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ISP Guarantees Net Neutrality, For a Fee

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the what-price-fairness dept.

The Internet 217

greedyturtle writes "Ars Technica has up an interesting article on the first ISP to guarantee network neutrality. It's called COmmunityPOwered Internet, aka Copowi. The offer of neutrality comes at a higher price — mostly due to uncompetitive telco line pricing schemes — $34 for 256K DSL, $50 for 1.5 Mbs, and $60 for 7 Mbps. The owner claims to need only 5,000 subscribers to move his ISP into the national arena from the 12 Western states where it now operates. Would you be willing to spend the extra bucks for network neutrality?"

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217 comments

Naga..naga..nagannahappen (5, Insightful)

ShaunC (203807) | more than 6 years ago | (#20301413)

It ain't gonna work.

They don't own any fiber. The access that they can deliver is at the mercy of the telcos who provision their lines. And while they claim that presently they have cushy arrangements which allow them to do whatever the fuck they want with the bandwidth as long as they pay for it... Who guarantees that agreement will remain in place? The first time a Copowi user turns into a warez pup, what's to say the local DSLAMs won't just "dry up?"

Cute idea. I wish it could work. Ain't gonna survive in our current sad state of Intellectual-Property-uber-alles, especially when one single entity owns the last mile in just about every jurisdiction of this country. Sure, I'd like to start up my own "I don't give a fuck" ISP, too. If only I owned a fiber run to everybody's house, it would be a piece of cake.

Re:Naga..naga..nagannahappen (0)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#20301457)

Umm.. what does anything you're talking about have to do with net neutrality?

for your edification [wikipedia.org].

 

Re:Naga..naga..nagannahappen (3, Insightful)

ShaunC (203807) | more than 6 years ago | (#20301483)

I know good and well what "net neutrality" means. How do you offer such, as an ISP, when you don't own any infrastructure and you have to piggyback on the big boys? If you're offering DSL over lines that really belong to Verizon or SBC, how can you promise your customers that all connections are equal?

Re:Naga..naga..nagannahappen (1, Insightful)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#20301511)

By, say, shaping every connection equally?

Re:Naga..naga..nagannahappen (1, Insightful)

The One and Only (691315) | more than 6 years ago | (#20301545)

And if Verizon or AT&T decides to shape the traffic on the lines you're reselling, you're hosed.

Presumably they signed a contract.... (2, Insightful)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 6 years ago | (#20302909)

Presumably they signed a contract which mentions that sort of thing.

Re:Naga..naga..nagannahappen (1)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 6 years ago | (#20301593)

these guys are just piss ant small timers, fuck they don't even have 5000 users, do you think them shaping traffic on their network is going to do anything once it goes up stream to at&T?

Re:Naga..naga..nagannahappen (3, Informative)

ShaunC (203807) | more than 6 years ago | (#20301601)

OK, here's the point I'm trying to make.

Consider that there's company V. Company V owns the phone lines. They sell DSL connections to their subscribers, giddy little consumers who are happy to pay whatever company V would like to charge.

Along comes company C. Company C claims "we won't mess with your connection! You will get Google, and YouTube, and MySpace, and Fox News, and everything at the same speed. We will never throttle anything or attempt to meter it based on content! We are all about net neutrality!" And subscribers flock to company C, as they would tend to do in a free market.

However, company C has to buy their connectivity from company V. And company V never made any agreement with company C's subscribers about how their traffic might be throttled. Suddenly, company C is trying their best to provide "all connections are equal" access to their subscribers, but company V keeps interfering. Company C's subscribers who try to load videos from YouTube find it difficult, though they can load videos from Fox News in real-time. And who's to blame? Does company C suck, or is company V holding a brother down?

I wouldn't want to be company C when this shitstorm erupts. I wish Copowi the best of luck, and I hope they get EFF on their side, but I predict they're going to sink like a lead tuna.

Re:Naga..naga..nagannahappen (2, Interesting)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#20301629)

Yup, and what *I* said was that they could shape everyone the same. That is, if YouTube gets shit bandwidth then Fox News gets shit bandwidth. Neutral doesn't have to mean good.

Re:Naga..naga..nagannahappen (3, Insightful)

ShaunC (203807) | more than 6 years ago | (#20301669)

OK, then; who's going to sign up for internet access with company C, knowing that they cater to the lowest common denominator and give everyone shit bandwidth? That sounds more like company V, who already exists and is generally the only option for many people.

Re:Naga..naga..nagannahappen (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20301677)

I'm doing my best to not troll or flame when I say that you have rained on cowshit for a brain.

Re:Naga..naga..nagannahappen (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20301895)

Yeah, he tried to burn the OP over a misunderstanding, got called on missing the point, and instead of owning up to it or just shutting up he just kept charging ahead.

Is he drunk or high or just stupid? The world may never know.

Re:Naga..naga..nagannahappen (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20302337)

Okay. Company C, has an agreement with company C which states that company V will not fuck around with the bandwidth they are selling to company C. Since company C is buying the bandwidth off of company V, this agreement can reasonably be put into place. If company V breaks this agreement company C can sue company V for breach of contract.

This is the sort of thing I'd expect in this case.

That's not net neutrality (2, Insightful)

danaris (525051) | more than 6 years ago | (#20302571)

It's worse than that, ShaunC.

See, even if company V (rolling their eyes and sighing in exasperation) decides to be nice and let company C keep its promises, company A over there, though whose pipes 75% of the traffic from companies V & C must flow, is still trying to make a few extra (million) bucks screwing everybody else in the world, and they're throttling YouTube, but prioritizing MySpace because they paid up.

Dan Aris

Re:Naga..naga..nagannahappen (5, Interesting)

gujo-odori (473191) | more than 6 years ago | (#20301645)

The thing is, net neutrality is not really about the last mile. I used to be a sysadmin at an ISP, and utilization of last mile bandwidth was never the issue. Whoever they are leasing the local loops from doesn't care per so about whether my DSL line is saturated all the time or not. Net neutrality is about load on the backbone carriers' networks, and below that, on downstream ISP networks. It can also be just about extra profits. A couple cases to illustrate each:

1) Simple load. There's an overselling of bandwidth formula by which all ISPs make money. If the aggregate bandwidth of all your customers is X, you don't have to have X amount of backbone bandwidth, because they aren't all online at once, or all fully utilizing their links when they are. You only need some fraction of that amount. You've got this all worked out, but then along comes Youtube, IM with voice, Vonage and other VoIP carriers, Bit Torrent, online music and video stores, etc., and in pretty short order, your average user is consuming far more bandwidth than they used to and your oversell ratio just went out the window. To maintain level of service, you can do a couple of things: the first is to throw a bunch of money at the problem, upgrading your bandwidth, your core and edge routers, the whole nine yards. The trouble is, this is expensive, and while the routers are a sunk cost, bandwidth is a running cost. Profit margins are very thin for ISPs, generally, so to remain profitable you would have to raise prices. But Internet access is very price sensitive, and the first one to raise prices is going to see customers walking, in large numbers. The other option is traffic-shaping. You prioritize some traffic over others, and put the bandwidth-hogging stuff like Youtube, BT, online music and vidoe stores, etc, at the end of the bandwidth line. Unless, of course, Google, the stores, etc., are willing to pay you money. Now you have a way to finance that infrastructure without raising rates. Net neutrality is dead, but you're still alive. And Bit Torrent? Oh well, nobody's paying there, so BT is just going to have crappy performance on your network.

2) Greed. I'm a big ISP. I want to get into the VoIP business for myself, so I do. My service is super, and it's cheaper than the phone company. My customers like this. Trouble is, there are VoIP companies out there competing with me, like Vonage and Packet 8. Their service isn't as good as mine (I used to use Packet 8, now use Vonage, and in between had a cable company's VoIP service, so I'm talking from experience here; but Vonage is pretty good), but it's almost as good and it's over 1/3 cheaper. A lot of customers like that even better. What to do? Ah, I know! Traffic shaping! Packets for my own VoIP service get routed at a higher priority than other VoIP services. No their service is no longer almost as good as mine. My customers may or may not really like this, if they even pin it on me, but now my service is worth the premium I charge for it b/c I made the others look bad. Net neutrality is dead, and I can no longer claim with a straight face to be a common carrier like a telco, but I'm making more money and can use it to finance the greater bandwidth demands from case 1, above (along with the fees I'm socking the content providers with to not be traffic-shaped on my network).

This, then, is the problem facing Copowi: They may practice complete net neutrality within their network, consisting of their edge, their core, and the local loops they are leasing. However, if their upstream (be it a major backbone carrier or just a larger ISP who in turn connects to a backbone provider) doesn't practice net neutrality, it doesn't really matter much that Copowi does, except on traffic local to their network, which isn't a whole lot.

Of course, if their upstream starts traffic shaping on VoIP, P2P, whatever, and Copowi wants neutrality, they do have an option: pay to have no shaping on traffic going in or out of their network. And lo and behold, this appears to be exactly what's going on. From TFA:

"The telcos have so far been happy to provide unregulated access if Copowi is willing to pay for the bandwidth."

Between that and the fact that the telcos lease local loops at a profit, of course Copowi is going to cost more. Always. But, for real net neutrality, it may be worth it for enough people that they can build a business on it. I wish them luck.

Re:Naga..naga..nagannahappen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20302851)

I can no longer claim with a straight face to be a common carrier like a telco

They never claimed they were one, which is why laws like the dmca give them explicit safe harbor provisions.

Also, if they were a common carrier, breaking common carrier regulations doesn't mean they "lose it", it means fines and jail time, just like it means for the guy who opens your mail.

Re:Naga..naga..nagannahappen (1)

RobBebop (947356) | more than 6 years ago | (#20303327)

Maybe you know something I don't....

The trouble is, this is expensive, and while the routers are a sunk cost, bandwidth is a running cost.

Would the running cost be operating and powering the servers, which provide the bandwidth? Maybe I am nitpicking but it seems oversimplified to say that bandwidth is a running cost. If the servers have an achievable 99.999% uptime, and can auto-recover during the 0.001% when they are down per year, and if the servers are connected to some self-sustained power factory (like a wind farm, or something) then the cost of "running the bandwidth" would go to zero, would it not?

Oh well, nobody's paying there, so BT is just going to have crappy performance on your network.

I thought BT was a distributed application... which makes it better for serving content to the internet than the client/server model anyway. I've seen business plans in Wired for "Movie Distribution" to use a BT-like distribution model to spread the cost of bandwidth across the internet (i.e. monopolize their customers) to keep their costs down. Is there something I am missing which would give a server who is paying for their pipes such a big advantage over the BT distributed method? I can imagine a server paying for service to be assured 500kbps upload speeds, but isn't that offset by BTs ability to connect to 10 different client-servers at 50kbps a pop?

Re:Naga..naga..nagannahappen (1)

McDutchie (151611) | more than 6 years ago | (#20302289)

If you're offering DSL over lines that really belong to Verizon or SBC, how can you promise your customers that all connections are equal?

By negotiating contracts to that effect with Verizon or SBC? If they break the contract, they can then be sued for damages.

Re:Naga..naga..nagannahappen (2, Insightful)

NickFortune (613926) | more than 6 years ago | (#20302397)

By negotiating contracts to that effect with Verizon or SBC? If they break the contract, they can then be sued for damages.

So the way to preserve net neutrality is for our ISPs to pay the big carriers not to downgrade our packets? And this is a good thing because otherwise they might demand payment from our ISPs in order for them not to downgrade our packets?

Makes you wonder why no one thought of this before, really.

Re:Naga..naga..nagannahappen (1)

volkris (694) | more than 6 years ago | (#20303371)

First, "preserve" net net neutrality? No, the notion that have net neutrality now (or had it recently) is a falsehood. You should say "gain" net neutrality.

Anyway, no, that's not what's being claimed at all. The way to gain net neutrality is to pay the big carriers not to intelligently shape their bandwidth, blindly shuffling it back and forth. This makes complete sense, as the blindly shuffling approach is more expensive for them (given equal quality)...so why not expect that cost to be passed along to customers?

Re:Naga..naga..nagannahappen (1)

RobBebop (947356) | more than 6 years ago | (#20303477)

By negotiating contracts to that effect with Verizon or SBC? If they break the contract, they can then be sued for damages.
So the way to preserve net neutrality is for our ISPs to pay the big carriers not to downgrade our packets? And this is a good thing because otherwise they might demand payment from our ISPs in order for them not to downgrade our packets?

I have doubts on any business model that has "sue your vendor" as a fail-safe for profitability, especially when the vendors are the big and powerful telcos. I suppose it beats the current trend of business models that include "sue your customers" or "sue a company that has successfully implemented a business plan that you had vaguely described on paper several years ago".

This is a step in the right direction, and it suddenly makes the "300kbps or less" deals that ISPs have been selling for years look particularly smart.

Re:Naga..naga..nagannahappen (3, Insightful)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 6 years ago | (#20301497)

My guess is they pay the ISP more money so the traffic isn't throttled back. The telecom industry has been doing this illegally for years. Remember in the 1990s when there were hundreds of ISPs to chose from? Now how many are left?

I wonder what would happen if the public works water and sewer companies tried to do this? Maybe have 2 year contracts and charge by flush and you must pay a surcharge if you move for money they would lose? Pay it or shit in your backyard in an outhouse?

I view the telecom industry as no different here since the lines are tax payer owned and paid for.

Re:Naga..naga..nagannahappen (4, Insightful)

lucas teh geek (714343) | more than 6 years ago | (#20302081)

see that would never fly, but not because it's entirely different (it's not, i agree with you on that), but because the luddites in power understand that water is an essential service. they understand that they need water to have a shower in the morning, and they need water to flush their toilet. but the internet... in their minds nobody NEEDS the internet, after all isnt it all just porn and email? why is that important? (their thinking, not mine)

Five years ago... (1)

Elemenope (905108) | more than 6 years ago | (#20302715)

I'd have agreed with you. Now? I think you underestimate just how much people have realized that Internet access is important to their lives, even if it isn't a technical 'necessity' in most cases. It's much like cell phones: they used to be regarded as merely a convenience (and an ostentatious one at that) but now you are the weirdo on the block if you don't have one, a crazed luddite. I think the same is basically true now about e-mail and Google access.

Re:Naga..naga..nagannahappen (2, Insightful)

spottedkangaroo (451692) | more than 6 years ago | (#20302441)

lines are tax payer owned and paid for.

Perhaps in some places, but certainly not at the telco where I work. All the lines were installed by the construction workers employed the telco where I work. The taxes account for over half the phone bill, but we don't get get anything out of it.

I doubt many of the lines are actually owned by tax payers. I'm sure that's the case in some places, but I would guess most of it is privately owned and privately paid for.

Re:Naga..naga..nagannahappen (1)

peragrin (659227) | more than 6 years ago | (#20302589)

In your case, than the Telco most likely got two benefits.

A local monopoly , and a nice hefty tax break to do the work.

I have one choice for local phone service. One choice for local cable service. If I want something else or am unhappy with either setup I get hacks that don't work quite right, or are dependent on one of those two services to make work.

Re:Naga..naga..nagannahappen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20302577)

Pay per flush?
well it does kind of work that way in the uk, there are water rates and there is water metering. Water rates are a fixed fee per year and you use as much water as you like. with a water meter you pay for the water you use.

Water metering is the water companies preferred system ,however for existing properties with water rates they cannot make you change, although they try to convince you that this would save you money. In reality even a single person will struggle to save anything and a family would definitely pay more. The system also only allows for a switch to water meters, you or future residents do not get the option of reverting back to water rates.

Incidentally unlike electricity or gas where several companies can supply you with the same gas, water companies are a monopoly. You get the supplier for that area.

Re:Naga..naga..nagannahappen (1)

Bearhouse (1034238) | more than 6 years ago | (#20303011)

Where I live, (France) already happens. Water consumption is metered, and includes a charge for treatment costs as well.
Common throughout Europe. So yup, the more you shit, shave and shower, the more you pay...

Re:Naga..naga..nagannahappen (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 6 years ago | (#20303511)

It's funny how this conversation goes. You're talking about the internet as a kind of important infrastructure, but mostly people talk about it as a business service. You're describing AT&T as running the roads while AT&T is trying to convince Congress that they're just running a taxi service. In general, I think people are failing to make the case that the Internet is infrastructure of the sort that the government should be involved. I'm not saying it's not infrastructure, but only that the argument isn't being heard in the mainstream.

Of course, convince people that it's infrastructure and it'll just be neglected like the rest of the infrastructure in the US. Bridges are falling, dams are crumbling, the train system is pretty much dead. Give it a few years, and even the highways won't be drivable.

Re:Naga..naga..nagannahappen (2, Interesting)

bakana (918482) | more than 6 years ago | (#20302137)

No I would not be willing to spend the extra money for net neutrality. Anymore no brainer questions you'd like to ask?

Re:Naga..naga..nagannahappen (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20302503)

Isn't paying more for the full, neutral internet the very definition of a tiered internet... which is the exact opposite of network neutrality?

Re:Naga..naga..nagannahappen (1)

TriZz (941893) | more than 6 years ago | (#20302435)

...isn't this similar to me selling you a microphone and "with a little extra" I'll make sure you can say whatever you want into it?

Pricing not actually that bad (1)

JoshJ (1009085) | more than 6 years ago | (#20301417)

Compared to Comcast, which is $30 (or more, I have no idea what their post-introductory rates are) for internet access that's theoretically 3 megs but more like 1.5, I'd gladly pay for Copowi.

I'm on a college campus so I don't have to, but this could be nice when I leave, if I stay in the States.

Re:Pricing not actually that bad (1)

shaitand (626655) | more than 6 years ago | (#20301537)

'that's theoretically 3 megs but more like 1.5'

I guess it varies from area to area but on Comcast I pay for 8 and get it. Nothing is no ports are blocked, no slow torrents (or any other protocol).

Not bad compared to DSL, either. (1)

Mr2001 (90979) | more than 6 years ago | (#20301903)

I just canceled my DSL from Qwest, which was over $50/mo for "up to 7 Mbps" (actually about 5.5 Mbps). Now I have 6 Mbps service from Comcast, which is $20/mo for six months and then about $45/mo, and in practice it's a bit faster than 6 Mbps, thanks to "PowerBoost".

Re:Pricing not actually that bad (1)

symbolic (11752) | more than 6 years ago | (#20302553)

I use comcast, and although I don't do bit torrent, or download music or movies, I do spend a bit of time on YouTube. I've noticed that the service seems a bit sluggish now - sometimes I have to reload a page 2-3 times (or wait for who knows how long) in order for the video to actually start playing. This might be YouTube's problem, but with all the talk about net neutrality and throttling, I'm certainly wondering. My service (internet only) costs me $55/mo.

Re:Pricing not actually that bad (1)

Seumas (6865) | more than 6 years ago | (#20302831)

Where in the hell is Comcast only $30?!

I currently pay $60/mo for 8mbps/768kbps with Comcast. This guy's service wouldn't be any more expensive and would presumably be bidirectional 7mbps.

On the negative side, if it's DSL -- that means it is only available to a limited group of people. If you can't spit on the drive-way of your local telco office from your house, you're probably not going to get great speed.

I would, but... (2, Informative)

Yetihehe (971185) | more than 6 years ago | (#20301429)

I would. My family wouldn't. And it will be so with most of those "dark masses" we keep hearing about.

Re:I would, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20302881)

I would. My family wouldn't.

Um... move out of your family's basement and get a job?

wtf are they thinking? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20301471)

Hey...
Chicks don't like anal cuz' they poop from there.
But regular sex, they pee from there.
WTF @ INFIRIOR LOGIC.

But wait a minute (4, Funny)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 6 years ago | (#20301475)

I was promissed by the telecom industry that this would never happen. They told us we would have cheaper rates with more bandwith. Its not like they lied to us just so they could rip us off on tax payer subsidized lines.

ah (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20301487)

[mob voice] That's a nice internet you have there... would be a shame if anything happened to it... say me and my pals here will make sure no "accidents" happen... for a fee- what do ya say? [/mob voice]

uhhhm, what? (1)

RelliK (4466) | more than 6 years ago | (#20301493)

How is it "net neutrality" if you have to pay extra lest your packets be lost? Sounds more like extortion to me. (or precisely the big telco version of "net neutrality").

I also fail to see how the ISP can "guarantee" net neutrality. They can do nothing if their upstream provider decides to throttle some sites.

It's as neutral as it gets.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20301707)

How is it "net neutrality" if you have to pay extra lest your packets be lost?

It's not as if Copowi has two plans, a neutral one and a non-neutral one. It's that it's actually costing them this much, because they don't own the fiber, as the first poster pointed out. Essentially, they're buying from the Mediacoms and the Comcasts of the world, and reselling it to you as completely neutral, at least at their end.

So it does raise the question of whether Copowi itself is paying extra to their upstream providers for a "neutral" Internet. But I'm guessing they just pay for what they use, just like you do with a hosting provider.

I also fail to see how the ISP can "guarantee" net neutrality. They can do nothing if their upstream provider decides to throttle some sites.

I'm guessing that most upstream providers actually have some competition -- after all, it's easy for an ISP to lay some fiber to the other upstream across town than it is for an individual consumer (who's limited by who owns their cable, or how far it is to the DSL box).

And while they could theoretically filter anything, I bet they wouldn't -- all their filtering is done at the consumer level. That's where their hardware is -- at their own local ISPs.

Well, if these guys were near where I live, and even halfway competitive... Ordinarily, I'd much prefer a 100 mbit FTTH connection that feels like 20 mbit than a 7 mbit DSL connection that really is 7 mbits. But short of that, I'd be willing to pay a little extra, on the premise that these guys may eventually gather enough money to start laying fiber of their own, or at least threatening to.

It's one thing if Comcast can threaten to cut off Copowi's pipe and force all their customers to switch to Comcast's own consumer ISP. It's quite another if Copowi can threaten Comcast -- keep it neutral or we switch to another upstream provider, or build our own pipes, and take all your consumers with us.

Maybe I just want to believe, though.

Re:uhhhm, what? (1)

volkris (694) | more than 6 years ago | (#20303413)

What?

What about the concept of net neutrality is incompatible with a charge?

Yes, you want internet service that has the quality of network neutrality... so you are being asked to pay for that feature. There's nothing contradictory in that.

And extortion? Yeah, the same way McDonald's "extorts" money out of me when I ask for extra cheese.

neutral network only in the network.. (1)

CrAlt (3208) | more than 6 years ago | (#20301517)

"Yep! Your data will not be shaped, limited, or blocked in ANY WAY on our network.
PS: We can not guarantee neutrality outside our network. "

Sounds like a great plan! Most people only want to send their wAreZ/mp3z down the street anyways right??
There is no way this ISP could fail. :)

Not bad, actually (1)

ejito (700826) | more than 6 years ago | (#20301521)

A 7Mb/s connection isn't a bad deal at $60 in the US. I bet my roommates and I pay over 40 for our cable host (not my choice) at only 2Mb/s shared (it might be more, but I've never seen it go over that). Companies up the charges after the first 3-6 discounted months on annual subs.

I looked at the company's site, and they don't do annual subscription deals, so I think they might have a hard time convincing new buyers, but it looks good for those wanting to jump ship off of restrictive providers.

The free Ubuntu CD they give to their customers is kind of... uh... weird. I guess if someone couldn't download an OS or get a friend to burn a CD it'd be nifty, though rare.

Re:Not bad, actually (1)

theazreal (1015759) | more than 6 years ago | (#20302077)

The owner probably figures that if you care enough to switch to his provider on the mere hope that it -might- stay relatively free of commercial interference, you've probably been meaning to switch to Linux anyways.

Sort of competitive (1)

tehwebguy (860335) | more than 6 years ago | (#20301569)

The lower plans seem crappy, but the 7 MBPS for $60.00 isn't half bad, is it?

Re:Sort of competitive (2, Informative)

the_arrow (171557) | more than 6 years ago | (#20302239)

The prices in USA really scares me.
I am paying around $30 for 10Mbps, guaranteed, both directions. For around $50 I can get 100Mbps.

Re:Sort of competitive (1)

Bob9113 (14996) | more than 6 years ago | (#20303315)

The prices in USA really scares me.
I am paying around $30 for 10Mbps, guaranteed, both directions. For around $50 I can get 100Mbps.


You think that's scary? You should try buying prescription drugs here.

Um.... (3, Insightful)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 6 years ago | (#20301571)

isn't requiring a fee PRECISELY what Net Neutrality is against?

Re:Um.... (2, Interesting)

cyberjock1980 (1131059) | more than 6 years ago | (#20301697)

You know what I would pay a fee for? My internet connection to actually be what I paid for! I never get the 'theoretical' maximum. In fact sometimes my webpages barely load. The fee I pay to get the 'supreme speed' should guarantee me that speed. Isn't that why I pay the extra $15 a month for the upgraded internet??

Re:Um.... (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#20301713)

Heh, next you'll be wanting some kind of quality of service guarantee. Why not just demand fiber to the home for $30/month.

Re:Um.... (2, Informative)

Liinux (1051016) | more than 6 years ago | (#20302029)

Why not just demand fiber to the home for $30/month.
That would be nice and isn't totally impossible. The big national Telco over here offers fiber to the home for the equivalent of $25 for a 0.25/0.25 line. A 10/10 line is $40 though and a 100/10 is $45.

That doesn't inlude the cost to get the fiber actually installed, mind you, but when it is installed by someone it stays there and you can get these subscriptions.

Re:Um.... (3, Informative)

dodobh (65811) | more than 6 years ago | (#20301731)

No. Network neutrality basically says "You paid for this bandwidth, use it as you like". Non-network-neutrality says "You paid for the bandwidth, but you can use it only for services we offer (or for connections to our partenrs. For anything else, here's a small fraction of your bandwidth".

What the non-neutral offer does is basically say "We can give you unlimited traffic, but only at $SLOW speed and for broadband speeds, you only get partner access". Essentially, instead of raising prices, they are making additional plans and pushing everyone down the ladder.

Sure, and here's your free lunch. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20301883)

Sorry, but we all pay for Internet access. Some pay more, some pay less, but we all pay.

If we didn't, there would be no Internet. It's simple math -- even my little home network doesn't run unless I plug the switch in, thus using electricity and adding to my electric bill.

We aren't even against paying more. I mean, nobody wants to -- classic NIMBY (Not In My BackYard) reflex -- but realistically, someone has to pay, and ultimately, we're better off if it's us.

What we are against is all the bullshit that people can do in a non-neutral network. It does revolve around money, but it has much more serious implications than a heftier Internet bill. It actually seriously threatens freedom of speech.

There is a much longer discussion to be had here, but I'd rather not do it as AC, and I don't trust this (borrowed) computer any more than I have to.

Re:Um.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20302067)

No offense to the original poster, but who the hell is modding this insightful?

Of course net neutrality isn't against paying for an internet connection.

I think its worth it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20301607)

I would, Cox communications is my current ISP, and they are horrible, in every aspect.

Sharing? (1)

j1m+5n0w (749199) | more than 6 years ago | (#20301631)

Do the terms of service allow sharing your connection with your neighbors? Not having your ISP discriminate on the basis of what technology you're using or who you're connecting is a good thing, but do they discriminate against certain (legal) uses?

The beginning of the end of neutrality... (1)

cyberjock1980 (1131059) | more than 6 years ago | (#20301667)

If this really takes off we're screwed. The internet was formed on the basis of neutrality. We then argued over having tiered internet. But now we're being offered(or attempting to be offered) internet that is neutral. We now have tiered internet folks. We have the ISP that promises net neutrality, and 'everyone else'. It's just a matter of time before 'everyone else' = 'non-neutral ISP'.

So we've got 2 tiers set up already. How many will we have in the end?

Er...Speakeasy? (1)

msimm (580077) | more than 6 years ago | (#20301679)

Aren't they still in the game? Did I miss something and they started shaping traffic? Otherwise this sounds 100% gimmick.

Re:Er...Speakeasy? (1)

3waygeek (58990) | more than 6 years ago | (#20303495)

They're still in business -- I've been with them for 4-5 years now (ever since Telocity left the biz). However, Speakeasy's prices are a bit higher than these guys are promising.

The local monopolies still own the layer 1 (4, Insightful)

lanner (107308) | more than 6 years ago | (#20301693)

I'm sold on paying a little more for an ethical network operator, but they really can't deliver on their promise. This is because they don't own the hardware transport. And, ultimately, if the monopolies (both cable and telco) want to twiddle with my bits, they can do so all the way down to layer 1.

Right now I have Qwest DSL in very-downtown Phoenix Arizona. I'm literally two blocks from the local baseball park. The only ISP options that I have are Qwest with an 7Mbps down/800Kbps up ADSL line or Cox with a 10Mbps down/1Mbps up DOCSIS cable line. That's the best that America can do in a major metro area, which is pretty crappy. I'm more unhappy with the upload than download. Covad just *might* have a DSLAM somewhere nearby, but they would still have to lease Qwest's copper 24 gauge pairs.

You see, nobody else can own the lines that come to my home, and neither Qwest nor Cox are going to turn over their copper line that they buried for anything short of a court order. Other possible means of a communication media might be wireless radio, power lines, or (in the very-imaginative but more-possible-than-you-might-think spectrum), flushing a fiber optic line all the way down to the sewer system where it could be aggregated to some central point.

ATM is a real technology that has the possibilities of taking that layer two connection and making it portable, rendering the layer 1 less relevant, but ATM is a train wreck of a technology. It works for some of Asia, where it is popular, but it's a really horrible standard. Unfortunately, ATM has really gone to hell in the USA. This is mostly due to the fault of the equipment manufactures who could not deliver reasonably priced hardware and software, the ATM specifications horrible requirements (cell overhead, the need for hardware switching, and the horrific unnecessarily-complicated standards), and the resulting bad taste left with network admins/engineers like myself who just don't think of it as viable any longer.

In summary, I'm still screwed. I can't use BitTorrent for legit or illegal usage without having my rate limited and I can't serve up a decent website because of a crappy upload speed.

Re:The local monopolies still own the layer 1 (1)

jonwil (467024) | more than 6 years ago | (#20302485)

The thing about Covad though is that even though Qwest would still own the copper pair, Covad would own the DSLAM and the routers and IP hardware. Unless there is something else in there, Qwest never even touches your data at the IP level (and can't do anything nasty to it)

Two things... (1)

PontifexPrimus (576159) | more than 6 years ago | (#20301723)

Two things:
  • If you have to pay someone not to do something that's harmful to me that's not "staying neutral". That's "accepting a bribe".
  • How are they guaranteeing that the other networks their traffic is routed through will play ball? Please correct me if I'm wrong, but as far as I know it only takes one robber-baron to squat in the way and throttle traffic that displeases him / isn't paid for. Unless the ISP can prove that only their lines used from start to finish point their "net neutrality" fee means squat as long as any one provider can break the system.
I really don't think you guys should start going down that slippery slope...

Err, no (1)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 6 years ago | (#20302367)

Err, no, because it's not the same guys.

It's sorta like this. Let's say there are two pubs in your neighbourhood:

1. The Broken Bell, cheap, but treats their beer like it's a potted plant. They water it generously. And I wouldn't touch their stronger drinks if you value your eyesight. At any rate, what you actually get in that glass isn't what they advertised, by far, and not the quantity they advertised either.

2. The Belching Hydra, doesn't do any of that crap, but, of course, then their prices are higher. Or rather, their prices are the natural ones, since they can't cost prices by doing the bad stuff.

I can't see how you could say that the latter is doing the equivalent of taking a bribe.

Mind you, in an ideal RL, or even in the less ideal Europe down here, we'd just pass some government regulation and send the cops or the consumer rights agencies after the crooked barkeep. On Slashdot and with it's nerdy population fond of utopian extremes and no shades of grey in between, someone (or a lot of someones) will scream, "noooo! Governments are evil! If you let the government do anything, there's no stopping until you have a verbatim copy of the USSR or Nazi Germany! The free unregulated market can solve anything by itself!" Never mind that it's what created this fuckup in the first place, and the whole push against net neutrality is asking the government to remove the regulations and let them be as crooked as they want to.

But in the meantime or if that's not an option, well, it's up to you to decide whether you want to support the former and save a few bucks, or the latter and pay more for the privilege. But saying the latter is like extortion just isn't right.

Re:Beer (1)

McGiraf (196030) | more than 6 years ago | (#20302943)

3. Both of them are supplied by Budweiser, how do you distinguish between water diluted with water, and undiluted water?

I already pay more than this... (1)

tuxlove (316502) | more than 6 years ago | (#20301749)

I pay more - a lot more - for a lot less speed than these guys advertise. Sign me up!

If only it was really that easy out here in the boondocks.

Network neutrality? (1)

hatchet (528688) | more than 6 years ago | (#20301795)

It basically means, they promise to not do traffic shaping of any kind on user's data. Which is BAD. Such networks would be DDOS attack prone and pretty much unstable.

Do it ourselves (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20301825)

Let these pricks charge for "net neutrality" on their lines. Lets start setting up a giant peer to peer wireless mesh network and we can bypass these asshole telecos completely. see how they like it when not only are they not getting money for neutraliy but they are not getting money PERIOD.

yeah yeah far fetched but with the way prices will be increasing is it really...

Re:Do it ourselves (1)

CompMD (522020) | more than 6 years ago | (#20303267)

Already done where I live. [lawrencefreenet.org] City of 75,000 people, plus a university with 30,000 students. 600 mesh node radios across the city. They are growing by the day and the local cable company isn't exactly thrilled.

No (1)

rm999 (775449) | more than 6 years ago | (#20301855)

Because the internet is currently neutral (at least by most ISPs). I won't pay more for something I already get - I'm not an idiot.

Another example of a businessman using internet buzzwords to make a quick buck.

Re:No (1)

TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) | more than 6 years ago | (#20302013)

And the parent post is another example of a /.er painting the exploration of new markets, and the creation of competition, as a souless money-grabbing scheme.

Re:No (1)

rm999 (775449) | more than 6 years ago | (#20302025)

How about instead of trolling you actually respond to what I said? If the internet is currently neutral (I am pretty sure it is), why should people pay extra for the level of service they currently get? And besides, how can a service provider control the neutrality of the entire internet?

Re:No (1)

TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) | more than 6 years ago | (#20302311)

How about instead of trolling you actually respond to what I said?
I'm not trolling. I honestly believe that /. as a whole is extremely biased against businesses. If no-one provides a neutral net connection, it means market stagnation, with all the companies far too greedy to listen to the needs of the consumer. If someone goes out on a limb to offer a neutral net connection, pushing net-neutrality into the market place where it can compete and potentially prove itself, the companies are making a quick buck and are (again) being greedy. Personally, I'd rather see a company try something different and fail, rather than not try at all.

If the internet is currently neutral (I am pretty sure it is), why should people pay extra for the level of service they currently get?
This is completely separate from my original point, but you demanded my opinion, so I might as well give it. Most ISPs are not neutral. Most seem to shape Bittorent traffic, so your argument is fallacious from the outset. But essentially what you're paying for is the guarantee that it will not shape or prioritise any traffic (at least without warning). Whether it's worth the extra expense is a matter for the free market to decide, but it it's at least good that it can decide.

Re:No (1)

bateleur (814657) | more than 6 years ago | (#20302655)

but it it's at least good that it can decide.
Or should that perhaps be: "it would be good if it could decide".

Individual purchasing decisions in a free market are a great way to arrange transactions affecting individuals. What bothers me about net neutrality is that some decisions about network architecture may be made on a "typical consumer" basis. If the typical consumer turns out not to care about (or even not to understand) net neutrality then the option for an individual to choose net neutrality could disappear (or effectively disappear due to costing orders of magnitude too much).

This is the kind of situation where it seems to me that governments and/or other non-commercial bodies have a role to play. Internet connectivity is (was?) a kind of communications standard. Screwing around with that traffic (whether by shaping, filtering or whatever) undermines that standard. And in many cases (at least theoretical if not yet practical) the company responsible is effectively running a monopoly from the perspective of individual consumers, so there is a valid case for government involvement to protect the consumers involved.

If that happened I think it might even create business opportunities. Then instead of stealthily crippling everyone's internet, companies could openly offer limited internet packages sold based on features other than bandwidth. For example, I'd love to have $10 off my monthly bill in exchange for a formal "no torrents" restriction, since I don't ever use them.

Dismal Science's answer.. (1)

phunctor (964194) | more than 6 years ago | (#20303165)

Until the consumer-perceived value of bulky traffic is balanced (by the consumer) against the cost of receiving it there can be no market-driven innovation, and the vendors will continue to harvest the herd scientifically.

In places like Korea where government intervention subsidizes urbanites' Gbps with rice farmer's won, the pain of this may be diffused and invisible. For a while.

On the service provider's side of the coin, any pricing solution will be gamed. If your pricing doesn't have a viable relationship to the cost of providing the service this gaming will put you at a competitive disadvantage.

After a while this will converge to some combination of account fee, connection fee + usage charges, same as it ever was. Only bundles with usage caps can be free of usage charges, which in that case will be cross subsidized from the account & connection fees.

Somebody's got to pay for the actual costs. The globally optimal payer is... you.

--
phunctor

Wait a second ... (1)

Ihlosi (895663) | more than 6 years ago | (#20301929)

... isn't "paying for net neutrality" pretty much the same as "paying for a better service in a non-neutral net" ?



And, still, how are they guaranteeing that the other networks my data travels through are also treating it neutrally ? They can't ? Oh well ...

Depends on who's paying (5, Informative)

Asmor (775910) | more than 6 years ago | (#20302001)

The opponents of net neutrality are all about getting the content providers to pay, not the subscribers. Basically, Verizon et. al. are getting paid by the customer to provide a service: bandwidth. However, greedy bitch it is, Verizon wants to get paid by Google and other content providers for allowing them to provide content to their customers. See the issue here?

To put it another way, let's say that I open an account with FedEx so that anyone can send me packages, and the shipping price will be billed to my account. However, FedEx sees me getting lots of packages from the Swiss Colony, and even though I'm already paying for the shipping, FedEx doesn't think its fair for the Swiss Colony to send me so much stuff without them getting yet another cut, so they threaten Swiss Colony to delay my delicious, delicious beef logs a couple weeks, "to ease congestion."

Re:Depends on who's paying (1)

volkris (694) | more than 6 years ago | (#20303509)

You talk like there's something wrong with that. There isn't.

FedEx, in your simplistic analogy, is having trouble. The congestion is real, and it's hurting service. In fact, you've yourself have complained about the delays. So what's the company going to do? How's it going to afford to improve service?

Well, it could raise the flat rate it's charging you for unlimited mail reception... but it knows that you're already annoyed at having to pay that much. Plus, Swiss Colony could pack their logs in smaller boxes and combine orders, and it would help the congestion, but why should it? It pays nothing either way, so it has little reason to cooperate with the shipper. Furthermore, your neighbor would be annoyed at having HIS flat rate go up just so you can get your beef logs faster.

The obvious answer is to ask the sender to pay some of the cost as well. It makes perfect sense.

And, taadaa! that's how FedEx works currently.

Internet in Sweden (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20302361)

Guys I feel for you. I live in sweden about 30 min from the city in a semi country side area and I have a fiber connection. I can get 100MB up and down for under 50 Dollars but i only have 10MB UP and Down and i pay around 30 Dollars.

Net Neutrality has not been an issue I dont think but I may have to do some tests or some research.

Is this a huge problem over there? Does it affect everybody?

Anyway I've been reading a bunch of articles on slashdot about this subject and it seems like a tough situation. And i guess if alot of people supported this company and the are real perhaps they can make some sort of difference. I suppose the media and awareness created by this company would be the biggest contributer to the fight.

Re:Internet in Sweden (1)

XavidX (1117783) | more than 6 years ago | (#20302383)

Do you think other people in the world accessing sites in the USA are also affected by this "Content Filtering" that these bastards do?

Re:Internet in Sweden (1)

nekozid (1100169) | more than 6 years ago | (#20303147)

It's the ISPs doing the packet shaping not the backbone owners, they rent the same resource as your ISP but that's for them to do as they please with.
They can't touch stuff they don't own but local loops etc. are fair game.

What's net neutrality? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20302373)

I think we should stop using the term specifically and dubiously introduced by greedy and 'entitled' driven telecoms monopolists in the US to confuse the issue.

It's for telecom companies to come up with plans that attract paying consumers in a free market, not legislate about net neutrality and other spurious and self created issues to protect their effective monopolies in a broken US system.

Sure there is a cost of business and infrastructure but isn't that why I am paying my telecom provider to connect me online to Google and why Google is paying to have me connect to their website. Nobody is out to get a free lunch here, we are all paying customers and we pay a significant amount for our monthly plans.

If that's not enough for ISPs to make a profit they have to increase rates and justify that to their consumers in the free market, without a cartel or monopolists, where competitors can see an opportunity if consumers are being overcharged and step in to deliver more value for money. Of course this presumes regulation and free market is working which it clearly isn't in the US.

Just like the US financial industry has been overly creative with 'risk' and 'debt' so is the telecom industry with net neutrality and this is not good for consumers and the US as bastion of free markets should step in and punish monopolists out for a free ride or cease to call itself as such. This is not credible, nobody else is talking about this apart from the US, are ISP's outside the US not making money? Do you really think for all these years since the internet we have a bunch of bumbling and charity driven ISP's out to deliver unprofitable services without a business plan? But now thanks to US greed more of them are going to start talking about this, and thats bad for everybody.

Will this be anything like... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20302537)

Will this be anything like "unlimited usage", except, well, it isn't really unlimited? Net neutrality up to the point of whatever provider this ISP is using to connect to the backbone?

To answer the question, no, there's no chance in hell that I'd pay $60 for 7Mbps DSL. I pay the equivalent of US$50 for 100Mbps fiber (up and down) here in Tokyo. I've measured 65Mbps throughput, and it really is unlimited. I know the infrastructure is more distributed in most parts of the U.S. than it is in Tokyo, but that still doesn't justify a higher cost for less than 1/10 the speed, and a promise that is questionable at best.

We shouldn't have to pay that for this (1)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 6 years ago | (#20302563)

Would you be willing to spend the extra bucks for network neutrality?

No, because I get "network neutrality" for $49 / month at 100 Mbps here. :-p
(advertised FOIS bandwidth; in reality and across the Atlantic more like 20-25 Mbps max)

Ridiculous pricing. They need to get going at building FOIS networks since these are when in place far more cost efficient than those DSL lines.

Re:We shouldn't have to pay that for this (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 6 years ago | (#20302573)

Where do I have to move? I pay 60 bucks a month for a measly 1mbit (download. Upload is 256k, on a good day).

Isn't this kind of an oxymoron? (1)

OneMHz (1097105) | more than 6 years ago | (#20302759)

Isn't the point of "Net Neutrality" that people DON'T have to pay extra to guarantee that your bandwidth isn't throttled?

Re:Isn't this kind of an oxymoron? (1)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 6 years ago | (#20302863)

No, the point is that what you pay for is what you get, rather than you paying for a service, and whether you get that service or not depends on whether amazon, itms, youtube, et al pony up "their share" on top of what they're already paying for their connection.

$60 for 7Mb/sec? (1)

Lookin4Trouble (1112649) | more than 6 years ago | (#20302801)

Where do I sign up for this deal??? Oh, damn, not in Virginia.

Sucks living in the east-coast version of Silicon Valley and only having dialup.

Wait for the boogeyman (3, Interesting)

mattr (78516) | more than 6 years ago | (#20302947)

Having started an ISP with famous investors too dumb to put their money where their mouth is I can tell you why I worry about these guys. Certainly, if you are on Comcast and can move to them, go for it. The problem is, you know that $200 Billion people are talking about? The 200 gigabucks that went up in smoke? Look this isn't Cheech and Chong. Money doesn't fly away. What if the big boys actually did invest in fiber and equipment, but they just don't want to roll it out unless they are dragged out and screaming? That's a lot of money. The big boys are waiting to see how far they can push it, and when something starts to look interesting, if they can they will smash it. Welcome to the ISP business.

Now if these guys are going to try and tie in last mile people with great service and maybe value added (how about 2 free locally served movies a month, etc.) then they might have a future. Or if they could spam access to people wirelessly with some amazingly cheap technology, maybe. Maybe they could also have a chance if they are spinning off the hardware to someone else and they just have to sell "virtual" service. And maybe if they build a nationwide grassroots league (a federated little league if you will) peering with similar companies, they could even offer higher speeds and lower latency possibly. Or maybe if they could get some nice deals with municipalities or academia. Well maybe. I'd go with them if I was unhappy with my U.S. provider, though I'm not in the U.S. now, but long term? Their website says how it will be good for the long term. Personally, I've seen costs drop every 3 months, if it makes sense in the short term and you are getting really hassled with your ISP fine. But I think the only way to get good service is to legislate it. There are too many maybes, and too many big boys with big bank accounts who are just playing a cynical game until you show up on their radar.

I'd actually save money (1)

Xzarakizraiia (751181) | more than 6 years ago | (#20302987)

I'd save about $20 on the 7Mbps line, if they didn't charge me for a telephone line at the same time. I pay over $80 a month for 7Mbps because our DSL provider (Embarq) requires you to get a basic phone line as well. I don't even have a phone hooked up to it. I don't know if this is a technological restriction of DSL or just them trying to gouge as much money from me as possible, but either way I don't like it and have no say in the matter, as they're the only high-speed provider that has lines in the building. I've got two roommates, and we're all college students. I think we could afford Copowi, and that says a lot about their pricing scheme to me.

Well, but if they offered more . . . (1)

kildurin (938538) | more than 6 years ago | (#20303225)

Like anonymity, no record retention, agreement not to tap or packet inspect ever? At least a guarantee to work with the EFF before ever working with the government. Why can't it be the whole package? I might see it then.
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