062) | about 3 months ago | (#47297933)

Perhaps Mr. McMillen needs to take a reality pill and realize that he is the person who has gotten it wrong, not everyone else.

.
I'm surprised that Wired fell for this false equivalence.

Sure, it is always good to publish ideas that may be in opposition to the mainstream. But I would have expected Wired to at least publish opposing ideas that are not so completely ridiculous, thereby giving those ridiculous ideas a false equivalence to the reality-based mainstream ideas.

when everyone else is wrong... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47297963)

Yo, dude, when you think everyone else is wrong and you are the only one who is right, it's time to check yourself into a mental health facility.

You're wrong. Period. End of discussion.

Consumer level Competition (1)

Bugler412 (2610815) | about 3 months ago | (#47298057)

Ensure true available choices and competition among consumer level ISPs and nearly all of these problems take care of themselves. Allow local monopolies on a broad scale as we have now and we give the power to do this to those ISPs because you have no choice to take your business elsewhere. The "Libertarian" self regulating market can work, but only if monopolies are not allowed.

Finally! The main argument in plain terms! (1)

JohnnyConservative (1611795) | about 3 months ago | (#47298145)

Finally someone who can plainly state the main argument without getting mired down in the socialist, anti-corporate garbage!

Missing the whole point (2)

gman003 (1693318) | about 3 months ago | (#47298197)

Net neutrality isn't about forbidding high-traffic companies from finding efficient ways to handle that traffic. Doing what Netflix usually does, having a local cache server hosted within the ISP, works because it reduces the amount of traffic leaving the ISP. As long as the ISP charges the same amount to everyone doing so (0 is a good amount - it's a benefit to them - but if they want to charge a nominal fee, fair enough), it's neutral.

Net neutrality is about not letting ISPs slow down traffic unless they get paid twice.

If the only difference between two sites is that one paid the danegeld and the other didn't, they aren't making one faster - they're making the other slower. Deliberately degrading the performance of everyone else is NOT neutral.

The two arguments in a nutshell (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47298207)

are this.

Direct pipe connection between content providers to increase speed

vs this.

class-map payingcustomer match-any
match access-list payingcustomer

class-map nonpayingstrugglinginternetstartups match-any
match any

policy-map qos payingvsnonpaying
class payingcustomer
police bps 100000 150000 80000 conform-action transmit exceed-action set-qos-transmit 4 violate-action set-qos-transmit 0

class nonpayingstrugginginternetstartups
police bps 8000 1500 8000 conform-action set-qos-transmit 0 exceed-action drop violate-action drop

access-list payingcustomer
payingcustomer1 ip range and ports
payingcustomer2 ip range and ports

----
fin
*(apologies this is meant to be somewhat accurate to actual router config but was not tested. If you find problems please keep in mind this is meant to illustrate a point not configure an actual router, and also this is not to be used as an example top configure a router, even with modification it probably won't work) (Subnote* I don't really care I am posting as an anonymous coward! :))

Neutrality is required for last mile competition (1)

cs668 (89484) | about 3 months ago | (#47298299)

As a consumer I pay for a certain amount of bandwidth. How do I make a choice if I only get that bandwidth when I use certain services and the rules are so complex that I can't figure out when I am not getting what I paid for because the provider sucks, or because I have the wrong one for the services I want.

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