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BellSouth Wants to Rig the Internet

CmdrTaco posted more than 8 years ago | from the you-gotta-hope-this-is-fake dept.

The Internet 559

PlayfullyClever writes "A senior telecommunications executive at BellSouth, said yesterday that Internet service providers should be allowed to strike deals to give certain Web sites or services priority in reaching computer users, a controversial system that would significantly change how the Internet operates. Some say Small Firms Could Be Shut Out of Market Championed by BellSouth Officer. William L. Smith, chief technology officer for Atlanta-based BellSouth Corp., told reporters and analysts that an Internet service provider such as his firm should be able, for example, to charge Yahoo Inc. for the opportunity to have its search site load faster than that of Google Inc." Next up, well dressed men go door to door collecting their monthly "protection money". 'It sure would be tragic if your users started getting 1500ms ping times, wouldn't it mister dot com?'

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They just never quit (5, Interesting)

SilverspurG (844751) | more than 8 years ago | (#14160956)

"If I go to the airport, I can buy a coach standby ticket or a first-class ticket," Smith said. "In the shipping business, I can get two-day air or six-day ground."
Or when I go to the library the librarian can charge me an additional fee to use the encyclopedias. Or when he goes to Washington he have his lobbying group slip a few extra G-notes to the proper politicians to have his pet legislation prioritized. Or when enough websites have been scammed in then the next thing will be to start charging users,"Is your 3 megabit connection too slow when loading Slashdot? For an extra fee of $15/mo. we will allow you to prioritize any 5 domains!" It'll be just like returning to the good old days of minute by minute access charges. Always watching the clock wondering if the extra access charge might be worth it and counting the pennies left in the piggy bank to see if there's enough for your son to be able to afford class textbooks, lunch money, and decent network access. Maybe he'll just have to suffer with 20 minute load times for a 3 mb document.

Of all the low-down dirty extortionist ideas ever hatched. No one's stopping him from using QoS routing right now but what he's proposing is pure opportunistic greed. I suppose it doesn't matter to him--he makes enough money that he can afford to throw away an extra $200/mo. should policies like this ever become commonplace. As for the masses: Let them eat cake!

Re:They just never quit (2, Funny)

pilgrim23 (716938) | more than 8 years ago | (#14160997)

This is merely proof of the Pointy Haired Syndrome: Suits by their nature are not technically competent to make decisions yet they are the ones in charge. This principle applies in every human endeavor. Don't worry, be happy and file a memo...

Re:They just never quit (4, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 8 years ago | (#14161060)

It isn't an issue of competence, it's an issue of morals and ethics. If I were SEC, I'd be looking into investigating Bell South right about now.

Re:They just never quit (1, Insightful)

pilgrim23 (716938) | more than 8 years ago | (#14161177)

Ethics? Business?
Same sentence?

Re:They just never quit (1, Interesting)

halltk1983 (855209) | more than 8 years ago | (#14161008)

I'm glad I've cancelled every account I have that as anything to do with Bell already. This just confirms I won't be going back. And the web is amorphus enough that they won't be able to slow me down every time.

Re:They just never quit (1, Insightful)

dada21 (163177) | more than 8 years ago | (#14161202)

And that's all you have to do.

Don't complain to Congress, the SEC, the CUB, the UN. Just don't use the service.

If Bell is your only provider, you're to blame. Many States and cities made it a mess to compete, and the voters wanted it that way.

Nothing to see here. With competition, these things don't matter.

Re:They just never quit (4, Insightful)

Pope (17780) | more than 8 years ago | (#14161037)

That first class ticket doesn't reduce his time in the air though. He arrives the same time as the coach standby folks do.

Typical thought process for high-end executives who are used to bullying and paying through the nose to get what they want NOW.

Re:They just never quit (4, Insightful)

einhverfr (238914) | more than 8 years ago | (#14161100)

That first class ticket doesn't reduce his time in the air though. He arrives the same time as the coach standby folks do.

No, but for an extra $500 we won't make you wait an extra half hour to deplane....

Re:They just never quit (5, Interesting)

ergo98 (9391) | more than 8 years ago | (#14161047)

I suppose it doesn't matter to him--he makes enough money that he can afford to throw away an extra $200/mo. should policies like this ever become commonplace. As for the masses: Let them eat cake!

The telcos have a long and storied history of making money hand over fist, with no competition, in the telephone subscriber realm, so this is just another desperate attempt at doing something before that money trough is removed (it's rapidly disappearing). In a free market it should be the case that subscribers can say "FU!" this this man, going with competitors, but unfortunately there isn't enough competition in most areas yet (so you get the casual collusion where they all mirror the same restrictive policies). Maybe WiMax will change the landscape a bit.

Re:They just never quit (5, Insightful)

halltk1983 (855209) | more than 8 years ago | (#14161074)

hmm... as a side thought... this would make Skype and VoIP useless... maybe that's how they're going to maintain their regional monopolies?

Re:They just never quit (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 8 years ago | (#14161168)

so this is just another desperate attempt at doing something before that money trough is removed (it's rapidly disappearing)

Hey, don't blame the whole industry for the actions of one dumbass PHB. I happen to have a lot of friends working for various telcos that are doubtless rolling their eyes at this bullshit.

Maybe WiMax will change the landscape a bit.

That's a nice thought -- but I'm afraid that at one point your WiMax is going to need an uplink to the internet :(

Re:They just never quit (1)

bomjolo (840315) | more than 8 years ago | (#14161067)

by CmdrTaco on Thursday December 01, @01:32PM
by SilverspurG on Thursday December 01, @01:33PM

I see what you did there.

Re:They just never quit (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 8 years ago | (#14161125)

Of all the low-down dirty extortionist ideas ever hatched.

I bet he'd stop thinking it was such a great idea the minute he realizes that it would also allow Verizon/Quest/other LECs to "prioritize" his marketing calls to Google and Yahoo into oblivion. Hey, it's not their fault that BellSouth didn't ante up for the "prioritized" voice package.

Hell, I'm the biggest defender of the traditional POTS/Baby Bells companies around these parts -- and I think this is complete bullshit!

slashdot (1)

master_meio (834537) | more than 8 years ago | (#14160960)

so... you guys like to talk about your computers? you guys like lunix?

please fix your website (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14160962)

404 File Not Found
The requested URL (articles/05/12/01/203229.shtml?tid=95) was not found.

If you feel like it, mail the url, and where ya came from to pater@slashdot.org.
If it's Tuesday, this must be

kthx

Re:please fix your website (4, Funny)

MillionthMonkey (240664) | more than 8 years ago | (#14161058)

$404 File Not Found
The requested URL was not found.

If you want to buy this page load, mail the $404 in cash in an envelope addressed to

BellSouth Corporation Headquarters
1155 Peachtree St. NE
Suite 404
Atlanta, GA 30309-3610

Re:please fix your website (1)

bomjolo (840315) | more than 8 years ago | (#14161121)

Joke Factory Headquarters
123 NotFunny St.
Suite 404
Atlanta, GA 30309-3610

Fixed.

I for one... (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14160963)

I for one welcome our new ISP Controlling Overlords

Re:I for one... (1)

thexgodfather (880849) | more than 8 years ago | (#14161144)

Especially when they are as hot as this woman! The Overlord from the article! [washingtonpost.com] Wait is that a woman or a man with a bad hair cut and two earings! Let's start a pole! Please cast your ballots 1)Woman 2)Man 3)Troll
I vote 3

Would this not void common carrier status? (5, Interesting)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 8 years ago | (#14160984)

Would this not take away their status and the protections of common carrier status if they start playing with what/who goes through their system?

Re:Would this not void common carrier status? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14161071)

Oh no! Didn't you read, he made sure to try and sidestep that, he doesn't believe in blocking freedom of speech on the internet (read he doesn't want to be liable when your system gets fucked), he only believes in having control over exactly what he wants you to see first.

I alwasy thought the people who believed that "upper class, secret society" shit were crazy, but this about seals the deal. Basically they want to eliminate freedom of speech with just a different label. That favorite blog of yours? Oh, they didn't pay enough money, you're not going to be able to load that... well... you'll be able to load it, it just might take a few days...

Yes! (common carrier status) (1)

hackwrench (573697) | more than 8 years ago | (#14161078)

Yes, it should, and I think by current laws it does. They should be allowed to do it, but they should lose common carrier status for doing it.

Also, It's also good on account of the repercussions. Parties are going to start building out other ways to connect to avoid the slow areas.

Might be moot (1)

einhverfr (238914) | more than 8 years ago | (#14161146)

IANAL.... But given the current FCC approach and the recent BrandX case, are ISP's like Bell South common carriers wrt their internet services? Or does this only apply to the wires themselves?

I.e. if I build a bridge and allow anyone who has a train to cross it for a nominal fee, but I also own a train that I use to cross it, does the common carrier status apply to the train too, the bridge, or neither?

It doesn't matter (1)

Wesley Felter (138342) | more than 8 years ago | (#14161137)

They'll just buy a new law that says whatever they want (e.g. we can block, prioritize, de-prioritize, spindle, fold, or mutilate your traffic, but we aren't liable for anything).

Re:Would this not void common carrier status? (1)

marcello_dl (667940) | more than 8 years ago | (#14161152)

They should be sued if they ever mention being an "ISP" after pulling this one. TCP/IP doesn't mention different quality of service options based on sponsorship, after all...

Quick, someone patent the "lovely bit". Just like the evil bit but reserved for sponsored traffic. :)

Control-V, Control-C, *click* (3, Interesting)

everphilski (877346) | more than 8 years ago | (#14160989)

At least you could have removed all the caps in the sentance "Some say Small Firms Could Be Shut Out of Market Championed by BellSouth Officer" and fooled me... sheesh...

-everphilski-

Re:Control-V, Control-C, *click* (1)

richdun (672214) | more than 8 years ago | (#14161188)

Control-V, Control-C? Paste then Copy? Hmm...

This would probably violate Article 81 of the EU (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14160990)

the European Court of Justice would not allow such an arrangement, article 81 is very harsh on vertical arrangements like this.

Re:This would probably violate Article 81 of the E (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14161150)

From http://europa.eu.int/comm/competition/legislation/ treaties/ec/art81_en.html
 
Article 81 of the EC Treaty (ex Article 85)
 
  1. The following shall be prohibited as incompatible with the common market: all agreements between undertakings, decisions by associations of undertakings and concerted practices which may affect trade between Member States and which have as their object or effect the prevention, restriction or distortion of competition within the common market, and in particular those which:
 
      (a) directly or indirectly fix purchase or selling prices or any other trading conditions;
 
      (b) limit or control production, markets, technical development, or investment;
 
      (c) share markets or sources of supply;
 
      (d) apply dissimilar conditions to equivalent transactions with other trading parties, thereby placing them at a competitive disadvantage;
 
      (e) make the conclusion of contracts subject to acceptance by the other parties of supplementary obligations which, by their nature or according to commercial usage, have no connection with the subject of such contracts.
  2. Any agreements or decisions prohibited pursuant to this Article shall be automatically void.
  3. The provisions of paragraph 1 may, however, be declared inapplicable in the case of:
 
      - any agreement or category of agreements between undertakings;
 
      - any decision or category of decisions by associations of undertakings;
 
      - any concerted practice or category of concerted practices,
 
      which contributes to improving the production or distribution of goods or to promoting technical or economic progress, while allowing consumers a fair share of the resulting benefit, and which does not:
 
      (a) impose on the undertakings concerned restrictions which are not indispensable to the attainment of these objectives;
 
      (b) afford such undertakings the possibility of eliminating competition in respect of a substantial part of the products in question.

Re:This would probably violate Article 81 of the E (1)

Surt (22457) | more than 8 years ago | (#14161165)

Bell South, A US company operating in the US should care why?

Re:This would probably violate Article 81 of the E (1)

soulsteal (104635) | more than 8 years ago | (#14161179)

Thank god the Southeastern United States seceded back in 1987 and joined the EU. Whew, crisis averted!

Capitalization.... I Just Can't Take It Any More! (2, Funny)

ejamie (765128) | more than 8 years ago | (#14160992)

...ah that's better.

Re:Capitalization... I Just Can't Take It Any More (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14161112)

Hehe... just found myself nodding my head in agreement until I realise I misread that as Capitalism.

That's just great. (2, Funny)

Poromenos1 (830658) | more than 8 years ago | (#14160994)

While we're at it, why don't we just sell the internet to Microsoft or some other big corporation and be done with it?

Re:That's just great. (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 8 years ago | (#14161053)

While we're at it, why don't we just sell the internet to Microsoft and be done with it?

Too late [microsoft.com]

Gigi B. Sohn? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14160998)

Gigi B. Sohn failed my relatively low requirements as a potential mate. It took more then 3 seconds to determine male or female.

You have *got* to be kidding (4, Funny)

hazmat2k (911198) | more than 8 years ago | (#14160999)

I can imagine the new generation of Spam now. "M4K3 YUR S1T3 L04D F4S73R TH4N T3H C0MP371710N"

playfullyclever (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14161003)

Is PlayfullyClever the new Roland Peekaboo?

They will fail (5, Funny)

Profane MuthaFucka (574406) | more than 8 years ago | (#14161010)

Bell South is damaged. Adjust your routing tables accordingly.

Enough with the strawmen (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14161016)

Next up, well dressed men go door to door collecting their monthly "protection money". 'It sure would be tragic if your users started getting 1500ms ping times, wouldn't it mister dot com?'

Yeah, except that's not the same thing at all. ISPs are businesses that can set (almost) any conditions they want. If you don't want to do business with them, fine. The mob, on the other hand, does business with you regardless if you want to or not, and you don't come to them, they come to you.

This "new way of doing business" is bad as it is without you providing moronic strawmen, Taco. Simplistic "analysis" of that sort is almost always counterproductive, and never conductive to clear and reasoned discussion.

All this said, I think this sounds awful, and hope it doesn't ever come to pass, as it would no doubt only harm small business operators.

Re:Enough with the strawmen (1)

phorm (591458) | more than 8 years ago | (#14161128)

But the problem is that many people would not know if the ISP is at fault. If "site X" happens to be loading a lot more slowly, perhaps it is because they have crappy servers or are under a lot of load.

How would one go about diagnosing deliberate VS unintential lag or connectivity issues?

Apparently you misunderstand (1)

DahGhostfacedFiddlah (470393) | more than 8 years ago | (#14161161)

In this case, "doing business" means having a customer of theirs visit your website (or use some other internet service from you). Your website could appear slow as molasses if you don't have the "make my website go faster" package with the ISP of every single person who visits your website.

So no, you don't have a choice about "doing business" with that ISP.

The mob analogy fits for monopolies (3, Insightful)

davidwr (791652) | more than 8 years ago | (#14161182)

Yeah, except that's not the same thing at all. ISPs are businesses that can set (almost) any conditions they want. If you don't want to do business with them, fine.

Within 100 miles of where I live, there are places where the ONLY high-speed, low-latency, affordable internet option is DSL. ALL DSL must go through the local phone company directly or indirectly.

In other words, the phone company has the "independent" DSL providers by the balls, which means they have you by the balls. If they get abusive a la the Mafia, you are stuck.

Unless of course you choose to go without high-speed internet at all. Even the Mafia would stop bothering small businessmen if they "chose" to close their businesses rather than pay the mob.

I can see it now. (1)

Zencyde (850968) | more than 8 years ago | (#14161017)

No longer will you have the mob boss's daughter being the beauty no one can touch, from now on it will be that sweet sweet oc96 pipe... oh if only : / but I do enjoy my legs working and my ram seated.

Sure, no problem (2, Interesting)

Billosaur (927319) | more than 8 years ago | (#14161023)

As long as ISPs get penalized for every piece of SPAM they allow to float around, for every SPAMmer they allow to operate unhindered using their services, for every shady business or phishing site they allow to run unabated, and when Satan can skate on his swimming pool.

Except.. (5, Insightful)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 8 years ago | (#14161026)

I pay the isp to access the net. I should get to pick and choose what I access without the ISP boasting some at the expense of others.
Dear Bell south you are looking a lot like Sony and SCO. Not a good thing.

Re:Except.. (1)

AuricTheCodePoet (934925) | more than 8 years ago | (#14161072)

I agree, I pay for my bandwidth, I expect that to be enough. Whats next toll information highways? You must pay to access this T1 between Point A and Point B, or take the slower route.....

Bass ackwards (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14161027)

For a brief time ca. 1998, during the "push" hype, some believed rather mistakenly that websites are "reaching computer users". Most of the time, it is the other way around.

Watch how fast (1)

alta (1263) | more than 8 years ago | (#14161028)

I quickly become a non Bellsouth Customer. Granted right now, I'm using a BS reseller, as are most here in Mobile... but there ARE alternatives, especially when you're not using DSL.

Re:Watch how fast (1)

martinultima (832468) | more than 8 years ago | (#14161204)

"I'm using a BS reseller..."

Well, it really is BS, any way you look at it. :-)

Negative Advertising (1)

BobPaul (710574) | more than 8 years ago | (#14161208)

I for one hope they do this. And I hope that companies who don't pay them money join together and launch a slime-ad in order to educate the masses of this shady practice.

the net works fine the way it is (1)

AxemRed (755470) | more than 8 years ago | (#14161029)

This would bring on a lot of abuse if implemented.

Re:the net works fine the way it is (1)

Jotii (932365) | more than 8 years ago | (#14161107)

I wouldn't say this would bring abuse. Rather, it might bring corrupt companies, but as long as the system is technically unexploitable abuse wouldn't be a problem.

Rogers in Canada Does It (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14161031)

I called them and asked them why are some downloads (podcasts) being cut-off. They said they don't intentionally cut it off, but they did let me in on something they do. They said they give some packets priorities. They give priorities to email and website traffic.

Re:Rogers in Canada Does It (1)

swab79 (842256) | more than 8 years ago | (#14161181)

That sounds like the sort of crap I would say to get an annoying customer off the phone :)

Re:Rogers in Canada Does It (1)

Dmonphire (934329) | more than 8 years ago | (#14161197)

Even so, I don't think that's quite the same thing as what this guy is talking about.

out of context (1, Insightful)

jest3r (458429) | more than 8 years ago | (#14161032)

The article is actually talking about high-bandwidth services such as streaming media and voice over IP ... services that BellSouth themselves could offer and feel that their infrastructure should give priority to BellSouth first (or possibly another provider willing to pay for some of the backbone cost).

They don't seem to be talking about simple websites at all ... not that I agree with any of it but lets get this into the right context.

the solution to this (1)

davidwr (791652) | more than 8 years ago | (#14161101)

If we are talking priority for streaming, I can see it. HOWEVER, there's a big problem with a supposedly-common carrier giving price breaks to itself or to its buddies.

If this comes to pass, it should be regulated. Everyone, even "internal" customers, should pay the same $ for the same level of service, and this service should be available to anyone willing to pay without regard to what other services they have with that ISP.

In other words, before you do this, the data-backhaul part of the company should be walled off as an arms-length subsidiary or better yet, independent company.

Re:out of context (4, Informative)

interiot (50685) | more than 8 years ago | (#14161106)

The article is actually talking about high-bandwidth services such as streaming media and voice over IP. They don't seem to be talking about simple websites at all ...
WRONG, WRONG, WRONG. From TFA, which you apparently didn't read:
William L. Smith, chief technology officer for Atlanta-based BellSouth Corp., told reporters and analysts that an Internet service provider such as his firm should be able, for example, to charge Yahoo Inc. for the opportunity to have its search site load faster than that of Google Inc.

Go ahead, be liable for it (5, Insightful)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 8 years ago | (#14161033)

FTS: "Internet service providers should be allowed to strike deals to give certain Web sites or services priority in reaching computer users, "

As soon as they do this, then they should become legally responsible for all content that crosses their network.

Either ISPs are passive conduits, or they are not. If they can easily differentiate between packets from different sources, and filter those packets for different handling procedures, then they can take responsibility for not allowing 'illegal' packets on their network.

techie newbs. (1)

CDPatten (907182) | more than 8 years ago | (#14161035)

how great would that be for hosting companies like rackspace. I doubt this would go through... I mean seriously, that proposal would cripple what 80% of the sites out there. This is a perfect example when non-technical people get in positions that require a strong understanding of technology. I'm sure the guy is a good businessman, but hasn't got a clue about technology.

On another note, historically, every time one of the bell's gets too big for their britches they get broken up... If any of you hold their stock I'd say its time to dump it!

Give up all common-carrier status and maybe (2, Interesting)

davidwr (791652) | more than 8 years ago | (#14161036)

If an ISP or backbone wants to give up all of its common-carrier rights, including immunity when some l33t haxxor plants death threats to the President or worse on Yahoo, then maybe.

Otherwise, no.

Rotten companies lose eventually... (5, Interesting)

rocjoe71 (545053) | more than 8 years ago | (#14161038)

...BellSouth could try, but then Google lights up all their dark fiber and take themselves OUT of BellSouth's market altogether, leaving BellSouth to explain to their customers why they should keep paying for a service that doesn't give them easy access to the most popular search engine on the net.

This would give Yahoo the leverage to say to BellSouth: if you want to have ANY major search engine/portal in your network, better provide unrestricted access to our domain.

Net result: Google owns their own 'Net, Yahoo pwns BellSouth.

Re:Rotten companies lose eventually... (3, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 8 years ago | (#14161153)

Won't even have to be Google, just their competitors. If some companies start deliberatly breaking their Internet service, you'll see others that will advertise that they don't. The cable company that competes in Bell South's territory will start up with ads like "Our cable modem service is fully optimized so that all sites load at blazing speed. With DSL, non-priority sites can load very slowly, or not at all, but with our service ALL sites are a priority!"

I mean all the time our cable company and phone company take shots at each other in their TV ads. If a provider is dumb enough to do this, the rest will just eat them alive.

Re:Rotten companies lose eventually... (2, Interesting)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 8 years ago | (#14161211)

Actually, it's like this:

Bellsouth does this, and Cox Communications and Time Warner Cable, and all the other cable providers use their bully pulpit control of the tv to rake BellSouth over the coals, while at the same time promoting their cable/internet/voip bundles.

This is one of those places where Bellsouth CANNOT afford to be seen as inferior to the cable providers. I use Bellsouth myself (cheap static IP), but I've got zero customer loyalty, and if Bellsouth does anything APPROACHING this I'll drop them so fast they'll redshift...Just like I did Cox a few years ago.

Bellsouth (1)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 8 years ago | (#14161041)

This shouldn't surprise anyone that has every worked with or for Bellsouth. This is a company that promotes morons as a rule of thumb. Honestly, the management there would have been lawyers but they aren't that intellegent.

Jaysyn

This Internet (4, Funny)

Jotii (932365) | more than 8 years ago | (#14161042)

This Internet will never work. I'm going to start my own.

Customers already extra (1)

Monoman (8745) | more than 8 years ago | (#14161048)

BS already charges for different levels of ISP service. So now they want to charge a fee for the other end. They will use this to finger point the problem to the other end every time. :-)

Re:Customers already extra (1)

kidgenius (704962) | more than 8 years ago | (#14161172)

And charging for different levels of ISP service is fine. The CEO makes a good analogy about the shipping and the plane rides, except he doesn't get it quite right. What they are currently doing is analagous to the shipping and first class seats. What he is proposing is not. If I as the consumer want a faster connection to the web, then I will pay for it. But companies should not be allowed to pay more to keep their competitors from providing something to me just as quickly. I.E. Fedex should not be allowed to pay money to have UPS ship packages slower to me.

Change of career? (0)

cybersaga (451046) | more than 8 years ago | (#14161050)

I thought Will Smith was in show business. ;)

good grief (1)

Danzigism (881294) | more than 8 years ago | (#14161062)

Where the hell is L0pht when you need 'em ??

If consumers had a choice (2, Insightful)

nolife (233813) | more than 8 years ago | (#14161063)

It could work out for the ISP if there is no other ISP choice for the customers to get equivelent internet access from. Sadly, in many areas of the US, only one high speed provider exists and you are stuck with them no matter what. Given a choice? I don't think people would use an ISP that offered that type of "service".

Let's not be too worried.. (4, Insightful)

ArcRiley (737114) | more than 8 years ago | (#14161064)

ISPs who do this sort of thing will, undoubtedly, be replaced by ISPs which don't. Consumers simply won't tolerate it, nor will web services.

The only real danger is the growing monopolization of Internet access, through cable and DSL, but yet we watch as wifi-based Internet access spreads and their market crumbles beneith their feet.

More fuel on the fire, BellSouth, it'll only help speed your own destruction.

Re:Let's not be too worried.. (1)

kidgenius (704962) | more than 8 years ago | (#14161205)

The one problem is that if I start my own DSL ISP, I have to use the BellSouth backbone. I may not be choosing to give priority to packets, but how do I know that BellSouth hasn't already done it across their entire system?

Google can not be stopped (1)

Fractl (931587) | more than 8 years ago | (#14161087)

William L. Smith, chief technology officer for Atlanta-based BellSouth Corp., told reporters and analysts that an Internet service provider such as his firm should be able, for example, to charge Yahoo Inc. for the opportunity to have its search site load faster than that of Google Inc.
You need to think twice before saying stuff like that. Give 'em enough reason and Google will make its own Internet.

Competition (1)

Unoti (731964) | more than 8 years ago | (#14161088)

I'd be ok with this, as long as I had the choice not to use an ISP that pulled this kind of baloney. The problem is that often consumers don't have any choice in who can provide their broadband.

For a long time I completely loathed cable companies, because the only choice consumers had was to have cable or not to have TV at all. This enabled cable companies to treat their customers like trash and laugh at the consumers. The advent of satellite TV dramatically changed how cable companies treat their customers, and I've been getting much better customer service from cable companies in recent years.

There's no way I'd use an ISP that artificially reduced access time for some sites while giving preferential treatment to others. But as long as there is a choice of ISP's I don't see this as a problem. But that lack of choice that consumers have in many situations is the primary reason for government regulation of utilities.

I hope that new technologies like Wi-Max will come to fruition fast enough to provide most consumers with the choices they need to have good service.

My in-depth analysis and opinion (1)

twofidyKidd (615722) | more than 8 years ago | (#14161091)

Fuck That.

Out of curiosity (1)

Lord_Dweomer (648696) | more than 8 years ago | (#14161094)

Out of curiosity, if these asshats were to actually have their wet dream come true...what sort of recourse would us regular users have? How far would these changes reach? Would it just screw over whoever was stuck with that particular ISP, or would it affect the entire net?

More importantly, are there any laws or government bodies that we can bring into effect on our side to make sure this kind of crap never happens?

Too many factors (3, Interesting)

ziggyboy (232080) | more than 8 years ago | (#14161097)

an Internet service provider such as his firm should be able, for example, to charge Yahoo Inc. for the opportunity to have its search site load faster than that of Google Inc.

I assume they would want to use some form of QoS to control traffic. However there would be a few problems that would arise from this. Let's say for instance Yahoo uses a seperate backbone from Google. Would this ISP then force Google traffic to slowdown? Or how about if Yahoo has more hops than Google? There are so many factors that affect Internet traffic that for an ISP to fully control them would be quite difficult. On most high-bandwidth ISPs where links hardly get clogged, one would certainly have to force low priority sites to slowdown.

Reverse Psychology is a tricky thing... (1)

RodgerTheGreat (905510) | more than 8 years ago | (#14161110)

"..Some say Small Firms Could Be Shut Out of Market Championed by BellSouth Officer.." Well, if consumers are aware that the internet they are provided with is weighted or influenced, a lack of such "modifications" could be attractive. I'd say if word of something like this got out, small ISP's would *benefit* from the wave of customers leaving the big corporations. How many Slashdotters would change ISP's if something like this went into effect?

Like this is going to work (1)

robertjw (728654) | more than 8 years ago | (#14161120)

We can't get the powers that be to adopt IPv6 and this guy thinks he's going to be able to change routing protocols and charge for priority routes?

i'm not sure i get the problem (1)

Ankou (261125) | more than 8 years ago | (#14161130)

This is not a troll or flame, I just want to be educated here. Okay, I'll be upfront about it, its a crappy decision to do. It will piss off a lot of people. Fundamentally though whats the problem with letting these ISP's do this? You are paying for their service, they got the right to do whatever they want. If they want to piss off their customers, thats their right. Just let me know upfront that is whats going on, and I'll pick someone who isn't doing this. Its no different than ISP's disconnecting customers for sending spam, they provide the uplink they make the rules, you dont like it leave. The government should stay out of it in the first place, let the customers decide. I already see many ISP's dropping VOIP transmissions all the time to sell their own products. Whats the difference?

A bouncer says you gotta wait outside the night club while he lets in 20 hot women and you stand out in the cold for a few hours. You cant sue the club right?

Maybe... (1)

RingDev (879105) | more than 8 years ago | (#14161131)

Okay, my gut reaction was, OMGWTFITMT?!?!?

Then I put a bit more thought in on it. I would be okay with this if it was constantly monitored and I could be absolutely sure that none of the "non-accelerated" site's performance was degraded. Hypothetical: if we get ~100ms pings from both Google and Yahoo now, then Yahoo buys the 'optimization' and Yahoo's ping drops to ~80ms and Google's stays at ~100ms, then I'm fine with this. But if Google's pings start suffering, to say ~110ms, then they are degrading their service, and the system has to go.

Also, how much performance improvement is available? I mean, at this point most of the lag I experience browsing the web is server side. Most game related lag is uplink side. And internet TV issues are usually a matter of pipe size.

And lastly, as someone else mentioned, would charging for faster service invalidate the companies standing as a common carrier?

-Rick

Idiot doesn't even know who his customer is (5, Insightful)

jmorris42 (1458) | more than 8 years ago | (#14161134)

Listen up BellSouth, I AM YOUR CUSTOMER, not Yahoo! or Google. If you can't give me good access to the sites I am interested in visiting then I switch to Cox's cable modem. And if they can't show me the speed I crave then I look for other options.

This is exactly what happens when governments grant monopolies. BellSouth has been taking their customers for granted since they spun away from the AT&T motnership, which also took us for granted. After all, where can we really go? Like most regions of the US with broadband, we have government monopoly A (BellSouth) or government monopoly B (Cox) and while they can be played off one another just a little, they co-own the Louisiana Public Service Commission that makes the rules and aren't above conspiring together to keep their cost down and the users downtrodden.

The baby bells must be broken again. They can keep the monpoly on the copper or fiber but must NOT be permitted to own or operate any of the higher level protocols or have any business entanglements with anyone who does. I'm serious, we need a seperate company that JUST owns and maintains the physical plant and leases space on a totally non-discrimnatory basis in the CO to as many companies that want to install voice switches, DSLAMS, etc. as can fit into the building.... and have rules so a carrier can even pay to make the building bigger.

Monopolosaurus Rex (4, Insightful)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 8 years ago | (#14161138)

Everyone said for decades that phone companies "don't understand the Internet". They understand it all right - they just don't like it. So now we've got SBC saying they want to charge companies like Google to route their traffic, even if Google is already paying another company to which Google is directly connected. And BellSouth is saying they want to charge companies like Google more to carry their traffic according to the specifications. Verizon (rhymes with "NYNEX"), typically the most evil of the RBOCs, has yet to announce their vicious attack on Google's profits, but it surely will be greedy and based on some kind of preferential treatment - or threat of witholding it.

It's obvious that these telcos are jealous of Google and the big bucks connected with it. They want their cut, not by competing to provide better products, but by threatening to make their products worse unless their extortion money is paid. Back in the 1990s, they tried to force extra fees on dialup customers, on ISPs, based on lies about phone switch capacity. They tried selling ISDN from clueless salespeople for ripoff prices after unpredictable and interminable installation delays. Then they screwed up DSL deployment on a bigger scale. All along they succeeded in buying up and regulating out the competition, while everyone said they didn't understand the Internet. Which diverted investment to companies like Google, as well as the smart entrepreneurs. Now that they've consolidated American bandwidth into the bottlenecks that they monopolize, these old dinosaurs are moving in for the kill. If there's not enough competition to let Google and mom/pop choose an equitable Internet like the one we've built these last 10-20 years, we need to snap the neck of their new monopolies with legislation. There's no reason we have to let their loophole victories over past monopoly remedies and market corrections choke off the developments that have happened despite their vile presence in the landscape.

But what about the pr0n? (1)

mmell (832646) | more than 8 years ago | (#14161141)

As long as that's in the fast lane, I doubt anybody'd mind. Oh, and my favorite casino sites in the Grand Caymens.

$sys$BellSouthEthics

google wireless (1)

Maskirovka (255712) | more than 8 years ago | (#14161143)

...to charge Yahoo Inc. for the opportunity to have its search site load faster than that of Google Inc."

So you if you want to know where the first google wireless [slashdot.org] service areas will be, you just have to find high concentrations of Bell-South customers.

In other news... (1)

spamfiltre (656000) | more than 8 years ago | (#14161148)

In reaction to the announcement today that BellSouth is working on plans to charge websites for equal bandwidth availability, 1337 HAXXORZ with heretofore unknown viruses have begun plans to charge BellSouth to remain operational.

BellSouth, meet Sony. They're as dumb as you are. (1)

flexoffset (746749) | more than 8 years ago | (#14161149)

Indeed BellSouth and Sony are exhibiting the worst of the worst corporate behavior. At least BellSouth announced their intention. (small comfort) The best solution would be to make the internet faster so butt-wipes like BellSouth don't get any more cockeyed ideas like this. That's just pure sinister. Indeed, corporations are becoming more and more oppressive. Luckily, we have a voice with our congressmen and we can always use our pocketbooks to try to persuade BellSouth otherwise. I'll be contacting my representatives right now and letting them know how my vote will go if he doesn't stand up to this highway robbery. We're in a free market and to have them cripple startups like that is unfathomable.

US Control (1)

zimus (68982) | more than 8 years ago | (#14161158)


This is exactly why we should IMMEDIATELY hand over control of teh internets to the UN!

Backwards (1)

Jeffrey Baker (6191) | more than 8 years ago | (#14161159)

This guy seems to have his notion of the customer backwards. Google isn't a BellSouth customer. BellSouth's customers are the users who buy their DSL lines. Duh. Anyway, the really big picture is this: Google could take over BellSouth with the spare change in their couch. Does anyone who pays attention to the stock market think that Google would have a hard time raising 50 billion dollars if they wanted it? I don't.

This may be a non-issue (1)

SlashAmpersand (918025) | more than 8 years ago | (#14161162)

From what I've been reading on I, Cringley, google might just bury this with it's network. Granted, his opinion is that google wouldn't want to be an isp, but if BellSouth starts playing with them, I don't see any reason they couldn't hit back.

Fifty-fifty (4, Funny)

trollable (928694) | more than 8 years ago | (#14161174)

I think they should do it. Cut the bandwidth. 50% for the web, 50% for gopher.

Competition (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14161175)

That will just drive more competition that will offer better services and more bandwidth.
If I am getting screwed over then I just look for a new provider or create my own. The beauty of the internet is that its not just 1 network.

OMG!!! SHE IS SOOOO HOTT!!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14161189)

I'd hit hit! [washingtonpost.com]

Time to move (1)

!an + Den!se (935385) | more than 8 years ago | (#14161193)

I'm moving to Japan, where people and technology are both appreciated.

hmm (1)

DaveJay (133437) | more than 8 years ago | (#14161196)

So they can charge the users, or charge the corps.

Say they charge the users...you have to tell them at some point in order to charge them (probably after they sign a contract) and you'll have angry users and lawsuits and nonsense -- or people will just sign up with other ISPs who advertise unlimited full speed access to all sites.

So that's a non-starter.

Say they charge the corporations...the users don't have to know, so the corporations with the big bucks may very well pony up the cash, because they'll suffer if they don't. This will only work if the corps being extorted run advertising campaigns making users aware of the issue, and recommending they switch to other ISPs (and perhaps offer some cash or other prize to do so).

So that might happen.

Grr.

Soon, To The Highest Bidder... (1)

creimer (824291) | more than 8 years ago | (#14161206)

And Americans don't understand why the rest of the world doesn't want the USA to be running Internet.
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