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FCC Backs a Tiered Internet 455

Posted by samzenpus
from the more-money dept.
Going to be extorted writes ""FCC Chief Kevin Martin yesterday gave his support to AT&T and other telcos who want to be able to limit bandwidth to sites like Google, unless those sites pay extortion fees. Martin made it clear in a speech yesterday that he supports such a a "tiered" Internet." Could this be the end of internet innovation?"
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FCC Backs a Tiered Internet

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  • by dada21 (163177) * <adam.dada@gmail.com> on Thursday March 23, 2006 @11:37AM (#14980524) Homepage Journal

    I have a solution to fixing the FCC and it has to do with my subject line. Figure it out.

    I believe the FCC is one of the most unconstitutional departments in the Federal government and completely destroys the reason why it was set up in the first place. If the airwaves are public property, why are they regulated to the point that no one but the elite can access them? How is the Internet considered public airwaves if it is run over mostly private lines?

    It is time for a second Internet to come into action -- one that is voluntarily connected, one that is run over cabling (or satellite) connections that are not subsidized by any government regime. If we want it, it will happen, we just have to support the initial costs. These costs might be higher but in the long run they're lower because we won't be taxed to subsidize the costs.

    I don't care much for the idea of regulating any speech -- broadcast or face-to-face. I don't see the Constitution giving the Federal government any power to regulate the airwaves (the interstate commerce clause was not meant to give the Feds power to tariff and tax, it was meant to give the Feds the power to prevent the individual states from tariffing and taxing interstate commerce).

    The reason for this FCC mention is because the distribution cartels who have used copyright, airwaves regulation and subsidies for decades are now scared that their cartel will fall apart. Copyright has been antiquated by the Internet -- creating opportunities for millions of artists to distribute their artwork themselves (not needing the cartels). The subsidies for the phone companies and the old media companies have proved to be worthless as almost anyone can now afford to be not just a receiver on the mediacast network, but a sender as well. The regulations that were used to keep others from entering the market are now working against the big media companies.

    This means that they want blood. They want control. They want their cartel to stay together, and the only way they can do it is through the use of force and coercion -- which is basically what the FCC is about. Maybe Google will come up with a free GoogleNet and let anyone (including competitors) connect to it. Maybe some kid in a garage will figure out a way to get a secondary network structure built, I have no idea, nor do I care, there are billions of people out there, I have faith in humanity.

    The future will not be able frequencies or bandwidth or censorship or control. The future will be about freedom; I am just waiting for the day that software radios with reasonable frequency hopping methods can be used to give everyone high bandwidth at low costs without worrying about what monopoly their village lets run cable or worry about paying for someone out in Montana who can't afford their own wires run. For this, though, the FCC will need to completely vacate the airwaves [unanimocracy.com]. The day will come, we just have to find a solution to the FCC who keeps it all down.

    I have a solution. I plead the second.
    • by Lumpy (12016) on Thursday March 23, 2006 @11:41AM (#14980571) Homepage
      It is time for a second Internet to come into action -- one that is voluntarily connected, one that is run over cabling (or satellite) connections that are not subsidized by any government regime. If we want it, it will happen, we just have to support the initial costs. These costs might be higher but in the long run they're lower because we won't be taxed to subsidize the costs.


      this existed before the internet and it was neat but horribly slow.

      there were people that set up unix and Xenix machines at borders of LATA's (a phone number that can call two areas as a local call) that would call each other to relay email and gopher requests.

      it worked great.

      Getting broadband speeds without the telcos involved will be 10000% impossible as they have the governments in their back pocket and do you know anyone that can afford 5000 miles of fiber, all the light gear needed to light it up and who can pay for the right of way access for that fiber?

      Honestly our ownly hope is for google to light up all that dark fiber they have been buying and put a major hurt on SBC and the other greedy bastards right where it hurts.
      • by numbski (515011) * <numbskiNO@SPAMhksilver.net> on Thursday March 23, 2006 @11:53AM (#14980700) Homepage Journal
        Have you tried to buy dark fiber from a telco before?

        Ain't gonna happen. I've tried. I've been trying to months now. Sprint, Charter, Ma Bell, you name it. They all have dark fiber I could simply light up and my work would be done, but none of them will do it. They want to light it and sell me "service", at a price that winds up well exceeding the price of the dark fiber. My choice winds up being having to overbuild them, because none of them will sell. At least not to the little guy, so Google might have an advantage here.

        To put this into perspective, when I first started looking, I was being quoted $35/ft for fiber, "just to get to the street". Once you get to "the street", now you're having to shut down roads and such, so we're at closer to $100/ft. That, and my municipality has rules against putting fiber on poles, so you have to bore conduit underground...unless of course you're a big media company with a presence in the area (**cough** Charter **cough**), in which case they get to ignore the rules.

        So for me to run fiber 1/4 of a mile to link my two sites? (btw, I'm going to user optical and rf backhauls, but I'd sleep a lot better with a "hardline") would cost nearly 1/2 million dollars. 1/4 mile!

        Insanity knows no bounds. :(
        • by Anonymous Coward
          Tut Systems XL-5050 [tutsys.com], and similar products, will do the job on a pair of regular copper wires.

          You can also setup a wireless bridge.

        • by Anonymous Coward
          Why should they sell you dark fiber when they could sell the same strand to 50 different people and run DWDM or a MUXed service on it?

          Also, why shut down the street for 1/4 mile? Can't you use horizontal drilling machines to pull the conduit? Thats what most of the big guys do. Stuff like: http://www.vermeermfg.com/vcom/TrenchlessEquipment /Line/PrdlnID/3383/horizontal-directional-drills.h tm [vermeermfg.com]
          Closing the street, ripping it up, and laying conduit end to end is the old way.
        • Let there be LIGHT! (Score:5, Interesting)

          by drewzhrodague (606182) <{drew} {at} {zhrodague.net}> on Thursday March 23, 2006 @12:36PM (#14981062) Homepage Journal
          Actually, I have tried to light dark fiber, and I was successful! It was during the dotcom days, in downtown Boston no less. The goal was to get a T1 installed into the office, but the install date was 3+ months away from any carrier. I hate Verizon more than I can describe, so they were absolutely NOT an option. In the machineroom was some fiber, and whatever termination box is used for that sorta thing. So, I called-up my buddy at a local CLEC, gave him the circuit ID, and he had it up and up, on, and running in less than a month (!!!). While I've never had this level of service EVER in 10+ years, it pays to know people, to call them, and to ask the right questions.

          Then there was the issue with getting Cable TV, which the cable companies said wasn't available. Kinda strange since our office came with a bizarre A/V system, with multiple TVs. They really told us that there was no way to run cable to our office building. So, I did what any geek would have done, I went into the wiring closet, and connected the RF cable from the breakout box, to the other breakout box -- which was conveniently labeled with our suite number. Viola! Instant cable TV in a high-rise building in downtown Boston. I used to set up the TVs to play Star Trek TOS from the Sci-Fi channel -- y'know, with the closed captions. Gave the office a fun atmosphere, I thought.

          Just because they say they can't do it, doesn't mean they can't do it, just that the person on the other end of the phone doesn't want to bother with it. Move around obstructive people, and you can move mountains -- or get your office lit.
          • by sumdumass (711423) on Thursday March 23, 2006 @03:06PM (#14982273) Journal
            I also know a couple people who work for the telcos. This isn't just instatutionalized lazyness. At one point in time some of them were denied contract raises with the excuse that "adding access to those taking advantage of the freedom of comunications act has supplanted the funds required to allow the raise".

            In other words, the boss said that letting other companies use thier infrastructure is why they didn't get a raise. The regular workers are/were pissed that thier raise got placed on hold because "some other company can come in a use our equiptment and lines while displacing the profits that would have given use a raise". That came directly out of my friends mouth when I was talking about DSL and different service providers with him. I think it this was intentionaly done because union employies tend to hold grudges when they don't get what they want.

            You had a friend who could see passed this bullshit and decided to help you out of a different alegence. The vast majority of people won't have that and I think will end up suffering the wrathe of a pissed off employee as well as a telco not wanting to give in. I imagine this is a stratigy used by all the telcos because it apears to just work.

            On another note, I'm wondering how these companies can think they should have a tired internet. My understanding is that they took out agreements to let thier hubs (peering) be used by others when getting thier conection to the backbone. It was sort of a "shared hub system". If this is the case, then whoever controls those contracts to the conections to the hubs should charge enough "more money" to offset this difference. In other words, if SBC wants to charge google for access to thier networks, the SBC backbone conection should be split and they should be raped for access to the backbone. This can be done without interupting thier telco service by replacing SBCs internet activity form a tier1 provider to a tier2 ro tier3 reseller. Soon SBC would find it couldn't provide internet service and have to revert thier stratigy. Believe it or not SBC and other companies aren't the internet they have just placed equiptment and lines into play that extend it to thier areas. They already charge access by bandwidth from the traditional tiered down system were they charge those on thier networks for passing thru it. This is important because it apears that it might be voiding oe violating other contracts they have in place. It is a shame when an ISP decides it is perfectly ok to double dip the consumer for profits. I'm also wondering if SBC or other top level ISPs can now become liable for content and actions hapening on thier networks because they would be activly screening content and delivering it based on royalties. I don't see how a simple peering exception to certain laws could still hold true in reasoning if this is allowed to happen. I can see SBC starting to do this and becomeing responcible for hate speech, porn and mabey other content.
        • by Sentry21 (8183) on Thursday March 23, 2006 @12:45PM (#14981135) Journal
          It's too bad you don't live in a city like Montréal. Montréal has a network of city-owned conduit, spanning 19,200 kilometres, providing direct access to more than 38,000 buildings across the island. Running fibre along the conduit costs a relatively insignificant $3.65/metre. Too bad more cities can't get it right like this.
    • by AKAImBatman (238306) * <akaimbatman.gmail@com> on Thursday March 23, 2006 @11:47AM (#14980640) Homepage Journal
      As another poster [slashdot.org] pointed out, the blogger is wrong here. The FCC has said the following:

      In a question-and-answer period in front of the keynote audience, Martin said that "I do think the commission has the authority necessary" to enforce network neutrality violations, noting that the FCC had in fact done so in the case last year involving Madison River's blocking of Vonage's VoIP service.

      "We've already demonstrated we'll take action if necessary," Martin said.


      In other words, the FCC doesn't want to see the "tiered internet" design, and will slap fines on anyone who tried it. Where the confusion comes in is in this part of his speech:

      However, Martin also added that he supports network operators' desires to offer different levels of broadband service at different speeds, and at different pricing -- a so-called "tiered" Internet service structure that opponents say could give a market advantage to deep-pocket companies who can afford to pay service providers for preferential treatment.

      While Martin said that consumers who don't pay for higher levels of Internet service shouldn't expect to get higher levels of performance, he did say in a following press conference that "the commission needs to make sure" that there are fair-trade ways to ensure that consumers "get what they are purchasing."


      What he's saying is that the FCC is fine with a broadband provider selling you a 6Mbit line at a higher cost than a 2MBit line, as long as you get what you're paying for. The AT&T plan may have resulted in you getting less bandwidth than you paid for if you failed to pay their extortion fees.
      • by Firehed (942385)
        Well they've always been doing that. Paying more to have more bandwidth for every website is one thing (or else switches from pre to 9600 baud to 28k to 56k to broadband to beyond would have had to happen overnight worldwide, effectively impossible), but charging whatever sites more to be delivered to surfers faster is entirely another. Which is the one that they support? Not having the first prevents progress; the second is anti-competitive.

        So, it sounds like some blogger misread "consumers" as "compa

      • by dwandy (907337)

        the blogger is wrong here.

        He seems to have trouble reading in general terms. Check out his closing note about google [networkingpipeline.com] where he says that Google is in clear violation of copyright law. If you actually use or look at Google books you will see that they not only provide maximum two pages from a book, they provide links to buy the book you've just found. Not only (IANAL) is this not a copyright infringment, it's helpful to the book industry. I suspect that the lawsuit is just a cash-grab - they want a piece of

    • by a_nonamiss (743253) on Thursday March 23, 2006 @11:48AM (#14980643)
      I'm not a fan of government regulation, but if you eliminate the FCC, every Tom, Dick and Harry could build an inexpensive transmitter in their basement. (With an antenna on the roof) With all those transmitters going at whatever frequency they please, nobody anywhere would be able to pick up anything. As small-government as I am, I still think that there needs to be some regulating body over the airwaves, just for the simple matter of making sure that transmitters aren't walking over each other. (BTW, regulating body doesn't necessarily need to be a government agency, but DOES need to have some authority to shut down illegal broadcasting.)
      • by drp (63138) on Thursday March 23, 2006 @12:05PM (#14980809) Homepage
        The key point that you are missing is this - the internet does not transmit over radio waves. Or, more correctly, the internet does not use the publicly broadcasted spectrum. The FCC's original charter was to ensure that chaos on airwaves did not happen. Somehow, they wormed their way into completely isolated means of communication like fiber optics or coax cable.

        I fail to see how the FCC should have any say over anything that I as a private individual or company want to transmit over my privately owned lines, or how much I want to charge people for their use. Of course, this argument does allow for the big telcos to implement the silly double-dipping scheme where they charge both ends of the communication, but the free market exists to prevent that. If SBC/AT&T, Verizon, etc. want to imeplement this, what is stopping Google from forming their own publicly-available routed IP network?
      • Unless the broadcast is strong enough to cross a state line at some threshold power (arbitrarily set by congress or the courts), then it is none of the FCC's business.*

        Let the states regulate broadcasts that are only available inside state lines.

        * Exceptions for national defense would allow the government to block transmitters at certain frequencies, just as they would effectively control major commercial broadcasts in some states (like Rhode Island) because it isn't possible to keep the signal from crossin
    • Oh. I was hoping when you said "plead the Second" you meant the Second Amendment.
    • It is time for a second Internet to come into action -- one that is voluntarily connected, one that is run over cabling (or satellite) connections that are not subsidized by any government regime. If we want it, it will happen, we just have to support the initial costs. These costs might be higher but in the long run they're lower because we won't be taxed to subsidize the costs.

      I don't care much for the idea of regulating any speech -- broadcast or face-to-face. I don't see the Constitution giving the Fede
    • by fyngyrz (762201)
      American citizens are getting what we deserve.

      The FCC censors nationally on the basis of value that at a minimum, should be community based if we look at mundane law, but if we look at good supreme sourt decisions, should not be at all.

      The FCC intentionally prevents low-power stations from operating, which directly muzzles the populace.

      The FCC interferes with privately owned communications hardlines (cable, Internet, telephone) all resources that are not limited by anything other than commerce issues.

    • by jafac (1449)
      I have no idea, nor do I care, there are billions of people out there, I have faith in humanity.

      There are also billions of ants.

      They're easy enough to exterminate in huge quantities through a can of Raid, or a boot heel. Humans aren't much different.

      2nd Amendment? Yeah right. Let me know when the 2nd Amendment guarantees your freedom from annihilation by a B-52 pilot flying 60,000 feet above you, who can't even see your house, but who can blast it to splinters and you to quivering bits of hamburger at th
  • My $0.02 (Score:3, Insightful)

    by robyannetta (820243) * on Thursday March 23, 2006 @11:37AM (#14980526) Homepage
    The FCC needs to be disbanded. They don't even know why they exist anymore.
    • I don't know about disbanding the FCC, but when I read "Could this be the end of internet innovation?" My first thought was: No, but it could be the end of FCC Chief Kevin Martin.

      He's shown which side he's on and now everyone who isn't an ISP or network provider is going to be after him and/or his job.

      The other story here, is in a link from TFA. [networkingpipeline.com]
      They mention that

      AT&T CEO Ed Whitacre on Tuesday declared that his company won't try to block or degrade customers' access to Internet applications or content,

  • by rjreb (30733) on Thursday March 23, 2006 @11:38AM (#14980531)
    Let's see who needs who.
  • The Internet was nice while it lasted. Rest in peace.
  • by Mr. Underbridge (666784) on Thursday March 23, 2006 @11:39AM (#14980540)
    That's not what he said. He said he's in favor of tiered *access*, as in pay-per-speed cable internet like we have now. He did *NOT* say he was against network neutrality, and even said that they have the power to police that and will do so.

    Basically, the blogger completely lacks reading comprehension skills.

    • by gowen (141411) <gwowen@gmail.com> on Thursday March 23, 2006 @11:43AM (#14980592) Homepage Journal
      Basically, the blogger completely lacks reading comprehension skills.
      Isn't that a necessary qualification for blogging? That and the ability to sling around scare words like "extortion" with little or no justification.
    • The comment was so vague as to be flame-war fodder.

      He's right. In the building our data center is in right now, I can pay as little as $50/Mbit/mo and as much as $500/Mbit/mo. It just depends on how redundant the throughput is and how important it is to us that our connectivity not go down.

      Here's the issue I have. We keep using the term "faster".

      In my mind, faster == less latency. More throughput is how much I can send at that speed. I could sell you 5Mbit/sec access that has latency of nearly a full s
    • That's what I read too. There is a huge difference. I would love to be able to pay less than $45/month for a slower connection, but would hate to have to pay ISPs to deliver content.
    • I was trying to explain this to people on digg. Here's my post from there, word for word, including a link to a more straightforward article:

      "This is a sensationalist headline/article. Look at this article and read what he actually said:

      http://www.networkingpipeline.com/news/183701554 [networkingpipeline.com]

      For instance, the last sentence says, "When asked how consumers could measure service performance levels, Martin said that public Web sites already exist that let users measure their connection speeds." He's talking abo

    • And if ANYBODY thinks this will mean lower prices for people who actually use their internet connection, you are in for a big surprise. The internet providers have been dying for a way to charge more for people who do anything other than view a couple text websites and read email and this is their opening. They are going to pounce on this with the ferocity of Bush on oil.

      Expect a minor discount for people who use their internet minimally and expect everybody else to see their bill spike by 20-30 bucks bas

      • And if ANYBODY thinks this will mean lower prices for people who actually use their internet connection, you are in for a big surprise. The internet providers have been dying for a way to charge more for people who do anything other than view a couple text websites and read email and this is their opening.

        So that's why DSL prices have dropped like a rock, right?

        Expect a minor discount for people who use their internet minimally and expect everybody else to see their bill spike by 20-30 bucks based on how

    • by TubeSteak (669689) on Thursday March 23, 2006 @12:04PM (#14980804) Journal
      Well, you amy be right, because everyone seems a touch confused over what's been said.

      However, a quick trip over to Google News [google.com] will give you plenty of articles to help clear up any confusion.

      I bounced from Ars Technica to a ZDNet article [zdnet.com] that summed it up nicely.
      Martin also said he supports the right for network operators to differentiate their networks and prioritize traffic on their networks.

      "We need to make sure we have a regulatory environment (in which network operators) can invest in the network and can recoup their costs," he said.
      I know this is /. and most people don't even RTFA before opening their mouths (kudos to you Mr. Underbridge for reading it), but if something is confusing or unclear spend the extra 45 second to get more information.
  • by eldavojohn (898314) *

    FCC Chief Kevin Martin yesterday gave his support to AT&T and other telcos who want to be able to limit bandwidth to sites like Google, unless those sites pay extortion fees.

    From Webster's Dictionary:

    extortion: to obtain from a person by force, intimidation, or undue or illegal power

    So, by what part of extortion are you describing the FCC's actions? Sounds like you're just choosing a word to evoke hate and unrest to me. Remember, bandwidth is not free nor is it a god given right.

    • Maybe, but why should Google pay twice? I'm sure they already pay their ISP for their bandwith and the end users are also paying for their bandwith. What's the point in making google (or anybody for that matter) pay again?
    • "extortion: to obtain from a person by force, intimidation, or undue or illegal power"

      You're saying that you don't think the statement, "Pay us or we'll make your content crawl for our users." is forceful, intimidating, and potentially undue or illegal?

      Think of it this way: The internet is a website's path to its front door. How would you feel if the government sold the sidewalk leading to your front door and told you that you'd have to have your customers use the back entrance unless you started paying

      • How would you feel if the government sold the sidewalk leading to your front door and told you that you'd have to have your customers use the back entrance unless you started paying $50 a month?
        Hey! Famous people don't feel special unless they get ushered in through a back or side door.
  • by Myrrh (53301) <matthew.mcclearyconsulting@net> on Thursday March 23, 2006 @11:40AM (#14980552)
    ...gee, as if I needed another reason to be a Libertarian.

    Doesn't anyone think the FCC is overstepping its bounds? Maybe just a little?
    • I can't see how a libertarian would want to argue with the idea that Internet companies should be able to run their commercial operations in the way they see fit.
    • I do! I guess it's back to downloading freely (and worry free) from BBS's! I wonder... couldn't the Libertarians build their own, free internet? Obviously we still need a way to connect, but there has to be a way, similar to the good old days of BBSing. Non-fascists unite!
    • If anything this proves we need MORE goverment control and not less. More and stricter goverment control that is not swayed by commercial forces.

      Give you libs their way and we will be totally at the mercy of the telcos who build their networks with tax money in the first place. A really strong goverment would have slapped the telcos down hard and demanded several billions in return for the initial investment of the goverment having payed to invent the internet.

      Left and Right wingers are both nuts but eith

      • I would argue that, had we had a Libertarian government in the first place, AT&T would not exist (at least not in its current form) and therefore the other phone companies (which sprang up to compete directly against AT&T or were spun off after the 1984 breakup) wouldn't either. In any event we would be in a very different situation.
    • Doesn't anyone think the FCC is overstepping its bounds? Maybe just a little?

      If the FCC were actually doing this, I'd agree with you, but the idiot blogger got this one completely wrong. Martin's statements to date have been tentatively in favor of network neutrality.

  • by arkham6 (24514) on Thursday March 23, 2006 @11:40AM (#14980554)
    Since now these comapnies are making decisions on what and how much sites will be traveling over their pipes, does this mean they lose their common carrier status?
  • Flamebait Article (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Snap E Tom (128447) on Thursday March 23, 2006 @11:42AM (#14980585)
    Jesus Christ, editors. That headline and summary is pure sensationalist flamebait. Read the original article instead of this blogger's spin.

    http://www.networkingpipeline.com/news/183701554 [networkingpipeline.com]

    The first half of the article is the AT&T CEO saying that they'll never block access and doing that is business suicide. The second half is this from Martin:

    In a question-and-answer period in front of the keynote audience, Martin said that "I do think the commission has the authority necessary" to enforce network neutrality violations, noting that the FCC had in fact done so in the case last year involving Madison River's blocking of Vonage's VoIP service.


    "We've already demonstrated we'll take action if necessary," Martin said.

    However, Martin also added that he supports network operators' desires to offer different levels of broadband service at different speeds, and at different pricing -- a so-called "tiered" Internet service structure that opponents say could give a market advantage to deep-pocket companies who can afford to pay service providers for preferential treatment.

    While Martin said that consumers who don't pay for higher levels of Internet service shouldn't expect to get higher levels of performance, he did say in a following press conference that "the commission needs to make sure" that there are fair-trade ways to ensure that consumers "get what they are purchasing." When asked how consumers could measure service performance levels, Martin said that public Web sites already exist that let users measure their connection speeds.


    That's got nothing to do with site extortion. Shame on the submitter.
  • "Slow internet, use ours and get the maximum speed for any site."

    It may backfire on them.
    • by PFI_Optix (936301) on Thursday March 23, 2006 @11:50AM (#14980675) Journal
      That's what I've been saying since this all started. Most broadband markets have at least two providers now; If one goes to this approach and websites refuse to play ball, they'll lose market share.

      I wouldn't put it past Google to post a message: "You're connecting to our site via AT&T DSL. We apologize if the site is slower than usual; your ISP is artificially limiting the bandwidth to our website. Call AT&T Customer Service at xxx-xxx-xxxx for more information."

      Picking a fight with Google is probably a bad idea.
  • Google ISP (Score:5, Interesting)

    by djsmiley (752149) <djsmiley2k@gmail.com> on Thursday March 23, 2006 @11:43AM (#14980597) Homepage Journal
    Hold on a second!!

    Google has a Wireless network for free...... and loads of dark fiber.

    Whats to stop them connecting the two, and giving everyone free wireless via their OWN google web. Yes i fear the day when the web runs via one source (in this case google) but at least it will be a source whom generally gets things right and fair.

    That or we will end up with "binded" lines where people upstream run programs to allow us to find the fastest route to said host.

    Think of peer to peer style, with dns's run by each user. Self updating and authicating. Some people would run sites as gateways to other networks from say, Google net to msnWeb, and in return they would have some ad's on a page which appears "Please wait while you are transfered to xxx, if you wish click the ad as you wait, ad will be opened in a new window....".

    Maybe im a crazy fool, but its them prosing a monolopy on the internet.
  • by phlegmofdiscontent (459470) on Thursday March 23, 2006 @11:43AM (#14980598)
    I'm against a tiered Internet as much as the next guy, but there are precedents. Snail mail, for example, has a tiered system where you pay your 39 cents to get a letter someplace in sometime less than a week. You pay extra to get it there the next day. Many cities (the Twin Cities included) have lanes set aside for tolls, if you don't want to wait in gridlock. It seems that this is the way services are going, but that doesn't mean we have to like it (or even stand aside for it).
    • Actually, that's a great precedent to cite: but it works against your argument.

      Standard "first class" mail is handled on a best effort basis, and there is no discrimination between senders or receivers. That describes the "net neutral" model for best effort route interconnects as it exists today -- and as it has existed since the advent of the internet.

      The AT&T plan would say, "Yes, your 39 cents is good, but not when your mail is addressed to Google. In that case we drop your letter on the floor
    • by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Thursday March 23, 2006 @12:00PM (#14980767) Journal
      What you describe is the current system. Just like I pay more to have a letter send fast I also pay more for a fast line. You pay more for a 3mb line then a dial up modem. Same as with postage stamps.

      Oh well not entirely. Because on the internet BOTH parties pay. Google pays a hosting bill as well. Bit like you would need to pay a subscription fee to receive mail as well pay for postage for sending mail.

      What the new idea is to add yet another fee for the middle man. For the snail mail example imagine that you had to pay the post office to accept your letter, the receiver had to have a subscription to have a mail adress and now the mailman wants a cut for delivering the message at the normal speed.

      As for your road example, it would be true if the car maker charged you extra for when your car is not stuck in traffic. Do not pay and your steering goes wobbly above 20 miles per hour.

      No, there really is no precedent for this. The closest thing is the mafia who is famous for trying to get a cut of whatever money is being made even if they have no right to do so.

      The telecoms are already getting paid by both google and the enduser for handling the traffic. This is just a way to get even more money.

      Then again, there certainly is plenty of precedent for greed.

    • I'm against a tiered Internet as much as the next guy, but there are precedents. Snail mail, for example, has a tiered system where you pay your 39 cents to get a letter someplace in sometime less than a week. You pay extra to get it there the next day.

      You're still not understanding the issue. In those cases, you are paying extra for more service. In this case it would be more like the post office charging particular, wealthy receivers of mail extra if they did not want mail sent to them to be delayed an

  • by Cougem (734635) on Thursday March 23, 2006 @11:43AM (#14980599)
    So the idea is to blame websites for generating interest, and so increasing bandwidth costs? So many problems

    1. Google is a very clean site, MUCH less clutter than so many other search engines - I'd award it for saving bandwidth, considering people are always going to use SOME search engine.
    2. Google's good. Really good. ISPs will probably save money getting their customers to use google rather than trawling round irrelevant websites looking for info
    3. If we blame sites of generating so much traffic and bandwidth, what stops us blaming protocols or programs? Mr. Cohen's bittorrent generates a hell of a lot of traffic, why can't be blame him for providing this service if we can blame google for providing theirs?
    • The whole Telco claim is a lie, though I see their bribes to the FCC have finally reached the right place. Without sites like Google, they'd just be a fucking pipe.

      It's time for everyone to start leaning very heavily on their politicians and reminding them that the Telcos don't cast ballots. Congress could blow this out of the water by simply legislating the plans into illegality.

  • Here We Go... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by eno2001 (527078) on Thursday March 23, 2006 @11:44AM (#14980603) Homepage Journal
    This is the beginning of the HUGE attack on average people using the internet to get unpopular messages out to the rest of the internet in America. Since the internet allows anyone with the itch to "publish" their views freely, the larger corporations have been trying to find a way to shut that down. Can you imagine what the world would be like if everyone had access to radio and television stations to program their own stuff unfettered (putting aside the technical issues of interference since they don't apply to the internet)? The only way that people will be able to pass any really important infomation that the media giants don't want you to here eventually will be e-mail. And e-mail is about as threatening to them as phones were. Expect to see a lot of the ISPs that provide web hosting and the free web hosting services and blog services more heavily restricting content if it doesn't serve their corporate masters well. Expect to see more and more TCP and UDP ports being closed off so you CAN'T run your own darknet to provide services of your own to your friends and family (something I do right now). Big media is NOT interested in someone having a large enough stage to broadcast a message that big media doesn't want people to hear. In the future, we will all be criminals even if all we want to do is tell the truth. We're halfway there now.
  • by PFI_Optix (936301) on Thursday March 23, 2006 @11:44AM (#14980609) Journal
    Because I'd have sworn I paid for a 3 Mb connection. If Google can provide me with 3 Mb bandwidth, why exactly should they be paying the ISP I already paid?
    • Would go up light anything if someone carelessly dropped a match you know what I mean?

      Very dangerous location this internet, accidents happen all the time. Now if you made an entirely volntery donation to our neighbourhood watch program we make sure you remain save and don't have your legs broken by vinnie with a lead pipe if you catch my drift.

      I don't do a good mafia impression, you want one talk to your local telecom

  • Go right ahead (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    want to be able to limit bandwidth to sites like Google, unless those sites pay extortion fees

    Sure. Right. Go ahead and try charging Google. And when google cuts your entire network off, including every office and company you own, good luck there. Youll have customers parting loudly in droves to go to their competitor isp that doesnt limit the access.

    The ISPs seem to forget that its google and other content providers that make people sign up for their service. ISPs are indebted to google, not the other way
  • Could this be the end of internet innovation?

    Well, I wouldn't go that far. But it is disturbing. Think about TV/cable. So called "premium channels" like HBO and Showtime for years were just convenient movie rental stores, but when network and cable TV by and large took a sharp down turn with reality TV and the same comedy over and over, they innovated and have some of the best (quality) shows on TV. Even some cable channels have started to produce decent series, like USA's Monk, Dead Zone, 4400, and
  • Because of increased cost, there will no longer be internet innovation. We know that when one company increases its costs beyond what the market thinks is reasonable, competitors do not arise and undercut them. Once again, the nail was hit right on the head.
  • by flipper65 (794710)
    I admit it, I'm guilty, I didn't read the refering article. Whoever submitted this must have had english as a second language. From the original article:

    "In a question-and-answer period in front of the keynote audience, Martin said that "I do think the commission has the authority necessary" to enforce network neutrality violations, noting that the FCC had in fact done so in the case last year involving Madison River's blocking of Vonage's VoIP service.

    "We've already demonstrated we'll take action if nece
  • I'm with Speakeasy - not the cheapest out there - and use their OneLink 6.0/768 package. I pay a pretty hefty price for it - about $130.00 with my VoIP. But I could always go back to 1.5/384 and pay $49.00.

    I don't really see the future being much different than what I'm experiencing now, since I don deal with ATT at all. Speakeasy is my dataline broker.

    • Different beasts. These guys are talking about having content providers pay to have priority in their network; currently, everyone is treated equally.

      Assume you're an AT&T customer. This sort of behavior could end up in a situation where AT&T wants you to pay them for high speed access to their network... and then they want to turn around and have Google pay to provide you high speed access to their site. Does that sound reasonable to you?

      They charge you money for high speed internet, but in orde
  • If you believe Bob Cringley, Google is building another backbone to the internet already, which it will use to make everyone's connections faster (through caching); this could work to counteract a 2-tiered "pay for better access" internet that the Telcos and their FCC whores are thinking of building.

    By Choosing Where NOT to Compete, Google Can Win the Broadband Game [pbs.org]
    Taking over the digital world four ounces at a time. [pbs.org]

    Let's just hope Bob's right about this one, and that Google won't charge us for usag
  • by aapold (753705) * on Thursday March 23, 2006 @11:50AM (#14980672) Homepage Journal
    you wouldn't like them when they're angry.
  • by smellsofbikes (890263) on Thursday March 23, 2006 @11:52AM (#14980695) Journal
    This week's issue of The New Yorker had a one-page article briefly summarizing the *actual* tiered internet (google has to pay SBC to ensure QoS, not the tiered-to-consumer plan in TFA) and pointing out why it was such a bad idea. It read just like a +5 Informative from /. with the same points we've all made during previous posts on this, and got me to wondering if the person who wrote it reads /. -- so if you do, thanks! it was lovely and did a great job of explaining to the teeming masses what it means and why it's a bad idea.
    • I very frequently see topics discussed on slashdot appear in the new yorker. THey most definately have someone trawling slashdot for stories. I cant remember if i ever mentioned it before, but pretty much any technical computer related story has alot of points lifted off of this site.

      They frequently quote the EFF as well and ive seen a number of articles on the philosphies and concepts of open source. Its pretty much the most well written magazine out there. It must be nice just trawling slashdot for commen
  • Just more evidence that the FCC is a corrupt department that has become a government pawn (a sort of "inside man") of the media and telco industries. They did the same thing with the broadcast flag, remember? The courts had to shoot it down. It's time for someone to wake up and smell what they're cookin', and shake things up at the FCC.

    "F**k you very much, the FCC" - Eric Idle, The FCC Song - released for free here: http://www.pythonline.com/plugs/idle/ [pythonline.com]
  • Why so inflamatory? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Hoplite3 (671379) on Thursday March 23, 2006 @12:00PM (#14980764)
    There's no need for the inflamatory story language. Trying to say that a tiered internet is bad is like trying to explain why decapitation is bad. You're wasting words. We're all with you.

    Better to sound rational to convince those who don't understand. A non-neutral net is a terrible thing to contemplate.

    At the minimum, neutrality protects the new marketplace. It helps all us smoes enjoy the good parts of a free market system. Calling for an end to neutrality is like calling for an end to racketeering laws in the real world. Sure, someone is going to make more money, but at the expense of the market as a whole.

    And beyond brain-dead economic analysis, the internet has a kernel of world-improving good, with electronic journal archives for the sciences, free encyclopedias, and so forth. (Of course, wrapped around this kernel are gigabytes of porn...)

    Who invited the FCC to the party anyway? Someone tell them their headlights are on so we can lock them out when they go to check.
  • What will happen is that people will create all these "dark nets" where you cant find out who the real originator or the real destination is. Implementing these "dark nets" will likely be done at the expense of more telco bandwidth.
  • There's actually several solutions. The easiest is to find a different ISP that won't do that. You know, like the independants that have better service, better support, and usually cost the same if not close enough to the same to not matter. Independants usually also expect that "hey, the customer is paying me for their connectivity I shouldn't charge someone else for that same product". Besides, if you think about it, that's like selling a ferrari to someone but putting a governor on it that won't let
  • by fmaxwell (249001) on Thursday March 23, 2006 @12:18PM (#14980903) Homepage Journal
    Google isn't using bandwidth on my ISP's network. The users are the ones who request the data. If they blocked Google, then the users would move as much, or more, data via other search engines.

    This idea is a non-starter: If an ISP stopped carrying Google because Google wouldn't pay an extortion fee, the ISP's customers would leave in a giant stampede. So don't get worked up about this. Remember that it's legal for a restaurant to charge for ketchup, but you don't see a lot of pay dispensers for ketchup.
  • Sure we all love our phone, but Ma Bell just never learns. If they were smart they would cozy on up to companies like Google, not try to bash them about the head and sholders with crazy fees.

    Their customers are paying for the access to those site. Double chanrging Google for something their customers have already paid for is crazy! And not crazy like a fox, more like crazy in Chuck Manson and family way.

    But wait! It's even more crazy than that. Imagine you are an old out date slow to move non-inivator negit
  • by dcavanaugh (248349) on Thursday March 23, 2006 @01:16PM (#14981372) Homepage
    1. As others have suggested, Google could impose their own extortion fees on the telcos. As Capt. Kirk said in Star Trek IV, "Double dumb-ass on you!". This would be kind of sleazy, but they might create a fee structure that targets only one of the telcos, just as a demonstration of power. Making Google an ISP-paid "service" is not really any different than the cable channels who charge the cable operators (instead of the subscriber). Note to telcos: "Be careful of what you wish for..." Not that I really want them to do this; the threat works best if it never has to be carried out.

    2. Google has TONS of cash. They could actually BUY one of the telcos and compete directly.

    3. Alternatively, they could buy lots of dark fiber (or start running their own).

    Google has $8B in assets with no long-term debt; there is almost nothing they can't do. If anyone can squash the dumb idea of paying telcos fees over-and-above what should be an all-inclusive use of the Internet, it's Google.

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