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Dueling Network Neutrality Commentary on NPR 390

Posted by Roblimo
from the cue-the-banjo-soundtrack dept.
cube farmer writes Wednesday National Public Radio featured a commentary by telecom representative Scott Cleland in opposition to Network Neutrality legislation. Thursday Craig Newmark, the Craig behind craigslist, countered that Network Neutrality is essential for consumers. Who made the stronger case?
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Dueling Network Neutrality Commentary on NPR

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  • keep it neutral (Score:5, Interesting)

    by trazom28 (134909) on Friday June 23, 2006 @01:02PM (#15590520)
    I feel Craig made the stronger argument - as it was plain and simple. Although I found it interesting that both referred to how the net is *now* as being what they believe it should be. Craig believes it's free now and should remain so. Scott Cleland seemed to say that it's open now, and to keep it open, close it down. Odd that..
    • Re:keep it neutral (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Intron (870560) on Friday June 23, 2006 @01:10PM (#15590604)
      It's one of the logical fallacies to present two sides to a question that has more than two answers. Federal regulation requiring net neutrality vs. Telcos charging certain users more. Other options could include, for example, telcos can charge what they want but lose their monopoly on providing service. They would have to provide access to the home for any competitor on their wires at a rate no higher than they charge to their own internet business.
      • They would have to provide access to the home for any competitor on their wires at a rate no higher than they charge to their own internet business.

        Wasn't this the way it was for a while here in the US? I tried to look this up in google, but failed to find anything relevant. Yet I am sure this was the law a few years back, and I remember a big stink in the tech community when it was changed. Anyone have some references on this?
      • Re:keep it neutral (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        I agree with you about that approach, but if it's taken, we should be on our toes.

        Remember that this is exactly what telecom "deregulation" was supposed to do -- but in the end, the old monopolies used dirty tricks like providing poor service and broken business protocols for competitors, so we're back where we were in the beginning. The monopolies were able to trick us out of billions of dollars in tax cuts, and also tricked us into giving up some of the anti-monopoly measures under the guise of introduci
      • Great- they charge their own internet buisness $1million per MB, run it at a loss, and make insane profits on the phone half.

        Games like that don't take away a monopoly and monopoly power. Only true regulation or a new technology can do that.
      • Re:keep it neutral (Score:5, Insightful)

        by SillyNickName4me (760022) <dotslash@bartsplace.net> on Friday June 23, 2006 @01:52PM (#15590975) Homepage
        for example, telcos can charge what they want but lose their monopoly on providing service. They would have to provide access to the home for any competitor on their wires at a rate no higher than they charge to their own internet business.

        Extend this to alternative voice services providers, and you basicly end upsplitting off the local loop and turning it into a seperate business. A bit of regulation and oversight is required it seems, but for what I can tell, such a setup is doing wonders for competition in both telephony and internet access markets in Europe.

        This however has little to do with network neutrality. Network neutrality in the context of the internet is about transport providers not creating barriers for content providers regardless of whom those content providers are. It has NOTHING to do with what a transport provider charges its end-user (please note that content providers are paying their own transport providers already and as a rule of thumb they are not customers of the ISP that you get your dsl/cable/dial-in connection from.

        At best one can say that the kind of competition allowed by unbundling the local loop is likely to result in better alternatives, some of which may offer an 'open' internet.

        Issue at hand is imho that transport services should by definition be content neutral. This is better for them and for the customer because it makes content purely a responsibility of the content provider, or in other words, doign away with network neutrality results in transport providers becomming (partially) responsible for the content they carry. I leave it to your imagination what the result of that will be.

        For as far as the ISP argument goes.. yes, Google is making money thanks to your users, but realize you wouldn't have paying users without such content services, in other words, YOU ARE BEING PAYED FOR IT ALREADY by your own customers which you would not have without said content providers.

        • Re:keep it neutral (Score:5, Insightful)

          by qkslvrwolf (821489) on Friday June 23, 2006 @02:27PM (#15591267)
          I agree with your point almost entirely...especially in that content providers are the only reason anyone wants internet anyway, so they are already doing their part for the ecosystem.

          I disagree with two points. Local loop competition has everything to do with network neutrality, because if we had real competition for every house's internet, then no one would have the ability to make ridiculous business decisions like a "tiered internet" or whatever bullshit they're trying to market this week because they would HAVE NO CUSTOMERS. If people had real options for getting internet, this wouldn't even be talked about because people would just switch to a service that didn't degrade their favorite content in favor of some proprietary bullshit.

          Secondly, its "paid", not payed. Just FYI. ;-)

          In addition to your points, I also want to make sure that everyone is clear: When you buy internet, whether you a content provider or consumer, you are paying for END to END connections...not for a connection to your ISP's gateway. Therefore, this ought to be illegal just based on contract violation...
          • I disagree with two points. Local loop competition has everything to do with network neutrality, because if we had real competition for every house's internet, then no one would have the ability to make ridiculous business decisions like a "tiered internet" or whatever bullshit they're trying to market this week because they would HAVE NO CUSTOMERS. If people had real options for getting internet, this wouldn't even be talked about because people would just switch to a service that didn't degrade their favo
    • Craig's argument was better presented but, admittedly, I already agreed with him. I'd like to wait and see who tries what and see if it can't be handled when we actually know what it is the owners of the pipes are trying to do, rather than guessing what they might or could do. Laws made don't go generally go away. It's why we have too many laws, most of which are rarely if ever enforced.

      We can make a law if we need it in the future.
      • Re:keep it neutral (Score:4, Insightful)

        by qkslvrwolf (821489) on Friday June 23, 2006 @02:30PM (#15591292)
        Teletruth.org. And this is very important to our economy. These guys want to set the rest of the ecnomic system back into the damn stone-age, and it will hurt our ability to compete with countries that are smart enough not to let this happen. How about this: we find a way to ensure real competition (not telco vs cable company competition, which is bullshit), and then we let the market decide.

        By the way, the FCC's numbers on broadband competition are bogus. A company only needs to have a single home available in a zip code to be counted as being available to the entire zip code. By real standards, on a home by home basis, there is almost no broadband competition right now. Which is why these assholes can even talk about this shit.

    • Re:keep it neutral (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Sabaki (531686) on Friday June 23, 2006 @01:43PM (#15590904)
      I do wish Craig hadn't ended his commentary with "keep it free", since that plays into the impression the telcos are trying to give that people aren't already paying for network access.

      I did find it intreresting that the anit-neutrality viewpoint was someone actually being paid to be a spokesperson against neutrality, not someone who decided on their own. I don't know that I would have made that choice for an oposing view.

      I wish they could have been back to back. Cleland's arguments definitely deserved to be refuted directly. I did notice that apprent contradiction in his argument about keeping it open, too.
      • I did find it intreresting that the anit-neutrality viewpoint was someone actually being paid to be a spokesperson against neutrality, not someone who decided on their own. I don't know that I would have made that choice for an oposing view.

        How else would you find somebody to tell such a lie with a straight face? Only a paid lobbyist, or even an actual politician have the lying skills needed to achieve this without totally bursting out laughing and admitting its just a naked cash-grab.

    • Re:keep it neutral (Score:4, Interesting)

      by pilgrim23 (716938) on Friday June 23, 2006 @02:24PM (#15591245)
      A Red Herring this is folks. There was a hot debate in the 19th century on the proper length of leather harrness to use for the greatest efficency in opperating a hansom cab in London. Somehow, this argumentbecame moot when automobiles came along. Net Neutrality seems this way. Would it really matter in say South Korea who got preferred treatment when everyone has T3-like speeds? America is stuck with legacy infustructure and that is what this is about. Two magic words break the dualopoly and send this debate to the ash-heap of history: "Dark Fiber"
  • >Who made the stronger case?

    If you thought reading TFA was hard, how about listening to TFR broadcast two days ago!
    • If you thought reading TFA was hard, how about listening to TFR broadcast two days ago!

      Sorry about that. I submitted the Cleland commentary almost immediately after it was broadcast; but the editors saw fit to reject the story.

  • by bigpat (158134) on Friday June 23, 2006 @01:03PM (#15590533)
    ...I would have to say Craig made the strongest case.
    • I think Craig makes the strongest case.

      But seriously does anyone believe that other guy when he says:

      So, because google wants to be treated like everyone else, they are actually asking to be treated special?

      And the boiler plate argument on the side is now that it is just some "fear" that we all have about the big bad telecoms... of course that fear isn't based on statements by their CEOs that it is their intention to start charging for lower latency as well as more bandwidth. I mean it is just a fear until
      • by SillyNickName4me (760022) <dotslash@bartsplace.net> on Friday June 23, 2006 @01:58PM (#15591024) Homepage
        And the boiler plate argument on the side is now that it is just some "fear" that we all have about the big bad telecoms... of course that fear isn't based on statements by their CEOs that it is their intention to start charging for lower latency as well as more bandwidth. I mean it is just a fear until they actually start doing it... even though they said they are going to do it. I mean how do you know someone is going to pull the trigger, until they actually do. And just because google and other companies have already said that the telecoms have approached them with these threats, I'm sure the telecoms where just kidding around. Those kidders.

        And not only are they suggesting to be big and bad, every telco on this planet that had a chance to be big and bad turned big and bad. Maybe they forgot why AT&T was split, why any telco market that is in fact competitive has required substantial government interference to make it such.

        If the telcos want to take away this fear of them wanting to turn 'big and bad', they have a lot of precedents to overcome.

        Or.. what a bunch of idiots to believe people would forget that easily.
  • Countered? (Score:3, Funny)

    by IDontAgreeWithYou (829067) on Friday June 23, 2006 @01:04PM (#15590539)
    One guy says that net neutrality is bad. Another guy counters(?) that net neutrality is bad. I thought I was getting an argument, not two different statements of the same opinion.
    • by Jeremi (14640)
      I thought I was getting an argument, not two different statements of the same opinion.


      No, no, this is abuse. Arguments are down the hall and to the left.


      Stupid git.

  • I heard this... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Cutriss (262920) on Friday June 23, 2006 @01:05PM (#15590546) Homepage
    Except I only heard the commentary from Scott Cleland. It was chock full of misinformation and outright lies. I have never been even remotely "upset" after listening to a story on NPR, and after having heard this, I was incensed and immediately wrote an angry feedback message to NPR about it.

    Point and counterpoint debate is good, but they need to air them both back-to-back, lest they let the lobbyist get away with the utter crap he was spewing.

    I even tuned into Morning Edition yesterday morning specifically to hear the counterpoint argument, and it didn't air at the same time of day.
    • by whoever57 (658626) on Friday June 23, 2006 @01:09PM (#15590582) Journal
      How about this doozy:
      Did you know Microsoft, Google and Yahoo are lobbying for net neutrality? If they're successful, they'll get a special, low-government-set price for the bandwidth they use, while everyone else -- consumers, businesses and government -- will have to pay a competitive price for bandwidth.
      • Out of curiosity, who thinks that Microsoft should pay for the traffic caused by millions of people downloading security patches for Windows?
        • It's probably better (for them) that they pay for the bandwidth than to get sued for putting shoddy, insecure, bug-laden software.
        • by ceejayoz (567949) <cj@ceejayoz.com> on Friday June 23, 2006 @01:35PM (#15590845) Homepage Journal
          Out of curiosity, who thinks that Microsoft should pay for the traffic caused by millions of people downloading security patches for Windows?

          Unless you don't think they pay for their datacenters' bandwidth, they, uh... do.
        • by Qzukk (229616) on Friday June 23, 2006 @01:42PM (#15590893) Journal
          who thinks that Microsoft should pay for the traffic caused by millions of people downloading security patches for Windows?

          I hope you're not insinuating that they are not paying. Because they do. They buy internet access, and thats how the files get to you, when you download them using the internet access you paid for. Both ends of this transaction are already paid for.

          You know, you remind me of a roommate I had in college who asked me if he could put a webpage up on his windows 98 computer. I showed him microsoft's Personal Web Server, and he went about getting a website up on his computer. A few weeks later, he asked me why nobody could get to his website when his computer was turned off. You see, he thought the internet was this magical place where websites just floated free in the ether until someone wanted to visit them. He had no idea that the stuff he downloaded on the internet was coming from another computer uploading it somewhere else.
          • I think hes implying that Microsoft should be responsible for providing for both ends of the transmission for essential patches, basically Microsoft reimbursing me for the data they have used from my connection for having to download the entirety of service pack 2.

            Think of it like them providing an 800 number for you to call to get the update.
        • by SillyNickName4me (760022) <dotslash@bartsplace.net> on Friday June 23, 2006 @02:04PM (#15591085) Homepage
          who thinks that Microsoft should pay for the traffic caused by millions of people downloading security patches for Windows?

          I am absilutely sure that they are in fact paying whomever provides their connectivity (akamai in most cases I believe) for their bandwidth use. What is more, due to the capacity they need, they actually are paying a more expensive provider that can handle such bandwidth.

          THe other side is payed for by the subscription fees that end-users pay to their ISP. Anything between MS' provider and your residential ISP is payed for by peering contracts between different transit providers.

          So, it is all payed for already and there is no need to introduce any new fees or extra payments.

          btw, no it really doesn't matter if it is MS or someone else, and using them in order to turn a logical argument into an emotional one is first of all pretty obvious and second it makes you look like someone who is pushing an agenda instead of trying to find out what is best/true etc.
    • Re:I heard this... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ceejayoz (567949)
      Yeah, I was really bothered by it. Heard it while driving and was saying out loud 'lie... lie... wow, that's misleading... another lie... already happens...'

      Ugh.
  • both commentators... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Chimera512 (910750)
    seemed to be about equally persuasive. The internet has been a level playing feild (or close to one) for a long time which is what makes it so interesting, is net neutrality going to give the gov't license to unlevel it how they see fit or will the goverment protect us from the big nasty tel-cos?
  • by geoffrobinson (109879) on Friday June 23, 2006 @01:06PM (#15590559) Homepage
    http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/index.cfm?fa=vi ewfeature&id=1497 [upenn.edu]

    Lawmakers don't know enough technically to make a law that wouldn't have unforeseen and damaging consequences, even if they supported net neutrality.
    • You know what pisses me off about this? We had rules that fixed this...common carrier rules. They decided that those no longer apply to the telcos, and now we're screwed.
      • by snowwrestler (896305) on Friday June 23, 2006 @04:39PM (#15592368)
        That's the whole point of this debate. The Supreme Court decided, based on the 1996 Telecomm Act, that cable Internet service is not subject to common carrier status, and that will go into effect this August. However DSL and other telco lines still are considered common carrier. Hence the huge amount of money the telco companies are spending now, to convince Congress to rewrite the 1996 Act to free them from common carrier laws too.

        BUT what Congress should do is simply rewrite the laws to re-apply common carrier to cable Internet. That would reset the bar to where it was one year ago. Tell your member of Congress.
    • Lawmakers don't know enough technically to make a law that wouldn't have unforeseen and damaging consequences, even if they supported net neutrality.

      Actually, here's a very simple legal definition of good network neutrality:

      No operator of an Internet router shall charge or attempt to charge a third party for routing or otherwise processing packets with a source or destination address belonging to a network owned by the third party unless the third party is a directly connected Internet peer. Two Intern

    • by snowwrestler (896305) on Friday June 23, 2006 @04:35PM (#15592333)
      They misrepresent the issue badly and it goes downhill from there. That article simply proves that academics have no clue either, and fail to apply critical thinking to the positions which are communicated to them.

      How is Wharton wrong? Let's see:

      - I work in DC, for a trade association, and around here it is called the Law of Unintended Consequences. It's a law because anything, including inaction, is guaranteed to have some unintended consequences. If avoiding unintended consequences was the bar for Congressional action nothing would ever get done. It is a content-free, all-purpose argument used to stall progress on any issue of your choice (witness: global warming).

      - Congress has been making laws about telecommunications since at least 1934. It's a little late to argue that they shouldn't do anything. In fact the current mess is a direct result of the 1996 Telecomm Act and the Supreme Court's interpretation of it as announced last June. So let's not pretend that the Internet was free of regulation until now. In fact it has been heavily regulated from the very beginning, by Congress. It's a far more accurate view to say that Congress is considering unfucking Internet regulation, as opposed to saying that they are fucking it for the first time.

      - One way the Internet was regulated was through the concept of "common carrier" which dates back to the 19th century and the development of the railroads. ISPs until recently were required to be neutral because their signals were all carried over telephone lines (the dial up era), which are subject to common carrier regs. The introduction of the cable modem raised the question of whether that infrastructure was common carrier, and the question of common carrier on cable networks was what the Supreme Court decided last June. They decided it does not apply, which would seem to allow cable networks to do whatever the fuck they want on their pipes.

      - The current fuss is due to the ILECs (old telephone companies) demanding parity with the cable companies. They are asking Congress to re-write the 1996 Telecomm Act to give telephone companies the same freedom as cable companies. As a result anything the FCC says (their "4 assurances" included) is not worth two shits because the FCC can only implement the laws as written by Congress. They can promise you the moon today but if Congress gives it away then tough shit. DO NOT think that access to content is safe. If the cable and telephone companies get their way in the re-write, they will have the power to do whatever they want, including slow down or even block whatever content they feel like. Assurances from the FCC made now have no bearing on the issue, because the problem is in Congress, who overrides the FCC.

      - The question of prioritizing new types of data, and companies like Akamai, are not related to the concept of net neutrality. Those are red herrings put up by the ISPs to distract and confuse. Net neutrality is about being content neutral not technology neutral. Net neutrality provisions, if written correctly, would allow the development of new services and routing technologies, but they would have to be based on technical factors, not content or originating IP. These proposals are out on the table but are ignored by the big ISPs in favor of manipulation, lying and distortion in an attempt to grab absolute power over what you can see and do on the Internet.
  • by LochNess (239443) on Friday June 23, 2006 @01:08PM (#15590579) Homepage
    First, net neutrality is really a misnomer. It's really just special interest legislation, dressed up to sound less self-serving. Did you know Microsoft, Google and Yahoo are lobbying for net neutrality? If they're successful, they'll get a special, low-government-set price for the bandwidth they use, while everyone else -- consumers, businesses and government -- will have to pay a competitive price for bandwidth. [It] doesn't sound very neutral to me.

    This guy deserves some sort of prize for shameless, bald-faced lying.
    • by SQL Error (16383) on Friday June 23, 2006 @01:23PM (#15590737)
      I wasn't particularly fussed about net neutrality. If the carriers think they can get away charging more, let them try it. I'm far from convinced that government intervention is going to improve things.

      But if the carriers are promoting this type of self-serving bullshit, then they've pushed me into the enemy camp. Let them rot.
      • improve? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by chocolatetrumpet (73058) <slashdot.jonathanfilbert@com> on Friday June 23, 2006 @01:59PM (#15591036) Homepage Journal
        Improve things? We're just trying to keep things from getting worse!

        "Damage control" describes most of my political action lately - I generally fancy myself as a progressive, bleeding heart left liberal (yes there's a bit of sarcasm in there for some of you), but lately I have found myself feeling like a bit of a short-term regressivist - I would like to turn back the political clock to September 10, 2001. Ironically, I would consider this "progress."
      • by bigpat (158134) on Friday June 23, 2006 @02:08PM (#15591109)
        If the carriers think they can get away charging more, let them try it.

        Sure let them try charging their customers more. If I want google.com to download faster than the next guy, then charge me more. But going to google and saying that we are going to make it look like it is your company's fault for slow download speeds if you don't pay us a kickback, is not a legitamite business practice.

        In fact I really don't see anything supporting this practice in the current law, so the only question I have is why the FTC and attorney generals wouldn't just prohibit it under existing laws.

        I mean is it a legitamite practice for blackmailers to DoS attack a web site in order to exact extortion money? Why would the telecoms in effect doing the same thing be considered legitamite?

      • Coming Soon (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Khammurabi (962376) on Friday June 23, 2006 @02:08PM (#15591115)
        If the carriers think they can get away charging more, let them try it.

        Slashdot's Bill: $100,000
        Fox News's Bill: $0

        The fallacy in this argument is believing that the market will favor the better service [read: content providers]. However, if there's one thing you can take away from corporate history, is that monopolies win 98% of the time. Rockerfeller, Gates, and Ford all employed their monopolies effectively. Historically it was only a more nimble competitor that tended to topple the bigger fish, but rarely (if ever) has anything gotten in the way of a successful monopoly.

        Everyone keeps focusing on the big fish in this struggle, without realizing that it's the little fish that will get squashed. It's the ma and pop shops that will have to go belly up, because they don't have the deep pockets to fight an extra bill from the telco's. Corporations like Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft have enough money to keep their monetary losses to a minimum, but small time sites do not.

        What we're essentially considering here, is whether the telco's have an arbitrary right to charge certain sites more. If this passes, how difficult would it be for well connected people to start censoring the internet this way? I'm not saying it will happen, but power like this often devolves towards abuse, and there are probably only 1 or 2 politicians with enough know-how to keep this abuse in check. I find it difficult to believe that any good can come from this (except for the telcos), as history has a definite pattern to favor the monopoly in question.
    • by Sunny7L (980920) on Friday June 23, 2006 @01:36PM (#15590850)
      Cleland's commentary sounds completely made up, if not slightly delusional. As if Google, Microsoft and Yahoo send the same chills down your spine as AT&T and Comcast.

      How does net neutrality translate into government surveillance? This sounds like someone trying to mottle the issue. Why lie unless your view is faulty?

      He's totally misrepresenting the issue, as though publishers are trying to get a free pass while in reality all they're trying to do is avoid being double charged for simply existing--providing the very services that lure us to the Internet.

      The whole issue is rather or not the telecoms should be allowed to charge web publishers for access to their subscribers (who already pay $40-50+ for their service).

      There was a time when ISPs were seen as gateways to the Internet. Now they want to redefine themselves as stewards. I think they need a reality check. If it wasn't for those big name publishers few of us would have any interest in the Internet.

      Perhaps Google and Yahoo should start charging them? (Regardless of the outcome.) They certainly have the influence. How many would stay with a provider if they couldn't get to their favorite websites?
    • by 0xABADC0DA (867955) on Friday June 23, 2006 @02:02PM (#15591067)
      This "debate" is quite similar to global climate change or evolution in that there is no other side in a rational, fact-based discussion. In this case there is no logical basis for allowing carriers to set discriminatory prices. Putting "both sides" on a news program is the truly shameful part of this.

      NPR should have told both sides that their argument would be fact-checked and then done so. If Cleland could come up with a fact-based argument for discriminatory pricing them more power to him. But a bunch of lies and 'misrepresentations' has no place on a news program.
  • I blogged about this yesterday (http://lizawashere.typepad.com/liza_was_here/2006 /06/net_neutrality_.html [typepad.com]), but in a nutshell, when a group of incredibly smart people like Tim Berners-Lee, Vint Cerf, Gigi Sohn, Larry Lessig, Danny Wietzner, Susan Crawford, and others all agree...

    AND they are joined by groups as diverse as Consumers Union, Gun Owners of America, Feminist Majority Foundation, the Christian Coalition, and MoveOn.org...

    AND they're opposed by traditional telcos and cable companies...

    Who do you think is right?
    • by Etyenne (4915) on Friday June 23, 2006 @01:24PM (#15590742)
      Who do you think is right?

      <sarcasm>Only the market can be right !</sarcasm>

      • by dubl-u (51156) * <2523987012.pota@to> on Friday June 23, 2006 @02:45PM (#15591426)
        <sarcasm>Only the market can be right !</sarcasm>

        I don't think there's even much need for sarcasm here. If there were an open market in consumer telco services, this wouldn't even be a big issue. But instead, decades of government-backed monopolies followed by a lot of lax anti-trust regulation have created a giant mess that has only the most tenuous relationship to a market economy.

        If people had the choice between a dozen different broadband ISPs each with some reasonable slice of the market, this wouldn't be an issue. If one of the ISPs were dumb enough to try this sort of extortion, it wouldn't work: both their customers and the web sites they were shaking down would tell them to get lost. Instead, for a lot of people broadband choice comes down to deciding which user-hostile monopoly they want to give their business to, the telephone jerks or the cable jerks. From what I've seen, duopolies are nearly as bad as monopolies. And neither one is much like an open market.
    • when a group of incredibly smart people like Tim Berners-Lee, Vint Cerf, Gigi Sohn, Larry Lessig, Danny Wietzner, Susan Crawford, and others all agree...

      AND they are joined by groups as diverse as Consumers Union, Gun Owners of America, Feminist Majority Foundation, the Christian Coalition, and MoveOn.org...


      Not to mention that they speak of their own volition while Scott Cleland is getting paid for espousing his (the telcos?) so-called opinion.
  • My favorite part (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Guysmiley777 (880063) on Friday June 23, 2006 @01:09PM (#15590586)
    ...was when the telcom shill tried to make it seem like neutrality would be harming the ISPs, when in truth it would only harm their ability to extort money from internet based services.

    ISPs already get money for bandwidth usage from sites they host AND their CUSTOMERS. How much more can they go for with a straight face?
    • No no. Mom and Pop ISPs will fall by the wayside, in favor of the evil Verizon overlords. Most of the money an ISP gets, goes directly to Verizon, since they own the lines. They pay Verizon to reach their customers, and they pay Verizon for the outbound pipe. In essence, Verizon gets paid TWICE for every Internet connection. If they had their way, they'd charge us four times or more. ...and people keep buying $29.99 phone plans from them in droves. I have screaming arguments with my mom, where she insists
  • by miskatonic alumnus (668722) on Friday June 23, 2006 @01:11PM (#15590607)
    Scott Cleland: Amazingly, the proponents of this radical change in policy don't even have any real evidence of a problem, only unsubstantiated assertions about hypothetical problems.

    It's called a concern. If I hand some firecrackers and some matches to my 6-year-old and turn him loose, I don't have any real evidence of a problem, only unsubstatiated assertions about hypothetical problems.
  • cleland wins (Score:2, Insightful)

    by slo_learner (729232)
    I felt he had the more persuasive arguments, which is a shame since so many of them were utter bullocks. I feel like Craig should have answered more directly the issue of the backbone networks which are "privately" owned, but really represent a public trust.

    Oh well, I guess I just need to resign myself to playing a rigged game.
  • by HangingChad (677530) on Friday June 23, 2006 @01:12PM (#15590623) Homepage
    And it wasn't just that I disagreed with him over net neutrality. He couldn't make a case that letting telco's balkanize the internet was in the interests of the consumer.

    The way I see it this is nothing more than pure greed from AT&T (we know how much they look out for consumer interests), Bellsouth and handful of other companies all of which got a sweet deal when the internet was privatized. But in the what-have-you-done-for-me-lately corporate handout game, that history doesn't seem to matter now. There's a reason Bellsouth has a thirty person lobbying office on K Street. They spend millions on the hill and wouldn't be doing it if they didn't think there were billions waiting at the other end of this sweetheart legislation.

    If internet traffic is such a burden, sell of those assets and move into another line of business. If it's such a loser, get of the business. Because I'm all a flutter over poor, poor Bellsouth not being able to set up toll booths on the net so they can charge at both ends of the pipe.

    What's new and interesting to me is how special interest legislation is now connected to massive PR campaigns. The RIAA's launch to equate copyright infringement with theft, even though they are very different issues. The TV commercials touting tons of CO2 as a good thing for the environment. I'm just getting sick of corporate interests propagandizing TV and the mainstream media for political issues.

    I want my government back, I want my news to be written by real journalists, not PR staff angling for a press hit, I want my privacy back and I want to own the data about me. Why is that asking so much?
    • If internet traffic is such a burden, sell of those assets and move into another line of business. If it's such a loser, get of the business.

      They have other businesses and they're incredibly profitable. The problem is that their cash-cow businesses (phone & tv) are facing current (vonage/skype) and future (IPTV) competition from competitors that don't need to physically connect with their customers. Net neutrality isn't about controlling the broadband market. It's about preventing broadband from allo

  • by MECC (8478) * on Friday June 23, 2006 @01:12PM (#15590624)
    Once people start thinking of making the Internet ready for VOIP 911 calls and other emergency traffic, without 'net neutrality' safeguards in place, the government will have to take on the task of architecting and enforcing standards to make sure that emergency traffic is tagged and treated right. If the telcos are uncomfortable with net neutrality legislation, I wonder how they feel about having the government telling them exactly how to do QOS/diffserv. The sheer size of such a regulatory task would easily dwarf any kind of net neutrality bill. They're actually asking to be regulated even more than under net neutrality.

    Some groups are already raising the issue of whether or not the Internet should be capable of providing prioritization for emergencies [usnewswire.com]

    Worse still, in the end, if the telcos end up selling prioritization to content providers, those content providers, once they measure what they get, will find it poor and inconsistent anyway. QOS/diffserv pretty much needs end-to-end compliance to really make a consistent difference, especially at the ends (local ISP) where traffic loads are more variable and fanned out. Backbone setups won't matter nearly as much as last mile setups because the loads are static.

  • One thing that has continually confused me in this debate is the idea that Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo aren't already paying for their bandwidth. The telcos lay the wire, sell it to ISPs, and the ISPs sell bandwidth, plain and simple. Please correct me if I'm wrong, but what the telcos WANT to do is find some way of charging the big companies MORE because they use bandwidth--but they already pay for it. It's not like Google is holding a gun to AT&T's head, here--Google has to pay for the hundreds upon

  • by grumpygrodyguy (603716) on Friday June 23, 2006 @01:14PM (#15590640)
    The congresscritters claim to be examining this issue fairly on behalf of the consumer. Here's the response from my representative after signing the google petition:

    Dear Mr. xxxxxx:

                        Thank you for contacting my office regarding the issue of internet neutrality. I appreciate your thoughts on this subject and the opportunity to respond to you.

                        Net neutrality is the philosophy that internet service providers (ISP's) should not be allowed to prioritize content and services (particularly video) that come across their "pipes". I believe there is a need to strike a balance between preventing interference with internet traffic, while allowing the ISP's to continue to invest in this nation's internet and telecom infrastructure. Ultimately, I think it is important to provide equal access for these consumers and a balanced playing field for all involved. I appreciate your thoughts on this subject and will keep them in mind as legislation comes before the Senate for consideration.

                        Thank you again for contacting me. Please visit my webpage at http://isakson.senate.gov/ [senate.gov] for more information on the issues important to you and to sign up for my e-newsletter.

    Sincerely,
    Johnny Isakson
    United States Senator

    For future correspondence with my office, please visit my web site at
    http://isakson.senate.gov/contact.cfm [senate.gov]


    This same argument was used to deregulate [wikipedia.org] california power companies in the 90s so they would have incentives to build more power stations, it didn't work. Rolling blackouts(or in this case poor service based on your packet identity) on the internet will not 'benefit consumers'.

    The government should rigorously regulate the telecoms to _ensure_ best access for _all_ consumers, as well as allowing new technologies like youtube.com a chance to grow. I'd much rather see my tax dollars subsidizating of faster routers than supporting more bloodshed in Iraq.
  • Quoth Cleland (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Ctrl+Alt+De1337 (837964) on Friday June 23, 2006 @01:15PM (#15590651) Homepage
    "Net neutrality proponents worry that telecom, wireless and cable companies might one day favor their own content and applications over others."

    He says this, but nowhere does he say that the ISPs won't do it. Normally when I make arguments, I try to refute the opposition's points, especially when I myself bring them up. Then he goes on to try to scare his audience about Big Bad Microsoft, Google, and Yahoo supporting net neutrality and then making up something about them getting a cut-rate deal while consumers pay a "competitive" price. Wait, didn't he just say he's "net competition" proponent?

    Besides, if anyone has questions about net neutrality, they should just ask a ninja [askaninja.com] about it.
  • by rm999 (775449) on Friday June 23, 2006 @01:18PM (#15590675)
    I have repeatedly asked this on forums where the consensus is largely pro-net-neutral, and never get a good answer. I'll try again.

    If creating a tiered internet:
    1. does not worsen my connection *at all*
    2. does not cost me *any* more money (assuming I am not benefiting from it), either directly or indirectly
    3. is *entirely* paid for by people or companies that can benefit from it

    why should I care? It seems almost as if tiered internet could be a good thing because it would allow many applications of the internet, such as VOIP and video over IP (which were promised to us a long time ago but still not delivered in a good way) to function better.

    I would appreciate a well thought out response from someone who is educated in this well enough to not start with "I think..." or "maybe this will happen..." I have, time and time again, seen people make vague claims (eg. "you can't trust the telco companies, anything they do is bad") and repeating what the corporations that will not benefit from this say (eg. google and amazon). But can someone please tell me WHY net neutrality is such a good thing?!?
    • Asking for a fact-based response in a debate that is entirely circled around whether or not we can trust telecommunications companies isn't really going to get you anywhere, is it?
    • by woodsrunner (746751) on Friday June 23, 2006 @01:34PM (#15590831) Journal
      1. It does worsen your connection. Your side of the connection will be the same, but the service side will be diminished so overall your connection will be degraded. It's like construction around where you work won't affect your driveway, but it could add considerable time to your commute.

      2. It does cost you more money. If the services you use are paying extortion they will pass the cost on to you. Additionally the telcos will shut down VoIP so one of the huge cost savings benefit of having broadband is gone.

      3. As above, the companies that can benefit from the charge will pay the fee, but it will be passed on to the consumer.

      Why should you care? Well your tax dollars paid for the bulk of the infrastructure the telcos are trying to steal. Additionally they were given huge government payouts to improve the infrastructure and they haven't. So in effect you will be paying more for getting less and told to like it.

      The biggest threat of tiered internet is censorship. Removing the egalitarian nature of the internet will allow for huge scale censorship. Additionally, the censorship is not just limited to thoughts but to business. The leveling field that was the promise of the internet will be removed and small businesses will be censored from doing business thus the large companies will keep advantage. Innovation will be victim. Would you want to live in a world that couldn't have given us amazon, ebay or slashdot?

      No they are probably not going to completely censor porn or anything but be assured the only porn you will have access to will be AT&T porn. It will be Potterville all over again.
    • If creating a tiered internet: 1. does not worsen my connection *at all* 2. does not cost me *any* more money (assuming I am not benefiting from it), either directly or indirectly 3. is *entirely* paid for by people or companies that can benefit from it why should I care?

      Rather like asking, "If I am immune to nuclear explosions, why should I care if Iran gets the bomb?" The conditions posed in your query do not apply.

      The sort of "tiered internet" desired by "big telecom" would worsen your connection i

    • by ceejayoz (567949) <cj@ceejayoz.com> on Friday June 23, 2006 @01:46PM (#15590933) Homepage Journal
      If creating a tiered internet: 1. does not worsen my connection *at all* 2. does not cost me *any* more money (assuming I am not benefiting from it), either directly or indirectly 3. is *entirely* paid for by people or companies that can benefit from it

      And if you could shit gold bars, you'd be rich.

      Let's break it down.

      1. It does. If you have Verizon, and Google refuses to pay Verizon, and you like Google, your access to Google isn't as zippy as it would otherwise be - they've slowed it down.

      2. Sure it will. Companies that have to pay these extortion fees will pass on their costs to you - more advertising on their sites instead of content, higher fees for their paid content and services, etc.

      3. There is no benefit other than to the ISPs. "You can now pay us money to get the same service you used to get!" is not a benefit.
    • First, let's define "your connection". It is not just your connection to your isp, it is your connection to each website,mailserver, streaming audio server, etc. out there on the internet. Unless you only connect to web sites hosted at your ISP, that is.

      Second, internet economic structure: Google already pays for the bandwidth from their provider to Google. You already pay for the connection between you and your ISP. Part of your fees pay for your ISP's upstream connection. Part of Google's fees pay for th
    • The telcos/cable companies want a tiered internet so they can offer services, such as video on demand/ videoconferencing, which require large bandwidth and low latency. However, they need to improve the infrastructure to do this. They don't want to spend the money upgrading everything if they have to do all the expense of building the infrastructure and then someone else comes along and sells the services. So, they want a tiered internet so the other people who are taking full advantage of this new infra
  • by jhines (82154) <john@jhines.org> on Friday June 23, 2006 @01:19PM (#15590684) Homepage
    This argument isn't so much over the internet, as it is about AT&T wanting to get into the video business, without having to pay franchise fees, or being locked out by existing monopolies granted the cable companies.

    T is running ads in my area promising this will bring lower prices for existing video sources via competition with the cable providers.
  • by akpoff (683177) on Friday June 23, 2006 @01:21PM (#15590708) Homepage
    Scott Cleland didn't offer commentary. Start to finish it was FUD, misdirection and bad rhetoric. His "argument" boiled down to the gross exaggeration that Google and Microsoft want special prices to access the internet, enshrined in law, and that the rest of us pay market rates. The amazing part is that he had an argument buried in the fluff, that once you get government involved in legislating access to the internet you'll have that involvement forever (ignoring, of course, that the government is already ivolved).

    I haven't heard Craig's yet but have no doubt that it will be brimming with all sincerity that Cleland's lacked (regardless whether he's right).

    If the ISP's really believe they have the better argument then I suggest one of their CEO's step up to the plate and explain to us why. Leave the shilling to the lobbyists and their paid minions in DC to buy the laws.

    Lastly, shame on NPR for letting the ISPs place a paid spokesmouth to argue their case!

  • regulation is bad (Score:3, Insightful)

    by phantomfive (622387) on Friday June 23, 2006 @01:22PM (#15590722) Journal
    I am very much in favor of net neutrality, but this may be opening pandora's box. Once the government is regulating something, it is extremely difficult to stop; the nasty tenticals of government meddling just expand. Furthermore, as another post mentions, our congressmen are not technical experts, and it will be difficult for them to draft a bill which doesn't have bad side effects. Especially with lobbyists trying to stick loopholes in the bill.

    Furthermore, I am not convinced that a bill is necessary to maintain net neutrality. I for one will definitely vote with my dollars: as soon as some ISP keeps me from going to websites, I move to the next one. The only question is if there is enough competition for me to find somewhere else to go.
  • Did you know Microsoft, Google and Yahoo are lobbying for net neutrality? If they're successful, they'll get a special, low-government-set price for the bandwidth they use, while everyone else -- consumers, businesses and government -- will have to pay a competitive price for bandwidth.

    Is he saying that only those businesses lobbying for net neutrality will get it? Because here, he's saying "everyone else", including businesses, will have to pay "a competitive price" (whatever that means). Are Microsof
  • NPR??? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MobyDisk (75490) on Friday June 23, 2006 @01:23PM (#15590736) Homepage
    I'm shocked that NPR aired this. I understand giving airing sides of an argument, but this is nothing but lies. I don't mean that I don't like it, or I disagree - I mean that factually this is nothing but lies. NPR needs to do a little bit of fact checking before airing something so inaccurate. Usually I like NPR, but this is abhorrent.

    Worse yet, is that this isn't new: These guys are winning this battle because they are putting out so much misinformation.
    • Re:NPR??? (Score:5, Informative)

      by ivan256 (17499) * on Friday June 23, 2006 @01:51PM (#15590960)
      I'm shocked that NPR aired this. I understand giving airing sides of an argument, but this is nothing but lies.

      NPR's segments like this (they have one every few weeks) always have one (or both) sides lying out their ass. You probably just noticed this time because you actually have a deep understanding of the issue. I listen to NPR news pretty much constantly, and I'm frequently bothered by what they try to pass as 'balance'. They go so far out of their way to present 'both sides' of an issue that they frequently fail to realize that one side is either completely full of crap, or a total crackpot.

      Perhaps they think that airing this guy's lies will let people see that he's full of it... But I don't think enough people are knowledgeable enough about the subject to realize it.
  • by mjh (57755) <<moc.nalcnroh> <ta> <kram>> on Friday June 23, 2006 @01:24PM (#15590745) Homepage Journal
    Prior to reading a few articles on the subject, I had taken the assumption that network neutrality was a good thing. It didn't cross my mind to question whether or not it was actually good. But then I read this article [telepocalypse.net] and it tweaked my desire to have the government leave me alone to negotiate my own private decisions.

    But, of course, I'm frustrated by this. I'm really nervous about the ability of the telco and the cableco to take away my easy access to vonage (or any other 3rd party service that I might like). Both of those companies offer competing voice services at a higher price. So they have incentive to make it hard for me to use a more efficient and cheaper solution. I don't know how to resolve this because I feel like I have very little choice in the matter and I can't effectively make use of an alternative high speed broadband provider.

    That is, until I read this article [mises.org] which argued that the entire problem starts with government regulation of telco and cableco providers. We have very little choice because the government came in and granted exclusive monopolies. Do we really think the solution to the problems created by government regulation is more government regulation? For my part, I don't.

    I now think that the best solution is to get the regulating bodies out of the way so that competition can be employed. As soon as there's a competitive marketplace for last mile high speed connectivity, if the cableco restricts my access to vonage, there's lots of other choices. They'll lose market share and the benefits of network neutrality will be achieved without all of the heavy handed (and ineffective) government oversite.

    My current stance is: have patience. It might just work itself out on it's own. It might not and at that time the argument in favor of network neutrality might have more weight. But for now, I'm not convinced. And if you're certain that we need to "do something" then the thing we should do is release the restrictions on who can and can't provide last mile service to my house.

    But, of course, I'm willing to be wrong on this one. Anyone care to educate me?

    Oh... and here's [mises.org] a pretty good compilation of opinions on the subject.
    • I think your comments are insightful. Bandwidth is not free. If this is a bandwidth issue, then charging a high bandwidth person more seems to be a good thing, becuase lower bandwidth folks might pay less. If it is netral the question is if lower bandwidth folks will subsidize higher bandwidth folks. I know there is more to it than that, but the line is not all that clear to me.

      Here is a good article. [yahoo.com]

    • Here's my take on it: if you could guarantee a competitive marketplace, then yes, deregulation would work nicely, and the free market would keep everything in order. The only problem is that there cannot be a large competitive market for last-mile connectivity, due to physical constraints. How many physical options do you have for getting the broadband connection to your house? The phone line and the cable line. Let's even add broadband-over-powerline here, assuming it ever gets off the ground. Then yo
    • I now think that the best solution is to get the regulating bodies out of the way so that competition can be employed. As soon as there's a competitive marketplace for last mile high speed connectivity, if the cableco restricts my access to vonage, there's lots of other choices. They'll lose market share and the benefits of network neutrality will be achieved without all of the heavy handed (and ineffective) government oversite.

      I bet you don't live in a rural area, do ya?

      Now I don't know what the regulation
  • by bcattwoo (737354) on Friday June 23, 2006 @01:27PM (#15590770)
    Who made the stronger case?

    Hmmm...I predict a lot of healthy discussion and changed minds on this one.

    • Who made the stronger case?

      Hmmm...I predict a lot of healthy discussion and changed minds on this one.

      Yeah, when I submitted just the Clelan commentary on the morning it aired, I was a little more opinionated about the lack of logical thought and strong emotional arguments he made. Unfortunately, the editors chose to reject that submission.

  • by john82 (68332) on Friday June 23, 2006 @01:31PM (#15590805)
    Two things stuck out at me wrt Cleland's position.

    While Cleland wants to make sure you know exactly who's behind "net neutrality" (Microsoft, Google and Yahoo), he's standing in front of the anonymous NetCompetition.org. That would be the US telcos, cable companies, lobbyists and trade groups. Surely they are the bastions of fairness, light, hope and the American Way.

    Then there's the issue of painting the other camp as describing some unknown phantom:
    Amazingly, the proponents of this radical change in policy don't even have any real evidence of a problem, only unsubstantiated assertions about hypothetical problems.

    Then he lands several unsustantiated assertions himself (somewhat edited):
    high cost to consumers, slower Internet, higher prices, less choice, less privacy, more government surveillance

    Gee, no Global Warming and Avian Flu?
  • Who made the stronger case?

    Well, Cleland claimed both that:

    1. Legislation is unnecessary because telecoms would never engage in the kind of activity it would restrict, and
    2. Legislation would harm competition.

    All else aside, if a law wouldn't limit their behavior, how would it limit their behavior? I only heard a few minutes of the interview on my way to work, but Cleland immediately lost based on logical faults alone.

  • My position on Net Neutrality is very simple. If someone provides Internet service to me, they are providing the service of routing my Internet packets to and from the Internet. Nothing else. If they have email service, or Usenet, or VoIP, it is on the Internet, and should be treated like any other Internet host. Nobody gets special treatment.

    It's not fair to Internet-based companies to allow network providers to charge both consumers and producers when only the consumers have an account with them. Take the telephone system as an analogy. Similarly, it's been subsidized by the government, and is almost ubiquitous. When I make a long-distance call, it's charged at the same rate once it's outside a certain area. The person receiving the call doesn't get charged (because the caller paid for the call, and the recipient already pays for the physical connection). If network neutrality didn't exist, it would be like allowing each switching office that my call goes through to charge another fee, or rather if the phone company charged large companies to receive calls from consumers, even though the large company has already paid for phone service. The company may have to pay more for a high-volume connection, just as an Internet company pays more for a bigger pipe, and they might have to pay per-minute, just as many larger connections charge per byte, but once the connection is paid for, it's paid for.

  • FUD (Score:4, Insightful)

    by gspeare (470147) <`geoff' `at' `shalott.com'> on Friday June 23, 2006 @01:47PM (#15590938) Journal
    Mr. Cleland says...

    They want Congress to pass a new law to ban that practice by regulating the price of broadband service and the way it's sold.

    Technically true -- for the history of the Internet, this was enforced by agency regulation and not Congressional law. Now it's about to change, unless a law requires it to stay the same.

    Now, net competition proponents, like me, believe that the best way to guard a free and open Internet is to maintain the free and open competition that exists today, not create a new government-monitored, socialized Internet.

    "Maintain" is a falsity. "Socialized", yeah, the Internet had no government support in the past.

    First, net neutrality is really a misnomer. It's really just special interest legislation, dressed up to sound less self-serving. Did you know Microsoft, Google and Yahoo are lobbying for net neutrality? If they're successful, they'll get a special, low-government-set price for the bandwidth they use, while everyone else -- consumers, businesses and government -- will have to pay a competitive price for bandwidth. [It] doesn't sound very neutral to me.

    This paragraph implies that the above companies would get a special price mandated by the legislation, which is a lie.

    Right now, you pay as a consumer to connect your PC to the Internet. You pay as a provider to connect to the Internet. These prices are (generally) based on bandwidth -- regardless of what you are doing with that bandwidth. Of course this works great for Microsoft, Google, and Yahoo -- they are the most popular. If prices suddenly doubled for them, maybe they wouldn't be able to afford the quality that makes them so popular.

    Second, net neutrality would be a 180 degree reversal of the government's highly successful policy to promote competition and not regulate the Internet.

    False. As stated above, "net neutrality" has been the status quo on the Internet, it just didn't need to be a law because no one was trying to change it.

    Finally, net neutrality legislation would be a lousy trade off for consumers. The consumer benefits would be small, but the cost to consumers would be huge. Price regulation would destroy any economic incentive to innovate and invest in the private networks that make up the Internet. Over time, we would end up with a slower Internet and higher broadband prices and taxes for consumers, less broadband choice and slower broadband deployment to all Americans. And it would also mean less privacy for all Americans, as net neutrality would require more government monitoring and surveillance of Internet traffic.

    Given that "net neutrality" is the current state of affairs, I'd say the Internet is doing pretty well from a business perspective.

    Since virtually every paragraph in this commentary includes a misleading or false statement, I'll go with the other one, thanks. I hope most listeners knew enough to do the same.

  • by MobyDisk (75490) on Friday June 23, 2006 @01:51PM (#15590965) Homepage
    I see these anti-network neutrality articles, and they all seem to be talking about something completely different. This one, for example:

    They want Congress to pass a new law to ban that practice by regulating the price of broadband service and the way it's sold.
    1) Who is they?
    2) AFAIK, network neutrality has nothing to do with regulating the prices or how it is sold.

    Are there multiple things going under the name of network neutrality? Network neutrality, as I know it, is codifying into law the existing way the internet already works. It involves no new regulations, no special agencies, nothing about prices, or sales, etc. Am I wrong? Or are these guys making up FUD to confuse the issue?
  • by maillemaker (924053) on Friday June 23, 2006 @02:07PM (#15591104)
    I was disappointed with the argument for the anti-neutrality stance, and disappointed with Craig's rebuttal.

    Here's why:

    First, the anti-neutrality Scott Cleland. He says,

    "Net neutrality proponents worry that telecom, wireless and cable companies might one day favor their own content and applications over others. They want Congress to pass a new law to ban that practice by regulating the price of broadband service and the way it's sold."

    As I understand the Net Neutrality argument, no one wants Congress to regulate the price of broadband service. I think most people are quite content with paying a competitive price (that is, a price driven by competition, not regulation) for access to the internet, with the price varying depending on how big a pipe you want to rent. This is true whether you are a consumer, paying $50/month for cable internet access, or Google, paying who knows how much per month for the bandwidth they consume. I don't hear anyone clammoring for Congress to regulate these prices.

    What people do want, however, is for Congress to make it illegal for any middle man in between the content provider's ISP and the content consumer's ISP to charge an extra toll, a toll that is certain to be levied based on A) content type and B) the size of the pocketbook of the sender.

    Cleland goes on to say:

    "Now, net competition proponents, like me, believe that the best way to guard a free and open Internet is to maintain the free and open competition that exists today, not create a new government-monitored, socialized Internet.

    The thing is, I think most people do want an internet like it exists today - a free market system where the phone company sells bandwidth to ISP's who in turn re-sell it on either end of the fat pipes. We all pay for access to the fat pipes through the fees we pay for the little pipes on either end.

    What we don't want is for the owners of the fat pipes to be able to tripple-dip - collecting fees from the sender's end of the pipe, the receiver's end of the pipe, and collecting a fee based on what kind of content is being sent and who sent or received it.

    Cleland also says:

    "Did you know Microsoft, Google and Yahoo are lobbying for net neutrality? If they're successful, they'll get a special, low-government-set price for the bandwidth they use, while everyone else -- consumers, businesses and government -- will have to pay a competitive price for bandwidth. [It] doesn't sound very neutral to me."

    This is news to me. I have never heard that Microsoft, Google, or anyone else is looking for regulated prices for their access to the internet. I think they are quite content to pay competitive prices for access to the Internet. What they don't want to do is pay a competitive price for access to the internet and then have their data being tolled again by every middle man who own's a piece of copper or fiber between them and their consumers.

    He further says:

    "Finally, net neutrality legislation would be a lousy trade off for consumers. The consumer benefits would be small, but the cost to consumers would be huge. Price regulation would destroy any economic incentive to innovate and invest in the private networks that make up the Internet. Over time, we would end up with a slower Internet and higher broadband prices and taxes for consumers, less broadband choice and slower broadband deployment to all Americans. And it would also mean less privacy for all Americans, as net neutrality would require more government monitoring and surveillance of Internet traffic."

    This is just plain crap. No one is saying that the backbone owners, the phone companies, can't charge ISPs whatever they want to or need to for access to the pipes. These costs get passed on to the ISPs customers based on how much bandwidth they want. There will constantly be a demand for higher and higher speeds. The phone company can, and
  • Really? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by russ1337 (938915) on Friday June 23, 2006 @02:20PM (#15591213)
    Extracts from TFA

    "Now, net competition proponents, like me, believe that the best way to guard a free and open Internet is to maintain the free and open competition that exists today, not create a new government-monitored, socialized Internet. "
    He's playing on the fear of being 'monitored', but the only monitoring by the government in this instance is the price of bandwidth.

    "First, net neutrality is really a misnomer. It's really just special interest legislation, dressed up to sound less self-serving. "
    U'm yes. It is special interest legislation aimed at the self-serving telco's. So?

    "Did you know Microsoft, Google and Yahoo are lobbying for net neutrality? "
    Yes, I did. That is because they are going to be hit hard by a non-neutral internet. Without a neutral internet, Telco's have free reign on charging Yahoo and Google whatever they like. However, the non-neutrality is likely to end up hurting the consumer through throttled bandwidth to Yahoo and Google, in the Telco's hope of consumers using their product. Yahoo and Google offer plenty of free services like web-mail, FlickR, Maps, Search etc, and the only reason they use high traffic, is because of the large number of consumers CHOOSING to use their services BECAUSE they are better!!

    "If they're successful, they'll get a special, low-government-set price for the bandwidth they use, while everyone else -- consumers, businesses and government -- will have to pay a competitive price for bandwidth. [It] doesn't sound very neutral to me. "
    Google / Yahoo wont get a 'special low government set price', they will just get the same rate that is commercially available to others - on the commercial market!!. The Telco's shouldn't be able to charge more for UDP packets (used for streaming) over TCP/IP packets! (web browsing). I can understand telco's tiered charging for MBps, which Google and Yahoo already pay a premium for. You think Googles internet connection is cheap?

    "Second, net neutrality would be a 180 degree reversal of the government's highly successful policy to promote competition and not regulate the Internet. "
    .....and that is because the referee is having to interfere on the playing field when one team is starting to play dirty.....

    "Amazingly, the proponents of this radical change in policy don't even have any real evidence of a problem, only unsubstantiated assertions about hypothetical problems. "

    That is because the Telco's haven't done the dirty on the consumer YET. This is a crime waiting to happen. The Telco's are clearly positioning themselves to commit extortion, they just haven't sent you your Internet bill:
    Google Video charge: $50
    Yahoo maps Charge: $80
    "Large Unfriendly Telco" with heaps of popups and crap search tools $0.50c
    (you saved $100 by using US!!)

    "Finally, net neutrality legislation would be a lousy trade off for consumers. The consumer benefits would be small, but the cost to consumers would be huge. "
    Now that is a threat if ever I've heard one.....

    "Price regulation would destroy any economic incentive to innovate and invest in the private networks that make up the Internet. Over time, we would end up with a slower Internet and higher broadband prices and taxes for consumers, less broadband choice and slower broadband deployment to all Americans. "
    It just gives the Telco's an excuse not to roll out services at the rate the consumer wants ($$$$). It is now clearly obvious the Telco's are trying to maximize profit per Mbps, not provide more Mbps!!!

    "And it would also mean less privacy for all Americans, as net neutrality would require more government monitoring and surveillance of Internet traffic."
    Fishing for an emotive response from the weak minded here.... The only surveillance (IN THIS CASE) would be for the Government to check the charging rates and that taxes are being paid, not the actual tr
  • by Bob9113 (14996) on Friday June 23, 2006 @02:27PM (#15591266) Homepage
    Net neutrality is right, because they already charge for a given bitrate.

    Net neutrality is wrong, because the government shouldn't interfere with the free market.

    But you know what? Neither of those answers have a goddamned thing to do with what the answer is going to be.

    What's the answer going to be?

    Net neutrality is wrong because it interferes with the ability to create artificial barriers to entry through contracts. You want to know what the end result will be? Follow the money. How can big content and big transport both make money off of net bias or net neutrality? The can both make money if they create bidirectional contracts that leave the little guys out.

    Whazzat?

    Suppose big transport says to Google, "We're not going to carry your video if you only pay for the pipes once." Maybe Google goes along at first. If they do, big transport will raise the price. They will keep raising the price until they find the point where Google is no longer willing to pay more. The find that by charging too much. At which point Google says no, and big transport turns off the switch.

    Then what happens? Fourteen million screaming customers blow their stack. Big transport goes to Google and says, "OK, we'd like to renegotiate the price." To which Google responds, "Forget it - we see the light now. You are going to pay us for the right to carry our content, just like television." The box for a while, and eventually they wind up with a contract that says something along the lines of Google will pay PacBell $0.10 per megabyte for transport, and PacBell will pay Google $0.10 per megabyte for content.

    Why do they come to this arrangement? Simple - anyone who's not big enough to play in PacBell and Google's league will either pay PacBell, or not be able to compete with Google. Everybody wins. Well, at least everyone who is in big content or big transport, and fuck everybody else, right? I mean, nobody else stepping up to the lobbying plate to pay for this legislation, so nobody else cares, right?

    Right? Wrong? Big transport and big content are the guys with the guns.
  • Pie economics (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Urusai (865560) on Friday June 23, 2006 @02:30PM (#15591288)
    Network polarity (the opposite of network neutrality, I guess) takes away bandwidth/latency from the common pool and gives it preferentially to a few. This is great if you have specific needs. However, by enforcing network neutrality, if you need improved bandwidth/latency, you have to increase the total so that everyone benefits, including yourself.

    It's the old argument about splitting up the pie vs. baking a bigger one. Assholes favor carving up the current pie in their favor. Progressives favor making a bigger pie. It's that simple--you're either an asshole or a progressive on this one. Too bad the assholes run the country and have all the money (redundant, I suppose).
  • by geekwithsoul (860466) <{geekwithsoul} {at} {yahoo.com}> on Friday June 23, 2006 @02:30PM (#15591289)

    One of the things that the NPR broadcasts helped to underline in my mind was the fact that there is a presumption in all the commentary on this issue so far that the battle is between the telcos (really ISPs of any stripe) and the content providers. And while these interests do represent certain vested Internet players, they ignore the group that is the predominant player on the Internet: the users. The obvious answer is that the telcos and content providers each shout with a [somewhat] unified voice, they've got the money, and they are interested in the outcome.

    Where is the American Automobile Association for Internet users? I know of no such organization that is the AAA's analog in the Internet community, and just like AAA has worked on issues that effect drivers in the U.S., we need the same kind of unified lobbying force on behalf of the Internet user community. Irrespective of your stance on this issue, it should be pretty obvious that without involving the users, neither side on this debate is going to come up with a solution that benefits anyone but themselves.

    <epiphany>Hey, an American Computer Association [for lack of a better name] could even use the 'roadside service' type approach that AAA uses, where if you were interested, you could pay a membership fee and get technical support in return!</epiphany>

  • by ansak (80421) on Friday June 23, 2006 @02:42PM (#15591392) Homepage Journal
    Cross-reference both of those made-for-radio essays with Bob Cringely's latest article [pbs.org]. It all leads me to believe that the best "solution" to apply to Net Neutrality at this point is more "benign neglect" -- and on top of that, my paranoia operates at such a hair-trigger that I wonder what other intrusive regulations are going to get slid in along with whatever legislation gets put forward and will certainly not be vetoed by the smirking chimp [smirkingchimp.com].
  • by tinkerghost (944862) on Friday June 23, 2006 @03:02PM (#15591591) Homepage

    It's really just special interest legislation, dressed up to sound less self-serving. Did you know Microsoft, Google and Yahoo are lobbying for net neutrality? If they're successful, they'll get a special, low-government-set price for the bandwidth they use, while everyone else -- consumers, businesses and government -- will have to pay a competitive price for bandwidth. [It] doesn't sound very neutral to me.

    How exactly does "We already pay for our bandwidth, don't make us pay extra not to have it castrated." translate to "they'll get a special, low-government-set price for the bandwidth they use"?
    Face it net neutrality is about 1 thing, money .
    Note: from here on out telco refers to both telcos & cablecos.
    Facts :

    1. Consumers pay for access to the data on the internet.
    2. Content providers pay to provide data on the internet.
    3. Telecos receive payment based on how many consumers and content providers they have signed up with them.
      • Unmetered usage for consumers is raw customer numbers - transfer limits balance customer numbers with transfer volume
      • I know of no unmetered usage for providers (most ISPs make you transfer to business plans if you run a volume server on a residential account)

    Is there anyone who would like to dispute those 3 facts?
    The telco argument is that they are providing the backbone and places like Google are making money by using that backbone without paying for it. I refer you to point 2. Google has in fact paid thier provider for the use of that backbone. Let's take a look at an example Google.
    Request: Consumer -> Telco East -> Telco West -> Google
    Response: Google-> Telco West -> Telco East -> Consumer
    In this situation, Telco East collects money from the Consumer for the ISP service, and Telco West collects money from Google for the commercial bandwidth service. Telco East and Telco West have a Tier 1 Peering [wikipedia.org] agreement saying they will allow each others traffic to pass between them.
    The Telco East is now saying that the peering agreements that allowed them to build the phone system and create the demand for IP services is no longer fair, and that Google should pay them AND Telco West. The issue is that IPv6 includes as part of it's core, QoS routing. This along with the advances in traffic shaping, creates a situation where it is technologically feasable for Telco East to disable, slow, or filter Google's traffic based on arbitrary criteria. So what the telco's would like to do is charge individual providers based on the traffic volume and type, downgrading the traffic of those companies that do not pay for premium transfer even if they have paid all the other companies in the tracert.
    In this ideal telco word Google would now pay Telco West for the priviledge of sending the packet, Telco East to make sure they don't downgrade it, and the consumer has to pay Telco East for the privilege of receiving the packet. Now throw out our little simple request & move into the real world. When the Chicago peering points were having some issues a couple of years ago, it wasn't unusual to see a packet route through 12 seperate networks in order to get from MA to CA. That's 13 seperate charges the telco's are collecting on each packet. Worse, if network 11 drops a packet, Google has to pay 1-10 again.
    Lets move on.
    Telco East wants to provide VOIP services in addition to their standard POTS phone service. Now because every VOIP inc. sale is 1 less Telco East VOIP customer, Telco East places VOIP inc at the bottom of the traffic shapping pile and their own services at the top of the pile. This ensures when Bob Consumer calls Bill Consumer, Telco East service sounds better. Now of course VOIP inc. could always pay Telco East the "QoS" premium, but what if they are located in Eastern Russia, will Telco East accept Rubles? or Vodka like Coca-Col

  • by javilon (99157) on Friday June 23, 2006 @03:04PM (#15591606) Homepage
    Its funny that when people talks about net neutrality, they are talking about the web.

    There are plenty of ISPs around the globe throttling things like the edonkey network, bittorrent network, skype, vonage, etc...

    They are filtering and throtling by application, and that to me is not net neutrality.

    Also there are lots of people behind NATted ADSLs with five times less upstream bandwith that downstream bandwith, and without the ability (by contract) of running servers.

    I would say that the Telcos are already exerting far too much control about what we do with the bandwith we buy.

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