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The Real Issue With Net Neutrality

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 8 years ago | from the people-always-the-problem dept.

239

An anonymous reader writes "TechDirt brings into focus one of the largest problems in the net neutrality debate, not the issues themselves, rather it's the people involved and the lies they like to sling. An example of this is certainly the number of lobbyists that are being looked to as 'experts' and getting their opinions published as such. One specific example was a recent piece published in the Baltimore Sun by Mike McCurry, a lobbyist working for AT&T who claimed that with new legislation working for net neutrality Google wouldn't have to pay a dime. In response, TechDirt has suggested that McCurry should swap telco bills with Google, somehow I doubt it will happen."

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There is no "net" to be "neutral" with. (5, Interesting)

dada21 (163177) | more than 8 years ago | (#15826526)

The Internet does not exist. It is a figment of the imagination of people in power and the laymen who listen to them. I come from a glorious history of the BBS days (I ran a fairly large multinode Chicagoland BBS for years) where I witnessed the "birth" of the consumer Internet -- thousands of interconnected mini-networks that created a larger one. Now it is millions of mini-networks that make up this thing we call the Net, but it still doesn't exist. There are thousands of Internets, and there is no real way to regulate them.

We have to realize that EVERY law that goes into existence does so for two reasons:

1. To try to fix some problem that exists TODAY.
2. To try to give more power to the few who love power over the masses.

These both go hand-in-hand. Laws don't regularly leave the books, so they stick around for generations, usually preventing new creations from makig our lives better. The power passes hands from one politician to the next, and the elite few know they can use that power to make their lives better at a very small expense to each individual of the masses. What do you care if a regulation costs you US$10 a year more? When 100 million taxpayers each pay that US$10 per year for a regulation or preferential treatment, someone is taking in US$1 billion because of it. It is in their interest to keep the laws on the books.

Net neutrality doesn't matter because the Internet as it is today doesn't matter. Over time, preferred networks will have to occur in some way, and that is OK. AOL had their own network, but it failed. Compuserve had a huge "Internet" for years before IP was the preferred transport, and it failed. Google has its own network of caches and archives, but it isn't what people want to browse (I rarely use Google's cache, unless a site is down or gone). Right now people will switch from ial-up to DSL to cable based on their desire to access information quickly. You can switch over in less than 2 weeks, sometimes days.

But there are reasons some are precluded from switching easily. Usually it is because a local municipality or state has laws creating a monopoly provider. You can't blame competition for this -- you can blame government. Now some people want to give more power to the Federal government even though the Constitution says they can't have that power. It won't matter -- the politicians are producing large amounts of FUD (along with the businesses that rely on government's ability to create monopolies in markets) to scare the average consumer into believing the "Net" will fall apart if it doesn't remain neutral.

It won't happen. As long as government doesn't create monopoly powers through Internet regulations, the Net will change to what the consumers want. Right now, the municipalities that dictate which monopoly provider can give the residents access create HUGE problems for those residents. States that do the same also create a huge problem for their residents. Imagine if we pushed those problems to the national level -- we'd all lose the ability to work around monopoly-mandates created by government.

Don't do it -- don't give the Federal government ANY chance to regulate or require ANYTHING. Let competition give us what we want. Competition crushed AOL, Compuserve, and Prodigy in the U.S. Competition crushed the BBSes that hung around while ISPs gave users more information and quicker. Competition crushed the modem to be replaced by 8 different ways to connect to other computers. Competition crushed the CD, the DVD and the newspaper. Let it crush more so we get more for less.

you are getting ahead of yourself.... (4, Informative)

krell (896769) | more than 8 years ago | (#15826556)

"Competition crushed the CD, the DVD and the newspaper"

The DVD is in its prime right now. For that matter, CD sales are still brisk (even now) and there's a lot of dead trees turning into newspapers.

Re:you are getting ahead of yourself.... (4, Insightful)

dada21 (163177) | more than 8 years ago | (#15826588)

The DVD is in its prime right now.

You mean "peaking." Blockbuster and NetFlix offices are running around freaking out as we push our net connections to 1Gb/s -- more than fast enough to display HD video real time to the home. While sales numbers may keep climbing, I would venture a guess (an industry-educated guess, at that) that the DVD is already replaced with XViD and fast connections. Two more "evolutionary" steps for video and HD-DVD will be forgotten, too.

For that matter, CD sales are still brisk (even now)

I'm already helping bands sell their music at shows straight-to-iPod. A US$100 device (basically a memory stick, a button and an iPod cable) lets bands make infinite margins since they have zero distribution cost (no CDs, no printing costs, etc). It won't be long for CD to be forgotten, either.

and there's a lot of dead trees turning into newspapers.

Massive layouts at every newspaper, the resurgence of limited-distribution zines online, and the blogosphere would disagree with you in terms of the next 2 years.

Are you a professional writer and/or... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15826747)

software company owner?

I've seen your posts and your discussions about running a software company and compensating your developers. But when I do a credit check on "Adam Dada", I get nothing. Yet, there are a couple of :"A Dada" out there, but none of them are registered principles of software companies - cleaners and other retail establishments. Dada is a pretty common name - go figure!

I'm not trying to be too nosy, it's just that it seems that you have enough free time to make, as far as I'm concerned, some quite insightful comments. I've followed your links and read somemore of your stuff.

Unless, your businesses are registered with some other priniciples, (I don't see your software company) it looks like you're a writer by trade.

I'm curious because I'd like to have a similar lifestyle - if you're for real. I don't mean any insult, it's just that; well, you know better than I considering you've been on the 'Net MUCH longer than me, you can be whomever you want online.

Yours Truly;

Gandolf

Re:Are you a professional writer and/or... (-1, Offtopic)

dada21 (163177) | more than 8 years ago | (#15826852)

I'm curious because I'd like to have a similar lifestyle - if you're for real. I don't mean any insult, it's just that; well, you know better than I considering you've been on the 'Net MUCH longer than me, you can be whomever you want online.

I'm very good about keeping my companies under holding companies rather than under myself. This is a good question, though, and it is one that a lot of slashdotters are asking me often.

There are 3-4 Adam Dada's in the U.S. that I am aware of. There are some searches that will bring up a little "proof" that I am real:

A Google search of "Adam Dada" (with quotes) [google.com] brings up an old article in Electrical Contractor Magazine that talks about my IT consulting business. It also brings up an ancient BBS text file [textfiles.com] list that has my old BBS phone number for my old BBS (The Melting Point) which grew from a single node to 5 nodes to 12 nodes before I sold it just before the Internet boom (I foresaw it and knew I'd never compete). Going to page 2 of that search pulls up an advertisement for my (failed) retail chain of stores that fell apart due to a bad accountant not filing taxes properly. I lost about US$300,000 on that business last year.

There are those who want to "mimic" my lifestyle, but they don't see how it is done. I'll be talking about how I do what I do in my Be The Boss blog (click my about URL) in the next week or two. There are a few secrets:

1. Love information over fast financial gain.
2. Take huge risks to get into a market before the average layman has heard of it
3. Find a GREAT team that will support your business responsibilities so you can enter new markets.
4. Live life without great expense (by used cars, don't buy a huge house, focus on real savings rather than gambles)

Life isn't easy, but I always feel that you need to re-invent yourself every 2-3 years. The reason why I have so many stories and knowledge on so many topics is that I've taken huge risks (with rewards and losses) to keep reinventing myself. Many of my businesses I've started are still around today (like www.deeplabs.com which I founded 13 years ago and is very successful in a niche market). Many of my businesses I've started are gone in name because I either sold them or gave them to a previous employee, so the names have changed by the people that know me will thank me in person but understand my desire to keep my name off of things as I don't believe in ego or pride -- I believe the best we can do is just keep finding what the market wants, provide it, and move on to a new market.

Re:Are you a professional writer and/or... (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 8 years ago | (#15826949)

I lost about US$300,000 on that business last year.
You sure about that? In a response to one of my posts earlier this year, that $300,000 figure was much lower... an order of magnitude lower, IIRC. If I was a subscriber, I'd check my post history (and/or yours) for the specific post.

Any subscribers care to dig through our post histories?

Re:Are you a professional writer and/or... (1)

dada21 (163177) | more than 8 years ago | (#15827038)

You sure about that? In a response to one of my posts earlier this year, that $300,000 figure was much lower... an order of magnitude lower, IIRC. If I was a subscriber, I'd check my post history (and/or yours) for the specific post.

We closed up shop in Q4 of 2005 (or were forced to, actually). My original figures were US$40,000 of debt that wasn't easily payable. 12 different attempts to liquidate our inventory (which I believe was about US$200,000) failed, so we had to use a liquidation company which ended up losing us about US$160,000 (the final numbers are still pending). We had leases to pay out (which I didn't realize would be as costly but we were unable to negotiate) as well as tax liabilities which we're still auditing. My original figure of US$40,000 grew to US$100,000 quickly and seems to have settled around the US$300K mark as of last Friday. According to my lawyer, it may come down about 30% depending on settlements and some outstanding income, which I'm hoping is true because it still is a year or two of income out the window.

That is the unfortunately aspect of business failure -- as time goes on, losses grow. We were expecting a Christmas profit of about that loss figure (around US$300,000) which was going to help us open 5 more retail stores. I'm not one to factor "future income" lost as a real lost, but I'd peg that figure at around a clean million over the next year had we not had the issues we had (and the State which kept us from fixing the problem).

I've received a very small deal from a publisher to go through the 4 years of our history -- how we grew so fast, how we fell so fast, and what it was that we should have done to protect ourselves. Hopefully I can get the entire story (with back up facts) done after we've actually closed the books completely and legally without anyone still dangling. I hate having ex-customers and suppliers hurt over our mistakes. The odd thing is that the loss actually gave me a little more room to sell my services because I had now had both sides of the business cycle: profit and failure. Life is funny.

Re:Are you a professional writer and/or... (3, Funny)

Karma Farmer (595141) | more than 8 years ago | (#15827041)

There are those who want to "mimic" my lifestyle, but they don't see how it is done.


You live in a trailer park in south milwaukee and drive a used toyota corolla. Who, exactly, do you think wants to "mimic" your lifestyle? Junis?

Re:Are you a professional writer and/or... (2, Informative)

dada21 (163177) | more than 8 years ago | (#15827101)

You live in a trailer park in south milwaukee and drive a used toyota corolla.

Actually, I now own 6 mobile homes in my area (halfway between Milwaukee and Chicago) and am expanding that holding to at least 20 throughout the country in the next few months in hopes of a pending bubble collapse that will leave a lot of families needing a place to move to. The mobile home idea came directly from Gary North [lewrockwell.com] 's article on opportunities and living expenses last year (the article I link to is a more recent recap of his 2004 opinion that I can't seem to find right now).

Last year the lady and I drove new cars (Land Rover, Volkswagen and a Lexus) and lived in a large house and had a few vacation homes. Liquidating these unneeded assets have expanded our ability to do what we want (travel, spend time with our church, etc) rather than worry about how we'll pay the bills each month.

Who, exactly, do you think wants to "mimic" your lifestyle? Junis?

I'm not sure who Junis is, but considering that I've helped a few dozen people downside their lives and increase their happiness and free time in the last year (through example alone), I think far more people would wish they made adaptations like I did.

There were years when I made a strong 6 figures and had really zero to show for it. Now I can make 1/2 my previous income but my monthly living expenses are about 90% lower. If you're working 50-60 hours a week and have no money to travel, raise kids, spend time with friends and family and do the things you want to do, you may not realize how profitable it can be to downsize extravagently. Owning a US$400,000 house in Chicago was not as amazing as I thought it was (especially since most of my friends owned similar homes on 95% debt). Owning 20 US$20,000 trailers throughout the country that I can live in when I am on a work contract really makes my life easier. Try it sometime.

As for the Toyota Corolla, that has been a long standing joke between friends here and in real life. We're a 4 vehicle family (SUV, Toyota beater, car to drive customers around in and a joy ride vehicle). We're still trying to downsize all those vehicles to two.

Re:Are you a professional writer and/or... (5, Funny)

jafiwam (310805) | more than 8 years ago | (#15827087)

Wow.

Haven't seen masturbation like this on Slashdot in a while.

What, is Fark.com down or something?

Re:you are getting ahead of yourself.... (4, Insightful)

SoCalChris (573049) | more than 8 years ago | (#15826862)

Blockbuster and NetFlix offices are running around freaking out as we push our net connections to 1Gb/s -- more than fast enough to display HD video real time to the home. While sales numbers may keep climbing, I would venture a guess (an industry-educated guess, at that) that the DVD is already replaced with XViD and fast connections.
Don't forget that a good part of the country still does not have broadband available. Video streaming in is impossible for many places, not to mention streaming in HD. Physical media isn't going anywhere, for quite a while.

Re:you are getting ahead of yourself.... (2, Informative)

dada21 (163177) | more than 8 years ago | (#15826912)

Don't forget that a good part of the country still does not have broadband available. Video streaming in is impossible for many places, not to mention streaming in HD. Physical media isn't going anywhere, for quite a while.

Really? I see you as being wrong. Check out this image [cable-modem.net] . For those VERY few white spots on the map, you have Satellite broadband [wildblue.com] which is available in 99.9% of the US.

According to various trade journal publications, the days of 1.5Mb/s are over, soon to be replaced with 1.5Gb/s bandwidth almost everywhere -- except where the municipality or the state prevents it.

Re:you are getting ahead of yourself.... (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15826982)

According to various trade journal publications, the days of 1.5Mb/s are over, soon to be replaced with 1.5Gb/s bandwidth almost everywhere -- except where the municipality or the state prevents it.
According to the trade journal publications I read, the days of 1.5Gb/s bandwidth are over. Anarcho-capitalist IT geeks are working on multiple competing 1500Gb/s bandwidth networks, beamed to every square inch on earth, and costing less per day than a cup of coffee.

If you didn't know about this, you're obviously not leet enough to read the trade journal publications I read.

Re:you are getting ahead of yourself.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15826992)

According to various trade journal publications, the days of 1.5Mb/s are over, soon to be replaced with 1.5Gb/s bandwidth almost everywhere -- except where the municipality or the state prevents it.Source?

Re:you are getting ahead of yourself.... (4, Insightful)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 8 years ago | (#15827096)

The scary part of that map is that the green areas are areas in which there is still no viable competition. One telco plus one cable modem provider does not competition make. That means for maybe 3% of the country, there is a true broadband marketplace, and the other 97% still gets stuck with a bill for $50/month for 384/128k. Yes, I'm exaggerating a little, but only a little....

Re:you are getting ahead of yourself.... (3, Informative)

SoCalChris (573049) | more than 8 years ago | (#15827142)

According to your image, I live in an area with 1-3 high speed providers available. The one that is available offers an 84kbps connection over 802.11b, which is hardly enough bandwidth for streaming video in any resolution, let alone a resolution that I would want to watch full length movies on. The connection that they provide is often unreliable. They won't improve the connection, because they don't have any competition for us to go to instead. The phone company does not offer DSL anywhere near us, and there is no cable tv company here.

Satellite is available, but I doubt I would be able to watch most of a 30 minute tv show before they throttled my connection down for using too much bandwidth.

Re:you are getting ahead of yourself.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15827175)

I have to say that map is not accurate at all. According to that map, I live right near the border of 4-6 providers and 1-3 providers. However, there is not a single provider except for satellite broadband, which, according to their website, charges 50 dollars a month for 1.5 Mb access. This still is not nearly good enough for decent broadband let alone HD video.

Re:you are getting ahead of yourself.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15827188)

That map may show very few whitespots, but it is NOT very representative of availability. We have 3 high speed providers in my zipcode, ONLY cover a tiny (town) portion of the total area. Wildblue/Satallite is not at this point close to viable for quality video. It's marginal for even websurfing, especially sonsidering the bandwidth caps (7.5g, so maybe 12 hours of good quality video per month)

Re:you are getting ahead of yourself.... (1)

DrBdan (987477) | more than 8 years ago | (#15827011)

I'm already helping bands sell their music at shows straight-to-iPod. A US$100 device (basically a memory stick, a button and an iPod cable) lets bands make infinite margins since they have zero distribution cost (no CDs, no printing costs, etc). It won't be long for CD to be forgotten, either.

Do you find that a lot of people actually bring an iPod to shows? That seems like a bizarre idea to me since in my mind I'm going to a show to see live music, what do I need to listen to my iPod for? Maybe there is a market but it seems rather strange to me. I would be worried about losing it or possibly breaking it if the show gets rowdy (which many a great show should)

On a (sorta) related note, technically any amount of sales divided by zero distribution cost equals undefined margins, not infinite :)

Re:you are getting ahead of yourself.... (1)

krell (896769) | more than 8 years ago | (#15827127)

Even though one has peaked and the other two have started to decline, the statement "The competition crushed" is still getting way ahead of yourself. "Crushed" is past tense. Right now, the CD and the DVD far outsell their competition: something that would not be the case if they were "crushed" already. I do not know the stats for newspapers.

another question (1)

krell (896769) | more than 8 years ago | (#15827146)

"I'm already helping bands sell their music at shows straight-to-iPod."

Do you really mean iPod? Or to MP3? Will these bands have to have listeners buy iPods just to hear them? Is this $100 device just an iPod Shuffle? That is what it sounds like you are describing.

Mod parent up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15826565)

He couldn't be more right.

Re:Mod parent up (-1, Flamebait)

Karma Farmer (595141) | more than 8 years ago | (#15826632)

He couldn't be more right.
Based on his prior posts, your assessment of dismal dada's facilities are probably correct. No matter how hard he tries, or how many times he posts, he'll probably never get anything right, let alone more right.

Re:There is no "net" to be "neutral" with. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15826678)

"Don't do it -- don't give the Federal government ANY chance to regulate or require ANYTHING."

Your faith in the God of capitalism is touching if misplaced.

Re:There is no "net" to be "neutral" with. (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 8 years ago | (#15827024)

Yes, but the god of capitalis triumphs over the satan that exists in gov.

Sadly, that has been proven over and over, and yet we will continue to do it again.

I have to go for a shit... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15826681)

I'll report the details.

Re:There is no "net" to be "neutral" with. (3, Insightful)

BalanceOfJudgement (962905) | more than 8 years ago | (#15826691)

As long as government doesn't create monopoly powers through Internet regulations
I frequently read your posts, and sometimes I wonder what you're really after.

The government has ALREADY created monopoly powers for internet companies - unless you want 45 different lines running down your street, you get one, maybe two providers.

The tradeoff that these natural monopolies provide is that they don't get to benefit from being a monopoly (i.e., regulation and price ceilings). It's a non-ideal solution for an unsolveable problem, but it's a necessary solution that is practical, much as the anti-regulation crowd may hate it.

Everyone I've seen rail against regulation on the grounds that "regulation never encourages competition" always seems to forget that Net Neutrality proponents are only trying to restore the very balance that DID exist, the balance that the FCC removed last year.

Re:There is no "net" to be "neutral" with. (3, Insightful)

dada21 (163177) | more than 8 years ago | (#15826752)


The government has ALREADY created monopoly powers for internet companies - unless you want 45 different lines running down your street, you get one, maybe two providers.


Huh? Why is this a problem? 45 different lines won't occupy much more space than they already do -- plus I doubt we'd see this problem as I think we'd see companies dedicated to pulling lines to re-lease to others if we had more competition in the municipalities. To think that every company would want their own lines is unrealistic, just as every company doesn't do their own website hosting or handle their own business card printing in house or whatever. Companies that can offer services to others will always be around. I'd rather see 3 or 4 competitive line-leasers than 1. In my community, we already have about 8 ISPs over various mediums (and 2 WiFi ones).

The tradeoff that these natural monopolies provide is that they don't get to benefit from being a monopoly (i.e., regulation and price ceilings). It's a non-ideal solution for an unsolveable problem, but it's a necessary solution that is practical, much as the anti-regulation crowd may hate it.

Of course they get a benefit -- they get to set the prices without competition. They get to keep new technologies out of the market, as well. Cell phones were kept out of the market for decades because of Ma Bell's power over everyone else. DSL and Cable were kept out for a long time while old laws were replaced. It is a non-ideal solution because there is an ideal solution -- allow competition.

Everyone I've seen rail against regulation on the grounds that "regulation never encourages competition" always seems to forget that Net Neutrality proponents are only trying to restore the very balance that DID exist, the balance that the FCC removed last year.

It NEVER existed because the "net" was too young and companies were still trying to overcome technological barriers. The FCC is a great evil and arguably unconstitutional. No new law will create any balance or harmony, you have to be incredibly naive to believe that a new law will "balance" a market that is already very competitive and working just fine. Net neutrality, as I said in my OP, is FUD. It doesn't need to exist based on a law, it exists fine without any regulation.

Re:There is no "net" to be "neutral" with. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15826853)

"In my community, we already have about 8 ISPs over various mediums (and 2 WiFi ones)."

Well this may be well and good for you, but what about where I live and not a single high speed service provider finds it worth the money to provide internet access. Eventually, some company might, but when there is only one provider for internet access, net neutrality really comes into play.

Re:There is no "net" to be "neutral" with. (4, Insightful)

MindStalker (22827) | more than 8 years ago | (#15826880)

Beutiful, you get the government to end its support of telecom monopolies and I'll stop supporting Net Neutrality.. Deal?

Re:There is no "net" to be "neutral" with. (1)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 8 years ago | (#15827216)

Not gonna work. The reason there are monopolies in the telecom industry is that for 99% of the country (square-footage-wise), a second company would simply go out of business. Hell, here in the Silicon Valley, we had a choice in local phone companies for exactly a year. Nobody chose it because SBC wouldn't allow a VCLEC and a DCLEC on the same line.. Then SBC bought the other choice. So much for your free market. Not that someone couldn't come in and put in a new wire infrastructure, but that's never going to happen. It costs WAY too much money. If a second company can't even survive in a big city using leased access to lines, there's no WAY that a second company could make it with the hundreds of millions of dollars it would cost to lay down new wires. And that's in a major metro area.

Back home in Tennessee, a competing cable company came in. They drastically undercut the existing company and drove rates down for a while. At the end of two or three years, they concluded that they would not be able to make their investment back, and they sold the infrastructure to the incumbent cable company, who then proceeded to jack up rates well beyond where they had been before to cover their losses.

The problem is that a monopoly on wire services is not only the norm, it is nearly unavoidable even in cities, forget rural areas. The only real choice you have is whether that monopoly is A. unregulated (in which the consumer gets royally screwed), B. highly regulated (in which they can at least be forced to lease the lines to competitors to some degree, but in which the balance will still always strongly favor the incumbent over any competition), or C. government owned (in which line leasing can be done in a fair way that actually promotes competition). What web have now is B. We've tried A. Neither of them work, as should be clear by now to anyone paying the slightest bit of attention. The option that the free market folks seem to want (unregulated competition) simply is not a real option because the natural state of the telco market is, in fact, a monopoly, and the market will thus always gravitate towards a monopoly on its own barring government intervention.

As long as the cost required to string a new line to a piece of property will not be paid for in a single-digit number of years, the practical laws of business prevent competition from developing. The only way to solve this legitimately is to remove those initial costs from the equation, either technologically or financially, and history has shown that the areas with the cheapest, most powerful, and most prevalent broadband are those in which the government has put fiber in the ground and leased it. Thus, I'll stop supporting net neutrality when the government agrees to buy and maintain all of the wire/fiber infrastructure that currently belongs to the telcos on a nationwide basis and agrees to lease it in a reasonable and nondiscriminatory fashion to multiple providers.

Re:There is no "net" to be "neutral" with. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15826887)

I frequently read your posts, and sometimes I wonder what you're really after.
Attention.

Re:There is no "net" to be "neutral" with. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15826936)

*DING*DING*DING*DING*

Re:There is no "net" to be "neutral" with. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15826693)

Yeah, yeah. Competion make me cum too.

The problem is that competition in this case means that any yahoo with a business plan and a backhoe has to be given permission to dig up any street on any schedule. Anything else limits competition and makes this whole "competition will fix all problems" argument a cover for "we need to make sure we don't interfere with the entrenched players ability to control the market."

Oh yeah, and we need to bill AT&T for the BILLIONS we gave them to lay fibre. That would level the playing field real fast.

Re:There is no "net" to be "neutral" with. (1)

spyrochaete (707033) | more than 8 years ago | (#15826699)

Don't do it -- don't give the Federal government ANY chance to regulate or require ANYTHING.

It's not necessary to be proactive about this. It will just happen. Like water, human interest will flow through the path of least resistance. That's why so many people download movies and music - the alternatives are more work and less satisfying. Where there is a crippled internet there will always be 1000 untethered darknets.

Industry, and later government, will adapt or die. For instance, look at your beloved hobby of old - BBSing is still exceptionally popular [dmine.com] but it has adapted to modern times by hosting "nodes" on telnet ports instead of phone wires. As a result of this infrastructure keeping up with the times, old school networks like DOVEnet and FIDOnet, as well as interBBS door games like BRE and LORD are still going strong.

The people will act, if not speak, and the world will work its ass off to keep up with them. Music stores now sell blank tapes and CDs. The movie industry is ramping up to distribute its products legally via Bittorrent. TV shows are starting to use integrated advertising to combat Tivo.

Just keep living the good life today and big business will catch up in 5 years. Keep on muddling.

Re:There is no "net" to be "neutral" with. (1)

IntelitaryMilligence (954944) | more than 8 years ago | (#15826730)

Bool. This has nothing to do with that religion you call competition. I don't give a crap about what your average American Idle wanker wants. The net will not be decided by mob rule. Money doesn't make the net work. Design and communication do. How many P2P traders of documentation (like Rebuilding America's Defenses) give a crap about money? Tell me which "competitive" ISP is offering access to that document? Whose stock is going up because of it?

Your confusing the truck (P2P) with the cargo (PNAC's freudian slip). Net neutrality is entirely about the cargo not the truck. You can talk all you want about being the company that provides better P2P service. I agree no regulation. But when you talk about creating a pipe only for certain cargo then you are RESTRICTING the CHOICES people have.

I want access to information. Information is not a service. Transport, presentation,
interfaces, and organization are services.

I agree with not regulating how information is offered. I do not agree with opening the door to restricting access by way of flooding the market with crap and hoarding technological resources from others who might want to use them differently.

Taking away net neutrality is regulation. Think about it. Company X says only this and that content may go on that pipe. That's REGULATION. THAT IS ANTI COMPETITION.

Besides the Internet is not made of pipes. It can use any stretch of wire it finds no specific path has to made. I get my emails just fine, maybe they should stop outsourcing tech support at the Senator's office.

Do we really want the equivalent of entire highways only for trucks while the rest of us crawl on the highways? What is it about neo-feudalism that people find so appealing.

Re:There is no "net" to be "neutral" with. (5, Insightful)

Zontar_Thing_From_Ve (949321) | more than 8 years ago | (#15826765)

Don't do it -- don't give the Federal government ANY chance to regulate or require ANYTHING. Let competition give us what we want. Competition crushed AOL, Compuserve, and Prodigy in the U.S. Competition crushed the BBSes that hung around while ISPs gave users more information and quicker. Competition crushed the modem to be replaced by 8 different ways to connect to other computers. Competition crushed the CD, the DVD and the newspaper. Let it crush more so we get more for less.

I consider myself a Republican, but I'm going to say something against the party line - the free market does NOT solve all ills! Where exactly is this competition of which you speak? Tell that to the masses of Americans who do not live in large towns and have only source for broadband. Where exactly do they go when their local broadband provider charges them AND Google and friends more?

Guys like you always spout off the same tired nonsense - "If company A charges me too much for broadband, then I'll go to company B!" What exactly do you when there is no company B in your small town?

There are things in life in which it is useful to have government regulation. There are things in which it is useful to not have government regulation. I feel sorry for you that you are yet another person too blind to see that. You are going to get your wish. It's clear that Net Nuetrality is dead and for better or worse (probably worse) we're going to have to live with that.

By the way, AOL and Prodigy are both still around. I don't know about Compuserve. In the case of AOL, I think it wasn't just competition that killed them but other factors.
1) Increasing technical knowledge by their customers who finally realized that there was more to the internet than AOL and its hand holding.
2) Increasing desire of Americans to move to broadband with the realization that AOL didn't really offer any value for the extra money if they already had broadband. It's one thing to pay AOL for a dial up connection. It's something else to pay for broadband AND then pay for AOL on top of that.
3) AOL's prices weren't very good compared to the competition.
4) AOL's very unpopular mail campaigns may have, in fact, turned off potential customers.
5) AOL's terrible reputation for customers being unable to cancel service surely was a huge negative. If you're a 22 year old graduate on your own for the first time are you going to sign up with a service that makes it essentially impossible to cancel? Probably not.

Re:There is no "net" to be "neutral" with. (1)

mi (197448) | more than 8 years ago | (#15826878)

Where exactly is this competition of which you speak? Tell that to the masses of Americans who do not live in large towns and have only source for broadband. Where exactly do they go when their local broadband provider charges them AND Google and friends more?

You should thank earlier efforts to regulate telephony, cable service, and Internet provision for this situation.

More regulation is not the answer... When I get mistreated by a service provider (any service), I don't want to call the district attorney or the regulation agency. I just want to be able to call their competitor.

Re:There is no "net" to be "neutral" with. (2, Insightful)

dada21 (163177) | more than 8 years ago | (#15826890)

I consider myself a Republican, but I'm going to say something against the party line - the free market does NOT solve all ills!

Of course it doesn't -- but it can. I bet that most of the ills you speak of are completely non-existent.

Where exactly is this competition of which you speak? Tell that to the masses of Americans who do not live in large towns and have only source for broadband. Where exactly do they go when their local broadband provider charges them AND Google and friends more?

So start your own provider. I live in a tiny town of about 2000-3000 people. I run my own mini-ISP with my ISP's approval (WiFi to about 32 neighbors now). I used to own property in a farm town in western Illinois, and I set up a very expensive digital line to provide service to about 15 houses out there. They each pay about US$70 for the line and it works great. I long left the area, but I've heard that two more companies have started to compete. In some towns, they can't compete because the town doesn't allow it.

If there is no competition, it is for two reasons: government says no, or there is no demand. Why supply in either case?

By the way, AOL and Prodigy are both still around.

Sure they are, as competitors to the rest. They were HUGE for years, though, and many people thought they'd be monopolies. Competition eased that concern -- not the law.

I'm no republican, in fact I detest the republicans more than the democrats 50% of the time (vice versa the other 50% of the time). I am a-political. If there is a demand, the market will provide a supply if it is not restricted from doing so.

Re:There is no "net" to be "neutral" with. (1)

DarkDragonVKQ (881472) | more than 8 years ago | (#15826995)

Just curious..but what would happen if that ISP you asked said no? My mind isn't working correctly right now (updating some site code) but when I read your post it sounded like you got permission to use your ISP's pipes to create a wifi/landline service. And then they would pay you (or whoever has it now) which then pays the ISP. Am I reading into that correctly? If so, doesn't that still mean the ISP is the only one in town? Considering that you built it off their pipes so they have overall control?

Re:There is no "net" to be "neutral" with. (2, Insightful)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 8 years ago | (#15827064)

with my ISP

And herein lies the rub. What are you going to do when your mini-ISP's ISP kills all your clients' connections to Google? Switch to another ISP who... suprise! ultimately gets their internet connection from the same place you did and is currently having the same problem?

Regulation or no regulation, once the telcos and cable companies have crossed this line, it will be VERY expensive to fix it if they can't be forced to retreat on their own (and seriously, now that the statement of intent has been made, how will one ever know that they have retreated, or that they haven't already crossed the line?). In the meantime, we might as well go back to the old uucp days. I hear the telcos offer reasonably priced flat rate long distance these days...

Re:There is no "net" to be "neutral" with. (1)

mrxak (727974) | more than 8 years ago | (#15826997)

"If company A charges me too much for broadband, then I'll go to company B!" What exactly do you when there is no company B in your small town?
Well since currently regulation requires Company B to have to jump through all kinds of hoops if they're allowed into your small town to begin with, you're in trouble. But this is where "the market will pay exactly what something is worth" comes in. If Company A doesn't offer enough to justify what it's costing you, then you don't pay for it. If they want your business at that price, they'll have to offer more, or lower their price until you want to be their customer. Net neutrality is such a non-issue, it makes me sick every time I have to hear about it. The issue is Companies B, C, D, and E can't get into your small town because of government. Fix that problem with deregulation, and nobody is going to care about "net neutrality".

Re:There is no "net" to be "neutral" with. (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 8 years ago | (#15827150)

The issue is Companies B, C, D, and E can't get into your small town because of government. Fix that problem with deregulation, and nobody is going to care about "net neutrality".

But the reality is that everybody's not talking about deregulation; if anything, the telcos are pushing for more monopoly powers. They want to not have to be neutral and be a monopoly at the same time.

The problem is that since any debate about stopping the monopolies is drowned out by "net neutrality," anyone arguing against it is actually arguing in favor of giving the monopolies free reign over us all. So if you don't like net neutrality, fine. But at least shut up about it entirely until after you've succeeded in removing the monopolies, okay?!

Re:There is no "net" to be "neutral" with. (1)

mrxak (727974) | more than 8 years ago | (#15827207)

I'm arguing against net neutrality, but I'm not arguing in favor of giving monopolies free reign. They already have free reign. What I'm arguing for is to end this pointless debate about net neutrality, and then allow the telcos to come in and bust up the monopolies already in place by cable companies. Ta-da! No more monopolies, and if one of the MSOs suddenly stops being neutral and I happen to care about that, I can easily jump ship to another MSO that is neutral, or not neutral in a way that I don't object to.

Re:There is no "net" to be "neutral" with. (2, Informative)

ampmouse (761827) | more than 8 years ago | (#15827072)

The reason you have no "Company B" is probably government regulation. Sure, I don't what anyone to dig up my street at any time, but how realistic is that? It's expensive to dig up streets, even without government regulation, so I doubt it would happen regularly. "Company A" probably has a government enforced monopoly on the right of ways. "Company A" is happy because they own the market, and you are happy because no one is digging up your street. If you really want a open market with competition, you have to allow anyone to dig up your street at any time, or have the customer install their own line to a location with easy access to multiple providers. Then there is option 3 which is have a government run ISP... I believe the less government the better, so that is not really an option (for me).

Re:There is no "net" to be "neutral" with. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15827116)

"If company A charges me too much for broadband, then I'll go to company B!" What exactly do you when there is no company B in your small town?

The same thing that you did before company A existed; you go without broadband. Either that, or figure out a way to start or help start some competition. Either way, company A has not made you any worse off.

Also, I wonder if, in a libertarian world where all land is privately owned, would broadband have developed the way it did? If individual property owners hired companies to lay cable for them, then each property owner would own his cable, and thus the property owners as a whole could force multiple providers to share the same network of cables in order to compete. That way, the huge capital cost of building a network of cables would only have to be paid once, but the network would not have a single provider.

The existing monopoly is the problem here (1)

jhines (82154) | more than 8 years ago | (#15826791)

Cable companies had to sign franchise agreements with each and every municipality in the US, to provide the service in the first place. In return, they got a monopoly on the service, usually at a cost of a local access channel or something.

The phone companies want "net neutrality" so they can run video in, without having to do this themselves.

AT&T is running TV ads saying this would mean competition, and thus lower video costs (cable bill) to the consumer.

Re:The existing monopoly is the problem here (1)

mrxak (727974) | more than 8 years ago | (#15827074)

Exactly. If you think about it, there are literally thousands of municipalities across the country. Each one (except in the case of a few states passing state-wide franchising laws) must be individually negotiated with, and at all points the current monopoly in your area can lobby against it. It's an extremely expensive proposition to even get permission to compete, and in some cases permission is not being given (there's some lawsuits going around now as a result of unreasonable demands- I saw one case where a county wanted something like 65 public access channels). A lot of these telcos have some really interesting ideas for television and can offer much faster speeds than cable, but they just can't bring it to market because the government is stopping them. It's not a net neutrality issue, it's a government-sponsored monopoly issue.

Re:The existing monopoly is the problem here (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 8 years ago | (#15827185)

AT&T is running TV ads saying this would mean competition, and thus lower video costs (cable bill) to the consumer.

And that is a blatant lie, since, as you said, they've still got their monopoly. In reality, since the monopolies aren't going to lose their advantage, we need net neutrality to keep them from fucking us over.

The only "competition" AT&T wants is pitting MS and Google against each other to bid up the extortion fees for being the "preferred" video provider.

How refreshingly Libertarian! (1)

mi (197448) | more than 8 years ago | (#15826792)

And an FP to boot...

You even pre-empted the usual totalitarian response about the virtues of government oversight.

Mad props and all!

Re:There is no "net" to be "neutral" with. (1)

PMuse (320639) | more than 8 years ago | (#15826828)

We have to realize that EVERY law that goes into existence does so for two reasons:
1. To try to fix some problem that exists TODAY.
2. To try to give more power to the few who love power over the masses.


You missed: 0. Because some one thinks he can make $$$ from it.

Re:There is no "net" to be "neutral" with. (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 8 years ago | (#15827212)

No he didn't. Money is power, therefore your reason #0 is identical to his reason #2.

Re:There is no "net" to be "neutral" with. (4, Insightful)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 8 years ago | (#15826869)

But there are reasons some are precluded from switching easily. Usually it is because a local municipality or state has laws creating a monopoly provider.
And often those people would have no access to broadband if it weren't for regulated monopoly. In exchange for building out to West Dingleberry, the telco is granted the sole right to serve that area. Otherwise the risk outwieghs the potential profit.

As long as government doesn't create monopoly powers through Internet regulations, the Net will change to what the consumers want.
Hardly. As long as there is competition in a hugely capital-intensive market, you'll have a minimum of providers undercutting potential new competition, along with collusion. At best you'll get very, very slow one-upmanship without major capital improvements.

Competition crushed the CD, the DVD and the newspaper. Let it crush more so we get more for less.
Let it crush more? So that we have fewer, not more, options as to how we get deliverables? Unregulated markets of non-commodity goods (like internet service) result in monopolies and oligopolies. That's the natural state... even your totally unregulated Austrian model has to adjust for monopolistic force in order to work properly. If you really want better performance in terms of net result for the consumer, you either need to take actions to prevent monopolies, or take actions to regulate them -- whether you're from the Austrian school of thought (such as yourself), the Keynesian (such as the FRB), or another (such as myself). In the case of the telcos, it was determined that regulation was a better bet because of the alternative would have either been state-owned infrastructure, or no service to less dense areas.

Re:There is no "net" to be "neutral" with. (1)

dada21 (163177) | more than 8 years ago | (#15826984)

And often those people would have no access to broadband if it weren't for regulated monopoly. In exchange for building out to West Dingleberry, the telco is granted the sole right to serve that area. Otherwise the risk outwieghs the potential profit.

There are numerous satellite broadband providers [wildblue.com] offering 1.5Mbps down and up to 256Kbps up throughout all 50 states at around US$50 to US$100 per month. Nothing precludes one person from getting a corporate account that allows reselling of the bandwidth. These speeds are only held back by FCC regulations.

Hardly. As long as there is competition in a hugely capital-intensive market, you'll have a minimum of providers undercutting potential new competition, along with collusion. At best you'll get very, very slow one-upmanship without major capital improvements.Let it crush more? So that we have fewer, not more, options as to how we get deliverables?

Every thing I listed that was crushed was replaced by more choice and lower cost. Regulation did not help this, it was the lack of regulation that gave people incentives to take risks. Some people failed, but the hardware and labor up to that point was bought by someone else to use.

Unregulated markets of non-commodity goods (like internet service) result in monopolies and oligopolies. That's the natural state...

No, it isn't. Look at www.dslreports.com to see how many competitors there are -- the less regulation there is in a municipality, the more competition there is.

even your totally unregulated Austrian model has to adjust for monopolistic force in order to work properly. If you really want better performance in terms of net result for the consumer, you either need to take actions to prevent monopolies, or take actions to regulate them -- whether you're from the Austrian school of thought (such as yourself), the Keynesian (such as the FRB), or another (such as myself). In the case of the telcos, it was determined that regulation was a better bet because of the alternative would have either been state-owned infrastructure, or no service to less dense areas.

Again, untrue. Once local service regulations were reduced (and not removed), we saw incredible outreach for cell phone service and broadband access. It wasn't the regulations that gave us this growth, it was new technologies that were finally allowed to compete with the old and dead monopoly technologies that provided it.

I can (and have) driven all over the country and North America and I'm shocked at the cell reception I get compared to 5 years ago. This isn't regulation that provides for consumers, it is companies taking risks. In small towns, we seen tiny companies put up a cell phone tower to re-lease to the large providers so that they can offer their customers service.

Re:There is no "net" to be "neutral" with. (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 8 years ago | (#15827193)

No, it isn't. Look at www.dslreports.com to see how many competitors there are -- the less regulation there is in a municipality, the more competition there is.
Look again in 10 years. Also, whose fiber are they using? How did that fiber get there (who paid for it, and why were they able to afford to pay for it)?

Again, untrue. Once local service regulations were reduced (and not removed), we saw incredible outreach for cell phone service and broadband access. It wasn't the regulations that gave us this growth, it was new technologies that were finally allowed to compete with the old and dead monopoly technologies that provided it.
What happened prior to the big tech change? I'll freely admit that faced with new technology, a lot of outdated regulation needs to be revamped or removed. However, an unregulated market is rarely the answer for non-commodity goods in the long run.
There are numerous satellite broadband providers offering 1.5Mbps down and up to 256Kbps up throughout all 50 states at around US$50 to US$100 per month. Nothing precludes one person from getting a corporate account that allows reselling of the bandwidth. These speeds are only held back by FCC regulations.
Wildblue charges $80/mo for 1.5Mbps down / 256Kbps up (max), and they limit heavy users (like most telcos) which would prevent effective resale. Plus, $300 for the receiving equipment. Plus, how scalable is that? Wildblue (and others) would have to invest MAJOR capital to get more satellite space if they handled even 1% of the traffic out there. As of now, they are limiting themselves to hopefully being able to offer consistent 3Mbps down to businesses. A far, far cry from 1.5Gbps down, as you claim is around the corner (or would be w/o govt restrictions).

Re:There is no "net" to be "neutral" with. (1)

kahei (466208) | more than 8 years ago | (#15826906)


Gosh, you're right, everything should be left up to large companies to decide! I'm sure they'll make a decision that's in our best interests!

Seriously, you convinced me. A body whose mandate is to make profit quarter by quarter is bound to act more in the public interest than a body whose mandate (however theoretical it may sometimes appear) is to serve the public!

You know what would be cool? If there were _no_ regulations and _nothing_ to stop whichever corporations are best able to exploit the planet and the people on it! That would rock... ..IN BIZARRO LIBERTARIAN WORLD!

Re:There is no "net" to be "neutral" with. (1)

xappax (876447) | more than 8 years ago | (#15826914)

It's clear that you're a free-market advocate, and that's fine, but it seems like net neutrality is a significant and serious enough issue to warrant more than a regurgitation of a general political philosophy. The basic theme I got from your post was "it's foolish for the government to regulate the internet because competition will solve all of the problems".

I'm not saying you're wrong, exactly, just that bringing nothing to the table but a broad ideological theory isn't very helpful or convicing. If you can give some examples or scenarios of the terrible effects of a government-mandated neutrality clause, that might help shift the debate from a contest about whose ivory-tower ideology is better to what real-world solution will be best for everyone on the internet.

Re:There is no "net" to be "neutral" with. (1)

mrxak (727974) | more than 8 years ago | (#15827133)

If nothing else will convince you, consider this. Do you really want a bunch of people in their 50s-70s who don't understand even the most basic of technologies involved with the internet to control it? Regardless of whatever flaws ISPs may have, at the very least they understand the technology, know how to use it, and are willing to take risks to get a greater profit. And remember that that profit comes from customers, who if given choices, will pick the service that will provide them the greatest service for the least price. In the free unregulated market, you can vote on a daily basis with your dollar. If you leave these decisions up to those who don't understand the technology or your needs, and rely heavily on lobbyists, how can you possibly get the most for that dollar?

Re:There is no "net" to be "neutral" with. (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 8 years ago | (#15827010)

I am all in favor of this, as long as we stop all the monopolies which have lead to oliglopolies. Once we prevent these and allow real competition, then unregulated business can happen.

The other choice (and perhaps a better one), is to minimize the monopoly. Basically allow a company to serve from a CO (or perhaps the green box) to the home. They will be regulated and will NOT be allowed to do anything else WRT content or overall network. While I am not a big fan of regulations, it can be seen that a small monopoly for the hardest part makes sense.

Re:There is no "net" to be "neutral" with. (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 8 years ago | (#15827151)

The Internet does not exist. It is a figment of the imagination of people in power and the laymen who listen to them. I come from a glorious history of the BBS days (I ran a fairly large multinode Chicagoland BBS for years) where I witnessed the "birth" of the consumer Internet -- thousands of interconnected mini-networks that created a larger one. Now it is millions of mini-networks that make up this thing we call the Net, but it still doesn't exist. There are thousands of Internets, and there is no real way to regulate them.


You are correct, of course. Just as FidoNet was (is?) a collection of "nets" (as store-and-forward networks go), so is the Internet a bigger and more elaborate collection of Nets. There is no central control. There is no Net. Everyone network is just hooked to everyone else's network. That's it.

BTW--slightly OT here, but I just knew there was a reason I liked you. Which one did you run? ExecPC?


Don't do it -- don't give the Federal government ANY chance to regulate or require ANYTHING.


As if they had the power in the first place. The Commerce clause doesn't give them any more right to regulate the Internet than it does to the FCC to regulate the airwaves. But they just continually ignore the highest law in the land, referring to it as "archaic" and "out of date". The Founding Fathers must be rolling in their graves...

Re:There is no "net" to be "neutral" with. (1)

d3mifly (941061) | more than 8 years ago | (#15827186)

Thank you! I'm so sick of the "rush to legislate" to fix and engineer us into a perfect society. It doesn't work. We need to value freedom and the market above all else. Even if we think evil corporation will do evil things. One persons evil is another's good thing - so who decides evil? that's when you fall into the trap.

Re:There is no "net" to be "neutral" with. (1)

teflaime (738532) | more than 8 years ago | (#15827195)

You almost had me convinced until you said that competition will give us what we want. We want better service at lower prices. Corporations want more money for less output. Mutally exclusive goals. Not that regulation will fix it; it is an intractible position where all sides are morally bankrupt.

Potatoes are a series of tubers (-1, Offtopic)

spyrochaete (707033) | more than 8 years ago | (#15826558)

I have nothing insightful to add to this discussion. Just wanted to post an image of this wicked shirt from the recent HOPE conference making fun of Ted Steven's dumbassery:

http://www.boingboing.net/2006/07/23/best_series_o f_tubes.html [boingboing.net] If you really want to know what the internet is, read World of Ends [worldofends.com] .

Re:Potatoes are a series of tubers (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15826575)

Net Neutrality is a deception and conspiracy theory [pentex-net.com] . Let's at least wait for some sign that **in the USA** companies express a desire to return to the old Prodigy/Compuserve/AOL model that has been cast aside a decade ago.

Re:Potatoes are a series of tubers (2, Insightful)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 8 years ago | (#15826796)

Does it count that the company execs have explicitly stated that they would like to do this?

You get to shut the fuck up, or at least not post anonymously. Or when I have more time, I'll carefully rip apart the pile of crap you linked to. "If it had been left to the government..." Yes, but it was done with BOTH the corporations AND government support. Take government funds, suffer goverment regulations. Fair's fair.

Re:Potatoes are a series of tubers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15826840)

OH NOES!!!!!1!!@@! The Big Bad Evil Corporations are going to take my intarweb away!!!!

Re:Potatoes are a series of tubers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15826850)

I don't know, but you could be right.

What?! (5, Funny)

chipotlehero (982154) | more than 8 years ago | (#15826601)

During the course of a political debate people are lying?!

William Randolph Hearst must be rolling (more specifically ROFLING) in his grave.

Ted Stevens (3, Funny)

Rorian (88503) | more than 8 years ago | (#15826616)

So.. was Ted Stevens one of those "experts" they're talking about?

Re:Ted Stevens (1)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 8 years ago | (#15826660)

Well, he's a genuine expert, and was correct on many things. There are indeed, as he said, massive amounts of data on the interent. He was also right that the internet is NOT a truck, and it WILL take a while to receive the internet if someone sends it to you.

Re:Ted Stevens (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15827141)

No the Internet is a series of computers (truck) and pipelines (tubes), without computers than the pipeline has no purpose. get your facts.

Re:Ted Stevens (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15826742)

Seeing politicians try to understand technology is

a. funny

b. sad

c. funny and sad

I can't wait until the far future when someone or a robot with a logical grasp of networked communications is in charge of things that have to do with networked communications. Unfortunately I am of the opinion that in todays climate if you logical enough to understand networks than your too logical for politics which is mostly based on emotions of crowds.
 
that or as some poster said yesterday, everyone should get involved in politics if they have a problem with it, than every pasty geek and other non-politico citizen will be in congress and we can have a gov't larger than all the private sector citizens put together. than we'll all be in charge, that will work. right?

FWIW (4, Interesting)

Otter (3800) | more than 8 years ago | (#15826673)

An interesting point I saw recently (in Forbes, I think) is that this issue is perfect for politicians to keep fighting out. There's an enormous pile of money from lobbyists on both sides, a handful of nerds and Google suckups are the only votes to lose on one side and there are none to lose on the other. So why not keep it going as long and as loudly as possible?

As long as I'm posting -- is this Ted Stevens "tubes" stuff not becoming as annoying as flying spaghetti and chair throwing references? It's not like more than a handful of those smarmy dweebs could actually explain to you how IP or Ethernet really does work.

Re:FWIW (1)

TopShelf (92521) | more than 8 years ago | (#15826764)

You can be certain that it won't be settled until well after the election cycle is through this year. There is so much cash involved in this fight that both parties won't stop until they've topped off every soft-money fund they can. At that level, it's only seen as a battle between one group of huge corporations and another group of huge corporations. The general consumer has no say whatsoever in this.

Re:FWIW (1)

Billosaur (927319) | more than 8 years ago | (#15826873)

The general consumer has no say whatsoever in this.

Too true. Ok, so you don't like Comcast's stand on neutrality; are going to go to Verizon? Bell South? The consumer is a chicken in a lair of wolves.

Net Neutrality boils down to a clash of the titans: pipe providers vs. content providers. Both have buckets of cash and its doubtful that this grudge match is going to resolve much. You know that in a non-neutral world, Google will simply run its own fiber everywhere and thumb its nose at the telecoms.

Re:FWIW (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 8 years ago | (#15826823)

I could explain it, but more importantly, have you actually read Ted Stevens' statement? It's not just the "tubes" reference, that's part of a much larger completely moronic rant. He obviously has no fucking clue what he's talking about. Fortunately, you seem to, so you should realize that pretty quickly from the actual statement.

The rules are simple -- don't act like a moron, and you won't be immortalized as one. Ted Stevens, Jerry Taylor, and Steve Ballmer deserve every bit of ridicule they get, and more. Never forget Jerry Taylor or Tuttle, OK.

Ironic that Slashdot itself in "non neutral". (0)

Rotten168 (104565) | more than 8 years ago | (#15826680)

If you pay more and subscribe, you get more services! It's criminal! ;)

Re:Ironic that Slashdot itself in "non neutral". (2, Interesting)

Billosaur (927319) | more than 8 years ago | (#15826841)

If you pay more and subscribe, you get more services! It's criminal! ;)

Services? What are these "services" of which you speak? Other than getting to nip a few ads, see upcoming stories so I can pre-prepare my rants, and the extra karma point, there aren't many services I enjoy as a subscriber that I can't live without. I subscribe to support Slashdot and help keep it running. Plus I write the contribution off on my taxes... oh wait...

Re:Ironic that Slashdot itself in "non neutral". (1)

Bryansix (761547) | more than 8 years ago | (#15826998)

But you don't get those services at the cost of the main content that you did not pay for. Now if you paid to subscribe to Slashdot and suddenly the front page loaded more slowly and you couldn't connect to MSN at all then you would be on to something.

What the lobbyist really means (3, Insightful)

netwiz (33291) | more than 8 years ago | (#15826690)

Is that Google won't have to pay above and beyond their already astronomical bandwidth costs. Bloodsucking parasites...

Re:What the lobbyist really means (1)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 8 years ago | (#15826902)

Google doesn't have very high bandwidth costs from my understanding. They peer with EVERYONE. I'm three-four hops from them on my Speakeasy DSL connection in Chicago.

Me -> Speakeasy Exchange -> Google Router in Chicago -> Google Web Server in SJ, CA

Re:What the lobbyist really means (1)

Jobe_br (27348) | more than 8 years ago | (#15827174)

I am not an expert (IANAE) - but I would guess, off hand, that the "peering" you refer to is costing Google a pretty dime, especially if they peer with everyone. Google peering with Speakeasy is not the same as Sprint peering with BellSouth - the latter peering is saying "I'll carry your traffic, if you carry my traffic, deal?" - the former (Google's "peering") is saying "I'm going to put this router right here, please direct any traffic to these Google IPs to this router, instead of into the 'cloud'. Then Google routes it over its own network (I guess, from what you indicated from your trace). Google would still need to be paying for that.

Cheers.

Re:What the lobbyist really means (2, Interesting)

tinkerghost (944862) | more than 8 years ago | (#15826910)

Is that Google won't have to pay above and beyond their already astronomical bandwidth costs.

Remember, the Telco line is that Google is making a fortune using their networks & they are getting nothing out of it. They are currently hoping people ignore/don't know that while you pay for your connection, the site you connect to is also paying - again the whole double dip thing.

The telcos got over $5B in tax credits/subsidies in order to improve the network - they promised 40Mbps. Now they say that unless they can get more money by charging for priority and bandwidth, they can't improve the network. I know that $5B only runs so much fiber ($1M/mile in urban areas), but since up to 70% of fiber is unlit (2005 data) [com.com] I don't think the problem is running more fiber.

Personnally, I think that the next time some telco asshat says they don't make any money from Google, Google should have a press conference with a printed hardcopy of it's entire montly bandwidth bill. I figure opening the backdrop curtain to reviel a dumptruck of paper being poured onto the stage should get the idea across.

can a wired net be old hat? (3, Insightful)

mugnyte (203225) | more than 8 years ago | (#15826739)


  Municipalities are pushing wireless access. Home networking is hot. Wireless access is unibquitous. Add it up. Soon enough, links from one cloud to another will start to happen. When enough content exists within those hops to let users surf for longer and longer time periods before hopping to a big-pipe ISP, you're going to see this mess move on. The largest middleman of the internet to get cut is...the backbone!

    To read the (some of) local newspapers in my hometown (oregonlive), I may be able to go from the city to them. I want more wireless hosting, or perhaps mirrors. It seems this is the only path towards skipping these monopoly wires. Then, they'll have to again offer better price/value points than this garbage bill.

 

Re:can a wired net be old hat? (1)

orielbean (936271) | more than 8 years ago | (#15826888)

But I thought one of the admirable things of the internet was cutting out the inter-library loan. I can connect to the Japan cloud, Brasil cloud, and Massachusetts cloud with the same amount of ease. The fact remains that these ISPs keep the backbones humming and the fiber lit - and that is also why we can download huge torrents and stream videos from Youtube and MMORPG with huge graphics and lowered lags. Your town clouds all subsist on those backbones.

One of the ways out of the monopoly market of ISPs comes from towns and cities taking back the maintenance and infrastructure of the backbones that pass through them.

I live in suburban Mass, where cable selection is nil - the company comes in, takes over the wires and upkeep, and gets to have the monopolies. In the cities, where the government controls the wires, the companies have to compete and the consumer gets a deal.

I have no idea about the tug of war btw private industry vs public utility being "better". That is a different debate, but at least we can all agree monopoly abuse always stifles competition and innovation.

When did he learn to lie so well (1)

Geccie (730389) | more than 8 years ago | (#15826749)

Wow - this guy sure shed his morals since leaving the Whitehouse. I wonder where and from whom he learned to lie so well.
yes, I realize the other side is no better!

As many have stated - we already pay for the infrastructure. Its just passed on to us from the ISP.

Geccie

Swap telco bills? WTF? (0, Redundant)

mi (197448) | more than 8 years ago | (#15826761)

In response, TechDirt has suggested that McCurry should swap telco bills with Google, somehow I doubt it will happen."

What was this piece of rhethoric supposed to expose? I doubt, TechDirt would want to swap their bills with Google either — with or without net-neutrality...

Re:Swap telco bills? WTF? (1)

DMNT (754837) | more than 8 years ago | (#15826876)

I have four words for you - and they aren't "I love this company"

Read the f*ing article!

I quote the article [McCurry:]"The "neutral" proposal that companies like Google are touting will ensure that they never have to pay a dime no matter how much bandwidth they use, and consumers who may only use their computers to send e-mail and play Solitaire get to foot the bill."

The whole issue is about companies will to triple charging: they already charge the end users, there's the service that gets charged for its bandwidth. Now they want to charge the service by the end user ISP.

Re:Swap telco bills? WTF? (1)

mi (197448) | more than 8 years ago | (#15826989)

I quote the article [McCurry:]"The "neutral" proposal that companies like Google are touting will ensure that they never have to pay a dime no matter how much bandwidth they use, and consumers who may only use their computers to send e-mail and play Solitaire get to foot the bill."

Thank you for the clarification... I still doubt, anyone would want to swap their telco bills with Google — with or without net neutrality, their bill is very large anyway.

The whole issue is about companies will to triple charging: they already charge the end users, there's the service that gets charged for its bandwidth. Now they want to charge the service by the end user ISP.

Your grammar is very hard to parse. But, frankly, I don't see, why it should be the government's business to decide, who gets to charge whom and how much — unless there is a threat of a monopoly breaking anti-trust laws, that is. The law, which are on the books for about a century now. No need for new ones.

Re:Swap telco bills? WTF? (3, Insightful)

DrJimbo (594231) | more than 8 years ago | (#15827145)

mi said:
Thank you for the clarification... I still doubt, anyone would want to swap their telco bills with Google with or without net neutrality, their bill is very large anyway.
That was exactly the point. McCurry implied Google was getting free Internet access from the telcos and TechDirt implied that McCurry probably wouldn't want to swap phone bills with Google. If McCurry's claims were literally true and Google wasn't paying anything for Internet access then he would want to switch with them since free is cheaper than whatever he is currently paying.

mi said:
I don't see, why it should be the government's business to decide, who gets to charge whom and how much unless there is a threat of a monopoly breaking anti-trust laws, that is. The law, which are on the books for about a century now. No need for new ones.
The telco's are supposed to already be regulated by the FCC (part of the executive branch of the government) because they are already monopolies. The current administration is trying to dismantle as much regulation as it can get away with. These efforts recently did away with enforcing regulations that had been keep the Net "neutral".

In theory at least, our government is composed of three official branches which are supposed to balance power through a system of checks and balances. If the Legislature feels that the Executive is abusing its power by being way too lax in enforcing the existing laws and regulations then the proper way for them to deal with that situation is to pass new, more explicit, laws even though there are already laws on the books that have been working just great for the past 100 years. This is how our government is supposed to function.

To put it in other words: we didn't have a friggin' Internet 100 years ago so laws that were meant to regulate the steel, gas, and railroad industries may need to be updated in order to be applied correctly to a type of monopoly that wasn't even imagined 100 years ago.

The lay have no way to truly know (4, Insightful)

w33t (978574) | more than 8 years ago | (#15826763)

How can normal, non-technical people hope to have a chance of understanding our new world of today and the laws being applied to it?

I have spent the last few months speaking (sometimes drunkenly) at great lengths about the net neutrality concept - a concept, which quite frankly, I had taken for granted (I didn't really realize the net was neutral, it's just how it has to work). Many of my friends had fallen for the idea that a tiered internet would simply mean better and faster access to video and music. After all, didn't they pay more for "premium" channels on TV?

My one friend, so adamant - largly because he is naturally agumentative - finally began to realize how easily those in power (and today information is power - has it even not been?) can manipulate the ignorant. He realized this only after he asked me to look at his computer to see why his comcast was so slow (and why his vonage was cutting-out).

I ran a simple trace route and noticed that it appeared requests to local IPs were being routed through dallas and new york from his home in Sacramento. I told him I didn't think this was the best way to reduce the latency he was getting from his long distance calls and online gaming. I hypothesize that by comcast routing some clients through these innefecient routes they were somehow load-balancing the demand on their network (of course, new york, dallas, and chicago could just be fancy names for comcast's local california routers - but it seems a dubious naming scheme for local devices).

Without me, his technical friend, he would simply continue to accept his connection as is - and in fact may begin to attribute his degraded service to the FUD of the internet "falling apart".

There are so few of us who can fully (or at least somewhat) grasp what the debate really means - how can the vast majority of non-technical, voting citizens possibly make informed decisions about this?

Re:The lay have no way to truly know (1)

blindbug (979761) | more than 8 years ago | (#15827068)

How can normal, non-technical people hope to have a chance of understanding our new world of today and the laws being applied to it?
Quite frankly, in many cases, they can't. The government (lobbyists) further exacerbate the FUD by choosing slick names like 'Net Neutrality' to make it even harder for grampy to determine which side they are on. This is what the lobbyists want. They make it extremely hard to decide which side you are on, they control the media and the content, allowing them to lead the flock exactly where they want them. Sure a few sheep will get out of line, but in a 'democracy' you only need majority control...

Never change a running system (1)

Elektroschock (659467) | more than 8 years ago | (#15826768)

It is intresting to read sourcewatch. You may find out a lot about these lobbyists. And it is important to take part in lobbying yourself. It is real fun to beat them. If Telcos do not respect net neutrality users will switch to other service.

Re:Never change a running system (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15826899)

WTF other service is there numbnuts? Carrier pigeons?

All internet data goes through "telcos". Get a clue.

Net Neutrality and Quality of Service (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15826863)

The primary justification for not having "Network Neutrality" is so that vendors can differentiate content based on how "important" it is. This is often called "Quality of Service" and measures for requesting this sort of stuff is quite established (RFC 1349), and maturing (RFC 2474). These specifications define a portion of each Internet packet that specifies how "important" the packet is, it's so-called "Traffic Class" (IPv6) or "Type of Service" (IPv4). Not only is differentiation of packets based on this service-level a good idea, it has been standardized.

What is important in Network Neutrality legislation is to ensure that Internet providers do not discriminate based on: (a) the type of content sent, or (b) the sender and/or receiver. What sort of discrimination should be permitted, however, is a differentiation of "quality of service" depending on what the sender/receiver has paid for: with the same rates applying across all of their customers. Hence, the legislation in this area should permit technical advancement in mechanism to partition service based on quality -- but not innovations which extract monopoly rent from particularly lucrative customers and/or content types (or unfavored customers and/or content types).

A good analogy is sending first-class mail via USPS, the price is the same no matter where the destination is and regardless of what the letter in the envelope says. The "common carrier" doesn't open up letters to see if there is a check/cash inside, and charge a 1% fee for sending monetary instruments. The USPS doesn't differentiate between Joe or Martha in line, play political favoritism, or deliver particular customer's mail faster than others, etc. What USPS does differentiate on is the size of the content sent (ie, number of letters) and on the speed of delivery -- you can get 2nd day overnight, etc. The point is, all businesses and content are equal from the point of view of the mail carrier. So too should the transmission of internet packets be neutral to the sender/receiver and the actual message sent.

By fighting that all packets are equal is a losing (and wrong headed) battle. What is important is that we fight for democracy on the Internet: Vonage should get the same quality of service per dollar as AT&T VoIP services and even completely unrelated content, such as Google searches. What is being sent and by whom should be forbidden from the price/quality curve - but there should be a curve.

Re:Net Neutrality and Quality of Service (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15826945)

http://www.freesoft.org/CIE/Course/Section3/7.htm [freesoft.org]

Type of Service: 8 bits (2nd 8-bit octet in every internet packet)

The Type of Service provides an indication of the abstract parameters of the quality of service desired. These parameters are to be used to guide the selection of the actual service parameters when transmitting a datagram through a particular network. Several networks offer service precedence, which somehow treats high precedence traffic as more important than other traffic (generally by accepting only traffic above a certain precedence at time of high load). The major choice is a three way tradeoff between low-delay, high-reliability, and high-throughput.

      Bits 0-2: Precedence.
      Bit 3: 0 = Normal Delay, 1 = Low Delay.
      Bit 4: 0 = Normal Throughput, 1 = High Throughput.
      Bit 5: 0 = Normal Relibility, 1 = High Relibility.
      Bit 6-7: Reserved for Future Use.

Precedence
    111 - Network Control 011 - Flash
    110 - Internetwork Control 010 - Immediate
    101 - CRITIC/ECP 001 - Priority
    100 - Flash Override 000 - Routine

The use of the Delay, Throughput, and Reliability indications may increase the cost (in some sense) of the service. In many networks better performance for one of these parameters is coupled with worse performance on another. Except for very unusual cases at most two of these three indications should be set.

The type of service is used to specify the treatment of the datagram during its transmission through the internet system. Example mappings of the internet type of service to the actual service provided on networks such as AUTODIN II, ARPANET, SATNET, and PRNET is given in "Service Mappings" [8].

The Network Control precedence designation is intended to be used within a network only. The actual use and control of that designation is up to each network. The Internetwork Control designation is intended for use by gateway control originators only. If the actual use of these precedence designations is of concern to a particular network, it is the responsibility of that network to control the access to, and use of, those precedence designations.

McCurry's Favors (3, Insightful)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 8 years ago | (#15826875)

Google is worth $117B, just like McCurry's boss AT&T. He won't be swapping his phonebill for Google's. But I bet he'd still rather pay his $0 Google bill than his phonebill, even if it's from AT&T.

Do your part! (5, Informative)

lord_mike (567148) | more than 8 years ago | (#15827027)

Here is a list of senators and their positions on Net Neutrality...

http://www.savetheinternet.com/=senatetallybyvote [savetheinternet.com]

You can call toll free through the Capitol switchboard at 888-355-3588.

Ted Stevens is trying to force a vote on Thursday, so there is little time! Each phone call is considered to be worth about a 1,000 votes the general election, so your phone call will make a difference!

The follwing three senators are crucial:

- Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas
- Ben Nelson of Nebraska
- Joe Lieberman of Connecticut

You can make a difference!!! Call now!

Thanks,

Mike

Network neutrality simplified (4, Informative)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 8 years ago | (#15827131)

I wrote a quickie article in an attempt to simplify network neutrality for the lay person [72.14.207.104] .
(I linked to the Google cache 'cuz my server won't take the load and Coral Cache [coralcdn.org] seems to be down)

The problem with let the market decide argument... (5, Insightful)

nhz (992573) | more than 8 years ago | (#15827155)

is that there is almost no competitive market to allow the market to provide the service customers want. Most big markets in the US have a duopoly, where 2 companies (DSL and cable) control almost all of the broadband internet market share. And do not tell me there are wireless MANs, broadband over power, satellite broadband, and other options for customers. The majority of U.S. residents do not have these ISPs available as options.

I would agree that there should be no legislation to force any net neutrality on telcos, but these companies are expressing their INTENT to discriminate against specific content providers. And when both your dsl and cable company discriminate in a similar fashion, by having tiered services, how can you choose to take your business elsewhere?

Put yourself in the shoes of the executives at the telco companies. If you want to maximize your company's profits, the best thing to do might be to create an artificial shortage of bandwidth for everyone once ANY company is willing to pay for premium routing service. Now consider the point of view of the content providers. You might want to be the first company willing to pay AT&T, Comcast, Verizon, etc. for premium routing service so that you have a competitive advantage in terms of performance. Of course, you will only want to pay for premium service if there is a performance benefit compared to non-premium service, hence discrimination is key for opening this new revenue source.

Yes, letting the market decide instead of forcing legislation is the best option in a truly competitive environment, but we do not have such competition in the U.S.

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