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Net Neutrality Takes A Beating


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#1 eKstreme

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Posted 07 September 2007 - 09:52 AM

It's a sad day IMHO for the internet. The US DOJ is backing a multi-tiered internet service, i.e., siding with the network non-neutrality advocates like the ISPs and going against the petitions of the likes of Google and Microsoft.

Some coverage from around the web:

1. The BBC coverage
2. The US DOJ press release
3. Don Dodge, from Microsoft spells it out very nicely

So what do you think? Is this good or bad? I think it's very bad. Terrible in fact, but I'm very interested to see what others think.

Pierre

#2 rynert

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Posted 07 September 2007 - 10:03 AM

Is this saying that broadband providers could charge the consumer more if they want to download streaming TV or use p2p software for example?

Or is it more sinister than that?

#3 eKstreme

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Posted 07 September 2007 - 10:17 AM

Right now, bandwidth is paid for on two ends: consumers like you and me pay our ISPs for access, and websites pay their hosts who pay the ISPs for access. Whatever bandwidth you buy, you can use for whatever you like: emails, videos, uploading files, etc, and all will be at the speed you bought - on both ends.

The new addition is this: ISPs (the national carriers really) are now allowed to charge websites (i.e. companies) extra to let their traffic through at the full speed. This means that they are now allowed to throttle traffic and charge extra for not throttling it. This is bad if you're YouTube or Microsoft or Skype or any company trying to deliver high-traffic web applications over the internet. So already, we can see a two-tired internet, and you can imagine what effect this will have on established companies and on new startups!

It gets worse: the national carriers in the USA can also be TV providers (cable companies) or phone companies (the rest). Both have a vested interest in keeping the internet-based competition at bay: They don't want you to watch YouTube but to watch their channels, be they net-based or cable based. They also certainly don't want you to use Skype for free long-distance calls but to pay them to carry your call. Sinister enough for you yet?

At the center of all this is the idea of neutrality: roads and phone networks, for example, do not care what the users are using them for. In the case of roads, a private toll road company will not block the trucks of another company on their way to build another road - as long they pay the toll of course, which is standard for everyone. Phone companies also don't care: whether you send faxes or do voice, the rates are just the same connection charges for all types of content. This is neutrality. The new decision will allow carriers to discriminate based on content, which is a new thing.

The DOJ uses mail as an example to support its decision. It's a bad example: yes different mailing weights or sizes carry different costs, but the mail handler does not discriminate based on content (the insurance companies do, though). Whether you mail a textbook or a brick, both will cost about the same because they weigh the same. The new decision about non-neutrality would allow mail carriers to charge a different price for the brick and the textbook, regardless if they are the same weight.

I'll end by linking to the Washington Post coverage, here.

P

#4 rynert

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Posted 07 September 2007 - 10:46 AM

In the case of roads, a private toll road company will not block the trucks of another company on their way to build another road - as long they pay the toll of course, which is standard for everyone.



OK, talking about the M6 Toll road in the UK.

I drive along in my car (little websites) and pay 3.50

uTube drives along in it's 18 wheel lorry (huge website) and pays 7

So uTube pay more, which means (as if!) that I would pay less - is that not the market working things out?

Can't uTube move to another provider if it does not like the charges?

I know that web traffic is bytes and a byte is a byte is a byte - but somebody using huge amounts, even though it is the same item mutiplied out - may put extra costs just because of the volume.. 1 costs 1, 2 costs 2, 10 costs 11 sort of thing....

Just thinking out loud so apologies if talking rubbish.. afterall it is Friday afternoon :)

Edited by rynert, 07 September 2007 - 10:47 AM.


#5 eKstreme

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Posted 07 September 2007 - 11:03 AM

Good example, but there is a subtlety in there. Suppose two trucks come to the M6 toll. One is from Friendly Company and one from Road-Building International, a competitor building an M6 competing service. They are identical in every respect (weight, size, driving skill, colours, everything!) apart from their owners. How much should each pay?

Conventional wisdom says both pay the same - that's the net neutrality point of view.

The new "wisdom" says: the M6 can charge its competitor's truck more than it charges other trucks. Or a variation: I charge both the same, but force my competitor's truck drive in a slower lane, with lower speed limits and a more bumpy surface, while letting other trucks through normally.

Again, it's about the content when all things are equal. On the net, all things *are* equal because a packet is a packet is a packet. We already pay to have a higher volume of packets and to have more packets per unit time without regard to what the contents actually contain. That's what's changing.

Pierre

#6 bobbb

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Posted 07 September 2007 - 11:14 AM

Only read the Don Dodge article. Don't the big boys already pay for their bandwidth like we do. There must be some surcharge on what they use that is more than what they contracted for? Like I would if I did.

What happens if Comcast and Verizon coincidentally decide to add a surcharge YouTube traffic?

Almost sounds like they have no cap on bandwidth.

I agree that trucks should pay more to use the road. And they DO.


Conventional wisdom says both pay the same - that's the net neutrality point of view.

Agreed.

Edited by bobbb, 07 September 2007 - 11:16 AM.


#7 bobbb

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Posted 07 September 2007 - 11:27 AM

Just read the DOJ article and they seem to say what you say. Or am I reading this wrong? I must be or else there would not be this fuss.

Whatever bandwidth you buy, you can use for whatever you like: emails, videos, uploading files, etc, and all will be at the speed you bought - on both ends.

The Department said in its filing that it may make economic sense for content providers who want a higher quality of service to pay for the Internet upgrades necessary to provide such service, ....

I saw no mention of charging more for YouTube traffic over cre8asiteforums traffic.

#8 eKstreme

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Posted 21 September 2007 - 05:45 AM

Via Reddit, this pic says it all: Why net neutrality matters.

Pierre

#9 bobbb

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Posted 21 September 2007 - 11:25 AM

Seen in that light then it's a different story. I did not read it that way in the DOJ article. This is saying that at the lowest price I have no acccess to Google or Yahoo!

I read that if I want more bits per second then I should pay for it which is really what I have now and that depends on the time of day. I can see them setting a quota of quantity per month and charging for the excess like in the old days of modems and dial-up.

Any idea who makes that ad? or is it just to convey the idea of what it really means?

Edited by bobbb, 21 September 2007 - 11:26 AM.


#10 eKstreme

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Posted 21 September 2007 - 04:41 PM

It's a "joke" at the moment of what losing net neutrality actually means. They are not technically blocking sites, but they can put the traffic on such a low priority stream that it will time out or videos will take days to download (as per dial up) and things like that. The effect is a blocking.

Pierre

#11 EGOL

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Posted 21 September 2007 - 05:20 PM

I don't like the sound of this. Also, I can't say that I understand it fully.

My guess is that it would be extremely expensive for service providers to develop methods for discriminating traffic and applying the throttles. I also guess that this would open the floodgates on discrimination lawsuits.

The only real winners are law firms that would take these cases.

#12 bobbb

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Posted 21 September 2007 - 06:04 PM

I'm thinking it is more the big guys that own the infrastructrure of the Internet who want a piece of the action. I'm sure Google and Microsoft and such have more than one supplier and are big enough to negotiate a good deal for themselves for bandwidth and such.

Once traffic leaves those networks and hit the infastructures then those guys aren't getting anything more and their bandwidth is being consumed. (and they probably feel it is being consumed free).

My ISP, like all others, is playing the game that not all customers are online and downloading at the same time otherwise they probably could not handle the traffic. Like airlines they over book.

I'm betting the big guys played this game too with their bandwidth are are now getting hit hard. So they want more money.

You know all of Google's IPs and put a QOS parameter thing on them to slow them down.

My ISP use Rogers and Bell Canada for the "last mile" which is the physical phone line to Bell's facilities. They can easily throttle my ISP just at their end which goes to me and I end up with slow Internet no matter how blazingly fast Rogers can be. Puts the squeeze on my guy for more money.

Of course, I have no proof for any of this.

#13 bobbb

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Posted 03 October 2007 - 09:45 AM

Poll Finds Canadians Strongly Support Net Neutrality Legislation even though poll finds that Canadians are generally unware of net neutrality issues.

#14 Guest_Autocrat_*

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Posted 03 October 2007 - 10:14 AM

By the sounds of it, it's going to go the same route as Electricity etc.

you have aplant that generates Electricity.
From there, it is "bought" in huge unit quantities by various companies.
These companies either supply clients (business and residential), or they "sell-on" to other companies... who supply their own clients (business and residential).

So you have Originator, Originator-Supplier, Originator-Seller, Sub-Seller.


In some cases, you also hae companies that own the Cables.
They maintain, replace, lay new - these are not always the same as the Suppliers (particularly the Sub-Sellers).


Add to that mix Access Cotnrollers - on some commercial estates, some residential too, there are people who own that land. They are the client, and pay whooping big fees for all the electricity used by the residents/commercial folk on that estate.
They can charge those residents what they like, and quite often do (low rent, high bills!)


Everyone involved is taking a cut.
Admittedly, they buy/sell in humunguos quantities... so they get a very good rate (the landowner/bill payer gets it at 10p, the sub-sellers get it at 8p, the originator-supplier gets it at 2p - the end user pays 12p or more, up to 20p!).
(All figures are old, guestimates)


The issue is when someone further up the chain starts altering prices, changing price/time terms (as we used to have off-peek rates at night etc.), or the middle men decide to limit things (there was a company 6 years ago that would let you pre-pay for a set number of KWs... anything over that and you paid x2 the standard amount!).


If the Internet is to go down that route - I would suggest a 2 day bouycot.
I'm not normally one to suggest such excessive reactions... but if enough people say "FU" and act at the same time... it will get noticed.
If enough peole go "FU - someone else will come along soon", someone will come along very very soon and not follow such a stupid idea!
(I hope.)

data is data, it doesn't matter what the type is... it's the quantity/time that is important.
If you are using 2Gb a week... pay X, if you are using 2GB per hour, pay XXX.... thats a tried, tested and so far fool proof method. Why change it?

#15 bobbb

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Posted 20 November 2007 - 10:36 AM

Are they building their case?

Study: Internet could run out of capacity in two years

#16 eKstreme

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Posted 20 November 2007 - 11:25 AM

Are they building their case?

Study: Internet could run out of capacity in two years

You, sir, are as cynical and far-sighted as people get (that's a complement!). I read this news a few days ago and didn't think much of it. You managed to see it for its true worth. Well done!

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go pretend I have some privacy online.

#17 loki

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Posted 20 November 2007 - 12:13 PM

can't say i understand al the nuances but this is my 2 cents:

here in spain we pay fr speed (although there's not much of that) and there's no cap on bandwidth.

that means it's cheap per Meg if you're downloading videos all day, but expensive if you're sending mail and browsing.

why shouldn't the user pay?

#18 bobbb

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Posted 20 November 2007 - 01:50 PM

why shouldn't the user pay?

Yes of course. I think in any part of the world you pay for a faster line.

I think the idea in the back of all this is that some of the big players, that own the infrastructure, want more money and want to slow down some Internet traffic, like let's say Google, so they can extract more from both sides.

A better example as explained above is where a big boy (AT&T) slows down VoIP or wants to charge more for that traffic than other traffic but only for their competitors. I'm not saying AT&T does this. It's an example.

As said above I am very cynical.

Yes pay for what you get but 1k of data is still 1k of data whatever it contains. In other words: stay neutral of the data.

Read my post above of Sep 21 2007, 06:04 PM

Edited by bobbb, 20 November 2007 - 02:11 PM.


#19 loki

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Posted 20 November 2007 - 01:57 PM

cynicsm is good.

(thanks for explaining)

#20 eKstreme

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Posted 07 December 2007 - 08:09 AM

Oh great: now UK net providers have started spewing drivel about net neutrality, and on the BBC no less. They titled the piece Providers question 'neutral net'.

The BBC's integrity should now be questioned.

I feel a major ranty blog post is coming.



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