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Coalition Sounds Off on Net Neutrality Legislation 194

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the go-down-swinging dept.
DarqFallen writes to tell us that lately everyone has been talking about a tiered internet, though it seems there are other problems on the horizon as well. PCMag has the latest sound-off from the new SavetheInternet.com coalition. From the article: "Vint Cerf, so-called 'father' of the Internet, is among the big names and organizations that have come together to create the SavetheInternet.com Coalition, which hosted a national conference call [yesterday]. [...] [yesterday's] conference call is one of the coalition's many campaign tactics to emphasize the importance of 'Net neutrality,' the concept of a free and open Internet." The main topic of conversation was the latest bill from congress, the "Communications Opportunity, Promotion and Enhancements Act of 2006."
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Coalition Sounds Off on Net Neutrality Legislation

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  • Vint *who*? (Score:2, Interesting)


    From TFA:

    Vint Serf, so-called "father" of the Internet, is among the big names and organizations that have come together to create the SavetheInternet.com Coalition, which hosted a national conference call today.

    Just when you thought the ramblings of John C. Dvorak weren't enough reason to stop taking PC Magazine seriously, they go and misspell the name of the Father of the Internet [wikipedia.org].

    While the misspelling was corrected for some reason in the story summary, it's still right there in the first sentence of th

  • by crazyjeremy (857410) * on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @02:09PM (#15198595) Homepage Journal
    I can see it now... if they fail, we will soon be surfing the netS. One of them will be like BETA INTERNET, the other like VHS INTERNET. After some debate (and a brief LASERDISC INTERNET) BETA INTERNET will die.

    VHS INTERNET FOREVER! (Until DVDs... then DVD INTERNET FOREVER! (Until Xvid INTERNET))

    Wow... where did that come from?

  • by winkydink (650484) * <sv.dude@gmail.com> on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @02:12PM (#15198619) Homepage Journal
    Google has a huge vested interested in preventing a tiered Internet.

    I'm not trying to dimininsh what Vint has done in the past nor am I saying that tiered internets are good/bad, but let's face it, Vint is hardly an unbiased source.

    • but let's face it, Vint is hardly an unbiased source.

      Yes, but that doesn't make him wrong.

      Please, guys, stop thinking in black and white. Don't ask "who's the bad guy". Ask "what would be good / bad for US".

      Having said that, I'm glad Vint Cerf made that coalition. I'm sick tired of our rights being taken away because of some submarine legislations (DMCA, patriot act, etc. etc).
      • I wouldn't call the DMCA and the (un)Patriot(ic) act "submarine legislation" - they had quite vocal critics that had damn good arguments, but the people in power were not listening to the critics.
        • I wouldn't call the DMCA and the (un)Patriot(ic) act "submarine legislation" - they had quite vocal critics that had damn good arguments, but the people in power were not listening to the critics.

          I certainly agree about the Patriot Act, I wouldn't call it "submarine legislation". But I'd bet you that most people in the US have never heard of the DMCA. Unless, of course, they read slashdot. Compare this to say "activist judges" (or the Patriot Act), which pretty much everyone in the US has heard of, and I th
      • by VValdo (10446) on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @02:53PM (#15199009)
        I'm sick tired of our rights being taken away because of some submarine legislations (DMCA, patriot act, etc. etc).

        Aw, you ain't seen nothin' yet... [com.com]

        W
      • Don't forget the bankrupcy law changes. I guess this is what people get for voting republican and thinking that party is about the common man when its done little more than serve the elites. Hopefully, this will be another of their "social security reform" failures. I know, as a voter, I'm not forgetting how the GOP has acted and when these cronyists are out power they will stay out of power. Keep digging your own graves boys.
        • Have you actually looked at that Bankruptcy reform stuff though? It did basically nothing. Since it only affects people who are earning more than the median income in the US it actually hits very few people. The worst part is that everybody has to fill out the stupid (and expensive) form that tells them that yes, because they're poor it doesn't apply to them. The original forms of the legislation might have been brutal for the average Joe, but the one that made it through Congress is basically a waste o
          • The bill is a lot worse than that. If you can be found to make $100 a month (who cant?) then you will be refused bankrupcy. Period. Its a big fat hand out to the credit card companies. Bold emphasis mine. More from pbs.org

            The main provisions of the means test are as follows: People with insufficient assets or income could still file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which if approved by a judge, erases debts entirely after certain assets are forfeited. But those with income above the state's median income who can p

            • If you can be found to make $100 a month (who cant?) then you will be refused bankrupcy.

              Again, only if you make above the median income. The details of the bill may have some problems, but I have no issue with the general concept that relatively wealthy people shouldn't be able to spend like drunken sailors and then easily walk away from the resulting debt.
              • I never thought of long-term unemployment because of medical illness [consumeraffairs.com] as "spending like a drunken sailor" but to each his own.
              • Making matters worse is the poor pay for medicine with credit cards

                Ken Steidl, a bankruptcy attorney in Pittsburgh, said it's a problem that he thinks is getting worse. Steidl has seen an upsurge in senior citizens paying for expensive medicines with credit cards, and then filing for bankruptcy after the bills come due.

                Dennis Spyra, another bankruptcy attorney here, seconded the observation. Health care debts of $25,000 are driving some into bankruptcy, he said.

                "I'm filing a lot of bankruptcies for senior c

    • Um, but don't ALL internet users have a huge vested interest in preventing a tiered Internet? Not that they all REALIZE that preventing a tiered Internet is important, but still...
    • google, MSF, yahoo, your random blogger, all those people have interest in an internet that works. As soon as one company starts to reduce the pipes for companies that do not pay protection, others will follow, and soon having a site that appears quickly in a browser will so costly that only a few will be able to have them. Then we will need another internet, just to be free.
    • Their primary services work fine on low-bandwidth and high latency connections, so an extortionist ISP would have to threaten to cut their customers off from Google entirely.

      If an ISP tried extortion, Google could afford to pay, because they're an established company with lots of cash, not a struggling startup anymore.

      If an ISP tried extortion, Google could afford to not pay, because they're an established company with a household name, and many people would go back to dialup before they'd lose access to Go
      • Their primary services work fine on low-bandwidth and high latency connections, so an extortionist ISP would have to threaten to cut their customers off from Google entirely.

        Their current services work fine on low-bandwidth, but their future vision may not work so well. Remember, they'd like to offer video and other high-bandwidth content.

    • I hate these filthy neutral nets, Kif! With tiered nets you know where they stand but with neutrals? Who knows! It sickens me.

      What makes a net turn neutral ... Lust for gold? Power? Or were you just born with a hub full of neutrality?
    • Google has a huge vested interested in preventing a tiered Internet.

      I'm not trying to dimininsh [sic] what Vint has done in the past nor am I saying that tiered internets are good/bad, but let's face it, Vint is hardly an unbiased source.


      And only mathematicians believe 2 + 2 = 4.

      Critics of Vint Cerf are biased against Vint Cerf.

      I am biased against Critics of Vint Cerf.

      Critics of Vint Cerf are biased against my bias.

      Because you respect my reputation, you are biased. Because you don't respect my reputation, y
    • by GOD_ALMIGHTY (17678) <curt DOT johnson AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @02:57PM (#15199043) Homepage
      but let's face it, Vint is hardly an unbiased source

      The beauty of rational and objective thought is, I DON'T HAVE TO CARE WHO VINT CERF WORKS FOR!
      Vint Cerf has laid out his proposals and assertions, as has Google and the monopolistic telecomm companies. As a rational person, I can decide the veracity of their statements based on the other information at my disposal. I can never know when or if a liar is lying, so the questioning of motives is moot.

      This obsession with motives and bias is irrational and leads to subjective decisions, not objective ones. Usually, it is deployed to disingenuously sow doubts about established facts and hide one's own positions from criticism, not that I'm claiming that is the case here. This post appears to be more collateral damage than maliciousness. The point is, I don't have to care what Vint Cerf's motives are; regardless of the fact that he has in fact acted with far more integrity about what's good for the Internet than any telecom. You will never find an unbiased opinion, bias is another word for goals and no action takes place without a goal, therefore an unbiased opinion is a myth. To search for an objective view is biased in itself.

      All that is required to maintain rational integrity is to be transparent about what goals you assume in your assertion. Vint Cerf has made his goals clear, to build a useful network. The telecoms have made their goals clear, to profit as much as possible off this network; they don't shout it, they disclose this type of information more appropriately, like in statements to investors. If my goal is to use a useful network, then I can evaluate each parties assertions accordingly.

      IMNSHO, this increase is relativistic irrationality can be tracked closely with the Intelligent Design movement's efforts to wreck science. This is an example of how one of their tactics is dumbing the entire nation down. They've been running a scorched earth policy against reason for years, their efforts have paid off when the nihilistic and relativist garbage they've used for ID has seeped into the veins of public discourse.

      For the sake of objective thought, mod the parent down.
      • The beauty of rational and objective thought is, I DON'T HAVE TO CARE WHO VINT CERF WORKS FOR!
        Vint Cerf has laid out his proposals and assertions, as has Google and the monopolistic telecomm companies. As a rational person, I can decide the veracity of their statements based on the other information at my disposal. I can never know when or if a liar is lying, so the questioning of motives is moot.


        It's an interesting arguement, but one that doesn't hold much water in the real world. Neither you nor I have th
        • It's an interesting arguement, but one that doesn't hold much water in the real world. Neither you nor I have the time to research the veracity of every statement we read or hear. What's more, the information we would need to do so is rarely, if ever, completely available to us.

          Granted, however, I believe your argument has a subtle error to it. We cannot know what we do not know, therefore we can never know if we possess perfect information, even if we actually do possess it. This means that you can never b
    • Google had bettered use Vint's clout to best advantage, and use anything else it has handy, too. The proponents of a tiered Internet are old, entrenched companies that are experts at the lobbying/PR game. They have plenty of tools (i.e. lobbyists with access) at their disposal.

      Google will be lucky to get out of this conflict without having its shorts pulled up around its ears and its hair swirleed.
  • by voice_of_all_reason (926702) on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @02:14PM (#15198637)
    "Clarify the FCC authority to prevent Internet service providers from blocking or degrading any content or applications delivered over the public Internet."

    FCC? Prevent? Censorship? This does not compute at all!
  • The US created it and damnit the US can destroy it!

    http://religiousfreaks.com/ [religiousfreaks.com]
  • Split the net (Score:3, Interesting)

    by malraid (592373) on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @02:28PM (#15198757)
    Would it be feasable to create a giant peer to peer network based off wireless access points? Something that's more organic than the current net where a few carriers can make or brake the whole net. A net that's not under the control of the FCC (at least for the time). A net that least in some form can survive the war against Eurasia^H^H^H^H^H^H^H terror.
    • Re:Split the net (Score:3, Insightful)

      by DaHat (247651)
      Good god no. No no no that would not be possible.

      Like it or not the Internet as we know it requires the sort of backbones it has that connect major networks at extremely high speeds. A wireless mesh might work out for basic email appliances in a large urban area (ie down town area), it would never be a viable option in slightly less populated areas. Not to mention the issues involved with sufficient levels of bandwidth that would be able to handle all of the users such a network would be available to.
  • "Proposals coming from telcos and the cable companies, as exemplified in some of their legislation, destroys that neutrality."

    Again, why would anyone (who doesn't work for one of these telcos and cable companies) be against Net Neutraility?

    It just goes against common sense.
    • Playing the Devil's Advocate...

      The pipes in question are owned by the carriers and it should be their right to do with them what they see fit. It doesn't matter what the majority thinks when it comes to issues of rights because a corrolary of your argument would be "why would anyone who isn't be against "?
      • The pipes in question are owned by the carriers and it should be their right to do with them what they see fit.

        For the sake of innovation, progress, and freedom - the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.
      • by spun (1352) <loverevolutionary@nOSPAm.yahoo.com> on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @03:28PM (#15199283) Journal
        The pipes in question run through public spaces and the public can renegotiate or cancel the contract any time they want. The pipes in question amount to a natural monopoly and the free market is not the most efficient mechanism for managing such monopolies. It does matter what the majority thinks about rights because rights are created by people. There are no natural rights, only those we agree to uphold in others. Certainly, rights need to be enforced equitably, but see my above two points as to why telco's property rights do not trump my own rights in this case. There's no slippery slope here, no one is going to use this as an excuse to seize your assets.
      • by gral (697468) <kscarr73 AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @03:30PM (#15199293) Homepage
        AFAICT, AT&T has got major Tax Breaks to put lines in. That amounts to tax payers PAYING AT&T huge amounts of money (because the money has to come from somewhere) to put those lines in.

        Now AT&T is wanting the User, the person you are connecting to, and the person you are connecting to if it is a popular site, to pay more money.

        So they are wanting a brand new revenue stream coming from the same people that are already paying a premium for their bandwidth. Google has to have some massive pipes that they are paying for, as does EVERY single major player in the internet.

        Why should they be charged MORE than they already are for the massive bandwidth, because people use their sites more?

        It seems like AT&T is becoming the new Mafia. "Yous wanted to connect faster, that'll be another $5000 in "Pipe money". Not out in the OPEN!!! Under the table, quickly now, I have to hit up Amazon next. Thanks, see you in a couple minutes.
      • The pipes in question are owned by the carriers and it should be their right to do with them what they see fit.

        "Your Honour, the council for the defendent has misspoken."

        Read the (proposed) bill. The pipes in question are the pipes which are run over public rights-of-way and for which (currently) a privately-owned company must apply to a local governmental entity for a right (franchise) to use. These are the 'last mile' pipes. They may own the pipes, but the pipes are (or would be) run along poles, bur

      • Slashcode ate up part of my comment. The quote should read:

        "why would anyone who isn't [insert discriminated minority group here] be against [insert discriminatory legislation]"
      • Your argument holds... only if they're willing to give up their common carrier status. When they enjoy an exemption from liability, they must give up something in the bargain.
    • Why? Probably because they've been misinformed, or have misconceptions about how it works.
      In just about everything else, we have tiers. High Occupancy Vehicle lanes on highways, premium cable channel programs, priority mail at the post office. People are used to the concept that if you pay more, you get more or better service. Heck, even internet access has tiers - you can pay $10 for dial-up, or you can pay $40 for much faster broadband or DSL.
      If you think of the internet as a limited capacity system,
      • by spun (1352) <loverevolutionary@nOSPAm.yahoo.com> on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @03:32PM (#15199302) Journal
        Good point. But what do we do when the big ISPs SILENTLY limit access to content they don't provide? In a crippled Internet where not all the nets are connected together, will we even be able to find a provider that lets us access everything the way we do now? That is the problem we are talking about, not the idea that paying more money gets you better service.
      • problem is what if the limit is artificial... wanna pay protection money for your internet? fuggetaboutit.
      • The problem is that the telcos want to collect TWICE. They already have tiered fees for people to download the content; they want to be able to charge content providers as well for data consumers have already paid to retrieve.
      • In just about everything else, we have tiers.

        No, see, those are different. I buy 2mbps/256kbps DSL. I should get something approximating that speed when possible. Google buys 500mbps/500mbps whatever. They should get something approximating that speed when possible. I paid for my tier, google paid for their tier. What these people want is for google to ALSO pay for my tier, in addition to what I already paid for my tier.

        The problem is that the ISPs are wanting to create new barriers to use the bandwid
      • It seems to me that the debate is really over who gets to decide what is in each tier. There is finite bandwidth. Maybe for example comcast will have to move to a model where I pay more for a larger average MB/month in some way, just as I now pay more for larger instantaneous MB/sec. Then I will decide whether google, or microsoft, or comcast, or whatever gets priority (most of) with my limited total bandwidth each month. Maybe these are the kind of tiers you are imagining. This is very different from googl
    • "Again, why would anyone [...] be against Net Neutraility?"

      Well, here's the issue.

      Essentially, the telcos are trying to sell services to the consumer, such as video (premium TV channels, etc.). The problem is that if you're watching a program in real time, the video stream may be adversely affected when your neighbor starts downloading volumes and volumes of porn or performs some other bandwidth-intensive action.

      So what the telcos want to be able to do is "slow down" delivery of your neighbors packets so t
    • People who own stock in these telcos and cable companies have an interest in maximizing the return on their investment - and that may mean that they would be against Net Neutrality.
  • ...that the FCC has outlived it's usefulness and needs to go?
  • What is funny is that the telecoms didn't get real horny for this issue until the DSL price war broke out.

    What I always love is that Big Business in America supports a free and open market for about an hour, and then gets all huffy because competition and efficiency force them to work harder.

    Suddenly, free enterpise becomes bullshit, and they start pining for a mercantile economy.

    If the value proposition for putting up new lines isn't there, maybe Verizon can just ditch its FIOS roll-out and leave us wit


  • Communications Opportunity, Promotion and Enhancements Act of 2006.

    Is it just me or is it that the more horrible a bill it, the nicer a name it has?

    I guess you wouldn't get many people to line up behind

    Hand the Internet over to the Incumbent Telcos to Apologize for Breaking up AT&T Bill

    MjM

    • I think you missed the obvious... its called the COPE Act because the government doesn't care whether you like it.
    • Just wait for the "Kittens, Ponies and Apple Pie" bill which makes it illegal not to have a twelve inch government "probe" up your ass...
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Are the censors, spies, and congress in general. They want all sites to register with the government to prevent anyone anywhere to be protected from child porn. They want ALL data to be retained because of kiddie porn, but it will have convenient uses for all the police, spies and nannies in the government. They want to regulate us, nanny us, and tax us out of existence. These issues make the threat from tiered internet seem tame. I don't see these guys standing against the real threat which is from governm
  • The what? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by 0xABADC0DA (867955) on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @02:43PM (#15198913)
    "Communications Opportunity, Promotion and Enhancements Act of 2006."

    When will people just stop using their "Clear Skies" aka "Clearly Incorrect" propoganda labels attached to the bills? Just say the bill introduced yesterday which legalizes a tiered internet and removes consumer rights to resell internet services, which from a quick glance seems far more accurate a description. Once they actually introduce it refer to it as HR1126 or whatever its id is. With some alphanumeric id people don't automatically get an opinion without RTFA.

    At least put a "so-called" in from of the title. Of course it is kinda handy to just apply "!(Title)" and know what the bill is actually for...
    • Because politically, it's a lot easier to say "I voted for the Fuzzy Bunny Act" than "I voted for the Give The Big Telecoms Lots Of Money Act".
  • by Cutting_Crew (708624) on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @02:50PM (#15198978)
    All Americans should be especially outraged, considering that these corporations got FREE SUBSIDIES from our tax dollars to lay down all that cable. That's right, all that cable, we paid for it with our money..our tax dollars..now they want to continue to be greedy and get more from the government and the people.

    The good news is forces such as MS, Google and etc. are major shareholders as well and have clout. Its all about the money, nothing more. Screw the customer. If congress and the White House are looking for a riot, they sure did pick one.. just waiting to happen.
    • > That's right, all that cable, we paid for it with our money..our tax dollars..now they want to continue to be greedy and get more from the government and the people.

      Ok, then these companies payed for the roads, courts, and schools you use, and so should be alowed to decide what you do with them.
      • by spun (1352)
        They can, in the same way I can. The individuals involved can all vote. If you are going to make a straw man, at least try to get it to stand up straight before you knock it down.
  • I tried to register this morning to offer support

    After completing the registration and putting some comments I was denied registration because i dont live in the US. ...why did they let me speciy a province/country/postal code if they only accept U.S. people ?
  • by tlabetti (304480) on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @03:00PM (#15199066) Homepage
    I am pushing our town to include a Network Neutrality provision in Verizon's cable TV franchise agreement. I feel this is the best way to advance the Network Neutrality issue. The telecoms will steamroll the politicians at the state and federal level, but we stand a chance at the local level.

    It's simple. We say to the telecoms: If you want to run a cable franchise in our town then you need our permission. If you want out permission then you will agree to respect the tenets of Network Neutrality.

    Please visit my website to follow what we are doing at the local level.

    http://www.redbanktv.org/ [redbanktv.org]

    Tom@redbanktv dot org
    • It's simple. We say to the telecoms: If you want to run a cable franchise in our town then you need our permission. If you want out permission then you will agree to respect the tenets of Network Neutrality.

      I wish you the very best of fortune in this endeavor, but fear that it won't be quite that simple.

      First, if the CableCo does discriminate against packets, you'll have to prove it. This can be quite difficult, depending on how the CableCo decides to set up its routing tables (City Hall gets full ba

  • You know where enemies stand, but with neutrals, who knows? It sickens me.

    What makes a man turn neutral? Lust for gold? Power? Or were you just born with heart of neutrality?

  • .com ? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by 47Ronin (39566) <glennNO@SPAM47ronin.com> on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @03:47PM (#15199465) Homepage
    Does it bother anyone that this coalition decided to publish their opinions under a dotcom (.com) TLD? So they're a for-profit company? Shouldn't they use a .net or .org ? It's okay to register a domain under multiple TLDs but they should point to the main one and in this case I disagree with .com being the catchall TLD.

    That being said, I see a lot of missing children websites being registered under .com TLDs... hmmmm are they actually selling kidnapped kids to slavery as a for-profit business model?
    • No. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by expro (597113)

      Does it bother anyone that this coalition decided to publish their opinions under a dotcom (.com) TLD? No. TLDs including .net and .org as currently set up are very silly, and it is natural for people to not respect them. People tend to look under .com, and it should be just as natural to look under .us or .eu.

      Those who laugh at you for you having a Mac.. are the people who constantly call you to fix their PC. So who fixes the crappy powerbook I bought. AppleCare won't repair.

  • Vint Cerf, so-called 'father' of the Internet

    I think that, before I can come to any conclusion, I have to hear from the adopted father (or inventor, if you will) of the Internet, Al Gore.

    Yes, I know that he didn't say that.
  • Personally, while crippling connections to outside content is clearly unacceptable, I think a tiered internet would be necessary to really bring us to the next level of high-bandwidth services. If the ISP can host content on their servers, and offer very high-speed (maybe around 1Gbps peak, 0.5Gbps min) access to it for reasonable rates, that would offer a great alternative to current internet distribution options, even if it's limited to targetting the customers of specific ISPs. If a tiered internet means
    • To just arbitrarily push for legislation that would make things like this illegal just seems like it's going against progress, and would do nothing but keep me from getting the proper high-bandwidth distribution options I want to see on the market. I can't think of any better way to encourage development of high-speed services, including high-speed MANs (Metropolitan Area Networks)..

      I think I should be the one to decide how the bandwidth I pay for should be allocated, and not the service provider who do

    • An obvious example is on-demand delivery of high-definition video streams. Residential broadband connections are just not fast enough to enable those kinds of services. If I could buy hosting from the major ISPs, I would at least be able to target their customers without worrying about dropped packets and poor connections. It would require some minor changes to internet file access, only granting access to the stream if it's hosted on the requestor's ISP, but it's not really difficult to implement with curr
      • Thanks for the informed reply. Yeah, I know it makes sense to do this, and ISPs do try to this as much as possible to reduce bandwidth costs, but I was just trying to make the argument that a tiered system has some obvious benefits, and we shouldn't try to make them illegal in the name of liberty. I think pushing the concept of tiers to network applications will really move us forward to take advantage of the way the internet is constructed, and maximize the bandwidth we could have at our disposal. The main
  • According to the Economist article [economist.com] on the subject, the concerns are overblown.
  • ...business is that in just a few short years, a user calling their ISP because Google doesn't work correctly or comes up too slowly will be the correct course of action....because it will be the ISP slowing it down.
  • Just think, they're TRYING to do something that will get EVERYONE insanely pissed-off at the major internet service providers.

    If this got through, it would just about GUARANTEE independant companies would spring up to provide internet access. Likely, mostly through cheap wireless links to an antenna on the nearest hillside.

    It's a shame guerrilla.net is offline now.
  • As a consumer the idea of my ISP blocking access to certain web sites or degrading third voip services in order to push their own bothers me but... As someone who manages several small business networks and runs a micro WISP I know that there ARE sometimes good reasons shape certain kinds of traffic and in some cases block it altogether.

    Is legislation really likely to be so well written that it keeps Verizon from blocking competing VOIP solutions but still allows them to do responsible things like giving

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