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Interview with AT&T on BitTorrent Filtering

CmdrTaco posted more than 6 years ago | from the please-hammer-don't-hurt-em dept.

Media 179

An anonymous reader writes "Slyck is running an interview with AT&T's Vice President of Legal Affairs, Jim Cicconi. AT&T discusses the latest in their effort to filter, however one interesting point tends to show they aren't moving anywhere until they discuss this with their customers. "We hear from our customers directly and indirectly. It's a very competitive business, ravenously so. I think our company is very, very sensitive to customer attitude — we have to consider this," Jim Cicconi told Slyck.com."

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179 comments

Hey slick (4, Insightful)

Loki_1929 (550940) | more than 6 years ago | (#22127918)

Forget your customers, get your ass down to the local library and get your hands on the text of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act right NOW. You're opening yourself up to upwards of trillions in liability if your filtering doesn't work perfectly 100% of the time. You're also opening yourselves up to massive liability with the federal government (hint: take a quick look at Comcast vis-a-vis Bit Torrent).

Quit spending all day being a PR monkey and get back to being a lawyer for your company. You're giving bad advice that has the potential to obliterate your employer.

Re:Hey slick (5, Insightful)

despe666 (802244) | more than 6 years ago | (#22128442)

I'm not worried about them, they'll just buy themselves another custom-made exception in Congress.

Re:Hey slick (0, Flamebait)

Planesdragon (210349) | more than 6 years ago | (#22129288)

You're opening yourself up to upwards of trillions in liability if your filtering doesn't work perfectly 100% of the time
What?

No system on earth works 100% of the time. And the law never expects it to. Maybe, MAYBE I could see a case for even 300% punative damages above actual loss if AT&T somehow has Strict Liability now (you know, the kind that handlers of explosives deal with), but i can't imagine even a billion dollars in actual damages due to AT&T misfiltering.

Care to cite what part of the DMCA is so terrible?

Re:Hey slick (4, Informative)

afidel (530433) | more than 6 years ago | (#22129450)

The safe harbor provisions. By selectively filtering content they are no longer a common carrier and are thus part of the content serving chain and are thus liable for "providing" each and every piece of content that successfully flows through their system. It's right there in black and white in a document that they and the content industry wrote, they figured that banning the act would be sufficient so they wrote it to fit their existing business model. Now they think they can make more money by not expanding capacity and therefore want to eliminate one of the more bandwidth intensive uses of their network.

For those who didn't RTFA... (4, Interesting)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 6 years ago | (#22129374)

For those who didn't RTFA, here's the relevant quote:

Were focusing on pirated content over BitTorrent, [not BitTorrent per se.]

Hey, hint, to anyone who thinks this is a legitimate position: That is like saying you're focusing on stopping pornography, not web traffic per se. It doesn't work that way; even when you know what you want to block by domain (myspace.com), you'll be foiled by high school students (and proxies).

And that said, most ISPs are having a hard enough time blocking BitTorrent at all, much less trying to filter specific uses. The sooner you give up trying to filter stuff that your users don't want filtered, the sooner you can focus on a long-term solution that will actually work, like upgrading your network.

On DSL, it bothers me when my housemates use YouTube, and I occasionally try to throttle them, for that reason. When we get 100 mbit fiber, it won't matter.

Customers bedamned... it's ILLEGAL anyway! (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 6 years ago | (#22129872)

Your point... AND that it is illegal. Between the two, AT&T should pull its head out of its ass and smell the bacon, RIGHT NOW.

So, how do we conact them? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22129884)

As a customer, I consider that sort of filtering as being essentially a betrayal of their customers.

How can I let them know exactly how much I hate that sort of thing? One might think that all the news and complaints to the FCC would do something, but I guess they only listen to people with wads of cash in their hands...

Hooray!! Jews Exterminating Arabs (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22127924)

Stand up and applaud!

This is your tax dollars at work!

-Jews for Genocide

asdlfkj3214^J!#$K%JEWKRJL^#!$%DJGASDLKTJ (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22127948)

l;k6jsdlfjt2346%623465jlksdft234967dsal;ftj 32697uSDARTJ:#$%J^lasdfgj9erwtu adfl;kj3267@#^%@%^ sdfgolij4520986usdlfgj256 aert98uy356ljsdr t56oulasdftj 367u#%^sdrt oie54wu6ldasjfotiu43w5$@%6jeqwo86734l6jsdft256SDFTjow4i5u6sewrtl45jh6l;k6jsdlfjt2346%623465jlksdft234967dsal;ftj 32697uSDARTJ:#$%J^lasdfgj9erwtu adfl;kj3267@#^%@%^ sdfgolij4520986usdlfgj256 aert98uy356ljsdr t56oulasdftj 367u#%^sdrt oie54wu6ldasjfotiu43w5$@%6jeqwo86734l6jsdft256SDFTjow4i5u6sewrtl45jh6l;k6jsdlfjt2346%623465jlksdft234967dsal;ftj 32697uSDARTJ:#$%J^lasdfgj9erwtu adfl;kj3267@#^%@%^ sdfgolij4520986usdlfgj256 aert98uy356ljsdr t56oulasdftj 367u#%^sdrt oie54wu6ldasjfotiu43w5$@%6jeqwo86734l6jsdft256SDFTjow4i5u6sewrtl45jh6l;k6jsdlfjt2346%623465jlksdft234967dsal;ftj 32697uSDARTJ:#$%J^lasdfgj9erwtu adfl;kj3267@#^%@%^ sdfgolij4520986usdlfgj256 aert98uy356ljsdr t56oulasdftj 367u#%^sdrt oie54wu6ldasjfotiu43w5$@%6jeqwo86734l6jsdft256SDFTjow4i5u6sewrtl45jh6l;k6jsdlfjt2346%623465jlksdft234967dsal;ftj 32697uSDARTJ:#$%J^lasdfgj9erwtu adfl;kj3267@#^%@%^ sdfgolij4520986usdlfgj256

Re:asdlfkj3214^J!#$K%JEWKRJL^#!$%DJGASDLKTJ (4, Funny)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 6 years ago | (#22127986)

You make a valid point, but aren't you overstating the strength of your evidence?

Re:asdlfkj3214^J!#$K%JEWKRJL^#!$%DJGASDLKTJ (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22128114)

You make a valid point, but aren't you overstating the strength of your evidence?

asdlfjqweroiuaqw.ej1#$%13245jzsdlfk q34oii5uasldtj1234j5a serjl1324j5098uasd!#$j5lasjdf 09123485lkzsjdf 1@#$J5asd09f8134l;5j qarlekj13857#!$@%@#^jasdfgasd asdlfjqoweu5liag 34asltdkj123l46j.qrea t09134u5ljhzdfsglj q3489p5uqwer;ktja/sdgjASDR!@!@#$%12345asdfqwet asdlfj134o5i!#$%@#$5@#%^asdlfkj asdlfjqweroiuaqw.ej1#$%13245jzsdlfk q34oii5uasldtj1234j5a serjl1324j5098uasd!#$j5lasjdf 09123485lkzsjdf 1@#$J5asd09f8134l;5j qarlekj13857#!$@%@#^jasdfgasd asdlfjqoweu5liag 34asltdkj123l46j.qrea t09134u5ljhzdfsglj q3489p5uqwer;ktja/sdgjasdlfjqweroiuaqw.ej1#$%13245jzsdlfk q34oii5uasldtj1234j5a serjl1324j5098uasd!#$j5lasjdf 09123485lkzsjdf 1@#$J5asd09f8134l;5j qarlekj13857#!$@%@#^jasdfgasd asdlfjqoweu5liag 34asltdkj123l46j.qrea t09134u5ljhzdfsglj q3489p5uqwer;ktja/sdgjASDR!@!@#$%12345asdfqwet asdlfj134o5i!#$%@#$5@#%^asdlfkj asdlfjqweroiuaqw.ej1#$%13245jzsdlfk q34oii5uasldtj1234j5a serjl1324j5098uasd!#$j5lasjdf 09123485lkzsjdf 1@#$J5asd09f8134l;5j qarlekj13857#!$@%@#^jasdfgasd asdlfjqoweu5liag 34asltdkj123l46j.qrea t09134u5ljhzdfsglj q3489p5uqwer;ktja/sdgj

Re:asdlfkj3214^J!#$K%JEWKRJL^#!$%DJGASDLKTJ (0)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 6 years ago | (#22128336)

Ah, okay. Earlier you were drawing some pretty wildly over-reaching inferences, but I think now, with those caveats you mentioned, I'd have to agree.

I'd watch out on sending copyrighted material like that though. With all this monitoring going on, even a short excerpt like that could get you in trouble. Good move encrypting.

Re:asdlfkj3214^J!#$K%JEWKRJL^#!$%DJGASDLKTJ (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22128558)

I'd watch out on sending copyrighted material like that though. With all this monitoring going on, even a short excerpt like that could get you in trouble.

asdlkfj1234lkk5j12435@#$%!@#%$ 4321lkk5jasdou1324%@#!$%J!@#$%jasdlfkjasdofui qweroiuasdtlkj3245324%%asjdltfkqwer 5as09e85l34j5kl;jasetR2346jasldjkf923876453426asd jsdaflkjsadf09854asdj;lkasjdt;lae as;dlrkqw40958qwekjl;35jasdf 34ql;5jas9087sadlkjasdl;fkj3459873426lkjasd f31245lkjqw9875lkasje3wq498udsfljh4ew9857342oi5jasldtjk234957aos9e8rulkj32556!#%#@$56a09srlkasjfdqwoeritudlzgkjqwe05987asdlkfj1234lkk5j12435@#$%!@#%$ 4321lkk5jasdou1324%@#!$%J!@#$%jasdlfkjasdofui qweroiuasdtlkj3245324%%asjdltfkqwer 5as09e85l34j5kl;jasetR2346jasldjkf923876453426asd jsdaflkjsadf09854asdj;lkasjdt;lae as;dlrkqw40958qwekjl;35jasdf 34ql;5jas9087sadlkjasdl;fkj3459873426lkjasd f31245lkjqw9875lkasje3wq498udsfljh4ew9857342oi5jasldtjk234957aos9e8rulkj32556!#%#@$56a09srlkasjfdqwoeritudlzgkjqwe05987asdlkfj1234lkk5j12435@#$%!@#%$ 4321lkk5jasdou1324%@#!$%J!@#$%jasdlfkjasdofui qweroiuasdtlkj3245324%%asjdltfkqwer 5as09e85l34j5kl;jasetR2346jasldjkf923876453426asd jsdaflkjsadf09854asdj;lkasjdt;lae as;dlrkqw40958qwekjl;35jasdf 34ql;5jas9087sadlkjasdl;fkj3459873426lkjasd f31245lkjqw9875lkasje3wq498udsfljh4ew9857342oi5jasldtjk234957aos9e8rulkj32556!#%#@$56a09srlkasjfdqwoeritudlzgkjqwe05987asdlkfj1234lkk5j12435@#$%!@#%$ 4321lkk5jasdou1324%@#!$%J!@#$%jasdlfkjasdofui qweroiuasdtlkj3245324%%asjdltfkqwer 5as09e85l34j5kl;jasetR2346jasldjkf923876453426asd jsdaflkjsadf09854asdj;lkasjdt;lae as;dlrkqw40958qwekjl;35jasdf 34ql;5jas9087sadlkjasdl;fkj3459873426lkjasd f31245lkjqw9875lkasje3wq498udsfljh4ew9857342oi5jasldtjk234957aos9e8rulkj32556!#%#@$56a09srlkasjfdqwoeritudlzgkjqwe05987asdlkfj1234lkk5j12435@#$%!@#%$ 4321lkk5jasdou1324%@#!$%J!@#$%jasdlfkjasdofui qweroiuasdtlkj3245324%%asjdltfkqwer 5as09e85l34j5kl;jasetR2346jasldjkf923876453426asd jsdaflkjsadf09854asdj;lkasjdt;lae as;dlrkqw40958qwekjl;35jasdf 34ql;5jas9087sadlkjasdl;fkj3459873426lkjasd f31245lkjqw9875lkasje3wq498udsfljh4ew9857342oi5jasldtjk234957aos9e8rulkj32556!#%#@$56a09srlkasjfdqwoeritudlzgkjqwe05987asdlkfj1234lkk5j12435@#$%!@#%$ 4321lkk5jasdou1324%@#!$%J!@#$%jasdlfkjasdofui qweroiuasdtlkj3245324%%asjdltfkqwer 5as09e85l34j5kl;jasetR2346jasldjkf923876453426asd jsdaflkjsadf09854asdj;lkasjdt;lae as;dlrkqw40958qwekjl;35jasdf 34ql;5jas9087sadlkjasdl;fkj3459873426lkjasd f31245lkjqw9875lkasje3wq498udsfljh4ew9857342oi5jasldtjk234957aos9e8rulkj32556!#%#@$56a09srlkasjfdqwoeritudlzgkjqwe05987asdlkfj1234lkk5j12435@#$%!@#%$ 4321lkk5jasdou1324%@#!$%J!@#$%jasdlfkjasdofui qweroiuasdtlkj3245324%%asjdltfkqwer 5as09e85l34j5kl;jasetR2346jasldjkf923876453426asd jsdaflkjsadf09854asdj;lkasjdt;lae as;dlrkqw40958qwekjl;35jasdf 34ql;5jas9087sadlkjasdl;fkj3459873426lkjasd f31245lkjqw9875lkasje3wq498udsfljh4ew9857342oi5jasldtjk234957aos9e8rulkj32556!#%#@$56a09srlkasjfdqwoeritudlzgkjqwe05987asdlkfj1234lkk5j12435@#$%!@#%$ 4321lkk5jasdou1324%@#!

Re:asdlfkj3214^J!#$K%JEWKRJL^#!$%DJGASDLKTJ (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 6 years ago | (#22128622)

Ah, okay. Earlier you were drawing some pretty wildly over-reaching inferences, but I think now, with those caveats you mentioned, I'd have to agree.

I'd watch out on sending copyrighted material like that though. With all this monitoring going on, even a short excerpt like that could get you in trouble. Good move encrypting.
I just wanted to apologize for letting my cat walk over the keyboard. He's an Apple fan, you know, and he just won't let some tropics just drop.

Re:asdlfkj3214^J!#$K%JEWKRJL^#!$%DJGASDLKTJ (4, Funny)

Scutter (18425) | more than 6 years ago | (#22128484)

WARNING - - - Cat-like typing detected.

Re:asdlfkj3214^J!#$K%JEWKRJL^#!$%DJGASDLKTJ (1)

ijakings (982830) | more than 6 years ago | (#22129692)

WARNING - - - Cat-like typing detected.

asdlfkj3214^J!#$K%
Any cat successfully able to use the shift key and put ^!$ into a post deserves the ability to post on slashdot.

Re:asdlfkj3214^J!#$K%JEWKRJL^#!$%DJGASDLKTJ (0, Flamebait)

lhorn (528432) | more than 6 years ago | (#22128054)

Dear Sir, Madam or Neuter AC. More people will respond to your arguments if you
do not needlessly repeat yourself.

EDGE (4, Insightful)

Mr. Underbridge (666784) | more than 6 years ago | (#22127972)

"If someone is using a p2p network on a cell 24/7, it can adversely impact the service of their neighbors. It has the effect of not providing the service paid for. Overwhelming usage is from BitTorrent traffic. No one wants to get to the point [where] we say, "You can't do that."

Oh, now I get it. They think that's why EDGE is slow. Kind of cute in a retarded kind of way.

Do they think EV-DO users aren't using P2P or something? Perhaps if they upgraded the network instead of locking it down, it might work better for them.

Re:EDGE (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22128154)

The ploy will be to tell customers that they will have a much better experience and cheaper internet if ATT filters out the noise. I guess what the carriers were shooting for when they lobied for more tax breaks and exclusive franchises in certain areas. "We will provide greater bandwidth and service for everyone and invest in upgrades to our networks if this bill passes and you approve of this monopoly franschise agreement" and in small print "there will be very little actual bandwidth added, we are going to limit the bandwidth and applications that people use to achieve our goal of more bandwidth"

I guess more bandwidth actually means less bandwidth but that less bandwidth will be delivered in a shorter time period.

Re:EDGE (4, Funny)

stinerman (812158) | more than 6 years ago | (#22129076)

Yes, the Internet is faster for YOU if no one else does anything other than check their email. In fact, it's faster for everyone if everyone just doesn't use it. Look at all that theoretical capacity!

Re:EDGE (2, Insightful)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 6 years ago | (#22129200)

"We will provide greater bandwidth and service for everyone and invest in upgrades to our networks if this bill passes and you approve of this monopoly franchise agreement"
First, agree to never give any sort of customer information to the government without a court order, then we can talk. Until then, AT&T, just stick to the agreements you've made with your customers. And if that agreement was "unlimited internet", don't whine about how much I use.

It's funny how deeply caring and concerned about customers AT&T is when they're getting ready to fuck them over. They didn't seem to care so much when they bent over and handed our data to law enforcement without a judge's order.

Re:EDGE (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22128454)

'cell' isn't a reference to cell phones.

Re:EDGE (1)

IamTheRealMike (537420) | more than 6 years ago | (#22129806)

I really doubt he means cell towers. The word "cell" can refer to a lot of things, and how many people do you know that run BitTorrent over their mobile phone? He probably is talking about local cable internet POP.

The point about upgrading the network is moot. Every ISP I ever talked to has said that P2P traffic expands to fill the available space. It doesn't matter how much bandwidth you throw at it. You'll always flood your pipes with P2P traffic.

Anyway, the interview is pretty interesting. I'm trying hard to figure out if the AT&T guys genuinely believe the stuff about having a moral responsibility to do something about illegal content travelling over their pipes, or whether it's a cynical cover for some other business reason. I can well believe it's both actually. These guys are probably in their 50s or so. They probably were never absorbed into the "information wants to be free dude!" culture that is prevalent in under 35s. I suspect their views on morality and copyright law might seem quite old fashioned to a lot of us here on Slashdot - regardless of whether they work for AT&T or not.

Let's assume they're basically honest people, who just have very different views of the world to most of us. Most of the times I've thought people were "evil" that turned out to be just childish naivety on my part. Usually, I just didn't understand their position.

So they see a small number of their customers basically flouting the law, and using up disproportionate resources whilst doing so. It doesn't surprise me that they might feel annoyed or even outraged about that.

And now the industry has backed itself into a corner because everybody is selling "unlimited" subscriptions and trying to sell a "10mbit/sec with a max cap of X GByte/month" just won't fly becaus nobody really understands what "X GByte" equates to. Regular Joe Schmoe has no clue how much a YouTube video would count towards his cap for instance, and probably most Slashdotters don't either. So no consumer ISP is going to talk about this stuff except in the fine print, which leads to people jumping on them for misleading advertising, etc.

I have to admit, if I were an ISP owner I don't know what I'd do. I could try selling a subscription in which BitTorrent traffic was banned, so that people who don't use it can get cheaper and more reliable connectivity, but that implies regular people understanding stuff like "WoW uses BitTorrent" (which imho is a stupid idea anyway ... why the hell is Blizzard abusing my upstream instead of just paying Akamai to do file distribution properly?). Or I could just bite the marketing problems and sell most people capped/throttled connections and then sell "pure" lines to people who want to sit on P2P all day .... oh wait, I already sell them, they're called business class lines and don't have any oversubscription problems, but are a ton more expensive.

So it seems I lose no matter what I do. Either I can sell "unlimited" connections which are nice and easy for the 95% of my customers that don't spend all their time downloading movies and video games 24/7, but I have to spend ridiculous quantities of cash on transit just to stop my service grinding to a halt. Or I can try and sell capped/throttled connections, which will kill me because nobody will understand how it's measured and my customers will just go elsewhere. Or I can sell unlimited connections and throttle BitTorrent in some way, perhaps in the fine print, which makes my 95% legit customer base happy but pisses off the 5% I don't really want anyway.

Re:EDGE (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 6 years ago | (#22129986)

I think it's easy for ISPs to show people how many GB they have currently used. Just have a web page they can visit that shows them how much they have used for the current billing cycle, along with a nice graph showing how much they have used each day. Also, have an application that runs in the system try that queries their system every hour, or other predefined period in time to show how much they have used. You wouldn't even need to log in, because they could identify you by your IP Address. You wouldn't have to visit the webpage, or run this application to show your current usage, but then you couldn't complain that you didn't know you were over the limit.

Not even close (5, Informative)

TheMeuge (645043) | more than 6 years ago | (#22127992)

We hear from our customers directly and indirectly. It's a very competitive business, ravenously so. I think our company is very, very sensitive to customer attitude -- we have to consider this

Hearing that hurt my ear. I've been a relatively unwilling AT&T customer 3 times now, due to various mergers and acquisitions, and they've managed to go against the consensus opinions of their customers on every issue that I have encountered, where such a dichotomy existed.

For instance, I purchased my Blackjack from an authorized Cingular dealer, and received unlimited internet for $19.99 per month. I was really happy with the service. After Cingular became AT&T wireless, I began getting service outages, and now it takes me >2 minutes to connect to the internet, and the connection will time out after 2 minutes of being idle, rendering it almost useless. When I called, I was told that AT&T has different internet plans than Cingular, and my Blackjack could only get the $40/month plans, and they wouldn't help me with my service problems. I am still under contract, but it seems that AT&T isn't interested in their part of the deal.

It is perfectly clear that as a part of a government-sanctioned mono- or oligopoly, they have no interest at all in their customer's opinions.

Re:Not even close (4, Informative)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 6 years ago | (#22128460)

It's your settings, reset your internet settings in the phone to default.

I did that and now I get no problems with my blackjack. I even get over 740k in metro detroit when I am in 3G land.

Also, do NOT sign a new contract with them. Stay with the old cingular terms. They will screw you hard if you change, and as long as you are a "old" customer you still fall under the old terms and you are safe from them screwing you on data plan rates.

I dont care what they promise you, do NOT upgrade your plan or change it in any way until it's really worth your while as your data price will go to the $40.00 a month.

Re:Not even close (1)

antdude (79039) | more than 6 years ago | (#22129780)

What happens with those contracts that are subject to change? Those are annoying.

Re:Not even close (1)

Jeff Minor (1219458) | more than 6 years ago | (#22128546)

You can sue them. Call someone and see about starting a class action suit.

Re:Not even close (3, Insightful)

Nullav (1053766) | more than 6 years ago | (#22129906)

Because getting a $5 refund after a few years is really worth the trouble.

Re:Not even close (1)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 6 years ago | (#22130006)

+10 insightful.

Plus.. and then you'll pay $1 per year extra forever because the corporation will just pass the cost of the settlement on to you.

the only people that will make out will be the lawyers who get about 2 mil or more each.

Re:Not even close (1)

DannyO152 (544940) | more than 6 years ago | (#22129792)

Call it dannyo's commentary, companies that rely on customer satisfaction to stay competitive don't have to say it.

Don't shed a tier for me (3, Interesting)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 6 years ago | (#22128026)

My suggestion - though I'm not an AT&T customer - is to investigate the possibility of implementing tiered pricing as Time Warner is considering. If the problem with BitTorrent and other P2P apps (from your perspective, anyway) is disproportionate bandwidth usage, why not just charge more from the people using more than their fair share?

That is, unless the true motivation here is that you're deep in the pocket of the content cabal and will do anything to get whatever pittance of a kickback they're willing to give.

Re:Don't shed a tier for me (1)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 6 years ago | (#22128224)

They don't really want to go to tiered. If they do, they would need to stop advertising "Unlimited Internet" for their lowest price.

Re:Don't shed a tier for me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22129256)

They don't advertise unlimited access. Prove me wrong.

Re:Don't shed a tier for me (4, Insightful)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 6 years ago | (#22128260)

Although there is some sense to what you are suggesting, there is still one problem: Unlimited MEANS unlimited. If you sell users an unlimited plan, it is UNLIMITED. If you sell them that plan then decide that it is only unlimited for certain types of traffic packets, well, that is just not legal. If you buy a car, you have reasonable expectations that it will work on ALL highways. If you buy an unlimited Internet plan, you have reasonable expectations that it will work for all Internet protocol types and traffic.

If they want to sell a plan that does not permit P2P protocols, fine as long as that is what it says up front. If they want to sell a plan that only allows 10KB per month, no problem (good luck with that btw) and other such things. The trouble is that they sell unlimited plans, and their real problem is that they didn't think anyone would use the unlimited part. You know, customers get tired of trying to connect, so just don't use the service too much, then it's all good.

Now, if the reason for wanting to filter is ONLY to help the **AA and/or government types to find out things about you, well... burn the witches in hell I say. Better yet, switch services, let the shareholders burn them. I switched, as fast as I could when AT&T merged with Cingular. Do you need a daddy? AT&T wants to be your Ma Bell?

Re:Don't shed a tier for me (1)

DeadManCoding (961283) | more than 6 years ago | (#22128906)

Totally agreed on the unlimited plan. The only problem is that I live in California, which means either Comcast for my cable internet, or AT&T for DSL lines. And I play MMOs that require BitTorrent connections. I think I need to start looking harder for a new ISP...

Re:Don't shed a tier for me (1)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 6 years ago | (#22129098)

Unlimited MEANS unlimited.

Yes but it's been reasonably well established now that they mean unlimited availability *not* unlimited data.

That's why some 'unlimited' plans have 'fair use' caps of 10GB, 5GB or less, and the ones that don't mention one have vague legalese about being able to cut you off/throttle you without warning if you 'affect the experience of other users'.

It is definately not illegal for them to filter bittorrent... it'll be in the contract you signed that they have the right to do exactly that.

Re:Don't shed a tier for me (1)

TheSkyIsPurple (901118) | more than 6 years ago | (#22129526)

It's already in evert broadband contract I've ever agreed to. (Never had DSL though)
They all say something to the effect of "no servers", which would drastically affect your p2p usage.

Re:Don't shed a tier for me (1)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 6 years ago | (#22130212)

I switched, as fast as I could when AT&T merged with Cingular.
Hehe, I dodged a bullet on my cell phone service with that one as well. I was with Cingular, decided they sucked hairy goat balls, and tried switching to AT&T. Of course, AT&T screwed up my order (LNP had just become available here, and they weren't ready for it), so I ended up cancelling and going with Sprint. A couple months later came the headlines that Cingular and AT&T were merging.

Re:Don't shed a tier for me (1)

purpleraison (1042004) | more than 6 years ago | (#22128618)

Yes tiered pricing IS a good idea, and ultimately I will go with the company that offers what I want at the cheapest price. Sooner or later it will come back around to unlimited usage because EVERYONE will do the same thing. Filter my content, no problem -- there's other carriers who won't.

Fortunately my money speaks for me, and I will spend it where it benefits me the most. ATT knows this, and they should be concerned.

Re:Don't shed a tier for me (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22128760)

"more than your fair share"?

The company SOLD you a plan where you would be given upload and download transfer rates of a specific speed that is (if you go by their advertising) unlimited otherwise. This means if you're using your connection to it's maximum allowed rate all the time, you're technically getting EXACTLY what you paid for. EXACTLY your fair share. THEY are the ones overselling their network. Either they stop using "unlimited" as a buzzword in their advertising campaigns, or they start setting realistic transfer speeds that their network can handle. (Both methods would lose a lot of new customers unless their competition does the same.) That's the only way to "fix" this problem properly, -unless- they upgrade their network the way they were suppose to.

Passing the blame on to people who use "more than their fair share" is ignoring the REAL issues that are caused by the telcoms themselves.

Interview is complete BS (1)

whoever57 (658626) | more than 6 years ago | (#22128864)

Parent is entirely correct. If AT&T were really concerned about bandwidth hogs, then imposing traffic limits is the way to go (and stop lying to their customers about the "unlimited" nature of their Internet service.

I suspect that AT&T thinks that they won't be sued for deliberately violating their "unlimited" contract by people who are swapping files in violation of copyright. But what about people who are using P2P for entirely legal purposes? One of those could sue AT&T if AT&T decided to limit his/her "unlimited" Internet accedd.

Re:Don't shed a tier for me (1)

TheAngryIntern (785323) | more than 6 years ago | (#22128886)

the only problem i have with that is for people living with roommates. Take my situation for example: I don't do any downloading of music and movies anymore. i don't even have a p2p client installed on my machine anymore. All i use my connection for is for online gaming and downloading legal files (patches, game demos, stuff from itunes, etc...) My 2 roommates, however, are bit-torrent freaks and are always hogging the bandwidth. i can tell when they both get heavy with their downloading cuz the pings in my online games go to shit. with Time Warner's tier thing, our household would get charged more, even though not everyone is doing heavy downloading. I guess if TWC did this to our area, I would just have to make my roommates pay the extra fee.

Re:Don't shed a tier for me (1)

carambola5 (456983) | more than 6 years ago | (#22128928)

Here's what they should do:

Instead of whining that a single p2p user is affecting other subscribers in a cell, implement a "minimum guaranteed bandwidth" commensurate with their actual available bandwidth. So, if you have a 1 Gbps line going to a group of 1000 customers, offer a 1 Mbps guaranteed minimum, with up to 20 (or whatever) Mbps depending on a network traffic.

See? That wasn't so hard. Now they can implement QoS such that a heavy user is the first to get bumped down to 1 Mbps when another user wants bandwidth.

Re:Don't shed a tier for me (5, Interesting)

boyko.at.netqos (1024767) | more than 6 years ago | (#22129062)

Well, the problem is that charging for the data isn't going to do anything to resolve bandwidth issues. A user downloading a single large file during peak times at high speeds is going to create more of a bandwidth problem than a user downloading multiple large files via BT staggered over a couple of days. It's because data isn't the limited resource - data is unlimited. It's bandwidth - the capacity of the pipe at any particular time which is limited.

If your neighbor's network is going slower because you're downloading a huge file, that's not a sign of you being a 'bandwidth hog' - it's a sign of improper QoS policies in place. Everybody gets a share of the pipe. If you want a bigger share of that pipe, you can ALREADY pay for more bandwidth, which is the limited resource. Charging for bandwidth AND data is "double dipping [networkper...edaily.com] "

In my opinion, it's just an excuse to try to maintain the old business models of cable TV (for cable companies) and cellphone/landline (for phone companies) when better alternatives (digital distribution/VoIP) exist.

Re:Don't shed a tier for me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22129126)

Right now, 5% of the users is using 50% of the bandwith.
This means that almost 95% is not taking advantage from their 'unlimited' bandwith.
As soon as they start to tier their prices, the 95% of 'limited' users will be downgrading to more suitable (and cheaper) contracts.
The ISPs are risking a huge drop in total revenue if they drop the 'unlimited' product.

Re:Don't shed a tier for me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22129334)

Different AC here. :p

"the 95% of 'limited' users will be downgrading to more suitable (and cheaper) contracts."

lol. You do understand that this won't happen right? The "more suitable contracts" will be exactly what you're paying now. They'll just charge more for the ones actually using the bandwidth they're currently promised.

Re:Don't shed a tier for me (1)

mistermiyagi (1086749) | more than 6 years ago | (#22129776)

"If the problem with BitTorrent and other P2P apps (from your perspective, anyway) is disproportionate bandwidth usage, why not just charge more from the people using more than their fair share?"

            The word Disproportionate should only apply to situations where you are expected to use an alloted amount. "unlimited" data plans imply by their name that you are paying for the right to use all you want.

  Also don't forget that if their advertising is saying Unlimited and your contract says unlimited then Unlimited is consider to be my fair share. In the US companies are ( usually ) held to what they advertise. Unless AT&T and the other providers are going to change advertisement to reflect the removal of "unlimited" service ( and the subsequent loss of customers ) They should be forced to increase bandwith supply to meet the demand placed on that bandwith through the sales of "unlimited" service. If they can't meet their end of the contract they shouldn't be allowed to now; after overselling service, say that they have to limit certain types of traffic to prevent their network from collapsing. Either that or they should refund money for our loss of the contractually obligated unlimited access service we signed up for.

If True, Then Not Going To Happen (4, Informative)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 6 years ago | (#22128098)

they aren't moving anywhere until they discuss this with their customers.

If this is true, then it isn't going to happen. What customer is going to say, "Hey, block some of the applications I could otherwise use with this broadband pipe I pay for."

Even if a customer isn't using it at the moment, they won't be in favor of blocking it since they might want it in the future.

If this is true, then it will never happen at AT&T, and they were just blowing smoke to appease everyone since they know their filtering solution is impossible anyway. You can't filter what you can't read, and you can't read strongly encrypted packets - end of discussion.

Re:If True, Then Not Going To Happen (4, Insightful)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | more than 6 years ago | (#22128206)

Even if a customer isn't using it at the moment, they won't be in favor of blocking it since they might want it in the future.

You're manking the assumption that customers are not stupid and short-sighted. AT&T will promise them a 50% discount for 3 months and they'll sign anything.

Re:If True, Then Not Going To Happen (1)

megaditto (982598) | more than 6 years ago | (#22128746)

Why would that be short-sighted?

I for one do not use p2p filesharing, ever. Even a one month discount in return for throttling gnutella and such to say 56 kbps would be fine with me.

Very likely most home users fall into the same category as me regarding filesharing (i.e. doing some web, news, VoIP, family videos on youtube, some shopping, and church newsletters).

Note that the 1% of users that know about filesharing are probably the ones using up 50% of the total bandwidth. I don't mind my ISP dropping those in exchange for a 10% service discount for the rest.

(And if are one of those people that need to share 160GB worth of files a month, you should probably paying for a dedicated line anyways).

Re:If True, Then Not Going To Happen (2, Insightful)

edmicman (830206) | more than 6 years ago | (#22129712)

But it doesn't just apply to "illegal" filesharing. More and more downloads are going to be handled via P2P protocols because of the bandwidth crunch that the ISPs have created for themselves. How many HD movie downloads via iTunes would it take to hit 160GB in a month? What about legal downloads of isos or movies via bittorrent? What about Joost streaming TV (or any streaming video technology) that makes use of P2P technologies?

Capping bandwidths and throttling users is very shortsighted - it's only going to put off the inevitable. The truth is that the ISPs have always oversold their bandwidth, and are now getting burned for it. The answer isn't to limit people's use - the solution is to build more bandwidth infrastructure!

Re:If True, Then Not Going To Happen (1)

Usquebaugh (230216) | more than 6 years ago | (#22129802)

Firstly, they went for the mentally ill, I wasn't mentally ill so I remained silent

Secondly, they went for the homosexuals, I wasn't homo sexual so I remained silent

Thirdly, they went for the jews, I wasn't jewish so I remained silent

Lastly, they came for me and nobody spoke in my defense

Re:If True, Then Not Going To Happen (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 6 years ago | (#22130032)

Hope you never takeup WoW, patches are distributed through bittorrent =) 500MB patches at modem speed would really suck!

Re:If True, Then Not Going To Happen (5, Insightful)

n6kuy (172098) | more than 6 years ago | (#22128284)

Obviously you misunderstood what they mean by "discuss this with their customers".

Discuss, as in, "Oh, by the way, we're changing the terms of your service."

All Depends on How They Ask (3, Insightful)

TechForensics (944258) | more than 6 years ago | (#22128436)

You've never seen poll questions, have you? It all depends on how the question is phrased:

1) Should we (AT&T) slow down some kinds of uses you can make of your unlimited pipe; or

2) Should we throttle the bandwidth hogs who decrease the bandwidth available to YOU.

That's what leading questions are all about...

Re:If True, Then Not Going To Happen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22130134)

Encryption, properly implemented and validated, is difficult to get around, but it is almost trival to trick most users into an insecure setup. How many people validate that the certificate seen on their browser matches the website?

Bluecoat systems makes SSL proxies to allow governments and companies with enough money to create certificates on the fly that appear very similar to the original website cert. For example, if you are at www.foo.com, they can create a cert with www.foo.example.com and have their own ca.example.com CA pre-installed in your corporate browser. The SSL would appear to work perfectly. Would your mother know any better? Do you? and do you verify certs **every** time?

I don't.

I used to work at a company that did this. The also implemented something called "deep packet inspection" for the data that the bluecoats kicked out. Millions of dollars of networking and millions in EMC storage were involved.

Does filtering really work? (3, Interesting)

dattaway (3088) | more than 6 years ago | (#22128112)

Many people on the dd-wrt forums would love to know how to do it. Its been tried on the L7 layer, but clients get around that in seconds.

Re:Does filtering really work? (1)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | more than 6 years ago | (#22128954)

I suspect they must think its possible. I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for them to divulge their methodology. They might consider it a key competitive advantage> Plus, divulging it would give those who would seek to avoid the filter some ideas on how to avoid it.

Re:Does filtering really work? (3, Interesting)

Artefacto (1207766) | more than 6 years ago | (#22128966)

I'm not sure how they do it, but my ISP (netcabo, Portugal) is able to throttle bittorrent traffic even when the most strict encryption options are selected. They must be using good techniques to recognise bittorrent traffic in particular, because they're not able to throttle the encrypted protocols used by eMule. The method is so agressive that when it's in "throttle mode" other protocols may also be affected. It's also not mere passive throttling, they actually send false RST packages to your peers, so you can't keep a connection for long (talk about man-in-the-middle attacks...) And they don't acknowledge any of this ("p2p traffic speed is influenced by many factors" is the usual line) unless you get very deep in the support chain. There's no official position on this matter whatsoever.

Re:Does filtering really work? (1)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 6 years ago | (#22129242)

Have you considered that your ISP isn't throttling?

Bittorrent's normal behaviour is to switch between clients.. many of them are on slow connections that dropout constantly anyway. It's also generally slow, because trackers measure upload/download and only allocate the faster links to those with a good upload - which penalises DSL users over other users for example.

If you want to see the effect of this try it on a decent leased line.. you'll see the speed start off really slow..1k/sec then slowly build until you're at about 10% of the download and your upload starts to exceed double your download, then up to about 60k/sec, then by about 50% of the download (by then the ratio is about 30:1) you're at max. bandwidth - about 1MB/sec in my case.

Of course it means it's always better to FTP - by the end on the leased line I've typically send about 200* the amount of data I've received, which goes on the bandwidth bill and of course clogs up the network. On FTP it's 1*, by definition.

OTOH on the DSL line at home I see *exactly* what you're describing.. bittorrent bumps along at 1k/sec until the tracker dumps you entirely. My ISP definately isn't throttling in any way (I can talk to the MD on IRC any time he's around and he definately wouldn't lie about a thing like that).

Re:Does filtering really work? (1)

Artefacto (1207766) | more than 6 years ago | (#22129424)

I'm pretty sure it is throttling.

1) The global upload speed has high variability and, for long periods, averages way below my upload bandwidth.
2) There's a strong correlation between average download speed and upload speed (more than was ti be expected)
3) It started a couple of weeks after the limit of 30GB/month was removed.
4) The behavior (severity of throttling) changes from time to time -- see http://web.ist.utl.pt/~ist155741/temp/04.PNG [ist.utl.pt] And no, I had no other bandwidth-hungry applications running. This happens all the time. Other protocols (e.g. HTTP) work fine and do not exhibit any of these patterns.

Some people claim to have captured traffic between two ends and found extra RST packages, but, of course, I can't confirm that.

Re:Does filtering really work? (1)

espressojim (224775) | more than 6 years ago | (#22129656)

Comcast is doing this in the states with sandvine. It sounds like your ISP may have the exact same equipment installed.

Re:Does filtering really work? (1)

realmolo (574068) | more than 6 years ago | (#22129398)

Oh, it works. A WRT54G with DD-WRT probably can't handle it, but if you buy a Packeteer or even a Fortigate unit, they can definitely identify P2P traffic and block it.

However...

If the packets are encrypted, then all bets are off. There's no way to inspect encrypted packets. At least, not easily. The only way I can imagine it could be done is to have the "filtering device" actually have special versions various P2P clients installed, and then continuously make connections, and then BLOCK the connections that it makes. Obviously, that's a really messy proposition.

Basically, if AT&T starts blocking stuff, then all of those programs will simply start *requiring* clients to use encryption. And then AT&T is back where it started.

AT&T have been doing bandwidth filtering for y (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22128140)

...with their service which makes it almost impossible to download anything large anyway!!!!

Already a dozen comments... (5, Funny)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 6 years ago | (#22128170)

...in a story where an AT&T executive is asserting it "listens" to its customers, and no wisecracks about NSA wiretapping?

Come on, people, you disappoint me! ;-)

Re:Already a dozen comments... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22128406)

they did comment but AT&T mysteriously lost the packets

Re:Already a dozen comments... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22129352)

What's there to be disappointed about? There are customers at all three ends of the wire. I'm sure they listen to all of them.

Re:Already a dozen comments... (1)

rhizome (115711) | more than 6 years ago | (#22129464)

...in a story where an AT&T executive is asserting it "listens" to its customers, and no wisecracks about NSA wiretapping?

This is because the interview is predicated on not listening. The "interviewer" on Slyck's side did not ask any of the obvious followup questions that would have addressed most of the highly-rated comments here. It wasn't an interview, it was a "give us your spin" questionnaire.

No fuckin way! (5, Insightful)

superash (1045796) | more than 6 years ago | (#22128176)

If someone is using a p2p network on a cell 24/7, it can adversely impact the service of their neighbors. It has the effect of not providing the service paid for.

WHAT?? Was it written in the ISP subscription forms that you are not supposed to use p2p? And if I use p2p network and the whole cell is affected then its fuckin time you upgraded the b/w of the cell!!!

It's like saying, "You are using a Microwave and a fridge, your neighbor cannot switch on the lights....so, you need to switch off your fridge". pah!

Re:No fuckin way! (1)

rhizome (115711) | more than 6 years ago | (#22129042)

> It has the effect of not providing the service paid for.

WHAT?? Was it written in the ISP subscription forms that you are not supposed to use p2p?


Not only that, but it'll be news to a lot of people that their residential connection has an SLA.

Re:No fuckin way! (1)

TheSkyIsPurple (901118) | more than 6 years ago | (#22129478)

In most of the cases, yes.

There is usually a clause disallowing you from running a "server", and that's half of what peer to peer is.

Identifying Pirated Content (5, Funny)

zifn4b (1040588) | more than 6 years ago | (#22128218)

"We've [internally] tested several systems, and we're going to see if there's a way to identify pirated content on the network. That asks the question of what to do if we develop such as technology. The actual deployment raises a lot of questions, [such as the impact on] customer rights and government policy. We wouldn't proceed without answers to those questions."
Hmm... maybe they could use something similar to this [faqs.org] .

And the Singularity is just around the corner (3, Funny)

Ralph Spoilsport (673134) | more than 6 years ago | (#22128246)

So, when it happens, all our troubles with bandwidth will be forgotten...

Or, will all this data processing power be squandered on downloading videos of the shaved pudendum of one Britney Spears?

RS

Competition? (4, Insightful)

webmaster404 (1148909) | more than 6 years ago | (#22128274)

It's a very competitive business

Oh I am sure there is loads of competition in the ISP business dominated by 4 businesses, that must be a ton of competition with Verizon, Time-Warner and Comcast all charging sky high rates for ISP service. Really, there's almost no competition in the ISP field there's the big 4 and some local ISPs and that is about it. Thats about the same as MS saying that the OS business is very competitive with only 1 major universal competitor which is Linux (Yes there is OS-X but it doesn't run on standard computers)

Re:Competition? (3, Informative)

rhizome (115711) | more than 6 years ago | (#22129016)

that must be a ton of competition with Verizon, Time-Warner and Comcast all charging sky high rates for ISP service.

This is what has been termed The Big Lie [wikipedia.org] , which if you sidestep the Godwinian implications allows AT&T to assert its barely bearable level of competition like Microsoft does with its own form of stiff competition. What they're competing against is "lack of complete domination," which is retarded in the broadest sense and an impossible Utopia in the specific.

Re:Competition? (1)

Yetihehe (971185) | more than 6 years ago | (#22129166)

So tell me, why there are no more ISP? Maybe it's hard to compete with those prices? What stops you from making your own ISP and starting to provide internet for your customers? I think they would be really happy to at last get those $20/mo 100mbit pipes.

Re:Competition? (1)

Yetihehe (971185) | more than 6 years ago | (#22129198)

If anyone wonders if I'm trolling, I would really know what stops people from making own ISP. If it's too costly, then why do you think they have too high prices?

lying (1)

mozkill (58658) | more than 6 years ago | (#22128450)

you can believe what this guy is saying in the interview. they dont actually consider "what the customer thinks" . the only thing that really matters is how they can get enough leverage to raise fees. they will figure out how to do it eventually and bit torrent users will lose out. its only a matter of time. one thing is for sure, you cant expect the AT&T spokesman to come out and say the truth, which is that " profits matter more than the customers".

Re:lying (2, Insightful)

LaughingCoder (914424) | more than 6 years ago | (#22128658)

profits matter more than the customers
Except that AT&T also knows that without customers there can be no profit. So in that case, customers are all that matters. Hmmm, what we have here is a genuine conundrum. Maybe it's not quite as simplistic as you suggest. Maybe they really are considering their customers - even if it's for all the "wrong" reasons like making a profit and staying in business, rather than just "doing the right thing".

I had AT&T's service (5, Interesting)

Jewfro_Macabbi (1000217) | more than 6 years ago | (#22128596)

Now I've dropped them like a bad habit. Seriously - their service sucks. Those commercials you see advertising their "broadband" network where the guys in a pond with a laptop surfing at high speeds. Yeah - my ass. I'm happy with my new Alltel service. Now I can download at the speeds faster than AT&T's total connection... The first month I used AT&T's mobile broadband - I received a $5000 dollar bill. I called them - WTF? They explained that though they had added unlimited net access to my account - they'd forgotten to take of the per MB charge - but they will fix it. The next month - a $15000 dollar bill - and the same rigamarole. Next month - a $34,000 dollar bill. At this point they disconnected my service for non-payment. I'll admit that lasted all of thirty seconds after calling them. It took 5 months for them to correct my bill.

Doublespeak and lies (1)

SirLurksAlot (1169039) | more than 6 years ago | (#22128644)

"We've [internally] tested several systems, and we're going to see if there's a way to identify pirated content on the network. That asks the question of what to do if we develop such as technology. The actual deployment raises a lot of questions, [such as the impact on] customer rights and government policy. We wouldn't proceed without answers to those questions."

Yes, because they were so concerned with privacy when they let the government monitor communications [wikipedia.org] across their network without court authorization. The position they're coming from is that they see that Comcast may be in hot water with the way they've handled their network, and they also see the possibility of the hammer coming down on them if the telcos aren't granted immunity for allowing the government free access to all of their network traffic.

No one's running out there and all of a sudden identifying such traffic. We're not going to do that. We are partnering to identify.

What kind of doublespeak PR crap is this? Either you are trying to identify content, or you're not.

Re:Doublespeak and lies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22129050)

It means some idiot thought they would be safe from lawsuits if they subcontract the work to a third party. IANAL, but I think a good lawyer would take that case apart. If the filtering work is paid for by them, and benefits their bottom line, they are as responsible as if the work is done by an internal department.

While Joey the Packet may have been shot by Frankie Two Filters your honour, we will show that Frankie pulled the trigger on orders from GodMa the Bell.

We listen to our customers... (3, Funny)

Damocles the Elder (1133333) | more than 6 years ago | (#22128652)

..the same way we did opinion polls and studies to show us that our customers wanted to be wiretapped! Honestly. Everyone was emailing us, phoning us, saying that they wanted to be monitored. And who are we to deny our customers?

I hope this happens (4, Insightful)

AlgorithMan (937244) | more than 6 years ago | (#22128732)

The day that P2P Traffic gets filtered will be the day when anonymous P2P will finally catch on...
then - when everyone can download everything without any fear of being caught - the CD sales will finally become THAT bad, that the music industry MUST start thinking about making better offers OR die... anyhow the result will be that all these crazy lawsuit-waves and the evil legislation lobbying will FINALLY come to an end

Re:I hope this happens (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22129710)

Haha, yeah right. It's trivial to identify P2P by the bandwith consumption and network traffic pattern, you know.

Sensitive Indeed (1)

EEBaum (520514) | more than 6 years ago | (#22128776)

I think our company is very, very sensitive to customer attitude

Would be nice if that sensitivity would trickle down to the customer service phone reps, one of which answered "yes" when I asked "so it's company policy to charge customers for services they don't receive?"

Ob: cynicism (1)

Guppy06 (410832) | more than 6 years ago | (#22128952)

"We hear from our customers directly and indirectly... I think our company is very, very sensitive to customer attitude -- we have to consider this," Jim Cicconi told Slyck.com"

They hear from their customers by tapping their phone lines without a warrant. What better way to stay in tune with customer attitudes by recording them directly and without their knowledge?

I LOL'd (2, Insightful)

stinerman (812158) | more than 6 years ago | (#22129184)

It's a very competitive business, ravenously so

Yeah, 2.5 options make for a very competitive market. You (or other monopoly) own my phone lines, while my cable monopoly owns my cable lines. High-latency satellite connections, slow-ass dialup (still over the monopoly's lines, BTW), or "unlimited" (5GB cap) cell data plans are the rest of the .5 options.

I think a lot of businesses would be quite happy to have such an absence of competition in their markets.

metered usage is the long term solution (5, Insightful)

wakim1618 (579135) | more than 6 years ago | (#22129220)

There are several advantages to treating bankwidth like any other utility. Yes, your monthly charges will vary. So does your electricity bill and gas bill. But at the same time, this will provide pressure from consumers for software companies to declare how often their software calls home and how much bandwidth their application uses. In turn, this provides impetus for Congress to pass legislation whereby stealth phoning home will be illegal. Yeah, this last bit is probably wishful thinking. On the other hand, if you are uploading/downloading tons of stuff on p2p, then the costs of providing service to you probably exceeds what you are paying. Nevertheless, there is a large incentive for segmenting market between casual and heavy users.

Re:metered usage is the long term solution (1)

Grampaw Willie (631616) | more than 6 years ago | (#22130050)

could be

alternatively we might re-examine content and use

Cable systems already have "pay per view" channels and perhaps some of these should be used for streaming music and videos you guys want to access

that might get the data streams for these materials out of the regular internet data channel

too, much of the video and music is copyright material and to access copyright material will require a proper sales agreement.

Re:metered usage is the long term solution (1)

Reziac (43301) | more than 6 years ago | (#22130276)

Phonehome-ware can probably dodge that bullet by getting the minimum reporting threshold set at an ordinary non-P2P-user's monthly usage, say 5GB. Even the most verbose phonehome-ware isn't going to come anywhere near that, so would be exempt.

Liar, liar, pants on fire (1)

gorbachev (512743) | more than 6 years ago | (#22129416)

Sure thing, customers are important. Whatever, dude. I guess you're gonna claim NSA is a more important customer than your other customers, next, eh?

Rethink the moral, AT&T! (1)

Heddahenrik (902008) | more than 6 years ago | (#22129430)

Every time someone allows copyright monopolists to steal money from them because they are copying information on the Internet, it is supporting Internet surveillance and hindering information sharing.

Sharing cultural and educational material is essential to our society's survival. Is AT&T against that?

The simply fact is that society doesn't need blood-suckers who resell information for hideous prices. And film-makers can get their income from movie theatres and advertising, and musicians from concerts and sponsors.

Re:Rethink the moral, geek (1)

Grampaw Willie (631616) | more than 6 years ago | (#22129844)

you should be able to tell the difference between copyright material and shared research data

quit all this quibbling already

Infrastructure (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22129782)

AT&T, Comcast, all of the Tel Coms in America need to upgrade their infrastructure and then we wouldn't be having these problems. Look at Britain. DSL speeds much higher than America, none of these problems, same with most of Europe. But no, the tel coms don't want to cut into their profits even the slightest bit so they can provide the speeds they advertise or the ability to give faster speeds. For 2 times the price I can get 20 times the speed in England. Sometimes I wish one of the World Wars had happened on American soil so we would have been forced to re lay the lines and upgrade them.

Mu (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22130274)

"There's nothing wrong with BitTorrent. There's very legitimate usage, [and] one would hope that it would grow. We're focusing on pirated content over BitTorrent, [not BitTorrent per se.] The only issue is the sheer volume of traffic. It's no different than any other traffic management challenge."

Ok, so the answer is simple: block all BT traffic for normal users, then have an add-on service ($10/mo or whatever) for BT use, to allow people to continue using it but make them pay a bit more to help pay for expanding the network to support the extra traffic. That will solve the issue of traffic management, and may even help reduce the rates for non-BT broadband users. This solution obviously has nothing to do with the distinction between legal and illegal use, however the interview article seems to suggest that AT&T's concern is more over bandwidth usage rather than legality anyway.
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