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Senate Bill To Prohibit Extra Charges For Internet 393

Posted by Zonk
from the down-with-tiers dept.
xoip writes "A report in the The New York Times states that 'Senator Ron Wyden, Democrat of Oregon, will introduce new legislation today that would prohibit Internet network operators from charging companies for faster delivery of their content to consumers or favoring some content providers over others.'"
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Senate Bill To Prohibit Extra Charges For Internet

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  • It's a shame (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jcostantino (585892) on Thursday March 02, 2006 @02:13PM (#14836253) Homepage
    What a shame that laws need to be created to keep companies from acting like greedy assholes.
    • Re:It's a shame (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Divide By Zero (70303)
      Companies ARE greedy assholes. A corporation is a legal construct with the rights of a person and none of the morality, a construct whose sole purpose is to make money.

      The shame is how often they get away with screwing over real people by having deep pockets to buy legislators and outlast plaintiffs in court. I haven't read the bill, but I'm glad somebody with some power is looking at this critically.
      • Re:It's a shame (Score:2, Insightful)

        by ROOK*CA (703602)
        a construct whose sole purpose is to make money

        Pretty much the same are you're run of the mill Gen X'er, huh?
        • Correcting the grammar:

          Pretty much the same as your run of the mill Gen X'er, huh?

          To which I reply: The difference is that your run of the mill Gen X'er is completely failing at it, where the corporations are succeeding.
      • The reason that this legislation has a chance is the com companies finally did it... they tried to use their muscle and deep pockets to screw over other companies with muscle and deep pockets. Guess who the loser is going to be...
      • Re:It's a shame (Score:3, Informative)

        by zxnos (813588)
        A corporation is a legal construct with the rights of a person and none of the morality, a construct whose sole purpose is to make money.

        eh? my wife has a corporation and i have a corporation so we can safely run our home businesses. the idea behind it, the sole reason in my eyes, is that should i get sued for some reason i dont lose my car, house, watch, cat, dog, retirement savings, etc. and people will sue for anything. ever heard of the 'shotgun approach'? if it wasnt for people suing for the smallest

        • what happens when your corporation(s) develop a product or service that everyone wants. suddenly half of america is at your feet. you'd be surprised at what power can do to you.
        • the problem is morally bankrupt people. capitalism, socialism, communism all fail becuase of bad people.

          True- and I'd say that somebody who creates a corporation merely to escape the consequences of their actions counts as a good example of being morally bankrupt.
        • Re:It's a shame (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Kadin2048 (468275) <slashdot.kadinNO@SPAMxoxy.net> on Thursday March 02, 2006 @03:35PM (#14837016) Homepage Journal
          Sure, but in this case the corporation is solely controlled by you, so it's limited by your morality. (Assumedly.) The corporation -- the legal construct itself -- doesn't have any sense of morality, or anything else.

          It's when corporations are so big that they're not really controlled by a single individual that their true amorality becomes obvious. Everyone has a very slightly different idea of what is right and wrong, so unless you have one person who is in a position to pull the plug and say "no, that's wrong -- stop," it will basically do anything that's profitable. Unless the action is so grievously immoral that everyone involved in the company's operation can agree that it's wrong. But that rarely happens.

          It's really just semantics whether it's the people or the legal construct that are amoral; the point is that the construct gives people the framework necessary to comfortably check their morality at the door.

          That said, I don't have a problem with it -- I think that corporations are a useful barometer in society of our incentive structure. When you start to see corporations doing sick things, it's time to revisit your incentive and punishment systems and decide how to fix the basic problem: why is doing bad things more profitable than doing good things?

          So while I'm not normally a fan of big government, I could support a piece of legislation like this, because it fixes the playing field to produce fewer undesirable outcomes. That's the right of a capitalist democracy; if you can't do that, what's the point in even having a government.
          • by snowwrestler (896305) on Thursday March 02, 2006 @08:32PM (#14839389)
            Even the most successful and important companies are run by a leader or core group of leaders with vision, charisma, will, etc. These people determine the direction of the company as a whole and thus dictate the company's ethics and morality. That's why I think it is wrong, in a practical sense, to say that companies have no morals. They have the morals of their leaders.

            Consider the near-demise of the bond trading company Salomon Smith Barney in the nineties. When it was led by risk-loving, gambling ex-trader John Guttfreund, the employees gambled with the company by skirting (and crossing) the moral and legal limits imposed on it. It was caught and was nearly wiped out by the Justice Department. When Warren Buffett took over the reins it became an upstanding and moral company almost overnight, and remained so under the leadership of the man Buffett hand-picked to lead afterward.

            Likewise there are numerous examples of companies that act very morally, for example Patagonia, Ben and Jerries, or Malden Mills. They enact the morals and ethics of their founders and leaders.

            In this respect I do agree with you that companies make excellent barometers--they can be powerful mechanisms for amplifying the decisions and morals of those the people lead them, yet they are susceptible to public influence. They can therefore serve as mirrors of their customers and the public who are aware of them.

            The problem is that they are not instantaneous mirrors. In fact there is a pretty significant delay in corrections. Stories like Enron IMO do not illustrate a failure of the system, but rather illustrate the system working properly--just slowly. After all, the executives did get caught and the company suffered (essentially) a death penalty. However there was a pretty significant delay between the immoral acts and the societal response.

            One of the toughest things for humans to deal with cognitively is a delay between action and effect. In one psych study people were given the task of adjusting a thermostat to keep a steady temperature in a refrigerator as it was opened and closed. They did not have too much trouble with it until lag was secretly introducing into the system. This created chaotic oscillations as the participants continually over-compensated. More revealing, none were able to correctly deduce that there was a uniform delay at work. To them it simply seemed like the system was acting erratically and unpredictably. Thus so can the oscillations seem between morally right and immoral corporate behavior.

            The solution to some is legislation, in part because it is thought to be a fast and sure way to solve a problem the market does not seem to be able to (at least not yet). However legislation is its own messy system of delays and is neither fast nor sure. No bill passes without extensive compromise and complexity, and no meaningful legislation is implemented effectively without first passing through many rounds of interpretation and litigation.

            Legislation also is inflexible in that it is a permanent solution. It can only be replaced or revised except through the same tortuous process that produced it in the first place.
    • Re:It's a shame (Score:3, Interesting)

      by lbrandy (923907)
      What a shame that laws need to be created to keep companies from acting like greedy assholes.

      Allow me to welcome you to humanity. You must be new here.

      Guess what else we have laws to prevent? Theft! Fraud! Beating! Murder! Rape! Isn't it sad that we, as a species, actually need to have laws that enforce all these things. Man, what a horrible creature we are.
      • Re:It's a shame (Score:3, Insightful)

        by josecanuc (91)
        Laws don't prevent anything from happening. They just give us a method of recourse that fits within our societal structure (rule of law). If murder is illegal, a law doesn't stop someone from dying when shot in the face. But does allow a regular structure for dealing with someone who commits murder.

        A case can be made that laws can have a deterrent effect, but it still doesn't change the fact that a law (words on paper) has zero physical power over anyone in real time.
    • Laws had to be created to make companies huge, too.
    • What a shame that people think oppressive government is the solution to greed and arrogance.
      • If you RTFA, you'd know that "Phone and cable companies largely agree that they should have the right to offer Internet companies the option of paying for faster delivery of their content."

        That's where the market wants to go. So other than government regulation, what's your solution?

        The free hand of the market?
      • LOL and what would you suggest? Run barefoot, eat granola and don't pay for their services? Like that'll work.
      • What a shame that people think oppressive government is the solution to greed and arrogance.

        More to the point: what a shame that people think that legislation as the first tool to reach for when something looks like it might become a problem in the future.

        -jcr
        • Agreed. Cattle prods should always come before legislation.

          They're way more fun than laws.
        • More to the point: what a shame that people think that legislation as the first tool to reach for when something looks like it might become a problem in the future.

          Yes, god forbid people try to nip something in the bud before it gets out of control...

          If you see a future problem, and simply let it happen, you deserve to have it happen to you. (Unfortunately, legislation is the only tool of strength available.)
    • What a shame that laws need to be created to keep companies from acting like greedy assholes.

      Yeah, like the time when workers weren't paid for their work... what was that called? Slavery? I don't remember...

      (Sarcasm mode off)

      Dude, we're in a country that abides by laws. This is the reason companies invest so much money in lobbying. Perhaps we should follow their example and try to get a voice there.
    • What right do we (heavy interent uses) have to expect light users to subsidize our usage? If they can figure out a way to charge commensurate with expensive usage (data or phone services or something else) why shouldn't they? If you aren't a home owner do you like the idea that people who bought million houses get to write off most of the annual operating cost of owning that home (and get no taxes on most of the appreciation)? Thereby shifting more of the burden of the government onto you?
      • I am a heavy internet user, and i pay MORE then a light internet user. The light internet user is probably subscribed to 9.99$ phone line internet access, maybe 29.99 DSL...but I pay a whopping $50 for my heavy internet usage. What the phone companies wnat to do is charge the content providers...so even though i pay 50 per month, i will get slower service from some content provider because they are unwilling/able to pay the fees. So the bells will be making money from the content providers (who are not s
      • That's called 'charging per byte'. And I think it's a fine thing to do, and I hope this bill doesn't prohibit it. I also think that nobody in their right mind would buy a service that charged per byte. But hey, I don't think it's evil or wrong.

    • That is the foundation of capitalism...
    • I think it's more of a shame that this can't be handled by the market. People aren't strong enough to join together and tell comcast to fuck off by not buying their service. This would certainly get comcasts attention. Unfortunately, things like this rarely happen, because since there's nothing besides comcast, people aren't willing to give up a few months of service to make a statement and instead end up getting screwed for years. Same thing goes for the big questar natural gas pigfuck that happened he
      • The free market concept proposed by Adam Smith always assumes 1)no international trade and 2)no monopolies. If either of those are missing, free market isn't guaranteed to work. These days, it can probably be argued that at least one of these is violated for just about everything bought in the USA.
        • It also assumes a host of other things such as

          1)Perfect information of buyer and seller (both the buyer and seller know everything about the product and its competitors to make a totally informed choice)
          2)A large number of producers of interchangable goods. Basicly enough suppliers that you can choose whom you want to buy from, and no difference between their products.
          3)Certius paribus. That changing one variable in the economic equation does not effect any others.
          4)Time doesn't matter. Notice that none
    • Erm, what on earth did you expect. Corporations by definition are devoted solely to making money.
    • This is indicative of the hoax that the "free market" is. People cheat, lie, and steal. You have to regulate to keep them from doing it. The more complex the system, the more complex the regulations. Anyone with more than a pedestrian knowledge of U.S. corporate history knows how bad corporations act unless you've got their nads in a vice. Dumping toxins in rivers, lying about reactor meltdowns, covering up research on potentially lethal medical side effects, all the way up to murdering witnesses and w
    • Because it's of their nature. You don't maximize profits then you can be sued by the shareholders.
    • Actually, it is the law that publicly traded companies need to do everything and anything possible, withiin the limits of the law, to mazimize shareholder value, and by extention, profits.

      So, it is *required* that laws be enacted to keep them from being greedy assholes.

  • RE (Score:4, Funny)

    by Alex P Keaton in da (882660) on Thursday March 02, 2006 @02:14PM (#14836254) Homepage
    Because you know when the gov't gets involved... It can't get screwed up...
    • Amen. This does sound horrible right? But what if they do jack up prices? Google will have even more incentive to roll out free broadband wireless. Competition and free markets take time to sort things out but regulation... well, we've all heard about weird old laws still on the books that ban corduroy pants on Tuesdays. And of course the mayor is getting campain contributions from the shorts lobby. Be careful what you wish for.
    • True the government isn't perfect, but we are still here, right? The US government _usually_ does stabilize things that could become out of control in one way or another internally. Externally on the other hand, that's out of the scope of this post....
    • Because you know when the gov't gets involved... It can't get screwed up...

      That's completely wrong. Everybody knows that it's when governments aren't involved [globalpolicy.org] that things can't get screwed up.
      • From that six year old article.

        In anarchy deepened by local warlords, private interests swooped in to provide essentials like water, telephones and electricity, though not in the most efficient ways. The three telephone companies, for instance, operate entirely independently of one another. Having access to all people with phones means having three telephone lines -- one from each company.

        Here's an excerpt from another article. [mises.org]

        "Despite the seeming anarchy, Somalia's service sector has managed to surviv

        • Re:Ah, Somalia (Score:3, Informative)

          by Valdrax (32670)
          Telecommunication is the one of the only industries to profit significantly due to the ability of wireless providers to establish locally protected towers that don't need lots of unprotected infrastructure (i.e. wires) to communicate between them. Power is also generated locally for the towers due to the lack of ability to create an infrastructure for power transmission.

          The money exchange system that you're talking of is hawala, the same system that has been under severe scrutiny for its use by terrorists
  • Pay For Play (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ExE122 (954104) * on Thursday March 02, 2006 @02:14PM (#14836262) Homepage Journal
    As soon as I read the headline I thought of the payola scandals [straightdope.com] of radio in the 50's. Its the same idea with this only instead of the radio, we're talking internet.

    I really like Wyden's beliefs on fair competition in the internet. Back in 2004, he put a ban on unfair internet taxes [senate.gov]. IMO This legislation looks like it will help out a lot of smaller companies compete with the big corporations who would gladly try to team up with ISPs monopolize e-commerce.

    I wonder how this legislation would apply to AOL's proposed email tax [slashdot.org] (I gotta watch out what I say, my comments on that were met harshly).

    I personally hope this makes it through congress. The internet is a free service, as is the radio, and I believe it should have some sense of neutrality. I'm very interested to hear how this bill will hold up. I'm sure if we keep a close eye on it, we'll be finding out a lot about where some of our senators are getting their "funding" from.
    • "The internet is a free service"

      Who is your ISP? I want an account!

      The Wall Street Journal today has an article about business models based on bandwidth use by the consumer. Those who download more would pay more. Users currently pay more for higher download speeds from their ISP. Businesses pay a different price.

      If your ISP can charge different prices for different levels of service, why should other providers of bandwidth not be allowed to do the same? What is wrong with differentiated services at di
      • Just an observation, you guys (native english speakers) should really invent/adopt and use a new word so gratis and libre meanings get totally separated.

        I think your language is starting to affect your thinking too much! /Simon (Dutch native speaker)
      • Re:Pay For Play (Score:5, Insightful)

        by mrchaotica (681592) on Thursday March 02, 2006 @05:16PM (#14837846)
        Let me explain to you how the Internet works: I subscribe to an ISP, and I pay a monthly fee to connect. The host I'm trying to connect to also subscribes to an ISP, and pays a monthly fee to connect. Now, here's the complicated part: our ISPs have an agreement with each other (called a "peering agreement") that they'll accept connections and transfer packets between their two networks, for free. That's a fundamental mechanism of the Internet, and in fact what makes it an "internetwork" instead of just a "network."

        Now that you understand that, I'll explain what's going on here with Bellsouth et al.: They're trying to (effectively) end the peering agreement by charging both ends of the connection, instead of just their own subscribers. The net result is that everyone gets charged twice for the same service. If you can't see how that's unfair, and more importantly, harmful to the design of the Internet itself, you must not be paying attention.
  • by PIPBoy3000 (619296) on Thursday March 02, 2006 @02:15PM (#14836270)
    The kicker, of course is this:
    The bill more squarely confronts the concerns of consumer groups than a broader bill proposed last summer by Senator John Ensign, Republican of Nevada, which would prevent Internet service providers from blocking access, but would largely leave network operators to manage their own networks, including potentially charging content providers for a premium service.

    That bill has won support from 16 Republican senators.
    This very much seems like a Republican/Democrat stand-off. Are you pro-business or pro-consumer?
    • This helps businesses more than it does consumers. Think of all the businesses who RELY on delivery of their content for a large portion of their business, (and how they could be held hostage by the ISPs).

      I agree though, he's one Democrat I'll be happy to reelect. I've met him a few times here in Portland, (like at the airport), and he's always been interested in hearing what's going on around Oregon and what I think about it. how things affect me.
    • Are you pro-business or pro-consumer?

      And are you really that thick that you don't see that the two are fundamentally the same?

      / Liberal, but a sane one.

    • This very much seems like a Republican/Democrat stand-off. Are you pro-business or pro-consumer?

      Its a question of free-market versus regulation. It has nothing to do with businesses or consumers. That's simplistic.

      Both Democrats and Republicans agree that in industries with sufficient competition, regulation is both "anti-business" and "anti-consumer". Regulation is needed when the free-market is insufficient... It is not entirely clear whether the free-market would be able to sufficiently punish those
    • It's more of a which business are you pro for? It comes down to being an election year, voting pro-consumer will help with votes. Having non-ISP/Phone based lobiests and campaign donators will also help. The people who will vote against this are likely republicans with vested interests (either investment or campaign donations) in the Bells and cable companies.

      -Rick
    • This bill is BOTH pro-business AND pro-consumer. The only 'anti' thing it might be is anti-big-telco. For the vast majority (i.e. non-telcos) businesses, this is good, as for all customers.
    • The word 'consumer' is a dirty epithet used to marginalize everybody who doesn't have over 100000 to contribute to someone's campaign fund.

  • Of course, the real kicker will be in the fine print when Telecom lobbyists convince their representatives to include examptions for any company with greater than X employees, or Y income, or located in State Z.

    That is of course assuming this bill ever makes it to a vote.
  • I'm paying right now for a much faster pipe on my cable modem. Something like 768kbps up, 5 or 8mbps down. Would this (accidently?) prohibit this higher tier service?
    • Hopefully, the resulting bill (if passed) wouldn't do that. The sort of "tiering" that you are concerned about is not what the proposed bill is trying to address.
    • You're paying more money to get more bandwidth, and content is irrelevant. This issue is paying more for particular content - slowing down competitors unless you pay the extra fee. If you have SBC at home, and you can hear other SBC customers just fine, but PacBell (are they still around?) callers are all staticky and laggy unless you pay SBC an extra $5 a month.
      • SBC bought Pacific Bell some time ago. Amazingly, the quality of service actually improved for most PB customers, except of course when they had that strike. During the aftermath of the strike, my phone went out and they told me it would be three days to fix it. This is when I went and got a T-Mobile phone and dropped the land line. Fuck your outdated copper infrastructure anyway, SBC.
  • Fantastic! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by vslashg (209560) * on Thursday March 02, 2006 @02:19PM (#14836329)
    This is really good news, because it gives us an actual target for our energies about this issue. Most readers here understand why an anti-competitive tiered Internet is such a bad idea. We've all bitched about it on previous postings of this issue.

    Please, please, if you're an American citizen and care about this issue, call, email, write, or telegram your senators in support of this bill. We need them to know they have constituents who care about keeping the Internet a powerful communications tool for all.

    Certainly such an important issue is worth the effort?
    • Re:Fantastic! (Score:5, Informative)

      by conJunk (779958) * on Thursday March 02, 2006 @02:53PM (#14836645)
      i'm not usually an 'email-your-congress-critter' sort, but your pleas were heard. here's the text of the emails i sent to my (CA) senators:
      Hi. I'm writing about Sen. Ron Wyden's Internet Non-Discrimination Act, which I've read is expected to be introduced today. I support this measure in the strongest possible terms. Prohibiting service providers from engaging in pay-to-play shemes with content providers is the only sensible course. Computer technology has at its core an idealized notion of equality and accessibility, and allowing companies to add increased charges for the deliver of certain content is not only anti competitive, but locks many users out of equal use of the internet. If pay-to-play schemes like those Sen. Wyden's bill aims to prohibit had been in place in 2000, the internet certainly would not be where it is today, and companies like Amazon and Google, which are now household names, may have never been able to get off the ground.
    • by porkThreeWays (895269) on Thursday March 02, 2006 @03:13PM (#14836842)
      Everyone, please understand how extremely easy it is to contact your senator to voice your opinion regarding this. http://www.senate.gov/ [senate.gov]

      In the upper right hand corner is a "Senator search". Click the state you live in and your two senators websites will be listed. Most (if not all) of the senators are available via email. Voice your opinion in a calm professional manner.

      Too many people sit back and watch democracy happen around them. If every single person who read this story voiced their opinion about it to their senator (whether they agree or disagree), there would be tens of thousands of emails (as oppossed to maybe a couple hundred).

      It's just to easy to voice your opinion to your senator these days. You would be throwing away a huge opportunity if you didn't.
  • Good (Score:3, Insightful)

    by shoptroll (544006) on Thursday March 02, 2006 @02:20PM (#14836335)
    Good that Washington is taking quick action on this. Well quick action isn't necessary the right term, but at least someone is trying to get the legislation down sooner than later.

    Honestly, I don't see a good reason for the telcos to be doing this. It just seems to me that they are trying to find ways to profit while they lose business (internet being a more prevalent communication medium than your standard telephone). If you're late to the party, that's your problem.

    Telco companies seem to be trying to undermine the very principles of the internet lately. With having the FCC ruling last year that allowed them to not share their lines, and now seeing this, I've become very wary of anything the telecommunications industry is trying to do lately.
    • Re:Good (Score:3, Insightful)

      by drinkypoo (153816)

      With having the FCC ruling last year that allowed them to not share their lines, and now seeing this, I've become very wary of anything the telecommunications industry is trying to do lately.

      This is all because the telcos are on a sinking ship. Wired communications (for anything other than long-haul, high-bandwidth) are on their way out. The simple fact is that some bigass high-gain omni antennas (which can be built cheaply if you're on a small budget) are a fuck of a lot cheaper than a bunch of poles

  • Bribed? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by TubeSteak (669689) on Thursday March 02, 2006 @02:20PM (#14836340) Journal
    Did this guy not get his bribe?

    My guess is that the TelCos either didn't have time to write up 'model' legislation for some Senator to introduce, or they realized that the country isn't ready yet... and this Democrat from Oregon just fuxxored their long term plans.

    Listen to see what your Senator says about this Bill. Then you'll know whose interests he's looking out for.
  • that this kind of throttling is not already going on? I am kinda curious..
  • I wonder (Score:2, Interesting)

    by GmAz (916505)
    I wonder what else is attached to this bill. This will probably pass, but what other things are tacked into it in the small print.
  • ... if it's not done with Evil (tm) in mind.

    I do two demanding things on my network connection: online gaming and bulk downloads. For the former I want rock-solid QoS. I'm using only about 5 KiB/s of traffic, but it's imperative that that traffic get where it's going as fast as possible.

    For bulk downloads, latency and reliability is less important to me than throughput. I don't care if I'm at 10% packet loss and 1000msec latency, really, as long as a whole pile of data gets sent and received. However, right
    • "I don't care if I'm at 10% packet loss and 1000msec latency, really, as long as a whole pile of data gets sent and received."

      The problem with this is that TCP doesn't deal at all well with high-latency high-loss connections.

      Consider your example. If you lose a packet, then it takes 2 seconds to resend that information.

      Your TCP windows need to be sized based on the bandwidth-delay product. If you want to download at 5Mbit/sec, and you've got 1000msec latency, then you need a 10Mbit buffer to store the dat
    • And it's good to know that SBC/Verizon/Comcast/whoever has shills on these boards.

      We welcome you.

      Now go play dodgecar in traffic...
  • Bellsouth and Verizon will be filing suit claiming it's unconstitutional restraint of trade. While reminding the Republican lawmakers that Bellsouth's 26 person lobbying firm on K Street funnels millions of dollars to them to stop exactly this kind of unfavorable legislation.

    And before you pipe up and say they also give money to Democrats, take a look and their reports. Bellsouth's lobbying is overwhelmingly favorable to Republicans. The best party money can buy.

  • I know the Constitution gives Congress the power to regulate interstate commerce, but the Internet is more than that.

    We can punish anyone who messes with it just fine, and reward those who play nice. We don't need your help with this one, honest.

    So please, keep your paws off our network. We were here first. You're new. You don't know what you're doing, and what effect you'll have.

    Now, about this terrorism thing -- maybe you can think of a way to deal with it. Or maybe find a nice treaty you can advise
  • I've found that ever since I changed my ISP, my connection to online games (Eve Online, WoW, etc) sucked. But...if I connected to my office VPN, somehow the route is better (note: I'm in Argentina). Same when I switched from one ISP to another in DSL (just using a different login name in PPPoE seems to change the outgoing ISP..any other ISP worked perfectly). So... after checking several things, there's no other alternative to a filter of some kind in the ISP (most if not all the ISPs use the same pipes goi
  • by cfulmer (3166) on Thursday March 02, 2006 @02:40PM (#14836526) Homepage Journal
    TCP/IP has a native capacity to distinguish between different types of traffic so network routers can treat different packets differently. This is a good thing -- some applications are much more real-time intensive than other applications.

    Unfortunately, the Quality of Service flags are generally ignored on the public Internet. The reason why isn't particularly hard to discern: there's no way to agree on what should have priority and what shouldn't. If everybody used it in the current environment, then every content provider would flag its own traffic as being high-priority. And, as a result, nothing would be high priority since it's a relative concept.

    Money is the way to separate the wheat from the chaff: if your content actually depends on a high QoS, then you should pay for that. If your content doesn't, then there's no reason to.
    • Well, why not treat QoS flags as being relative to the other packets the sender is sending instead of as being relative to everything?

    • Diffserv and Intserv (Score:3, Interesting)

      by jd (1658)
      Differentiated Services (the ability to route packets differently according to type of service) and Integrated Services (the ability to group packets together according to the relationships between types of service) are theoretically unaffected by this. As most QoS is done through Diffserv/Intserv classification and not by source or destination, it follows QoS should be unaffected.
      • HTB, HFSC, SFSC, CBQ, etc, predominantly use the type of service and not the endpoints as the basis for packet classification. Y
  • This bill seems almost as bad... Just in the opposite direction.

    Theres no reason to have a generic law saying that this is always prohibited. If you own your network, it's yours, do whatever you want with it.

    The issue was that the Telco's trying to do this do not in fact own their networks. They were subsidized by tax payer dollars, hence they have no right to enforce these fines. This is a very specific problem, and doesn't call for an arbitrary law restricting what you can do with your own network
  • who do I pay at /. to get my business tags higher in the tag-list?
  • by jcr (53032)
    Once more, we have a legislator rushing to pass a law to fight something that hasn't even become a problem yet.

    -jcr
  • Notice the "D" next to his name.

    The bill will never pass.
  • I thought one of the big features of IPv6 was to enable pay-per-packet.
  • ...figures out a smart new way to improve network speeds, but it's expensive, they can't just get together with a bunch of clients who are willing to pay the extra, but instead have to simply dump the technology. This doesn't seem right to me.
  • Just like everyone else here I realize that ISPs have no business trying to charge content providers for access to the network their customers are paying for. I even realize that using traffic shaping and other techniques to force customers to use the ISP's VOIP solutions rather than those of competitors is seriously anti-competitive but....

    Our congress critters don't know the first thing about how this cyberweb thing works and I have zero confidence that whatever bill they settle on won't do more harm tha
  • It's All Relative (Score:3, Insightful)

    by gidds (56397) <slashdot&gidds,me,uk> on Thursday March 02, 2006 @04:28PM (#14837451) Homepage
    AIUI, these companies aren't proposing any absolute increase in speed -- they're simply going to give your bits better treatment than those who don't pay.

    Play it out. The first person to pay for this will get a substantial speed increase, and no-one else will notice any different. Great so far. But what happens when a substantial number of others join in? It all has to come from the same pipes, so they'll see a smaller increase -- and it'll be at the expense of others. Not only from the remainder who aren't paying the premium, but also from the existing premium payers.

    By that point, people will be paying the premium not so much for extra speed, but to avoid the rapidly-declining non-premium service. Ultimately, everyone will be forced to pay the premium, just to get exactly the same service they have now.

    In other words, the only people to benefit from this are the ISPs. Ka-ching! Everyone else is paying more and getting nothing for it. Not quite a 'tragedy of the commons' scenario, but with the same sort of inevitability.

    I don't like the idea of legislating around problems, but maybe this one deserves it. (Telecoms generally seems to benefit from the odd bit of red tape -- look at the state of the mobile phone markets in the unregulated US and the regulated UK, for example.) I think we need some way to nip this one in the bud, and unless anyone has any better ideas...?

In specifications, Murphy's Law supersedes Ohm's.

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