FCC to formalize "Net Neutrality" Rules

FCC to formalize "Net Neutrality" Rules

PostBy: Richard S. On: Sat Sep 19, 2009 10:01 am

http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB1 ... 7451823485

The U.S. government plans to propose broad new rules Monday that would force Internet providers to treat all Web traffic equally, seeking to give consumers greater freedom to use their computers or cellphones to enjoy videos, music and other legal services that hog bandwidth.
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The move would make good on a campaign promise to Silicon Valley supporters like Google Inc. from President Barack Obama, but will trigger a battle with phone and cable companies like AT&T Inc. and Comcast Corp., which don't want the government telling them how to run their networks.

The proposed rules could change how operators manage their networks and profit from them, and the everyday online experience of individual users. Treating Web traffic equally means carriers couldn't block or slow access to legal services or sites that are a drain on their networks or offered by rivals.


Yippee Obama Administration. You may be surprised to hear me endorsing this but the fact is the cable companies and other large internet providers have a monopoly in many areas like mine. Enforcement of this principal will mean that Comcast or another large provider couldn't throttle competitors content. For example if I want to deliver HD movies through this website they wouldn't be able to throttle your connection to my server and allow super fast speeds to their own. It's a win for the consumer in that regards because you'll have multiple choices for what services you want to use and not be stuck with limited choice.

Downside is the consumer will be footing the bill, I would expect bandwidth caps and a tiered pricing system as that is the only way this could work. The free "unlimited" ride will be over and those abusing the system like those running P2P 24/7 will be left out in the cold.
Richard S.
 
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Re: FCC to formalize "Net Neutrality" Rules

PostBy: rberq On: Sat Sep 19, 2009 3:51 pm

Richard S. wrote:Yippee Obama Administration

Thanks for saying that. Credit where credit is due. The devil is in the details, and they are getting this one right. Ignore the naysayers whose only wish is to ruin Obama at any cost, the country be damned -- and I think they will get some more things right.
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Re: FCC to formalize "Net Neutrality" Rules

PostBy: smokeyCityTeacher On: Wed Jan 20, 2010 10:30 pm

rberq wrote:
Richard S. wrote:Yippee Obama Administration

Thanks for saying that. Credit where credit is due. The devil is in the details, and they are getting this one right. Ignore the naysayers whose only wish is to ruin Obama at any cost, the country be damned -- and I think they will get some more things right.


yes, Obama got it right

my netflix connection slows all the time - yet i'm on a 20Mbit fios line.

Its Verizon's way of saying they have more important uses for the bandwidth Iv'e already paid for.
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Re: FCC to formalize "Net Neutrality" Rules

PostBy: SMITTY On: Wed Jan 20, 2010 10:41 pm

Verizon has a monopoly on phone service, & Charter has cable television/internet in our area.

When I first got DSL from dial-up, my service was just as fast as my buddy's Charter cable internet connection ... maybe slightly slower. Nothing has changed with our service ... only mine has reverted to almost dial-up-like speeds. If I want to upgrade to the next level, I have to pay double + some! :mad3:

They try to push everyone into Fios, because they cash in on your copper lines from the pole to your house. Once you get Fios, you can't go back to anyone -- EXACTLY what they want. Crooked bastards! I pay them $155/ month for cell, internet & landline ... AND THEY STILL WANT MORE!! :mad:
SMITTY
 
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Re: FCC to formalize "Net Neutrality" Rules

PostBy: Richard S. On: Wed Jan 20, 2010 10:49 pm

This won't insure better service. It insures equal service so if that service is bad then that's what you'll get.
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Re: FCC to formalize "Net Neutrality" Rules

PostBy: SMITTY On: Wed Jan 20, 2010 11:13 pm

Ahhh ... gotcha.
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Re: FCC to formalize "Net Neutrality" Rules

PostBy: pvolcko On: Thu Jan 21, 2010 6:29 pm

I have two problems with this:

1) How is this enforced? If a Comcast or TimeWarner have their own on-demand video services offered over the internet, it makes perfect sense that their servers will have far more bandwidth and less latency for connections on their own network and thus provide superior quality to in-network clients compared to external sources of similar services (such as Hulu, YouTube, or whatever). The cable company won't be throttling anything in this scenario, yet it will look like there is a dramatic difference in bandwidth between the two services and be a source of complaints and possible regulatory proceedings. Should the cable company be forced to throttle their own internal services to match the average throughput experienced on external services? Should the be forced to purchase/install more and more bandwidth on their internet backbone connections so external services have a chance at matching internal service quality? As Richard said, since this policy will force carriers to provide non-discriminatory bandwidth to all internet based services to their customers, this will lead directly to more tiered service plan rollouts and broader based connection throttling that will affect more than just those using bandwidth hogging services.

2) While this may be a supportable policy on wired/optical networks, enforcing this on wireless networks is entirely unreasonable at this time. They are two different beasts. Requiring wireless providers to not throttle certain data types severely limits their ability to manage their networks (both data and voice), which can easily result in more dropped connections and calls. At the very least people are likely to experience more dynamic connection throttling across all types of data in high congestion areas, whereas now the companies have more options available, such as throttling just streaming video to favor straight http(s) web traffic, email, voicemail data, text, voice, and other lower bandwidth, higher priority services. In the future when wireless service is more commoditized and the bandwidth is greater, then they can revisit this, but right now this is prematurely be applied to wireless providers.

What regulations do I support? First, get more aggressive against these regional monopoly holders. While there is a reasonable argument against opening the poles to more infrastructure suppliers, there is no reason these cable and optical infrastructure holders can't be treated as common carrier service providers and be forced to sell wholesale bandwidth and residential connection drops to independent ISPs. This will introduce a new level competition in the market. Also encourage states to abandon granting regional monopolies and denying community owned and operated wireless or wired broadband services. Perhaps restrict federal broadband availability/accessibility grants and tax credits to those states that drop these kinds of provisions.

I'd also encourage efforts to move the market toward metered broadband pricing, at both wireless and wired ISPs. Much of the debate and problem revolving around net neutrality is because there is an inherent disconnect in two places. First, online application and service providers are not paying anyone for "last mile" distribution costs. They are essentially getting subsidized by the subscriber bases of broadband ISPs, many of whom don't use the high bandwidth services or at least use them sparingly. And second, the need to cover the costs of high bandwidth internet applications and the relative few on a given network that use them heavily has led to most ISP subscribers subsidizing the heavy use of the minority.

It's as if everyone were throwing their gas receipts into a community pool. The average calculated, everyone pays that average flat rate. The road warriors and those with bad ass 4x4's with quad barrel carbs for the daily commute make out great, the home bound who drive once or twice a week to get groceries and go to church and maybe visit the grandkids are screwed hard. The average folks make out about the same. That is until some get the idea that they'll start driving more to get more out of their flat rate. And the rates start climbing slowly. New faster highways and new popular destinations hit the scene and more people head toward them... more rises in prices. Group rate services hide the true costs of the abusers, entice the average to be more than average, and always screw the cost conscientious. Sure, those cost consious people could ride bikes, but that's only good if every destination they have is within a reasonable distance and there aren't other externalities like bad weather, poor health, etc. So long as they want/have to use that car once a month (or even once in a year) they are scewed. Metered access, like having to buy your gas from a metered pump, solves all these problems. Tiered access gets part way there, but the tiers are almost always designed to favor above average consumers of the service at the expense of the broader base of underutilizers.

ISPs like 1 tier and multitier service pricing because of that "encourage more use, price increase" power of the structure. Upstream service providers also prefer it because they got a whole lot of something for nothing, allowing them to pay their people better, spend more on R&D, and also to rake in more profits than they otherwise would. Metered service is feared by ISPs and the internet application service providers because they know it means people will reduce their use of services and will force them to actually engage in price competition and justify their service to the masses.
pvolcko
 

Re: FCC to formalize "Net Neutrality" Rules

PostBy: Richard S. On: Fri Jan 22, 2010 8:25 am

pvolcko wrote:Should the cable company be forced to throttle their own internal services to match the average throughput experienced on external services?


No, I don't think so. Obviously there is going to be lot of things in play there such as the other sites server. If my server can't deliver on a 25mbps connection there is no reason why someone else should have to throttle theirs. I don't see how or why you would prevent them from providing better service simply because of technical issues beyond their control. This could have the benefit though of spurring other networks to up the anty to try an meet the same service the ISP can provide.
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Re: FCC to formalize "Net Neutrality" Rules

PostBy: pvolcko On: Fri Jan 22, 2010 1:41 pm

What do you mean by "other networks"? Since the connections an ISP has to the internet are more restrictive than the in-network connections (just as connections between computers on the same ISP will be slower than the connections between two computers in the same home LAN), there is nothing an internet based application/service can do to increase their connections to those ISP customers, at least past a certain point.

So far the discussion on net neutrality has been about ISPs deciding for themselves to deprioritize certain types of inbound internet traffic. The theory being that this is done in an anti-competitive manner (giving advantage to their own in-network services) or that it is a sort of extortion of certain high bandwidth application providers as opposed to an ISP simply trying to provide the widest number of subscribers the speedy service they are paying for on the bulk of the non-hogging applications out there.

Let's flip it. Why shouldn't an ISP be allowed to accept an internet application provider's desire to pay for preferred bandwidth availability to it's subscriber base? Personalize it, if you want to add a very high bandwidth application to NEPACrossroads and are willing to pay regional ISPs for bandwidth priority to their customers for your specific application, why shouldn't that be allowed? No one is engaged in an unfair business practice. Both transactional parties are willing. The net result is that you are able to provide a high quality user experience to your target audience, and people aren't barred from accessing other competing services which get normal priority along with every other data type flowing into the ISP. What's wrong with that?
pvolcko
 

Re: FCC to formalize "Net Neutrality" Rules

PostBy: wlape3 On: Fri Jan 22, 2010 2:09 pm

What I'd like to see is more choices of internet service for rural consumers. All I have now is dial-up or satellite. Satellite is better than dial-up but not by a whole lot. It is very expensive, has much lower bandwidth, and has very bad latency. Also my provider loves to throttle my connection. At least they loosen it up late at night so downloads do not take multiple days. Additionally, I have a 17 GB cap on downloads in a 30 day period.

Streaming video and internet phone service are no-starters on satellite.
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Re: FCC to formalize "Net Neutrality" Rules

PostBy: Richard S. On: Fri Jan 22, 2010 7:26 pm

pvolcko wrote:What do you mean by "other networks"?


For example this server, as services like video on demand evolve there is going to be demand for higher bandwidth servers. Technically right now most ISP's could deliver on video like that but I can't because of the network isn't fast enough on my end.Just because I can't doesn't mean they should be restricted doing that.


if you want to add a very high bandwidth application to NEPACrossroads and are willing to pay regional ISPs for bandwidth priority to their customers for your specific application, why shouldn't that be allowed?


How about they just pay me for access to the content like they do for all major cable TV networks? The ISP is and has been getting a free ride on the content. Now that it's established they want to squeeze everyone out in favor of their own services. They'll take the loss leader and get everyone interested and once they have everyone hooked the costs to everyone will sky rocket and you'll have limited choice because all the old services will no longer exist.

Here's a pretty good analogy, they built this giant toll road and everyone put business's up along this road. The road doesn't get built without the business's and the business don't thrive without the road. Now that the road is successful they want to put up an express lane going to the giant ISP superstore and put up a bunch of stop signs and lights on the old road.
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Re: FCC to formalize "Net Neutrality" Rules

PostBy: pvolcko On: Sun Jan 24, 2010 5:35 pm

Well, I don't buy that they are throttling certain content to give their own similar services a leg up. Maybe this could be argued in the case of VoIP, but the big motivation for some ISPs to provide phone service was not to compete with Skype and Vonage so much as it was to compete with Verizon and get a chunk of people who might have gone to 100% cell phone use. But otherwise I'm not sure there is a case to be made that there is widespread ISP application offerings or throttling of competing off-network providers in favor of those on-network, ISP owned offerings. Bittorrent and similar types of bulk transfer traffic have been throttled, but not because these companies are providing some other means to do the same thing, strictly as a traffic management and customer quality of service measure. And arguably these types of traffic will still get throttled due to the high incidence piracy with these applications, an area the proposal allows for throttling and outright blocking.

To answer the main thrust of your question, why aren't these ISPs paying you for access to the content you provide: Why should they? First of all, they aren't providing a menu of options to their customers (such as a Cable TV service does), they provide a conduit to end consumers who then self-direct their experience. Businesses don't get paid by the phone company for the privledge of routing calls to them. At best they get a discounted rate plan, just as you get a discounted rate for a larger bandwidth tier.

You completely side stepped my question: Why shouldn't an company be able to negotiate with regional ISPs to give their traffic priority routing to their customers? Why should all the lower bandwidth applications have to suffer lower bandwidth and higher latencies with their users on an ISP because of traffic to the high bandwidth application?

In terms of your analogy. Imagine there are only taxis on the roads and there are a fixed number of taxis on the roads at any given time and you prepay for use of a fixed number of taxis per month. Some people are going to stores any buying so much stuff they need 10 or 20 taxis to make the trip back home. That's fine, the store sells bulky stuff and a lot of it. But most stores sell small stuff that can come back in a single taxi along with you. If one of these bulk sellers is in town, that is manageable because the taxis and road capacity they're paying for are local and the DoT can work it out to everyone's satisfaction. However, if the store happens to be in another town or perhaps an outlet store along the highway that creates a problem for the town. First, when people come back from this store, they end up forcing people on the same road to wait around for their convoy to clear out before they can either get back home or can leave their home to their desired destination. The other problem is that the ramp on and off the highway becomes a bottleneck. As since everyone pretty much depends on stuff from out of town locations (for work, for every day items, to visit friends and family, etc.), the people going to the bulk stuff store are making life miserable for the rest of the people.

Right now, we have a whole bunch of bulk sellers expecting towns to accommodate their business return traffic at no cost to themselves and a number of people frequenting these sellers and gumming up the works for the rest of the towns folk and then complaining that the town isn't willing expand their highway connections and spread the cost of that to the whole town (indeed, these people often complain that the town charges too much as it is for taxi service), and most people in town are just upset it's taking longer and longer to get back and forth from work or get around town.

How can this be fixed?
1) Force the bulk buyers to move to another town.
2) Place limits on how many taxis can be going to your town from the bulk seller at any given time.
3) Expand the highway access and spread the cost to all the townspeople.
4) Expand the highway access and setup a new taxi subscription scheme where people who use few taxis pay less and those who use more pay more.
5) Switch to a metered taxi service where people pay only for what they use.
6) Have bulk sellers to chip in to town highway expansion projects.
7) Move to another town with less congestion or at least better access to the highway.

The laws prevent option 1. Net neutrality specifically removes option 2 from the table, a completely reasonable option so long as there are regulations in place to prevent ISPs from using it to give their own services advantage (a genuinely anti-competitive behavior that current law likely covers or is easily expanded to cover without empowering the FCC with a new swath of powers under the guise of "net neutrality"). Option 3 is patently unfair to those not going to the bulk sellers. 4 was already underway before net neutrality came around and likely would have gone a long way to solving the problem anyway. Removing option 2 makes the rollout of this tiered payment scheme likely to accelerate. 5 is the fairest to all involved however there is no way to force an ISP to adopt this kind of payment structure and without a robust market of competing ISPs this pricing scheme is likely to be abused more so than tiered and flat rate plans.

In a way option 6 is happening, except it is happening at a macro level via Obama's broadband investment program, which is unlikely to be an efficient allocation of resource or likely solve the problem throttling addresses. Rather this will be used to boost wireless broadband access in already relatively well served urban areas and to subsidize connections for the urban poor and rural areas. Regardless this is an unfair redistribution of capital. People in suburbs should not be forced to subsidize the broadband access of rural persons unwilling to pay the necessarily higher rates to get broadband to them. Nor should the "rich" be forced to subsidize the broadband connections of the urban poor. If there is to be a tax to provide for this kind of subsidy of connections and ISP infrastructure, then it should rightly be paid as a surcharge on high bandwidth users on both the supply and consumer sides, not as a broad based tax on all the people.

7 is a last resort (moving to a new ISP) and only available in some areas. Putting in place regulations to enhance more market players in the ISP business would help make this a viable alternative, such as withholding federal broadband funding from states which ban municipal broadband projects and who grant regional ISP monopolies. Could also declare optical and cable infrastructure owners to be common carriers and force the sale of bandwidth on these networks to independent ISPs and regional wireless broadband WANs at wholesale.
pvolcko
 

Re: FCC to formalize "Net Neutrality" Rules

PostBy: Richard S. On: Sun Jan 24, 2010 10:05 pm

Voip is an example and P2P is another. Granted P2P is used primarily for sharing copyrighted files but it's the principal that matters. They interfered with an application people were using and did it without the knowledge of the end user. To top it off they were using it as advertising gimmick. I don't think it's a matter of putting a fire out but preventing one. You know as well as I do that if they are allowed to do what they want they will slowly restrict services. What's next? FTP? Ventrilo? ;) Do you want to see them cutting off FTP then offering their own FTP client for $50 and charging an extra $10 a month for the service? That's where a non neutral internet will lead.


they provide a conduit to end consumers who then self-direct their experience. Businesses don't get paid by the phone company for the privledge of routing calls to them.


Exactly but the phone company can't set up their own pizza shop and then restrict the amount of phone calls going to the competitor.

Why shouldn't an company be able to negotiate with regional ISPs to give their traffic priority routing to their customers?


Because then larger corporations, specifically large media corporations will be able to leverage that larger bandwidth to squeeze the competition out. You take the airwaves for example where NBC, ABC and CBS were able to monopolize for half a century.


Why should all the lower bandwidth applications have to suffer lower bandwidth and higher latencies with their users on an ISP because of traffic to the high bandwidth application?

How can this be fixed?


I don't think the ISP should be forced into a position to provide a guranteed bandwidth for the user nor should a few be able to screw up the network. Tiered pricing for the consumer where they actually have to pay for what they use will go a long way towards limiting abuse anyway. If limits to service need to be imposed on a single user that is using a lot of bandwidth during high congestion so be it as long as those limits are being equally imposed on any service. The ISP shouldn't be able to pick and choose what they are going to drop.
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Re: FCC to formalize "Net Neutrality" Rules

PostBy: pvolcko On: Mon Jan 25, 2010 4:39 am

Well, I think we're going to have to disagree on this topic. I do not believe there is a serious threat of ISPs using application based throttling to hinder competing products, mostly because I do not believe they will create many competing products. VoIP is the only real example of this having ever happened and existing anti-competition regs and laws covers that kind of thing. If it doesn't I have no problem with empowering investigations into it by the FTC (not the FCC, it isn't their ballywick in my opinion since it is a business conflict, not a technology conflict).

P2P doesn't count because the ISP in question accused of doing it, Comcast, never was offering a competing service along the same lines. Simply, they wanted to restrict that traffic from clogging up their network. In my opinion, because I think it is reasonable to use application level data throttling when there are such gross disparities between bandwidth usage of the various application types, this action by Comcast was reasonable in and of itself. Where they screwed up was in not disclosing to their customers that they would utilize such measures and why they were doing it. It was a PR problem and business ethics problem more than anything else.

The chances of them trying to create a special FTP or HTTP or anything else that isn't compatible with the rest of the net is near zero, and if they did they would very quickly find themselves with a customer exodus on their hands or some other bait and switch class action suit or even a municipality suit (for breaking the implicit terms of granting a monopoly position in the region/community). I think market forces would prevent companies from doing this.

I guess my gripe is that net neutrality as is proposed and generally discussed is a broadsword type solution to a more or less non-existant problem that, if it were to become a problem, is much better handled with more narrowly focused rules and tweaked anti-competition and government granted monopoly business law.

Lastly, I came across this in my reading a couple days ago. Interesting data point:

http://blog.heritage.org/2010/01/20/diversity-v-neutrality-minority-groups-make-case-against-regulation/
http://mmtconline.org/lp-pdf/NatlOrgs%20NN%20Comments%20011410.pdf
pvolcko
 

Re: FCC to formalize "Net Neutrality" Rules

PostBy: Black_And_Blue On: Tue Apr 06, 2010 3:08 pm

Bwaaa haaaa haaaa :

Court: FCC has no power to regulate Net neutrality

The Federal Communications Commission does not have the legal authority to slap Net neutrality regulations on Internet providers, a federal appeals court ruled Tuesday.


http://news.cnet.com/8301-13578_3-20001825-38.html?part=rss&subj=news&tag=2547-1_3-0-20

ETA : Let me check my back pocket....hold on....nope nothin' in there about Federal Health Care either

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