Beta
×

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

Thank you!

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

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

What Will Come of the FCC Comcast Hearing

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the rhymes-with-bombast dept.

Government 86

The FCC held its hearing on network neutrality and Comcast today at Harvard. One commentator not afraid to predict what will come of it is O'Reilly's Andy Orem, who writes: "The mere announcement of an FCC hearing on 'broadband network management practices' was a notch in the gun of network neutrality advocates. Yet to a large extent, the panelists and speakers were like petitioners who are denied access to the king and can only bring their complaints to the gardeners who decorate the paths outside his gate. What we'll end up getting is a formal endorsement of non-discrimination as a policy that Internet providers must follow, leading to continual FCC review of current practices by telecom and cable companies."

cancel ×

86 comments

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

The Perfect is the Enemy of the Good (2, Insightful)

chevman (786211) | more than 6 years ago | (#22555030)

You're like all the developers I work with in cube land. Sometimes the truth we can implement in the real world is not the same truth that exists in your mind. This is *ok*. It doesn't mean we have failed. It just means we are making progress. And progress is good, no?

Re:The Perfect is the Enemy of the Good (1)

Smordnys s'regrepsA (1160895) | more than 6 years ago | (#22555122)

And progress is good, no?

Not according to the Telecoms. Apparently we're perfect just as we are, and have no need of your "progress" and infrastructure repairs/replacements.

Re:The Perfect is the Enemy of the Good (2, Insightful)

calebt3 (1098475) | more than 6 years ago | (#22555198)

No. They prefer us to be in the pre-Youtube era of data usage.

I don't need notches in my gun (2, Funny)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 6 years ago | (#22555038)

I need ammo!

Re:I don't need notches in my gun (1)

William Robinson (875390) | more than 6 years ago | (#22555120)

Is that u, George?

Re:I don't need notches in my gun (3, Funny)

ILuvRamen (1026668) | more than 6 years ago | (#22555848)

I was gonna mention that too. It doesn't make sense. You fire guns and put notches in belts, right? I've never heard of a notch in a gun. Anyway, nothing's going to come out of this except maybe the FCC banning Comcast employees from using steroids.

Comcast in hot hot heat (1)

Petropolus (1107483) | more than 6 years ago | (#22555044)

Looks like Comcast is pleading the Fizith

Re:Comcast in hot hot heat (5, Interesting)

Kryptonian Jor-El (970056) | more than 6 years ago | (#22555184)

Basically.

Look, Comcast is just being pissy because they dont want to put in new lines. End of story. In my area (as with MANY others) cable companies are bought out all the time. Comcast bought Adelphia, who had bought GE Communications probably 5 years before that. Comcast KNOWS that if it puts the money into upgrading its capacity, it will bankrupt, and some new, fancy cable company will come in, but its newly installed lines for pennies on the dollar, and take over. Problem solved for 5 years.

I don't care for Verizon personally, but they're doing the right stuff with this FiOS. They're laying down fresh fiber to eventually replace their old copper lines. The interwebz aren't getting any smaller, so this is the way all ISPs will have to go sooner or later (without some miracle in wireless tech).

Furthermore, I am paying for an unlimited service. Thats what its called and advertised as, unlimited. Well, fucking with my speeds and sending fake reset packets, well, that seems like a limit to me, doesn't it?

I envy you people that CAN bitch about other sucky ISPs, because Comcast is the only one I'll ever be able to bitch about here.

Re:Comcast in hot hot heat (3, Interesting)

calebt3 (1098475) | more than 6 years ago | (#22555380)

Have you checked if Speakeasy DSL [speakeasy.net] is available in your area? Their Terms of Service [speakeasy.net] seem somewhat sane:

If you utilize any of your Speakeasy services in a manner which consumes excessive bandwidth or affects Speakeasy's core equipment, overall network performance, or other users' services, Speakeasy may require that you cease or alter these activities.
So there is the possibility that they will ask you to throttle your own speed during the day or something. Not likely, I know, but another paragraph gives some hope:

Speakeasy believes in the right of the individual to publish information they feel is important to the world via the Internet. Unlike many ISP's, Speakeasy allows customers to run servers (web, mail, etc.) over their Internet connections, use hubs, and share networks in multiple locations. Any service that causes a disruption in the network integrity of Speakeasy or its vendors, whether directly or indirectly, is strictly prohibited and could result in termination of service. This may include but is not limited to: IRC servers, adult-content servers, bots, webpages hosted on any Speakeasy servers, servers connected to a Speakeasy provided Internet connection, or shared networks. Speakeasy reserves the right to modify or terminate services at our sole discretion.
There is one other restriction:

Speakeasy respects the intellectual property rights granted under the US copyright laws and the interests of subscribers and content providers on the Internet. You may not store material on, or transmit material over, Speakeasy, Inc.'s information systems or servers in any manner that infringes the intellectual property rights of any entity or individual. All notices received by Speakeasy indicating any activity suspected to infringe upon third party intellectual property rights will be re-routed to the primary account holder on file, accompanied by a request to verify and possibly cease and desist. Speakeasy Inc.'s policy of service suspension or termination of members deemed to infringing the intellectual property rights of a third party is in accordance with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act ("DMCA") as well as US copyright law.
So no seeding illegal content. But legal content (Vuze, for example) would seem to be acceptable.

Re:Comcast in hot hot heat (1)

u-235-sentinel (594077) | more than 6 years ago | (#22558348)

Furthermore, I am paying for an unlimited service. Thats what its called and advertised as, unlimited. Well, fucking with my speeds and sending fake reset packets, well, that seems like a limit to me, doesn't it?

The Advertisement when I signed up said "Unlimited use for a flat monthly fee" not unlimited access. So when Concast terminated my families Internet on January 19, 2007 I was livid! They said we used it too much and were not provided service for 12 months. And NOW the company wants us back as a customer. They are sending us fliers and want our business.

While Qwest DSL isn't as fast, we don't need Concast's lousy service. Competition fortunately has sorta caught up here and I'm pushing for Network Neutrality plus Utopianet fiber to our home.

What I don't understand is why Concast won't use modern day QoS software and manage their network like many other ISP's.

Oh that's right, I keep forgetting about the Monopoly thing.

Must be nice for them. Creating products which benefit THEM and not the consumer.

Don't think FIOS is some kind of savior (2, Insightful)

ashpool7 (18172) | more than 6 years ago | (#22558938)

They're ripping out the copper (regulated) to put in (unregulated) fiber, so they can build a network like the cable company and do whatever the hell they feel like, not unlike Comcast.

Don't think FIOS is some kind of monster (1)

Frigga's Ring (1044024) | more than 6 years ago | (#22572906)

They can remove the copper lines from your home IF you're getting the "total package" and you sign off of the form giving them permission to do so. I'm not a fan of fine print, but I've seen the contract personally (at least the copy the service tech brought to my house) and it was pretty clear what they were going to do even before the tech brought it up. I opted out and still have my copper.

Re:Don't think FIOS is some kind of monster (1)

ashpool7 (18172) | more than 6 years ago | (#22576134)

Doesn't change the fact that it's unregulated.

Ars brings the Audio (5, Informative)

Dr. Eggman (932300) | more than 6 years ago | (#22555052)

Ars Technica's article included MP3 Audio [arstechnica.com] clippings of the hearing.

Comcast sucks (5, Interesting)

Izabael_DaJinn (1231856) | more than 6 years ago | (#22555062)

Andy Oram links to his older article [lxer.com] (which he says is still relevant) where he blames the current situation on other things as well:

1 ) Bell telephone companies.

2) Congress

3) dot-com commerce sites.

4) Internet2

5) "And finally, I'm mad at the public for taking the lazy route and accepting the cheapest form of half-crippled Internet access instead of a high-capacity bidirectional connection that could make us full Internet citizens. Let's not blame the telcos--or at least not stop with them. No one in a position to care has cared enough."

I don't know. I myself can see all those as part of the big problem, of course, but I'd rather just point my finger at guys like this:

Comcast Executive Vice President David Cohen: "I don't think we're restraining the customers from using the service in accordance with the way we're selling [sticking] it to them."

Re:Comcast sucks (4, Funny)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | more than 6 years ago | (#22555102)

I'm not sure who Andy Oram is other than a blogger for Oreily, but his blaming of the dot com ecoms and the internet 2 are incredibly lame. He might as well have blamed Atilla the Hun, for all the relevance.

Re:Comcast sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22555734)

Spare me your space-age techno-babble Attila the Hun

Re:Comcast sucks (5, Insightful)

steelfood (895457) | more than 6 years ago | (#22555252)

5) "And finally, I'm mad at the public for taking the lazy route and accepting the cheapest form of half-crippled Internet access instead of a high-capacity bidirectional connection that could make us full Internet citizens. Let's not blame the telcos--or at least not stop with them. No one in a position to care has cared enough."

As long as the majority of the American public has access to Youtube and Myspace (and now Facebook), they're largely happy campers, apathetic to every other aspect of the internet, especially the technical ones or the ones that require any amount of thought. It's just like television; as long as there's American Idol and Lost, everybody's happy. Nobody cares about matters of substance like what's being reported on the major news outlets.

Re:Comcast sucks (5, Funny)

Stanislav_J (947290) | more than 6 years ago | (#22555896)

Nobody cares about matters of substance like what's being reported on the major news outlets.

They report on matters of substance on the news channels? When did this start?

Re:Comcast sucks (1)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | more than 6 years ago | (#22556318)

Quick! Where's the blog?

Re:Comcast sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22555592)

Note.. I didn't RTFM. But in reference to this list.. I calls it as I sees it...
1 ) Bell telephone companies.
          Yes.. Verizon at least is running fiber, but doesn't allow open access (and is removing the copper they install.) That said, having 100mbit service available kicks ass, I wish I had it here. In my area, Qwest has DSL over like 20% of the city.. I'm serious. I can't get it even though I live in a town of 50,000. They have been a bit of a stick in the mud in general.

2) Congress
          No comment. I really don't know if they've helped our hurt. They deregulated and things went to hell and regulated and they did too.

3) dot-com commerce sites.
          What?

4) Internet2
          This is just a high-speed research network.

5) "And finally, I'm mad at the public for taking the lazy route and accepting the cheapest form of half-crippled Internet access instead of a high-capacity bidirectional connection that could make us full Internet citizens. Let's not blame the telcos--or at least not stop with them. No one in a position to care has cared enough."
          Umm, I'd LOVE one. I can't get it. I live in a town of 50,000, and I have a choice of cable and.. well, that's it. $55/month. I think I'd get about 12kbps over dialup, cellular data here is still 1X (144kbps), Qwest doesn't have DSL here (I'm 20,000 line feet from the central office.) There's no wifi, wimax, etc. (although someone I know is working on it -- I'll buy it so fast when I can get it here...) I think literally the step up from what I have would be a leased T1 (actually much slower speeds down, but faster up...).. that's like $300/month or so if I can even get it.. which is questionable since there's no fiber around here, and the copper infrastructure is pretty full.

          Seriously, what the hell does he expect people to do? Verzion has 100mbit service apparently in some northeastern cities and are selling it like crazy. Should I just have no itnernet service to show "them" whose boss until that comes here or what? Lots of people here buy the fastest service available, there simply isn't anything good.

Re:Comcast sucks (1)

jc42 (318812) | more than 6 years ago | (#22559050)

5) "And finally, I'm mad at the public for taking the lazy route and accepting the cheapest form of half-crippled Internet access instead of a high-capacity bidirectional connection that could make us full Internet citizens. Let's not blame the telcos--or at least not stop with them. No one in a position to care has cared enough."

We should probably note (and point out to the participants in the hearing) that in most of the US, the customers are in no position to care, because they aren't permitted any choice. Most of us have only one ISP available, and if we don't like that one, well, we can just move -- to another address where there's only one ISP. The monopoly is enforced by law, and encouraged by the FCC. Even when there are two ISPs permitted, they are a duopoly, with a "gentlemen's agreement" to offer customers the same services at the same price, and thus functionally indistinguishable from a monopoly.

It's funny to hear the media (even NPR) refer to "the Market" in reports on the hearings. But no market is permitted by law. We take what the mon/duopoly deigns to offer us, and we have no say in what is offered.

What we need is for people to start objecting loudly to such disingenuous ralk about "the Market", and point out that we aren't permitted a market in communications. Maybe it would get some attention if, every time some talking head talked about this supposed market, we pointed out to them that there is no market, by law, so their talk is all nonsense.

It's also funny to hear them talk about "managing" and "balancing" network traffic. Well, I suppose forging end-of-connection packets to kill a transfer is a sort of "managing". Maybe we should start talking of sending in hit men to "manage" Comcast. Ya think that would get their attention?

it's simple (1)

nguy (1207026) | more than 6 years ago | (#22555068)

I'm actually for network neutrality: I think ISPs shouldn't try to manage traffic based on content or destination.

But if they can't cap BitTorrent, they have to cap volume, and I expect that's what's going to happen.

Re:it's simple (3, Interesting)

Smordnys s'regrepsA (1160895) | more than 6 years ago | (#22555140)

...or option 3, they can charge based off of usage (hopefully with a peek/off-peek difference for pricing)

...or option 4, they can reinvest their massive profits into bulking up their infrastructure so they don't have to worry about volume.

Re:it's simple (1)

calebt3 (1098475) | more than 6 years ago | (#22555212)

The downside to option 4 is that the problem keeps coming back every 10 years or so.

Re:it's simple (1)

Smordnys s'regrepsA (1160895) | more than 6 years ago | (#22556148)

the upside is, profits keep happening every year!

Re:it's simple (1)

nguy (1207026) | more than 6 years ago | (#22556240)

...or option 3, they can charge based off of usage (hopefully with a peek/off-peek difference for pricing)

Yes; that's basically what "volume caps" mean: a monthly subscription rate for some base volume, plus the ability to purchase more.

...or option 4, they can reinvest their massive profits into bulking up their infrastructure so they don't have to worry about volume.

There is no way they can keep up. For example, if everybody could actually run 100Mbps in/out of their homes for $30/month, you'd see massive 24/7 HD video streams going all over the place, for all sorts of purposes.

Capping volume solves NOTHING. (2, Insightful)

rickb928 (945187) | more than 6 years ago | (#22557342)

All it does is get the high-volume users to be more active at the beginning of their billing cycle, which will STILL impact 'the network'. It will just impact it for a shorter period of time. And if billing cycles are staggered, there will always be some BitTorrent users sucking up gobs of bandwidth, causing trouble, you know their drill.

Volume caps are a lie. The sad truth is that Comcast is acting as if they can't actually deliver what they say they can - all the Internet you can ask for. The truth is that no network has an infinite capacity, not even the South Korean and Japanese 'wonders'. It's just that Comcastand others have not kept up with demand.

Imagine if the cable companies had to carry full-bandwidth HDTVfor every channel, and I mean 1080p, not the MP4 dreck they foist on us now. This would cut their channel capacity by 50-75%. And no one would tolerate it. Same price for a quarter the content? And just because theh didn't have big enough pipes? We would correctly tell them to make the pipes, and then they can charge us.

As it is, throttling Internet bandwidth isn't even giving those who would the chance to pay even more.

Comcast is so out on a limb here.

Stop misusing "Network Neutrality" (4, Insightful)

bconway (63464) | more than 6 years ago | (#22555074)

Network Neutrality refers to ISPs double dipping on charging/extorting fees for both users paying for their connections and web sites paying for prioritization of traffic according to origination and destination. It does not refer to protocol-based QoS. It does not mean a flat, unmanaged, unQoS-ed Internet. By repeatedly and deliberately misusing this phrase, its importance is being weakened.

Re:Stop misusing "Network Neutrality" (3, Interesting)

Tuki (613364) | more than 6 years ago | (#22555128)

Also stop misusing "Network Management"! What they are dong is traffic shaping, which I would say is a Network Engineering function, not that of Network Management.

Re:Stop misusing "Network Neutrality" (5, Insightful)

corsec67 (627446) | more than 6 years ago | (#22555296)

No, what they are doing is Traffic Forgery. They were forging packets to get the connections to stop. Forgery is something we shouldn't tolerate in any form, especially when it is from the ISP who is perfectly placed to do a Man-in-the-middle attack [wikipedia.org] on traffic.

They weren't doing any kind of classic traffic shaping, since that takes much more processing power to do.

Re:Stop misusing "Network Neutrality" (1, Interesting)

Wesley Felter (138342) | more than 6 years ago | (#22555522)

Did you invent the term? Why is your definition correct and all others wrong?

A "Network Neutrality" issue -IS- what this is. (3, Insightful)

funchords (937529) | more than 6 years ago | (#22555902)

Prof. Timothy Wu, the man who DID first coin the term "Network Neutrality" testified at the hearing, and he seemed perfectly satisfied that discriminating against users' BitTorrent uploads is a fine example of a Network Neutrality violation.

In your example, the incentive is MONEY gained by charging content providers extra fees for carriage and then giving their traffic preferential treatment.

However, in the Comcast example, the incentive is MONEY saved by eliminating BitTorrent traffic and then putting off the new plant installations installations and additional transit fees that would normally have been paid to handle user demand.

So what's the real difference?

And nobody wants an unmanaged un-Qos'ed internet. But most people think that how the Internet works is the job of the IETF and the Internet Standards ... who already have defined ways for applications to identify time-critical, jitter-sensitive packets and have defined what carriers should do about them.

Otherwise, how do you write software for an world-wide internet when half-a-dozen ISPs and transit providers on any given path want to "tune" the higher-level protocols to their own secret views on how the Internet ought to be prioritized?

I disagree (2, Insightful)

CSMatt (1175471) | more than 6 years ago | (#22555100)

I think Comcast will get a slap on the wrist, and throttling will resume. That's how the government has been operating for the past 7 years. Why should I expect them to change now?

What Will Come of the FCC Comcast Hearing (2, Insightful)

jltnol (827919) | more than 6 years ago | (#22555266)

Nothing. Both money and time will be wasted on the hearings, but no changes will occur. Network shaping will persist, because the ISP's don't want to spend the money to upgrade their infrastructure.... unless they can get the government to pay for it, and then charge the end users more money for it.

Re:I disagree (1)

djupedal (584558) | more than 6 years ago | (#22555330)

"...Why should I expect them to change now?

Not now...but soon enough - try sometime after the Bush administration hears a flushing sound.

Re:I disagree (1)

calebt3 (1098475) | more than 6 years ago | (#22555408)

What makes you think a Democrat will change things?

Re:I disagree (1)

djupedal (584558) | more than 6 years ago | (#22555476)

Living through some fourteen odd Presidents gives me a bit of a reference.

What' you got...?

Re:I disagree (1)

calebt3 (1098475) | more than 6 years ago | (#22555512)

I vaguely remember Clinton getting reelected.

Re:I disagree (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22556814)

the primaries aren't even done yet. whachewtalknbout?

Re:I disagree (1)

calebt3 (1098475) | more than 6 years ago | (#22559158)

Bill.

Re:I disagree (3, Interesting)

kiddailey (165202) | more than 6 years ago | (#22555556)

Please.

Yes, Bush has been a disappointment, but you're kidding yourself if you think his exit will have any measurable effect on policy.

I can think of a few hundred other people (congress and even the people that continue to vote these shills into office) to blame for lack of positive change along with the president, and they're not all related to the administration. In fact, last I looked, the Democrats controlled congress. If they really wanted to, change could have been long since happening.

As long as the money stays in Washington and we have career politicians, things will remain the same.

Re:I disagree (1)

Dusty00 (1106595) | more than 6 years ago | (#22558256)

Yes, Bush has been a disappointment, but you're kidding yourself if you think his exit will have any measurable effect on policy.

Then by proxy we can say his presence hasn't had any measurable effect on policy.

You're quite right that a chance in the White House isn't suddenly going to turn us from a cesspool of corruption to the shining beacon of justice and morality that we pretend to be, but this is the most corrupt administration we've had in at least a century. Not only has the Bush Administration shown a willful disregard for the law, but they've pretty much flaunted it at every turn.

As an aside I think the larger reason for the state of things is the decadent indifference of the American people. In previous generations we tolerated such corruption out of fear of whatever boogy man the government created. The terrorism drum has been pounded so hard I don't think most Americans are generally fearful, we're just more comfortable watching American Idol.

Re:I disagree (1)

kiddailey (165202) | more than 6 years ago | (#22564066)

Then by proxy we can say his presence hasn't had any measurable effect on policy.
Yes.

Regardless of who had gotten elected (unless they were a constitutionalist of some measure) essentially the same policies and plans would have been put into place - the net effect being immeasurable. Both parties have an vested interest in eroding civil liberties and freedom in the name of the nanny state.

You're quite right that a chance in the White House isn't suddenly going to turn us from a cesspool of corruption to the shining beacon of justice and morality that we pretend to be, but this is the most corrupt administration we've had in at least a century. Not only has the Bush Administration shown a willful disregard for the law, but they've pretty much flaunted it at every turn.
CONGRESS AS A WHOLE has shown a willful disregard for the law. You only really hear about the Bush Administration because the leftist media likes to blame him for everything.

I'm not disagreeing with you, I'm just saying that I dislike it when people state "It's Bush's fault!" and dismiss the bigger picture - the corrupt career politicians that are REALLY responsible for the direction and policy of the country.

As an aside I think the larger reason for the state of things is the decadent indifference of the American people. In previous generations we tolerated such corruption out of fear of whatever boogy man the government created. The terrorism drum has been pounded so hard I don't think most Americans are generally fearful, we're just more comfortable watching American Idol.
Very well stated, I couldn't agree more.

Re:I disagree (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22572088)

As long as the money stays in Washington and we have career politicians, things will remain the same.

EXACTLY.

And that is why Obama's claims that he's going to change Washington if he becomes President are so incredibly lame.

Re:I disagree (1)

kiddailey (165202) | more than 6 years ago | (#22595986)

Thank you for saying that. Now can you get to work on convincing the rest of ignorant America to wake up to that fact for us, please? :)

Seriously, have you counted how many new social programs are listed on his web site!? Geezuz!

Re:I disagree (1)

davesays (922765) | more than 6 years ago | (#22558792)

I think Comcast will get a slap on the wrist, and throttling will resume. That's how the government has been operating for the past *57* years. Why should I expect them to change now? There, fixed that for ya...

Juliet Sierra (3, Insightful)

Taelron (1046946) | more than 6 years ago | (#22555106)

Thats the FCC will do, Jack ... The majority of their hearings either come up unresolved or contrary to the public good. Business intrests win out more often then Joe citizen under the current administration... Though unlikely to change much even after administrations change... Once the damage is done it takes years, sometimes decades before things are set back right.

Re:Juliet Sierra (1)

jc42 (318812) | more than 6 years ago | (#22559494)

Once the damage is done it takes years, sometimes decades before things are set back right.

Or, as in the case of telephones, it can take a century or more. Here in the US, the telephone monopolies were allowed to exclude "foreign" devices until -- when was it, the 1980s or so? When the FCC finally relented and allowed users to attach non-phone-company equipment, there was the huge explosion of new and useful devices. A lot of this development could have happened many decades earlier, but the phone companies were allowed to block it, so it didn't happen. We actually had telephone service for about a century before anyone but the phone companies was permitted to sell and use phone equipment.

This situation now exists with cell phones, and the result has been similar, with all us software developers locked out and only telco-supplied ("locked") devices allowed. The result is similar, with what could have been a huge expansion of the wireless internet blocked and only the short-range wifi permitted (and most of that locked by passwords).

One possible path of development is an internet fully locked down by the ISPs, with no further independent development permitted for the next century. This is what happened with the telephone system. We shouldn't dismiss the possibility that it will happen with the internet, too.

Music Sharing leads to Terrorism (1)

kidsizedcoffin (1197209) | more than 6 years ago | (#22555114)

By slowing down music and movie sharing, they're slowing down terrorism. They're patriots!

Re:Music Sharing leads to Terrorism (1)

jwo7777777 (100313) | more than 6 years ago | (#22601038)

Ha ha. You so funny.

Reasonable explanation... (2, Interesting)

webword (82711) | more than 6 years ago | (#22555146)

"The whole debate an extension of the years-old tussle over whether Net neutrality regulations, which would prohibit network operators from prioritizing traffic as they wish, are necessary to safeguard the Internet's historically open architecture."

Not perfect, but at least the article gets the core idea mostly right. Usually, it gets totally butchered, you know?

Here's what will happen (1)

freedom_india (780002) | more than 6 years ago | (#22555160)

1. FCC will formally issue a statement that comcast engages in traffic shaping.
2. Such traffic shaping and blocking of torrents have not financially harmed anyone so far. (this is why you geeks should file a complaint with FCC stating a specified amount of money. No need to prove it.).
3. Such behavior by comcast is not prohibited by law. (FCC forgets that there is no law that forces me to smile and call every cop an officer, although i have to do).
4. FCC declines to decide either way (much like the supreme court did for spying case).
5. Two weeks later one FCC commissioner resigns and joins comcast pressure group as VP.
6. Comcast, AT&T, verizon continue aggressive bittorrent blocking. Qwest refuses to do that and continues its old policy of allowing all.
6(a) All three announce unlimited plans with no blocking for @250 a month (capped at 10GB a month).
6(b) Qwest CEO is arrested and charged with monopoly behavior and sentenced to 20 years in prison plus a $25 million fine.
7. PROFIT!

Re:Here's what will happen (2, Informative)

The Analog Kid (565327) | more than 6 years ago | (#22555254)

6. Comcast, AT&T, verizon continue aggressive bittorrent blocking. Qwest refuses to do that and continues its old policy of allowing all.

Verizon doesn't block BitTorrent, they won't even send you so much a letter for downloading over 1 tb.

Re:Here's what will happen (2, Interesting)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | more than 6 years ago | (#22556368)

Yet. What Comcast has been doing is cheap, and nasty: they're not traffic throttling, they're traffic poisoning by forging RST packets. I doubt Verizon's staff want to start down that road, but they're in a better fiscal position to do real traffic monitoring, and with their new fiber infrastructure, they'd better do something to shape it or the kids with the external Terabyte hard drives sharing warez and movie collections and trying to mirror PirateBay are going to flood their most critical connections.

Interestingly, it's going to be a problem overseas, too. An acquaintance in London is complaining about how the release of Iplayer has sucked up all the bandwidth in his neighborhood, and it's interfering with his on-line games. I wonder how the Brits will deal with their tax-funded television stations getting bandwidth shaped?

Re:Here's what will happen (1)

The Analog Kid (565327) | more than 6 years ago | (#22574364)

they're in a better fiscal position to do real traffic monitoring, and with their new fiber infrastructure, they'd better do something to shape it or the kids with the external Terabyte hard drives sharing warez and movie collections and trying to mirror PirateBay are going to flood their most critical connections.

Verizon's PON network is much easier to upgrade to support demand, than it is for Comcast to upgrade their current infrastructure. Verizon had been using BPON when they first started the FIOS roll outs, but now switched to GPON, and I believe they are currently switching all BPON to GPON or they might be just switching the users who need to have GPON at existing BPON COs. Verizon only splits the GPON OLT between 32 users when they can max it at 64. (so they can have HD on demand content) They also have a huge amount of bandwidth since they are a Tier 1 provider where Comcast buys their bandwidth from someone else.

Although FIOS shares bandwidth per PON, the likely hood of all 32 users being on at the same time downloading huge amounts of data is unlikely. I know the person down the street from me has FIOS but only uses it for casual browsing. (got it for the HD service though, the quality is on par with OTA HD)

UPDATE: Re:Here's what will happen (1)

freedom_india (780002) | more than 6 years ago | (#22570260)

An Update:
Kevin Martin, the republican heading the FCC is quoted:

But at the end of the event, which, all told, lasted nearly six hours, Martin told reporters he still hadn't made up his mind about whether Comcast had done anything more than "reasonable" network management
http://www.news.com/8301-10784_3-9878330-7.html?tag=nefd.pulse/ [news.com]
Does it prove my earlier point?
Although the FCC declared in 2005 that customers have the right to use the content, lawful applications, and devices they wish on the networks they use, i don't think Martin would allow that.

My take on this (1)

Duncan Blackthorne (1095849) | more than 6 years ago | (#22555206)

Much like the sprawl of many major metropolitan areas that weren't carefully thought and planned out decades in advance, I fear that the FCC's involvement in the greater issue of Net Neutrality, and in the more immediate issue of Comcast and it's ilk playing favorites when it comes to how it's customers choose to utilize their paid-in-advance bandwidth, is too little and too late. The big telecoms have had those decades to build up mass and velocity, and the FCC just doesn't have the delta-v to control their trajectory in truly meaningful ways. This is not to say (to continue the metaphor) that the FCC can't resort to weapons of mass destruction in a drastic and dramatic effort to force a change in course (or to fragment the target(s), if you take my meaning), but while that may prove both necessary and effective, it also runs the risk of turning into a negative-sum game for all in the end -- the consumer not being the least of the participants.

What Will Come Of The FCC Comcast Hearing? (2, Insightful)

IHC Navistar (967161) | more than 6 years ago | (#22555248)

Nothing. Absolutely nothing.



.....in our favor, at least.

Poll (3, Interesting)

DavidD_CA (750156) | more than 6 years ago | (#22555262)

I'm curious what the /. community thinks... what if a company such as Comcast were to offer two plans:
  1. $30/mo - The internet as we know it today without any preference to content providers, advertising, etc
  2. 2) $15/mo - An internet where some content providers get preference, subsidizing the lower monthly bill.

  3. If companies offered a choice would we still care?

    Or are we worried that all providers will go the way of #2 and the price of #1 will inflate as supply dwindles?

Re:Poll (1)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 6 years ago | (#22555576)

what if a company such as Comcast were to offer two plans:
this is comcast, the same company advertising UNLIMITED use when it is very clearly not anything of the kind. There will be no such thing as option 1, only option 2 at #1's cost. Why would they lower their rates when they have a monopoly in many areas with the willingness and ability to shape, drop and/or outright abuse for their own purposes any data that you attempt to receive?

Re:Poll (1)

bdjacobson (1094909) | more than 6 years ago | (#22555720)

I'm curious what the /. community thinks... what if a company such as Comcast were to offer two plans:
  1. $30/mo - The internet as we know it today without any preference to content providers, advertising, etc
  2. 2) $15/mo - An internet where some content providers get preference, subsidizing the lower monthly bill.

  3. If companies offered a choice would we still care?

    Or are we worried that all providers will go the way of #2 and the price of #1 will inflate as supply dwindles?
Ummmmm they'd just then increase the rates $5 about every 3 months until the internet as we know it was $45 and the non-neutral internet was $30.

Re:Poll (1)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 6 years ago | (#22559482)

IMHO, the choice would be dangerous because it allows the rich to perform a subtle mind-control on the poor. Let me explain:

Part of the problem with network neutrality isn't just that it is not fair. It is that the people who are on the non-neutral internet get a biased view of the world around them. Suppose for a moment that the only news you could see is Fox News. Or if the only online music store you could access was iTunes. That would be a very scary world because people's political and social views would be tainted by the limited world they had access too.

Now I know that we aren't saying that people would not have access to other news sites -- but by charging more, or slowing down other sites - that is effectively what we would do. If people must encounter inconvenience or pay a premium to see the larger world, they mostly will choose not to out of convenience. Or because they don't understand. This would make the "digital divide" that the pundits talk about into an economic reality. The media companies and ISPs could say that people have the choice to visit other news sites - but they don't choose to do so, so obviously it is their own fault. But the reality is that people do what is easiest and most convenient. That is human nature.

So I conclude that it is socially and economically dangerous to offer people the option of being cut-off. Especially for those people who can't afford otherwise.

Re:Poll (1)

grcumb (781340) | more than 6 years ago | (#22564450)

I'm curious what the /. community thinks... what if a company such as Comcast were to offer two plans:
  1. $30/mo - The internet as we know it today without any preference to content providers, advertising, etc
  2. 2) $15/mo - An internet where some content providers get preference, subsidizing the lower monthly bill.
If companies offered a choice would we still care?

Effectively, it would be no choice at all. It would, in fact, be disastrous.

The effects described in George Akerlof's 1970 paper, The Market for 'Lemons' [wikipedia.org] come into play in such a scenario. In a nutshell, the paper states that certain markets (like used cars) favour the sale of 'lemons' over quality. The reason is that it's easier to simply wax and buff a lemon (and trust the buyer's ignorance) than it is to do the right thing and service it properly before re-selling.

The reason this approach works is because buyers can't see what's under the hood and, generally speaking, wouldn't know what to look for even if they could. So instead of paying well for quality, they tend to buy the cheapest item, regardless of its condition. The same is true of Internet service. People just don't know what's possible. Worse still, they don't have the ability to recognise whether they're getting what they're supposed to or not.

So if the telcos were to foist a divided offering on their customers, they could rely on ignorance to invoke a market for 'lemons'. People see no extra value in buying the better service, so they flock en masse to the cheaper one. Telco then discontinues the more expensive one, citing lack of consumer interest.

Minimum operating standards such as Network Neutrality were put into place to protect consumers and the market itself. Absent Net Neutrality, the potential for abuse of control over traffic by carriers is far too great. No compromise is possible in this regard, because degradation of Net Neutrality is a degradation of the market itself.

Chill (1)

djupedal (584558) | more than 6 years ago | (#22555292)

Remember...the Internet interprets a restriction as an outage and routes around it.

Even if it is FTTC.

Well I think only an image can answer this. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22555320)

Hopefully some good will come of it (1)

u-235-sentinel (594077) | more than 6 years ago | (#22555324)

This is why I'm fighting for Network Neutrality. With it the company can't decide who get's to do what on the lines. We paid for them and it's legal content. So why can't we do what ever we want? It's our dollar

Rather than allow people like me to use the lines we paid for, they are also terminating people's accounts.

What a BS company

TorrentFreak article (1)

tsvk (624784) | more than 6 years ago | (#22555572)

TorrentFreak had a nice blog post [torrentfreak.com] summarizing various expert opinions expressed in the hearings.

I'm so conflicted!!!! (1)

www.sorehands.com (142825) | more than 6 years ago | (#22555586)

I had comcast for cable and they sucked. When it worked, the speed was great but I had to reboot the modem every day. Dealing with tech support, that had a standard response when I tell them that I run Linux, "We don't support Linux." So every time, I had to ask for a supervisor to have them explain, I was not asking them for Linux support, but support on their failed connectivity. I had technicians here 6 times before they realized they had a problem at their headend.

Then add in the issue of their false packet injection and other dirty tricks.

On the other side, they are fighting Linhardt (http://www.spamsuite.com/node/352 ), as I am (http://www.barbieslapp.com/spam/e360/e360insight.htm ).

Who do I root for?

Re:I'm so conflicted!!!! (1)

ekgringo (693136) | more than 6 years ago | (#22558068)

In contrast, I had Comcast for 3-4 years. Had to reboot my cable modem maybe 3 times in that same time period. I've never had any problems with torrents, although I'm not a huge downloader. That said, I'm now using RCN in my new apartment and saving maybe $40 a month for the same service.

speaking of which.. (1)

DragonTHC (208439) | more than 6 years ago | (#22555804)

I'm a comcast customer. Maybe not for long though. I can't even load google today.
I literally can't load www.google.com in my browser. I also can't load a few other sites, tpb included.

I don't pay for comcast's shit services like their homepage, or their "chill" games useless turd. I certainly don't give a crap about their new mobile portal.
To those of us who want Internet access, we want Internet access.

We want fast, unfiltered, unfettered access to the Internet. That was what I thought I was getting. If comcast wasn't spending so much money on the shit and whistles, they could afford to allow us the bandwidth they promised. 20% of the customers use 90% of the bandwidth, big fucking surprise. That's the way it is. The other 80% just don't need 20Mbits for youtube and myspace. I happen to play a lot of games and download Linux distros and video and applications a plenty. I need the bandwidth. Comcast playing traffic cop is just fucking wrong. They're trying to ensure that everyone gets the same amount of bandwidth. That's not what you promised jack-asses.

Re:speaking of which.. (1)

ArhcAngel (247594) | more than 6 years ago | (#22558264)

I happen to play a lot of games and download Linux distros and video and applications a plenty. I need the bandwidth.

Here are the things I "NEED"
1) food
2) more food
3) mountain dew (occasionally water)
4) a roof to protect my computer from the rain

I passionately hate what these companies are doing and am just as frustrated as the next guy but trivializing real needs by emphasizing wants/desires to need level should be avoided. If you truly need the bandwidth are you willing to pay more for it? Most ISPs set up their "unlimited" model based on the 80% of people using little spurts of bandwidth. To make sure they keep the internet chugging along for that 80% they can either "throttle" you which costs thousands or bulk up the infrastructure which will cost billions. I know what I would choose regardless of the outcry of the 20% since I still have my 80% dumb and happy. If that 20% was willing to foot the bill for the upgrades then maybe they will get done but so far most of the 20% scream when the talk switches to pay-per-bit. These companies are about 1 thing....making money. If you want them to listen either threaten to take the money away or give them an alternative that doesn't cost them so much. The only other option is government intervention and we all know how well things work when that happens.

notch in a gun? (2, Funny)

rastoboy29 (807168) | more than 6 years ago | (#22555828)

WTF is a notch in a gun?  Is that a good or a bad thing?

Re:notch in a gun? (1)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | more than 6 years ago | (#22558984)

You don't notch the metal parts of the firearm, you notch the stock (typically wood) with a 3-4mm cut. One Notch per kill. I wouldn't do it for dove hunting or anything like that, but typically for larger game like whitetail deer you would put a notch in your stock when you take one down.

Re:notch in a gun? (1)

DarkOx (621550) | more than 6 years ago | (#22559558)

Notch is a gun is perfectly normal, many long guns ie, a rifle or a shotgun have wooden butts even contemporary ones. Many hunters will carve a small notch there when they take a prize.

Well at least.... (1)

Squatting_Dog (96576) | more than 6 years ago | (#22555878)

my putty vpn is working again for the first time in months! I know it won't last...temporarily anyway, I can sign into my home computer from work with no worries about my unencrypted vnc session being monitored by the network security folks.

Not that I do anything questionable while I'm accessing my home system from work, but it's nice not to have to worry about any possible misunderstandings in regard to content being accessed.

  >>> From the memorable rantings of...
                      Squatting_Dog

Re:Well at least.... (1)

funchords (937529) | more than 6 years ago | (#22555934)

When did it start working again? What problems were you having before it just started working again? I would like to tie this into some other changes I have been tracking. Please reply back by email robb(at)funchords.com (Robb Topolski) Thanks --Robb

What if the electric companies did this? (1)

Monoman (8745) | more than 6 years ago | (#22557322)

What if the electric companies managed your power usage? Imagine if they could determine that you ran the AC too much or ran the hot water heater too warm and could restrict the power those devices could use. Geez things would not work as expected and if you didn't know any better you would think something is wrong with the devices.

What if the power companies let customers opt in to a system that would turn off certain devices during peak usage? OMGWTFSANDWICH power companies already do this. In my area customers can get a small discount on their monthly bill if they let the power company hook up a small device that will cut off their hot water heater during peak usage.

To me it sounds like the Comcast network can't handle the customer load. They advertised how much faster they are than DSL and sold too much. Now they don't have the resources or the want to build the infrastructure they need to handle things. The cheap way out is to restrict usage and charge the same. -- Screwing the customer.

Comcast could run a program similar to the power companies. Let customers opt-in and offer them a small discount on their monthly bill. For that discounted rate the customer would allow to do some kind of throttling during peak usage.

Re:What if the electric companies did this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22569906)

Its called a brown-out or if it gets really bad, a black out. Connect a high end appliance of ~1500 watts to every 15 AMP fuse in your house and let it run 24x7x365; I bet if enough people on the same power lines did this, the power company would notice and have to do something about it. Its just a matter of over subscription, everybody cannot use their max all at the same time. Granted they are more heavily regulated and have to buy power from elsewhere at crazy prices to meet the demand. Its also not as big of a problem since nobody really does this as we are afraid of our power bill if we did.

Obvious (1)

BCW2 (168187) | more than 6 years ago | (#22557770)

The only thing that will come from this is a bribe! Duh!

Comcast needs to be greedy, not power-hungry (1)

shentino (1139071) | more than 6 years ago | (#22559398)

If p2p traffic like bittorrent really is cloggin their pipes, why don't they just start charging for it?

Media, legal or not, is friggin HUGE. Even a second of video in ANY format is going to take up a good chunk of space. So charging to carry it would bring in a crapload of service charges.

So let Comcast switch to a per-megabyte policy, and then they can rake in some BIG DOUGH.

Why aren't they?

Comcast's meddling makes no sense from a profit making point of view...they're passing up a major source of revenue.

Hmm...is the RIAA pressuring them to meddle with BT? Are some powerful media interests jingling the changebox or playing hardball?

Re:Comcast needs to be greedy, not power-hungry (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22569798)

They don't do this because billing systems to figure out your usage and charge you is VERY expensive to create and maintain. Unlimited service is easy to bill, its a yes/no question whether to send you a bill or not. If they switch to usage based billing, expect your bill to be much much larger per month than what you pay now as Comcast will have to pass on the cost of their new billing systems to you.

Re:Comcast needs to be greedy, not power-hungry (1)

shentino (1139071) | more than 6 years ago | (#22575974)

Counting the number of bytes sent through your connection is dirt cheap.

Where are the Slowskys? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22560466)

I thought Comcast had enough pipeline to serve their customers, at least that's what their commercials portray. After all, technologies show that shared cable is faster than (nearly) hardwired phone lines...

False advertising, I say!

Net Neutrality bandwagon... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22569716)

I'm really sick of hearing about what Comcast doing as a violation of network neutrality. Network Neutrality means the provider is extorting money from the content providers for better service (ie pay us or we will randomly drop your packets). This is not what Comcast is doing. Comcast has a simple all you can eat internet service, which works fine for 90% of its users. The problem is that they have a very small portion of their users who use almost all their bandwidth. These are the people that leave their peer to peer software running uploading/downloading movies/etc 24x7x365. Comcast is actually only limiting peer to peer in the uplink direction, which means your home computer is serving content which is against Comcast's AUP btw.

The vast majority of Comcast customers should be applauding their actions. This would be like a pro football team showing up to an all you can eat restaurant and eating every single scrap of food the second it hits the buffet. Nobody else gets any because a couple folks are using all the resources. This is basically the restaurant owner asking the football team to sit down and let everybody else have a turn.

The solution has been QoS and it has been done for YEARS. Until peer to peer software, most applications involved a single TCP session. TCP has a built in flow control mechanism, if TCP detects lost packet, it slows down the rate at which it transmits because it assumes the network cannot handle it. If there is no loss, TCP sends more traffic. Networks deal with congested links by dropping a single packet once in a while from the larger TCP flows to get them to slow down. This has worked for 10-15 years and nobody really notices it. The problem with peer to peer is that it involves hundreds of smaller TCP flows. If you slow a single TCP session down, it will just establish more TCP sessions to go faster. The only way to get it to stop using up every single bit of bandwidth it can get its hands on is to start breaking some of the TCP sessions, which is what Comcast is doing.

There are only a couple solutions to this problem:

1. Comcast adds significantly more bandwidth. They are working on this, but expect this to cost you a LOT more money per month. Do you really want to pay more so Comcast can upgrade so 1 or 2 people in your neighborhood can continue to use all the resources?

2. Comcast switches to a usage based billing model. Wait to see some parents flip out because their kids downloaded 100 terabytes of illegal movies and music last month.

3. Comcast adds bandwidth to meet the average customer demand and they throttle certain high use customers and applications.

I vote for option 3, because I can get "unlimited" cheap internet. I know we all would like option 1, but are you willing to pay hundreds of dollars a month for it?
Check for New Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>