Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

BitTorrent's Bram Cohen against Network Neutrality

CowboyNeal posted more than 8 years ago | from the agin-it-not-fer-it dept.

269

wigwamus writes "BitTorrent inventor Bram Cohen warns on potential 'absurdity' of Network Neutrality laws and concedes that his hook-up with Cachelogic is creating a system that might contravene Network Neutrality. He suggests there'd be no difference between big media footing the bill for their own upload costs of their offerings and subsidizing the consumer's download costs of the same."

cancel ×

269 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Bram Cohen (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15415832)

is a jew and jews can't be trusted.

Re:Bram Cohen (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15415914)

Neither can niggers and faggots!

Re:Bram Cohen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15416061)

...or raving bigots!

Re:Bram Cohen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15416157)

I'm the original poster and I just want to make it clear I have nothing against niggers or faggots. Actually some of my best friends are niggers and faggots, some are both a nigger and a faggot. However I treat jews like the plague. I think it is of no coincidence that rats carried the plague just like jews carry Judaism. Then again I'm not against all jews... just the ones that look like rats. Which is most of them execept maybe Woody Allen.

Re:Bram Cohen (1, Troll)

WilliamSChips (793741) | more than 8 years ago | (#15416323)

I thought all of your type died in Nuremberg.

Net Neutrality (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15415842)

I worry that if a law is passed to solve bandwidth problems today it will take 20 years to repeal it when there is no problem. Could Net Neutrality work out the same as the Spanish-American War Excise Tax?

Net Neutrality (1)

Mark_MF-WN (678030) | more than 8 years ago | (#15415975)

Indeed. Network neutrality is vital here and now, with The Internet, but will it make sense in twenty years, with whatever framework we're using at the time? Communications technologies change, and what works today isn't necessarily what works tomorrow. Legislation moves slowly. And really, regulation just fucks things up. The government is either in charge, or it isn't. It's all or nothing, because free markets just don't work in the face of regulation.

That's not to dismiss having the government run something -- that can work very acceptably with infrastructure. But it really is all or nothing.

totally free markets will never work until... (5, Insightful)

zogger (617870) | more than 8 years ago | (#15416186)

you repeal the law of humanness. A totally free market would result in MEGABIGCO Inc. owning the world and everyone being some sort of electronic plantation worker for them, never quite making enough "money" to ever get out of debt to them. You will inevitably go from lot of companies to cartels to a monopoly, because that makes more money for the monopoly owners, and because humanness means that they will continue to impose their will on governmental processes. We already went through this crap and debate in our semi recent human past. it's been tried and found severely lacking. A "free" market means zero environmental regulations, what is in it for them? They don't care if their factory pollutes the water table over someplace, the bosses and owners will just live where that doesn't happen and buy up all the land around them to give them a clean environment, and stuff like that. It means no minimum wage,back to child labor, no safe working conditions, etc, because that is their historically proven over and over again humans as bosses track record back before these regs existed. This is *precisely* because companies are run by humans and megalomaniacs and greedsters strive for top dog positions all the time,and they get there, "by hook or CROOK", hence why those sorts of bad news policies flow downstream in the "giving orders" chain of commands structure, in government or business.

The "free" market is one of those things that it is easy to say and might sound sort of good in theory, but it won't ever fly or work as advertised without tremendous negative effects. For an example of an area with more or less "anything goes free markets", look at the horn of africa.

Re:totally free markets will never work until... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15416282)

I've heard your arguments many times. There is some truth to what you say, but there are a lot of half-truths as well.

I'll only address one of your arguments right now (to serve as an example). You say that companies would destroy the land because there would be no environmental legislation. That would be true in the current case where those companies don't own the land (for example, a mining company that mines on public land or a farmer whose herd grazes on public land). Those companies don't care about the land because they have no reason to invest in it, nor do they have any liabilities. In a true free market they would own the land they are working on. In that case the land would be an investment. Ranchers wouldn't overgraze the land and miners wouldn't pollute it. And this works in many other contexts. Take for example the endangered species problem in Africa. Places where people can own the land and the animals have not seen a decline in endangered population. Game ranges, for example, have a significant interest in keeping a high animal population. But countries that have an outright ban and public ownership of the animals have seen a massive decline due to poaching. Everyone owns the animals and apparently noone protects them.

What you have to look out for is companies that are not being run honestly and will go bankrupt. Who fits the bill on cleanup for dishonest operations? The taxpayer. A useful regulation in that case would be for the companies to buy insurance. So obviously free markets don't work 100% the way that libertarians say or 100% the way socialists say. In my opinion, free markets work very good, but you have to take precautions. I think we could swing quite a bit closer to a free market, but we have to remember that companies should be liable for how they use the land, but that is normally taken care of by the fact that the land is an investment. In certain cases (which don't represent the whole, like Enron) the government will need to make sure those companies are insured so that they are responsible for their liabilities.

On a side note, what I have just described, the Tragedy of the Commons, has a videogame, the Tragedy of the Bunnies [bunnygame.org] .

Re:totally free markets will never work until... (3, Interesting)

dada21 (163177) | more than 8 years ago | (#15416283)

A totally free market would result in MEGABIGCO Inc. owning the world and everyone being some sort of electronic plantation worker for them, never quite making enough "money" to ever get out of debt to them.

That's not true. The reason we have MEGABIGCO is because of preferential treatment such as:

1. Regulations -- Creates a very high barrier to enter a market
2. Subsidies -- Creates a financial incentive for the cronies of the law
3. Licensing -- Creates a cartel that prevents the proper number of competitors
4. Taxation -- Allows the government to create the first 3 preferential treatments

MEGABIGCO won't occur in a free market if there are no barriers to entering that market. Some barriers are those that many /. readers think they love, but in reality create cartels and monopolies that keep many people out of competiting with big companies.

You will inevitably go from lot of companies to cartels to a monopoly, because that makes more money for the monopoly owners, and because humanness means that they will continue to impose their will on governmental processes.

Monopolies ONLY occur due to government licensing. All the big companies that people think were monopolies (or are) have always had to compete to stay on top -- but there has always been competition. If you look at the past, the few companies that were branded a monopoly were actually given significant preferential treatment by the local, state and federal governments. There is no monopoly in a free market because anyone can enter the market to compete.

A "free" market means zero environmental regulations, what is in it for them? They don't care if their factory pollutes the water table over someplace, the bosses and owners will just live where that doesn't happen and buy up all the land around them to give them a clean environment, and stuff like that.

Not true. A provider of a product or service will provide what the consumer wants, including making sure that they abide by whatever environmental restrictions the market demands. Pollution is better covered by trespass and realistic tort laws than by regulation -- regulations of the environment today just move polluters around. The biggest polluter in the country is the US government, by the way.

It means no minimum wage,back to child labor, no safe working conditions, etc, because that is their historically proven over and over again humans as bosses track record back before these regs existed.

No, child labor has occured during the beginning of markets because the older workers were not able to adapt to the new markets. In most situations, children will be less productive if the government stops restricting how it pays employees. Minimum wage laws create unemployment because they rob uneducated non-productive people from finding jobs that won't pay them what they're worth until they prove their worth as employees. Many foreigners come into the country to work illegally for less than minimum wage, but quickly start earning much more than minimum wage once they've proven their worth.

The "free" market is one of those things that it is easy to say and might sound sort of good in theory, but it won't ever fly or work as advertised without tremendous negative effects. For an example of an area with more or less "anything goes free markets", look at the horn of africa.

Hah! The Horn of Africa ended up in a slushpile of overlords because of government restrictions on firearm ownership and capitalism. Preferential treatment of the elite few creates these overlords by law, not by anarchy. Even now we're seeing great leaps and bounds in technology and markets through people attempting to overthrow the regimes that were put there by the previous governments.

Yes it will take time, but free markets have been left to the black market because the only people who want to compete are criminals. Regulated markets in the U.S. have taken us from the #1 producer in the world in the 50s to the #1 consumer in the world today. Regulated markets have destroyed over 95% of the dollar's value in just 95 years, a money that was 100% stable from 1782 to 1913 (except when Lincoln attempted to destroy it through regulation). Free markets work, but they're not tried often enough because we try to fix past government interventions with more government interventions.

Go read Mises, Rothbard, Hayek and Goethe. You'll drop your Keynesian theories right quick.

Re:Net Neutrality (1)

WilliamSChips (793741) | more than 8 years ago | (#15416280)

Conservatives have schismed into libertarians and fascists. Which do you think the modern GOP is?
Only the latter think it's the former.

Introducing Bram Cohen, the ECONOMIST (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15415848)

Since when was Bram Cohen an economist???

Re:Introducing Bram Cohen, the ECONOMIST (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15415870)

Last time I heard from this guy, he was begging for loose change in a fucking popup window. Therefore his opinion on anything other begging for money while looking like a greasy nerd is irrelevant.

Re:Introducing Bram Cohen, the ECONOMIST (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15415877)

Since he cashed in, like Shawn Fanning. Why should his biased opinion on this count for anything, when he's mostly interested in $$$$$? Might as well hear the spiel straight from the CacheLogic CEO. Besides, CacheLogic sounds like an Akamai wannabe.

When you're an immortal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15415899)

You have plenty of time for varied careers. I saw this on Highland: The Series, and he really did quite a few things over the past four centuries.

Encourage telcos to go under (4, Interesting)

MECC (8478) | more than 8 years ago | (#15415850)

From TFA: "One reason, perhaps, is because if toll roads are to be allowed on the internet, then someone has to build them, and that means jobs for the hardware boys."

Possibly the biggest problem with the 'net neutrality' debate is a mass lack of understanding of how prioritized services would be implemented. It has little to do with hardware. One can forgive mere journalists for such a network faux paus.

The thing about prioritized traffic is that the last mile makes the biggest difference. So, if come big media company pays its ISP to prioritize its video traffic, it won't amount to very much unless each and every last-mile provider on the Internet everywhere configures their equipment to treat that traffic with the same priority.

In fact, even on the backbone, its the same story. As soon as a packet crosses onto another provider's network, it may no longer be routed with any priority at all.

The only thing that can be know for sure about the effect of prioritizing IP traffic is that other traffic will slow down. Like VOIP 911 calls, for example.

The most, and possibly only, practical way to improve the performance would be for the telcos to make good on promises made 10 years ago to run high capacity to every home. Promises used to get lots of money from the government, which they never delivered on.

Perhaps the best thing would be to support "fail fast" [netparadox.com] for telcos. Never bail them out - the sooner a telco goes under, the better. Artificially keeping them in business supports investment in outmoded technology and outdated business models and managment structures. The 'dumber' a network is, the better it works. By allowing telcos to go under, investment in newer, faster technology is naturally encouraged.

Encourage telcos to go under-Fraud. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15415926)

"The most, and possibly only, practical way to improve the performance would be for the telcos to make good on promises made 10 years ago to run high capacity to every home. Promises used to get lots of money from the government, which they never delivered on."*

If you're going to accuse someone of fraud, you might want to include some citations.

*Mind you, if it's not in writing then it's worthless anyway.

Re:Encourage telcos to go under-Fraud. (2, Informative)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 8 years ago | (#15416026)

If you're going to accuse someone of fraud, you might want to include some citations.

Just Google for "$200 Billion Broadband Scandal" by Bruce Kushnick. It's not exactly a secret.

Re:Encourage telcos to go under (2, Insightful)

Professor_UNIX (867045) | more than 8 years ago | (#15415940)

The only thing that can be know for sure about the effect of prioritizing IP traffic is that other traffic will slow down. Like VOIP 911 calls, for example.

So buy VoIP services from your ISP instead of Vonage or some other random net entity. Your ISP can guarantee their VOIP services have sufficient QoS so you get excellent quality phone service. Most cable companies are already starting to offer VoIP.

Re:Encourage telcos to go under (4, Insightful)

NormalVisual (565491) | more than 8 years ago | (#15416000)

Most cable companies are already starting to offer VoIP.

Yeah, often at *substantially* higher costs than what is available from the independent VoIP providers, and with no guarantee that QoS can be maintained once the packets leave your provider's network.

Re:Encourage telcos to go under (2, Interesting)

kryptkpr (180196) | more than 8 years ago | (#15416271)

I'm not sure how it works where you are.. but up here in Canada, my cable company (Mountaincable [mountaincable.net] ) offers a VoIP package for $25 cdn/month including services (call display, call waiting, voicemail). This is a VERY competitive price.

The thing is, with their system, your packets don't leave your provider's network at all! From their FAQ [mountaincable.net] :

Q. Is this another 'Internet phone service'?
A. No. With Mountain's Digital Telephone your call will never go over the Internet. It is securely relayed over Mountain's state of the art fibre/coax network and directly transferred to the Public Telephone Network. This is a primary line service!

Should services like this be affected by net neutraility laws, even though they actually have nothing to do with the net? It's tough to say where to draw the line..

Re:Encourage telcos to go under (1)

hawkbug (94280) | more than 8 years ago | (#15416326)

I'm glad you brought up the point about VoIP never leaving the ISP's network - that's exactly what I have here. VoIP is a bad idea... but using VoIP and going directly to your ISP, and then to a phone network, works great. We just had to put QoS on our local LAN, and between the routers to and from my ISP, and everything works great.

Re:Encourage telcos to go under (1)

jacksonj04 (800021) | more than 8 years ago | (#15415946)

Doesn't IPv6 have a priority header for things like 911?

Encourage evolution to go under (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15415968)

"Perhaps the best thing would be to support "fail fast" [netparadox.com] for telcos. Never bail them out - the sooner a telco goes under, the better. Artificially keeping them in business supports investment in outmoded technology and outdated business models and managment structures. The 'dumber' a network is, the better it works. By allowing telcos to go under, investment in newer, faster technology is naturally encouraged."

While your faith in evolution is admirable. Evolution doesn't guarantee a best solution, or even a good enough solution. There are a lot of solutions that are terrible, and yes they die out, but that sometimes takes a good while. Plus of course we're talking about a creation of humanity. Not anything natural. So assuming the best solution will come about "naturally" is naive at best.

Re:Encourage telcos to go under (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15416390)

That's an awesome link. Thanks for putting it up.

As for Cohen's remarks... he's right. Net neutrality is seemingly impossible to legislate into being without being a major hassle and introducing the federal regulation that the Internet has thrived on in its general absence. Plus, it's not necessary *now*.

I'd prefer deregulation of ISPs, and a service-infrastructure model like this link suggests.

Bram's A Fuckin' TARD! (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15415856)

This guys a fuckin' nut!

He makes dark deals with the movie and music monopolies and now claims he can circumvent Net Neutrality.

Just let him bob and weave in his dark corner with his soiled money and let the rest of us move on to the real world please!

This aint about the big guys... (5, Interesting)

a_greer2005 (863926) | more than 8 years ago | (#15415859)

this is about the podcasters, bloggers, and startups...if you make them pay twice, then you are taking away the nets key advantage to old media -- easy access to all, anyone can create, not just consume...dont let the Bells take that away, dont let a few billionairs control out thoughts, news and entertainment, we broke that mold, DONT RE-BUILD IT!

Wrong (4, Interesting)

suspected (907639) | more than 8 years ago | (#15415862)

Long story short: he is wrong. He didn't take into account what would happen to smaller websites if Network Neutrality was no longer the norm. I don't really want to go into why Network Neutrality would be a good law because this is Slashdot, and I assume most of you already know. Bram Cohen is a smart guy, but he does not properly capitalize on his ideas. His statement regarding Network Neutrality just further proves that seeing the world in $$$ is not his forte.

Re:Wrong (2, Interesting)

Professor_UNIX (867045) | more than 8 years ago | (#15415948)

All I want is a simple clarification of the common carrier status. If AT&T wants to continue to be called a common carrier and NOT sued when users download child porn via their network then they need to keep out of the content arena entirely. AT&T should make absolutely no distinction between packets that flow from outside its network to one of its subscribers for the purposes of "quality of service".

Re:Wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15416009)

None of the networks truly have common carrier status. Instead, they're protected by other laws as information services that require them to do things like report child pr0n if they become aware of it, without actually requiring them to watch for it, or remove copyrighted material if the holder protests.

Re:Wrong (5, Informative)

NormalVisual (565491) | more than 8 years ago | (#15416042)

The Supreme Court ruled on this some time ago - common carrier status doesn't apply to internet service providers offerings because their offerings are considered to be "information services" rather than "telecommunications services" under the Telecommunications Act of 1996. That's not to say I don't think they *should* be considered common carriers, but under current law they're not.

The Court's opinion can be found here [akamaitech.net] . (PDF file)

Re:Wrong (1)

ragefan (267937) | more than 8 years ago | (#15416294)

The Supreme Court ruled on this some time ago - common carrier status doesn't apply to internet service providers offerings because their offerings are considered to be "information services" rather than "telecommunications services" under the Telecommunications Act of 1996. That's not to say I don't think they *should* be considered common carriers, but under current law they're not.


I think what the GP was trying to ask was *If* AT&T and other common carriers stop being packet neutral would they lose their status? Because if random-child-porn.com starts paying AT&T to provide better QoS to their customers, doesn't this make them responsable for that traffic flowing over their network?

Re:Wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15416324)

I think what the GP was trying to ask was *If* AT&T and other common carriers stop being packet neutral would they lose their status?

How can they lose a status they don't have? AT&T is not a common carrier for internet services.

Cohen's reasoning: (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15416059)

Did you even read the blurb?

"[Cohen] concedes that his hook-up with Cachelogic is creating a system that might contravene Network Neutrality"

Only an idiot would want legislation to pass that would make his current business project fail.

Re:Cohen's reasoning: (5, Insightful)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 8 years ago | (#15416185)

Mod parent up insightful.

In fact, the same can be said about everybody who has been "against" network neutrality. Cisco has the most to gain because they make routers and... guess what... all those QoS things that the telcos propose will require them to buy new routers.

Thus far, everyone against net neutrality legislation has had a profit motive. Most of the people against it do not, though some (like Google) have a "we don't want to bleed red" motive. Most folks want net neutrality because a lack of net neutrality allows big telcos like AT&T who have lots of end users to strong-arm smaller companies like hosting providers and similar for what amounts to protection money to avoid having the performance of their customers' access to those end users artificially degraded. The result will be less availability of services, and a gradual compartmentalization of the Internet by ISP, and eventually a complete breakdown of the power of the Internet to serve the consumer.

Net neutrality should be mandated. As for future technologies, the LAST thing we ever want in the future is a technology that would regress us back towards a pay-per-bandwidth system. As a consumer, I won't do it (which is why I don't have a data plan on my cell phone). I want to see MORE swing away from pay-per-[insert unit of measurement here] and towards flat rate services. Flat rates are good for the consumer because they encourage people to try new technologies that otherwise would not be affordable.

Would the iTMS be here if we had to pay our ISP per kilobyte for those downloads? Doubt it. Would we have things like Google Video/YouTube? Nope. In fact, I would say that all of the companies that are actually innovating in the technology space (as opposed to leaches like Cisco and AT&T that do pretty much the same thing year after year, only faster) benefit greatly from net neutrality.) When those companies benefit, innovation increases, and the consumers ultimately get cool new technologies that simply would not exist if companies like AT&T had their way.

Of course, flat rate services are the last thing AT&T and friends want. They'd like to sell those downloads themselves. They'd like to be the only ones who can afford to do so just like with their cell phones. Too bad for them. They can take my net neutrality when they pry my DSL modem from my cold, dead hands.

Re:Wrong (3, Insightful)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 8 years ago | (#15416103)

Bram Cohen is a smart guy, but he does not properly capitalize on his ideas.

This is precisely what he is trying to do. And he does take all those things about smaller sites, etc. He signed up with the big boys now. He want to clear the way for his "new" friends. He has no interest in what happens to the small timers. Make no mistake, he's using he "geek clout" to convince us that what's good for WB is good for the internet. I hope that nobody falls for it. Ah, the power of money. Quite a bear trap it is.

Quite frankly (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15415871)

The dude had one good idea and now he's struggling to monetize it. He's hardly impartial. Network neutrality isn't about not having to pay for the bill for your uploads, it's about having to pay the rest of the net too. Without peering, the internet will turn into a content delivery network much like cable television, and I guarantee that I won't subscribe to that. That'll be the day when I rent an excavator and start burying fiber myself and peer to other folks like me.

Er... Excuse me Bram... (4, Informative)

Noryungi (70322) | more than 8 years ago | (#15415886)

...but, with all due respect, when organizations as diverse as Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, moveon.org, the NRA, the Christian Coaliation and the EFF all actually agree [digitaldivide.net] on Net Neutrality [moveon.org] , you must be barking up the wrong tree.

Sure, laws on this subject need to very carefully crafted to avoid unintended consequences. And the American Lawmakers have a long record of messing up in that respect. But I believe -- with all the above-mentioned organizations, that Net Neutrality has to be respected.

Re:Er... Excuse me Bram... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15415918)

Yeah. Because competence, attention to detail, and avoiding unintended consequences is precisely what government is good at.

Re:Er... Excuse me Bram... (1)

Professor_UNIX (867045) | more than 8 years ago | (#15416015)

Yeah. Because competence, attention to detail, and avoiding unintended consequences is precisely what government is good at.

And the alternative is putting our trust in telecommunications companies like AT&T to do the right thing that's best for American citizens and Internet users? Riiiiigggghhhhttt. Let me know when they stop charging me a $5+ federal access charge disguised as a tax and stop giving my personal information to the NSA.

Re:Er... Excuse me Bram... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15416107)

Um, the NSA thing is really not their right, so how about suing them?

ANY other organisation or company could just as easily (and also without the right to do it) give your data to ANYBODY else.

Re:Er... Excuse me Bram... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15416198)

And the alternative is putting our trust in telecommunications companies like AT&T to do the right thing that's best for American citizens and Internet users?

If those companies want American citizens to keep giving them money then they will have to do what American citizens want.

Follow the money, as usual (1)

Alfred, Lord Tennyso (975342) | more than 8 years ago | (#15416083)

Note that all of those organizations stand to profit from network neutrality. The technical companies are big guys who would have to pay more to deliver content in the absence of network neutrality. The action groups seem to have gotten into this from AOL's email tax, where people who send out lots of fundraising email (like the NRA and moveon.org) would have to pay more.

In other words, the list isn't quite as diverse as it appears to be. They fall into two categories with different financial motiviations. Opposing forces unite because their cause is both on one side with respect to the (greedy) ISPs.

I'm not saying they're wrong. I'm just saying that they're not necessarily answering from the best technical level. Brahm Cohen's also answering from his profit motive, but if profit motive is what it comes down to, it's a lot easier for MoveOn and Microsoft to have their voices heard than for small inventors trying to develop new ideas that might one day become big ideas.

So ultimately there may be good reasons for network neutrality, but I'm not going to let the heft of those companies decide for me.

Re:Follow the money, as usual (1)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 8 years ago | (#15416259)

I disagree. No one truly profits from net neutrality. This isn't a case of innovative content producers not paying their fair share or wanting to make more money. With net neutrality, the status quo is preserved, and these companies don't stand to have their profitability---and indeed, their very survival---threatened. There's a BIG difference.

The real issue here is that once net neutrality falls apart, there are no limits to how much damage a single ISP that serves a large number of end users can do. This is particularly of concern for AT&T with their recent merger with SBC, as they now control the last mile of teelphone wiring for somewhere between a third and half of the U.S., and they control about 15% of the U.S. broadband market at last survey (second only to Comcast, who, from all accounts, also privately supports AT&T in their position against net neutrality). Between the two of them, they hold control of over a third of the broadband in the U.S.

What happens when AT&T and/or Comcast (or worse, a merger of the two) decides that companies that don't pay the extortion fee are capped at 10kbps? Without net neutrality legislation, AT&T and friends could, quite literally, create an extortion racket so severe that companies would have two choices: pay whatever AT&T asks for or go out of business. No company should be allowed to have that much power, particularly since most consumers of AT&T/Comcast's broadband services have no real choice in broadband providers. Most of the U.S. is out of range for DSL, and even if they do, most areas still have only one local DSL provider and one cable provider.

That's really what this is about: protecting services that consumers use from extortion tactics by the ISPs that they are forced to use because we don't have broad deployment of municipal leased fiber....

Hrm (0, Redundant)

Rendo (918276) | more than 8 years ago | (#15415888)

If Bram says it's bad, it must be bad! Someone that gave us BitTorrent wouldn't lead us astray!

This is what neutrality is really about (4, Insightful)

saterdaies (842986) | more than 8 years ago | (#15415890)

"when you're talking about large file transfers going to very large numbers of people there frequently are significant costs involved"

While it would be terrible for an ISP to block Google or Amazon, it probably won't happen because neither service puts a strain on their resources. But there are internet uses which do put a strain on an ISPs resources. For example, while this isn't true today, it is quite possible that we will download DVDs which, even compressed using XVID or something, will still be a couple gigs a piece (maybe as low as 1GB). Imagine a Netflix/Napster-like subscription service for video downloads!

Currently, ISPs oversell their capacity because most of the time, we use very little of it. Like while I'm writing this comment, I'm using 0kbps and when I submit it, my connection will burst up to give me a fast experience. But if I was using a lot of this connection a lot of the time, my ISP would have a problem - and I don't think it's too hard for us to imagine IPTV or the like for the future which would present such a problem.

Personally, I would prefer usage charges (charges per GB levied against the user) than charges to the content provider. I'd rather pay for it myself than just get the content that a company will pay for, but it seems like Bram has realized that, with high-bandwidth services becoming more and more prevalent, there will be a point at which ISPs need to do something about that extra used capacity - whether that means charging the users sucking all that capacity or charging the content providers enabling the users to suck all that capacity.

Re:This is what neutrality is really about (1)

Rendo (918276) | more than 8 years ago | (#15415928)

I agree with that too. When I first got highspeed, in 1 day my brother and I downloaded over 10 gigs of data. _10_ gigs. When we switched over to cable from DSL, we had a cap of 10 gigs.... I would have to download ONLY what I really wanted, otherwise I'd be paying huge fees for overage. However I am back on unlimited and I pay $5 more a month for it on my base cost of $31.95. Perhaps making a tiered ISP, a more defined one with clear examples of each category.

1. Light User (1 gig)
For e-mail and general surfing, no serious downloading.

2. Medium User (10 gigs)
For e-mail, surfing, streaming videos, movie downloads, etc etc.

3. High End User ( 20? 25? 50? gigs)
All of the above, but daily heavy downloading.

The ISP's could charge a base amount for whatever the pipe they get is, then add that charge based on the package selected.

Re:This is what neutrality is really about (2, Interesting)

pcause (209643) | more than 8 years ago | (#15415937)

you have the problem right. the isp's will have to build out a lot more capacity to be able to deliver these new, rich media services. this debate isn't about neutrality it is about WHO PAYS.

right now the consumer pays but rates are as high as the market will bear. isp's sre not going to be able to raise rates, so they are looking to the beneficiaries of the extra bandwidth to pay for the costs.

gooogle makes more profit than comcast on a much smaller revenue base. the internet content providers get a relatively free ride. they can afford a 10% drop in their profits and absrb it to help pay.

the alternatives are that consumers get socked or that we don't get the networks upgraded aggressively. the whole net neutrality thing is a gambit of the PR agencies, trying to frighten the consumers so that their is political pressure to protect google's profits. don't let anyone convince you otherwise

Re:This is what neutrality is really about (4, Interesting)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 8 years ago | (#15416056)

right now the consumer pays

The consumer always pays, by definition. This is about adding billable layers to skim more profits from those consumers. I mean us consumers.

Re:This is what neutrality is really about (5, Insightful)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 8 years ago | (#15416120)

they can afford a 10% drop in their profits

Great. So google shells out 10% of their profits to help comcast. Then they shell out 10% of their profits to help ATT. Then they shell out 10% of their profits to help AOL... When does it stop?

When did capitalism become so communist? If comcast needs more money then it should charge its customers more, not demand companies who have no connection to comcast's network at all to pay them more money.

Re:This is what neutrality is really about (1)

colinrichardday (768814) | more than 8 years ago | (#15416252)

The market will bear? If people can download DVD's off the web, they may be willing to pay more for bandwidth.

Video on Demand (1)

BacOs (33082) | more than 8 years ago | (#15415950)

While it would be terrible for an ISP to block Google or Amazon, it probably won't happen because neither service puts a strain on their resources. But there are internet uses which do put a strain on an ISPs resources. For example, while this isn't true today, it is quite possible that we will download DVDs which, even compressed using XVID or something, will still be a couple gigs a piece (maybe as low as 1GB). Imagine a Netflix/Napster-like subscription service for video downloads!

Last night, I saw a service like this advertised on TV, vongo.com. I wonder how much bandwidth that service requires. ABC currently allows you to watch full episodes of a handful of their shows also.

Re:This is what neutrality is really about (1)

Stalyn (662) | more than 8 years ago | (#15416024)

Honestly I wouldn't mind giving the telecoms $10 billion dollars or so to invest in capacity. Bring in some third party to validate the usage of this money so the telecoms don't try to line their pockets. The government doesn't mind handing out huge subsidies to oil companies when the they don't build refineries and are having record profits.

I mean if the money goes towards improving the broadband infrastucture within the United States, that seems like money well spent. Much better than the various other crap the US government funds.

Re:This is what neutrality is really about (2, Informative)

KarmaOverDogma (681451) | more than 8 years ago | (#15416276)

What have you been smoking? Show me the last time in the last 50 years that any major telco or cable company did anything truly innovative or worthwhile with that much "free" money (i.e. money that was not earned, such as government grants, write-offs, tax breaks, customer rate hikes and the like) like investing in infrastructure (which is THEIR responsilbility not ours) or designing vastly quicker transmssion methods.

Virtually all major innovation in the telco arena has come from competition and startups who were willing to take risks. Gov't subsidies, like old style welfare, does not encourage innovation or effort at improvement; it does the opposite.

Given past performance on the part of major telcos and cable providers (and that's pretty much all that is left), how can customers paying more for the same services now, with the promise of *much* better services later, be anything but laughable?

Re:This is what neutrality is really about (1)

reklusband (862215) | more than 8 years ago | (#15416051)

Didn't Cohen invent THE current primary use of bandwith on the internet? Was bittorrent just a plan to make obscene amounts of money by raising bandwith costs?

Re:This is what neutrality is really about (1)

Surt (22457) | more than 8 years ago | (#15416063)

Have you not seen ads on TV for Vongo or I'M yet? Two video download services and counting.

Re:This is what neutrality is really about (1)

Lonewolf666 (259450) | more than 8 years ago | (#15416148)

Personally, I would prefer usage charges (charges per GB levied against the user) than charges to the content provider.
I agree, and some ISPs in Germany (where I live) actually offer that kind of deal.
Unfortunately, most ISPs prefer the dishonest way of overselling their capacities, then complaining when people actually use the "unlimited access" they have bought.

Re:This is what neutrality is really about (1)

Chanc_Gorkon (94133) | more than 8 years ago | (#15416366)

Overselling your bandwidth is what is wrong with the internet as it is now. You shoul dalways plan on your users ALL using the internet at the sametime because they CAN! You can be ok for a while overselling, but eventually it will bite you in the ass. Is that the users fault? No. The user is just using what he paid for. Net Neutrality is evening the field. Amazon is where it is today because of a neutral network. Ebay itself used to be a very small sight but is where it is because of a neutral network. All a tiered network does is make it so that the people who have money can have priority over those who don't.

Government control? (2, Insightful)

electrosoccertux (874415) | more than 8 years ago | (#15415900)

I wonder if the internet is something that should not be left to capitolism, to media companies...because of things like this. Aside from the obvious privacy issues of a government issued internet (something we could probably get around...but hey, its not like they don't already see everything), I think a govNET could have some very nice benefits. I am of belief that government exists to do for the people only the things they cannot do for themselves, or things which there is little incentive to consider (pollution). The government doesn't always screw things up. They manage, for the most part, to get our mail where it belongs in a reasonable time for a reasonable cost. They keep our highways and our roads in decent shape for the most part. And they train and are capable of effectively (more so than other countries can) deploying troops in the event of a crisis.

I don't see how a govNET would be very much a different decision than the highway situation was...get the government to lay out tons of fibre optic cable to every home, and then the only upgrades you have to make are to the infrastructure. What a campaign advantage it would be to boast of pushing for fibre optic to every home, school, and office, for a REASONABLE cost. Considering the benefit we all get out of our highways, we don't pay that much tax to keep them useable. I think the same could go for the internet.

Re:Government control? (1)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 8 years ago | (#15415959)

and watch the music industry tack on a provision for government mandated DRM across this new "govnet".

i'd rather keep the internet as far away from **AA paid lobbyists as possible

Re:Government control? (1)

dcloues (977376) | more than 8 years ago | (#15416166)

That assumes that we can rely on the government prioritizing the needs of the people over the needs of, say, large corporations who contribute large amounts of campaign funding. Unfortunately, we already have plenty of evidence against that assumption.

Roads aren't a great analogy in favor of neutrality, because our roads aren't neutral. We have toll roads, and we have commuter lanes that are restricted to 2+ passengers. In Atlanta, trucks are banned from driving on the interstate highways inside the perimeter highway unless they're making a local delivery (they have to use I-285 to bypass Atlanta, which slows them down and adds maybe 10 miles to their trip, but prevents them from clogging up commuter traffic inside the city). In the northeast, and possible elsewhere, there are many parkways that are restricted to cars only - no trucks.

Maybe the problem is that the world is inherently not neutral, at least in its current state. The government is no better at this than large corporations, and unfortunately there's really no alternative at this point. If we want a truly free internet, we need to build it ourselves. A collectively-owned distributed network would be able to scale with the number of people who buy into it, something like a co-op, and would be free from external regulation. Each person's upstream bandwidth is someone else's downstream bandwidth, so major content providers wouldn't be able to overpower individual users as long as those users were willing to band together and keep their own best interests in mind.

Of course, there are problems with that too. Enough consumer apathy and the content providers would win out. Then again, that's the same problem we have with government now. Removing the regulatory role that the government has, and placing it into the hands of the people who actually use the internet, at least places the power within the people whom it affects.

Re:Government control? (2, Insightful)

IL-CSIXTY4 (801087) | more than 8 years ago | (#15416290)

I don't see how a govNET would be very much a different decision than the highway situation was


Oh, dear god, no...

I don't know where you live, but here in Chicago our roads are notoriously poor, constantly under construction, and never built to last. Am I going to have to check the TV news first thing in the morning to make sure there's enough bandwidth through the construction zone of the Dan Ryan backbone for my telecommute to work?

As much as like Bitorent (4, Insightful)

bigsexyjoe (581721) | more than 8 years ago | (#15415910)

I know there are more important issues at stake than fast music downloads.

The internet has proven to be wonderful tool for people to communicate. TV and radio were supposed to fulfill these promises but big business has subverted them.

We have seen that bloggers can actually force big media to carrry there stories, that the internet is an invaluable research tool, and that it gives voice to the voiceless, from Iranian dissedients to disgruntled corporate employees.

The free music is a nice side beneift, but let's not lose track of our priorities.

Re:As much as like Bitorent (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15415952)

what else do you steal?

It's Not What Business Is Saying It's About (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15415911)

This is not about improving service. This is about businesses degrading service, that is, making certain companies slower than they are now unless the businesses get more money. The highway analogy is as follows: We already have the highway. Everybody pays a quarter to get on. But now some people want to set up additional roadblocks to charge people who have used certain on-ramps and off-ramps more money. This doesn't make the highway any faster; while there may be occasional congestion, the businesses aren't going to build more lanes, just charge more money, or slow you down.

It's not about improving service. Its about improving profits while at the same time degrading service. Since there is often little choice but to take a particular route, these companies are effectively monopolies. Remember, there are still large regions of the country where there is only cable or dial-up. While there are plenty of urban and suburban areas where consumers have a choice between cable and DSL, both of which may have "fast enough" bandwidth, there are very, very few places where people have a choice between two cable companies or two physical sets of phone lines. The owners of the lines coming to a person's house are the ones who really control your network. For most of us, there's no choice in which lines we hook up to, so effectively these companies are monopolies. There is no competition to keep these monopolies in check, there is only legislation.

I believe Bram Cohen is just very naive (5, Insightful)

LinuxDon (925232) | more than 8 years ago | (#15415915)

I read TFA, and I find it to be very naive.

If there would be no Network Neutrality anymore, the following could (and probably will) happen:
- Netcache has to pay to the user's provider as well as for it's own upload costs it already has.
- The user still pays the same amount of money he does now.
- There is no incentive anymore to upgrade those main pipes, the company's that want good network performance to the end-user will just have to pay up extra.
- PROFIT (For big providers like AOL).

In the end, there will be no (speed) advantage to anyone. Everything will just get more expensive! This is what history should have taught us by now.
Network neutrality should be guarded!

I think Bram Cohen is just making a BIG mistake here! (Or he is simple misquoted)

Re:I believe Bram Cohen is just very naive (1)

Zork the Almighty (599344) | more than 8 years ago | (#15416196)

+1 Insightful for you. A two tiered internet is really more of a red-herring. There will be only one real tier, and it will suck.

Caching violates net neutrality? (4, Insightful)

kilonad (157396) | more than 8 years ago | (#15415920)

If the services that Cachelogic offers violate net neutrality at some level, then the internet hasn't had net neutrality since the mid 1990s. Akamai and Squid Proxy do very similar things with data (replicating it in multiple locations for faster downloads). Cachelogic and Akamai still have to pay the backbone providers, just like everybody else. What violates neutrality is the backbone providers setting aside a certain amount of bandwidth (or setting up a second network) to make transfer speeds from some sites faster than others.

If the ISPs want to create a second network of their own to push their own media services at much higher speeds, let them. I equate it to getting your internet access from your cable company. Your TV and your net access come down the same wire, and TV is a media service, so that's really nothing new. If you don't agree with that, then you can think of it as whatever the ISP wants to provide being on a faster LAN (since it originates "locally"), whereas the rest of the internet is still on a WAN.

That said, the article's analogy to toll roads was an excellent choice, as anyone in the Northern Virginia area can tell you. When they first open, the toll roads are significantly faster but cost a fortune to use, with the promise that the prices will go down once it's paid for. But then it fills up to the point where it's only a tiny bit faster than the equivalent free roads, and the prices go up even more to cover the costs of expansion. After a few years, your choices are completely clogged free roads where you go 15mph, or a $3/each way 15 mile road where you go 35mph after the fourth or fifth mile.

The conclusion that it doesn't matter if the media company buys more bandwidth the old fashioned way or pays the ISPs for the use of a secondary faster network is spot on. However, the customer will end up paying the same amount either way, which means there is no advantage for the customer by switching to the new tiered network model.

Re:Caching violates net neutrality? (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 8 years ago | (#15416228)

It's true that the reporter didn't have a clue, but Bram knew exactly what he was saying when he said we should not have net neutrality laws.

And by the way, net neutrality of spam is acceptible if we can sue the bastards, both the spammers and the people who own zombies.

Misleading summary of a misleading article (3, Insightful)

cbiffle (211614) | more than 8 years ago | (#15415927)

This article seems to completely miss the point.

Bram points out, rightly, that one must be very careful with legislating network neutrality, to keep from forcing ISPs to deliver all traffic (DDoS, spam, etc.). He acknowledges that with a sufficiently broad definition, the Cachelogic scheme could violate network neutrality.

Of course, so would Akamai, in this case. The article gets the entire topic wrong. What they're discussing is not a QoS tier at the network level, but a single company's caching architecture that makes their clients' data go faster.

And the company isn't even a network provider.

Close, but no cigar.

Re:Misleading summary of a misleading article (1)

Znork (31774) | more than 8 years ago | (#15416231)

"This article seems to completely miss the point."

Indeed. These are two completely different issues; QoS for specific protocols vs. QoS for generic protocols to _specific destinations_.

It's same-treatment-for-everything vs. same-treatment-for-everyone. I havent seen any suggestions about legislating for the former, only the latter.

He's got good reason to oppose it (4, Insightful)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 8 years ago | (#15415964)

How can things like IPTV come into being if companies like Verizon are barred from building up and reserving the capacity to provide them? Why should Google, Microsoft, etc. be allowed access to that bandwidth since it's not impeding their ability to provide their services? Not allowing the telecoms and other large ISPs to do this would akin to not allowing Google to invest in dark fibre for its own purposes. Hmmm is that the smell of hypocrisy among the slashdot crowd once again?

Both sides are being dishonest here. The content companies have no right to the entire network, and the ISPs don't want to provide the full service that they sell. There is supposed to be an implicit gentleman's agreement that if someone buys a leased line, they won't face arbitrary tolls. That's the point that a lot of talking heads can't seem to understand. They think that the content companies want to be free-riders when all they want is to be able to deliver their content at full f$%^ing speed to their customers. The "toll" is more like a warlord in Africa charging a "toll" to let legitimate businesses use the government-built roads. The customers on both ends paid for the bandwidth. If there is a problem with not making enough money, then the ISPs need to go back and rethink the wisdom of charging only $15 for broadband.

Re:He's got good reason to oppose it (3, Insightful)

esconsult1 (203878) | more than 8 years ago | (#15416062)

That's a horrendously terrible reason to oppose it, and also shortsighted.

Its very frustrating listening to both sides when the solution is really simple:

1. Run big pipes to every home/office
2. Cap usage (not bandwidth) daily.
3. Charge users who use more (like your cellphone)

I work from home/office and need a fat pipe with big upload. Joe suburban kid wants to peer-to-peer stuff. No problem. When the traffic reaches the cap, either suspend service, or charge more for the extra traffic -- according to pre-existing arrangements. (Remember your cellphone business model?????)

I do the same for hosting now and the hosting providers seem to be happy with what they make from me. I would get the burstable traffic that I want so I can download a distro, or other large files occassionally at great speeds. Joe suburban kid can download the media that he wants from Youtube, and the ISP's can get into the business of providing all the content that they want as well.

What's wrong with that? It's capitalism, they can build out all the capacity that they want, and pass the buck onto the consumers.

But no, that's too simple for everyone to understand... What they want, is to build the big pipes and use it for their own traffic to us. Exclusively. Except that's not the way how the internet works. We want to watch Youtube or listen to iTunes or download the latest viral Lazy Sunday. They want to give us Verizon channel 5. Sure, give us Verizon channel 5, if its any good, we will watch it.

I only wish network neutrality advocates could stick to the simple position outlined above. It works for everyone. The ISP's content providers, and the consumers.

Re:He's got good reason to oppose it (1)

Stalyn (662) | more than 8 years ago | (#15416117)

You know why not just make bandwidth a commodity like everything else. Let the market decide how much a GB is worth. Then charge everyone the market price of a GB of data.

Whatever... (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 8 years ago | (#15415973)

I call this a PR blurb, what he's talking about is basicly "Akamai for P2P". There's nothing in net neurality that prevents you from doing that - or most anything else you do today. Want to put the VoIP port in a priority queue? Want to traffic shape it? Want to block it? Knock yourself out - as long as you do it regardless of destination.

Want to put a cache server closer to the customer, so you're only competing for the local link and not the long haul links? Fine, as long as you put it in line with your other equipment, and don't make a special priority network in parallel. Basicly "Priority with cables" instead of an actual priority queue, obviously that'd defeat net neurality.

If you have a line or three going from A to B, you can't pay the ISP to a) get put first in line or b) get put on an unclogged line, while the other traffic must go the clogged line. That's exactly how it is supposed to work, isn't it? I really don't see his point.

Sloppy journalism (1)

eturro (804858) | more than 8 years ago | (#15415974)

Whether you're downloading porn from Japan or buying music from iTunes in California...

Actually, the iTunes data centre is in Luxembourg (at least for serving European customers).

Subsidizing? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15415976)

He suggests there'd be no difference between big media footing the bill for their own upload costs of their offerings and subsidizing the consumer's download costs of the same."

Subsidize? Subsidize?! I have to wonder what Cohen is thinking. If he thinks that the telco's plans will result in cheaper internet access for consumers, then he's an amazingly naive optimist. Only competition will force prices down and quality up, and its just not happening. My choices here are roadrunner, which goes out for days at a time versus SBC dsl, which for about $40/mo tops out at about 2.5Mbit at my range from the CO. Meanwhile I can only look on in envy at my friends in verizon markets who are on FIOS, while SBC/ATT continue to pledge lightspeed for my city "real soon now".

Re:Subsidizing? (1)

Jafafa Hots (580169) | more than 8 years ago | (#15416359)

Exactly. What people don't get is that there would be no net if it weren't for competition. Some people complain about the breakup of AT&T, saying it was government interference, regulation, etc. But nobody remembers that before Sprint won the right to provide long distance service, it was actually illegal to hook up any non-Bell equipment to your phone line. You couldn't buy a cheap small phone, you could only get a big clunky Bell phone, usually rented. They were NOT innovating, they were using century-old tech.

It's was only after government began chipping away at Bell's monopoly that you got small interesting phones from 3rd parties becoming available... and what else? MODEMS.

The web grew because of dial-up availability. It's beyond that now, but would not have existed without it. If people had not been able to use non-Bell equipment on their phone lines to get non-Bell content, then there would be no web. there *MIGHT* be an AOL-like service provided by Bell, but don't count on that either - all of those kinds of attempts failed in the past.

It was only until government came along and interfered that we got actual competition, which gave rise to innovation, which gave rise to the web (not to mention cell phones connected to the main phone infrastructure, etc.)

People these days, forgetting the experience of the era of the Trusts, seem to think that deregulation fosters competition. Just another lie drilled into their heads by corporate interests who want monopolies.

myth of scarcity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15415994)

"when you're talking about large file transfers going to very large numbers of people there frequently are significant costs involved"

The whole issue, and indeed the business is based on an assumption of scarcity. We are talking about bandwidth here.
The beauty of the internet is it provides a virtually free transfer of vast amount of information. If bandwidth was reduced to its real commodity cost there would be no business that worked. Think about it, with all the dark fiber and wireless cells

When comments like the quote above are bandied about, talking about costs we frequently take them on face
value. Hmm, large files, hmm, large numbers of people, hmmm therefore merely "significant" costs seems reasonable. Wouldn't they be "large" costs? In answer to the above quote there are VIRTUALLY NO COSTS AT ALL.

Well speaking practically anyway. How many files do you suppose are transferred across the internet daily? A hundred million, a hundred billion? A trillion? How much electricity, labor for cable maintainance, admin staff and so on, do you suppose, as a dollar value it then costs to distribute a typical file to a few hundred or a few tens of thousands of people? Go on work it out. I DARE YOU. If it comes in at anywhere more that $0.0001 I'll eat my own foot.

Now, don't start giving me that old pseudo capitalist crap about getting a return on an investment. You know those investments were paid of in spades more than a decade ago, the telcos are in pure big profit baby. And how many new startups in the telecommunications buisseness can you name that need to get back the massive investment they put into laying miles of cables? None, that's how many. Because there aren't any. We laid all the cables we'll ever need in the 19990s, there is a GLUT of bandwidth.

The fact is that the telcos are in a position of privilage becuase they once ran the phone sytem and had property rights on their cables. Nothing more. If we levelled the playing field on bandwidth provision and let cummunities build their own the telcos would be out of business overnight. It makes me sick to hear people talking about the "costs" of transferring information. Complete propaganda.

It's about accountability (1)

bidule (173941) | more than 8 years ago | (#15416036)


Ultimately, I - as the user - pays for it all. Transfering fees into hidden middle men masks the real cost. I want to have the power to pressure my ISP into handling things as I see fit.

how would this be different... (1)

geoff lane (93738) | more than 8 years ago | (#15416071)

...to the phone company charging you extra to phone Walmart to order something?

Re:how would this be different... (1)

Doppleganger (66109) | more than 8 years ago | (#15416202)

Easy.. in this case, it would be much more like your phone company charging Walmart more for you to call them to order something.

Otherwise.. yeah. Walmart already pays their own phone company. They don't need to pay mine too, especially when that extra cost will come out of my pocket in the end either way.

Re:how would this be different... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15416338)

Now toll roads start charging businesses fees when employees drive through. They also start charging customers when they buy goods from companies whose employees drive through. They also start charging customers of customers of businesses whose employees drive through. It's starting sound an awful lot like taxation, and I don't recall electing Ma Bell to redistribute wealth to itself. Come to think of it, it sounds a lot like the start of a pyramid scheme.

Does anyone else (1)

iknowcss (937215) | more than 8 years ago | (#15416090)

get the sickening feeling that there aren't enough of us people who understand why net neutrality is the way to go? The average joe doesn't even know how to send an email.

i'm sorry.. he's a moron in this arena (2, Informative)

DigDuality (918867) | more than 8 years ago | (#15416112)

I'm not going to debate the issue. But as it stands now, Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, Amazon, Ebay, Christian Coalition, Associated Press, Gun Owners of America, MoveOn, the Christian Coalition, financial groups such as National Association of Federal Credit Unions, America's Community Bankers, American Bankers Association and Independent Community Bankers of America, and the typical EFF and ACLU, and yes, even Moby and Michael Stipe all support this. And ya know, i gotta support what Moby does.. ;) Seriously though, this issue is pulling together people who would never side with one another. From the land of geekdom, to financial sectors, hollywood, online content providers, religious groups, conservative and liberal groups, the press and financial firms. If congress doesn't listen to this loud voice rising up.. I'll give up hope for this nation because rarely do you see people come together like this. Rarely do you see this many organizations agree over such an issue.

Vested Interest (1, Interesting)

shoolz (752000) | more than 8 years ago | (#15416131)

As much as I respect Bram, I'm not going to include his voice as being relevant for the net neutrality discussion.

Anybody with a vested interest cannot add anything other than personal slant to the discussion.

Re:Vested Interest (1)

insignificant1 (872511) | more than 8 years ago | (#15416284)

Have you no vested interest in how the net works? Hmmmm... So who do you ask about this one? The Amish?

Re:Vested Interest (1)

SwashbucklingCowboy (727629) | more than 8 years ago | (#15416341)

So he has a vested interest - that doesn't mean what he has to say isn't relevant or useful.

Re:Vested Interest (2, Insightful)

faboo (198876) | more than 8 years ago | (#15416368)

Brotha', then all our opinions are irrelevent. Everyone who uses the internet will be directly affected, both monetarilly and personally, by the presence or abscence of net-neutrality. To say that someone with an interest in the outcome of the debate cannot have a valid, arguable opinion implies that no one who is affected by the outcome can way in. And frankly, given that the passage of the Net-Neutrality bill will directly affect me, you're fuckin' right I'm going to have an opinion.

Re:Vested Interest (1)

westyx (95706) | more than 8 years ago | (#15416411)

Uh, everyone has a vested interest in the outcome, Bram included. His voice is more relevant than most, cos he actually understands wtf goes on. He might not be right, but to dismiss him because he doesn't agree with you is a load of crock.

Interesting response from Cohen considering... (4, Interesting)

NeoSkandranon (515696) | more than 8 years ago | (#15416138)

I'd be willing to wager that something like Bittorrent, which seems to have a habit of choking/flooding a connection, would be prioritized flat at the bottom of the list unless otherwise paid for.

Re:Interesting response from Cohen considering... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15416311)

Some ISPs already do this, which drop speeds to unusable levels, hence the development of the encrypted torrent streams in the 3 top clients, which Bram is also against.

greedy telcos (1)

aldendsouza (855420) | more than 8 years ago | (#15416143)

My ISP charges me 14$ a month for an unlimited 128kpbs connection. I've been downloading about 45-50 GB a month with no problem. Obviously the 14$ a month covers the cost of the maximum bandwidth that can be consumed by a 128 kbps connection in a month. If my ISP can do it, any ISP can. Balls to those Greedy Telcos.

Re:greedy telcos (2, Insightful)

SwashbucklingCowboy (727629) | more than 8 years ago | (#15416328)

Obviously the 14$ a month covers the cost of the maximum bandwidth that can be consumed by a 128 kbps connection in a month.

Actually, it doesn't. It covers what the ISP believes the average user with that connection speed will use. If every user of that ISP consumed the maximum amount of bandwidth 24/7 the ISP would have to raise prices significantly.

the argument is moot (3, Interesting)

TheSHAD0W (258774) | more than 8 years ago | (#15416209)

So let ISPs start giving priority on bandwidth for some things, and maybe limit bandwidth for others. Over time, let people yell and scream, and companies figure out ways to provide premium services without irking their customers too much, and ten years from now when everyone has 25-megabit connections no one will care because even "low tier" bandwidth will be enough for a couple of high-quality video streams simultaneously.

1 good idea doesn't make you infalible (3, Insightful)

BlackErtai (788592) | more than 8 years ago | (#15416237)

This falls into the same category that anything Linus says does for me. Just because you've had one good idea, doesn't mean we should listen to you about anything else. Bram doesn't sound like he knows what he's talking about, and he's using the position he gained by inventing something lots of people use to push his opinion. Linus tries that all the time, and I usually don't give him the time of day either.

Needs to rethink... (1)

GuyverDH (232921) | more than 8 years ago | (#15416272)

He suggests there'd be no difference between big media footing the bill for their own upload costs of their offerings and subsidizing the consumer's download costs of the same.

Umm - yes there would be.

Because they'd be paying for their own upload costs plus the consumer's download costs. This increases their costs, which in turn would increase our costs.

Of Laws and Men (2, Insightful)

dsanfte (443781) | more than 8 years ago | (#15416300)

A big problem with western society today is this: We have seen how corrupt and untrustworthy people can be, and we attempt to codify what we want in our laws such that the reading of them is infallible enough to keep these corrupt and untrustworthy people from doing harm.

It doesn't work.

No law can be rigid enough to be interpreted flawlessly by everyone and yet be flexible enough to catch the exceptions that eventually crop up.

It requires human judgement to really tell if something contravenes the spirit of the law, and yet we tie the judges' hands with specific, rigid definitions of how to judge the case. We attempt to remove human judgement from the equation because we do not trust it. This is utterly stupid.

The only way to get Net Neutrality to work is to establish an ideal scenario of how the Internet should work, and giving judges the leeway to decide whether certain cases that crop up go against those established ideals. Yes, this also means selective enforcement, which is only a bad thing if you have bad people making the enforcement decisions.

If people would stop electing corrupt and otherwise untrustworthy invidviduals to positions of power, we would not have to worry so much about these things. It is the responsibility of the people to weed out the political landscape and leave only the trustworthy. Obviously we have been slack.

Judgement calls in cases like Net Neutrality are necessary, and if made by trustworthy and integrous people, will solve a lot of these bickering problems we have trying in vain to construct a law so perfectly worded that it can bend both ways backwards at the same time.

Network Neutrality SOUNDS Good (1)

SwashbucklingCowboy (727629) | more than 8 years ago | (#15416321)

And if done the right way perhaps it could be good. However, consider a company like Vonage that provides VOIP services. They have a need for better service - if the speed of a connection isn't sufficient then Vonage and other VOIP providers go out of business. Why shouldn't they be able to buy Quality of Service (QoS) for their products?

It seems to me there are three basic levels of net use:

  1. Real time services, e.g. VOIP and web casting.
  2. Interactive, non-real time services, e.g. web browsing.
  3. Other services, e.g. email, bit torrent, ftp, etc.

Admittedly, it can be difficult to differentiate between #2 and #3 (e.g. differentiate between a user browsing a site and a spider indexing a site).

If network neutrality were maintained within those levels of service that might work. But why should there be a first come first serve mentality when dealing with VOIP versus email? That just doesn't make sense to me.

Get A Clue!!! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15416352)

For those of us who build telco networks, this discussion of network neutrality is all just plain silly.

There are many ways to get internet data from source to desitinantion. If a company wants to buy into a faster or better connected network, that is the choice they make. That has always been the choice the content providers make. The customer does not have any implicit rights to the best path unless the content provider has made the choice to be on the best path.

As for building a fast lane, that is just a bunch of BS the telcos are pumping so that they can build a new internet which they control . . . for the sake of cheaper video transport and more effective cost recovery. Yep . . . it is all about money.

It is all just a big distraction. Network Neutrality is just a hand wave to keep your attention while the other hand is busy.

Telcos cannot transport cable TV (IPTV - iow non-reg content) on their broadband networks for free. So, they want to prioritize bandwidth at different qualities and different prices. They in turn will take advantage of the new price structure to keep their own video transport costs low. At the same time, they can sell it to the rest of the world as a diffentiated service offering for content providers.

This also acts as a way to protect their own IPTV offerings from internet based IPTV offerings.

This is sneaky on so many levels. And, if someone manages to enact legislation to protect the rights of the consumer, I cannot imagine how they would enforce it.

Leave the internet alone!!! You don't want it to be any more complicated than it already is. If half of the SlashDot readers actually understood what it takes to build/operate/support/maintain the physical internet, this thread would be completely different.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?