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Poll Says No Voter Support for Net Neutrality 337

Posted by Zonk
from the who-wants-what-they-don't-know-about dept.
Giants2.0 writes "A survey conducted by the Commerce Committee says that Americans don't know what net neutrality is, and they don't want it. Ars Technica reports that only 7% of respondents had ever heard of net neutrality, but the report questions the fairness of the survey, which was crafted by the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation to assess support for the current version of the Telecommunications Act of 2006. The survey suggested to respondents that net neutrality would prevent ISPs from selling faster service or security products, both of which are not true." From the article: "The very brief net neutrality description used by the pollsters is somewhat misleading insofar as it suggests that net neutrality would bar Internet Service Providers from selling faster service than is available today. Strict net neutrality does not concern itself with ultimate transfer speeds available to subscribers, but instead focuses on how different kinds of Internet traffic could be shaped by ISPs for anti-competitive purposes. For instance, strict net neutrality would not prevent an ISP from selling extremely fast 35Mbps connections, but it would prevent ISPs from privileging traffic for their own services for competitive advantage, or degrading the traffic of competing services."
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Poll Says No Voter Support for Net Neutrality

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  • Commercials (Score:5, Informative)

    by Apocalypse111 (597674) on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @12:17PM (#16138415) Journal
    Just last night I saw a commercial on TV urging viewers to vote No on a proposition about Net Neutrality. It was trying to say that it would cost consumers more, or at least allow ISP's to charge more. This was in the St. Louis area. Has anyone else seen or heard of anything like this in non-internet media lately?
    • Re:Commercials (Score:5, Informative)

      by bladesjester (774793) <slashdotNO@SPAMjameshollingshead.com> on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @12:20PM (#16138438) Homepage Journal
      It's here in Ohio as well. As far as I can tell, Time Warner is running it everywhere in the US that they supply service. Other providers are probably doing so as well.

      St Louis huh? It's been a while since I was there. Have a soda at Fitz's for me =]
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by pete.com (741064)
      Here in Georgia too..
    • Re:Commercials (Score:5, Interesting)

      by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @12:32PM (#16138545) Homepage
      And people wonder why Google is hiring lobbyists. [slashdot.org]
    • Re:Commercials (Score:5, Informative)

      by Klowner (145731) on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @12:43PM (#16138643) Homepage
      Perhaps this is the video you speak of?

      http://www.ncta.com/ContentView.aspx?ContentID=352 6 [ncta.com]

      transcript: Are you google-eyed with confusion over net neutrality? No wonder, it's all just clever mumbo jumbo. Net neutrality is nothing more than a scheme by the multi-billion dollar silicon valley tech companies, to get you, the consumer to pay more for their services. Forget all their mumbo jumbo, net neutrality simple means, you pay.

      Paid for by The National Cable & Telecom Assn.

      Biggest crock of s**t I've ever heard. http://www.ncta.com/ContentView.aspx?ContentID=352 6 [ncta.com]
      • by Qzukk (229616)
        I wonder if that can be taken to court for some truth in advertising violation.

        ISPs can charge the users whatever they want to. The problem is that they don't want to raise prices on their customers, they want to charge the other end of the line regardless of whose customer that end is, and how much they are already paying their provider.
        • by spun (1352)
          They aren't advertising a product, they are exercising their constitutionally protected human right to lie through their corporate teeth. It's political speech, the most protected kind of all. They could legally tell you that voting for net nuetrality meant the government would have to shoot your children in the head. Don't you love living in the United Corporations of America? Now get out there and shop, consumer, shop for the good of your country!
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by XorNand (517466) *
        Wow, what a condescending piece of Jedi hand-waving that is. Translation: "Hey, this legislation is too complex to compress into a 30 second sound-bite. But trust us, we know what's best for you."

        I don't care if it's a tech, pharmacutical, or national parks bill. If a group chose to communicate like that to me, I'd take enough offense to instinctively oppose their viewpoint.
      • Re:Commercials (Score:5, Interesting)

        by mcfuddlerucker (883634) on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @01:20PM (#16138930)

        Yes, this commercial is simultaneously infuriating and saddening.

        Infuriating because they basically gloss over the whole issue under the guise of "Computers are hard, don't try to understand," and then lie about the conclusion.

        Saddening because the majority of people that watch it are thinking it's true.

        Side note: How much does it cost to run a commercial? I want one that just shows a clip of the commercial, and then some guy sitting there going "Really? The telecom industry wants to save YOUR money? When was the last time your cable bill went DOWN?"

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Xiroth (917768)
          Man, geeks suck at spin; this is probably why we're in our current position. Let's try a real ad:

          HUSBAND and WIFE are watching fondly as a procession of household items float down a road. They are approached by THUG.

          THUG: That's quite a nice internet business you've got there.

          HUSBAND: Yeah, our website has really taken off. Things are looking up.

          THUG: Aww, ain't that sweet. In that case, it'd be bad if I did this. (Stops floating items)

          HUSBAND: What are you doing?!

          THUG: You come in here, you gots to pay the
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by crabpeople (720852)
        People who advertise like this should be fucking shot.

        Anyone know the PR firm who produced these ads?

      • Re:Commercials (Score:4, Insightful)

        by John Courtland (585609) on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @02:08PM (#16139303)
        What pisses me off about this, more than anything else, is that these clowns have received billions of dollars of federal money to build up their infrastructure, yet we're being charged more money and receive less service than many other developed nations. We paid for these pipes! The only reason they exist is because the federal government decided to allocate significant resources to the telecoms for building a backbone (which they severely fucked up). They are owed NOTHING, and their (probably ultimately successful) attempts to scam us really boil my blood.

        What even sadder is that I don't have even a remote clue of how to answer this problem. No matter what I think of, someone will find a way to absorb resources allocated for any project, and ultimately ruin it. What's there to do with a population that blatantly REFUSES to educate itself, and an upper echelon that uses that to bone the rest of us?
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Phisbut (761268)
          What's there to do with a population that blatantly REFUSES to educate itself, and an upper echelon that uses that to bone the rest of us?

          Educate yourself, get the the upper echelon and bone the rest of us.

    • Lucikly I just get broadcast. So the only messages I get are anti cable such as the one I've seen flogging the cable companies for trying to charge outragious amounts for local HD signals.
  • Push poll (Score:5, Funny)

    by Red Flayer (890720) on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @12:18PM (#16138420) Journal
    Holy Crap, talk about a push poll:
    When pollsters introduced the concept to poll takers, they described it solely as "enhancing Internet neutrality by barring high speed internet providers from offering specialized services like faster speed and increased security for a fee."

    The only question I have (for the committee members touting these results) is, "Senator, when did you stop beating your wife?"
    • by kalirion (728907)
      Unless you tell them that they have to point out the date on the calendar, I prefer the more common version:

      Senator, please restrict your response to the following question to only "Yes" or "No":
      Have you stopped beating your wife yet?
  • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @12:18PM (#16138424) Homepage Journal
    A survey conducted by the Commerce Committee says that Americans don't know what net neutrality is, and they don't want it.

    Gee, that's amazing. I wonder if that could be because almost all the media in the US is owned by ten megacorporations, and they don't report on things that they don't want us to hear about?

    If this subject interests you, I suggest watching Orwell Rolls in his Grave [hyperlogos.org]. (ObDisclaimer: link to a review on my website, amazon referral link if you clicky from there. You know what to do if you want to find it somewhere else. I do not sell ads, I don't get money for page views.)

    • by SgtChaireBourne (457691) on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @12:32PM (#16138542) Homepage

      They don't know what Common Carriage is either, but benefit greatly from it. Net Neutrality is basically trying to re-frame Common Carriage as something new, unnecessary and unproven rather than old, essential to business, and time tested. It was what allowed all the small ISPs and software companies to flourish in the last two decades: it prevented newer business and services from being locked out by more established ones, it prevented ISPs and hosting companies for being liable for the content produced by their customers.

      Now that a handful of megacorps have crushed or absorbed all of the small ones, and it's really hard for these to crush or absorb each other using the same methods. Going back to the pathetic crumbly, balkanized patchwork of non-interoperable, 1960-style proprietary networks seems to be what these want to try again. It gives exponential advantage to larger market share. Common Carriage is preventing these megacorps from balkanizing the net. So far...

      How about a poll phrasing it this way:
      "Are you in favor of equal access to the net or would you prefer to allow groups and businesses to be closed out by the big players and to allow ISPs to give you slower service unless you pay extra?"

  • >Americans don't know what net neutrality is, and they don't want it
    How can anyone have an opinion on something if they don't know what it is?
    • by Cappadonna (737133) on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @12:25PM (#16138483) Journal
      ">Americans don't know what net neutrality is, and they don't want it How can anyone have an opinion on something if they don't know what it is?"

      That doesn't stop creationist ministers who don't study biophysics, self-righteous atheists who attack religous people, race-baiting anti-immigrant types who don't full understand NAFTA and GATT or people jumping the anti-welfare bandwagon without knowing anything about how public assistance works.

      Its usually the least informed who have the most to say.

      • by Aladrin (926209)
        That was rather long-winded, wasn't it?

        I kid, I kid!
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Thats_Pipe (837838)
        So, kind of like Jack Thompson when it comes to video games?
      • hold on a sec (Score:5, Insightful)

        by drewness (85694) on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @02:51PM (#16139651) Homepage
        I have to take great exception to a couple of your statements

        self-righteous atheists who attack religous people.

        For one, in my experience, it's almost always the other way around. In particular, one of the preferred attacks is to claim that atheists are always attacking them and trying to repress their beliefs, which is laughable in a country like the US where 80%+ of people are Christians, and an open atheist stands no chance of getting elected to national office. There is a minority of new atheists who are obnoxious asshats, but they usually calm down after a while, and they're no worse than born-again Christians, who (on the other hand) tend to never get less shrill.

        Its usually the least informed who have the most to say.

        For another thing, most atheists I know are quite familiar with the commmon arguments for and against the existence of God and knows at least a bit about the history of Christianity and the Bible. (Often weak on other religions, but hey, Christians are the majority religion here and are often big proselytizers.) Atheism is not a position most people come to passively or inherit from their parents -- unlike most religions. The atheists I know are well read, thoughtful, rational, highly informed people.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Digitus1337 (671442)
      How can anyone have an opinion on something if they don't know what it is?
      I don't know, but i'm all for it.
    • by aitikin (909209)
      Welcome to America, Home of the Free and Ignorant!
    • by Klowner (145731)
      It's all in clever labeling, if they had called it Network Traffic Prioritization and Bias Act, people would still be against it.. except, they'd be for the Net Neutrality act, because it's a double negative, or something.
    • Because their leaders tell them so.

      It's the core principle of advertising.
    • by thewiz (24994) *
      The subject or their opinion?

      A great number of people in this world have an opinion on any subject you ask them about even if they have never heard of it before. Logic and common sense are not a prevelent as they should be.
    • How can anyone have an opinion on something if they don't know what it is?

      Well, most people probably assume they are being sold something, so if you don't know what something is, the safest answer to 'do you want $FOO' is No.

    • How can anyone have an opinion on something if they don't know what it is? Ha! Good thing I wasn't drinking milk, or it would have come out of my nose! That's a funny question to ask on slashdot. P.S. No one would EVER acuse me of having ill-informed opinions ;-)
  • by HatchedEggs (1002127) on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @12:21PM (#16138448) Homepage Journal
    I mean, really.. that is a completely inaccurate description of Net Neutrality. Not only is it deceiving in its results, but it also misrepresents net neutrality to those that potentially have never heard of it before. What bothers me is that if this is the first instance of some of these people learning about net neutrality, then the poll not only came to the wrong conclusions but also might negatively affect these people's future feelings on the manner.

    It seems to me that it is extremely unethical for a committee to try and shape public opinion through the misuse of untrue information on their survey.
    • by Fred_A (10934)
      Good thing nobody in the survey industry thinks like you or they would never have grown to be the huge million raking scam they are now... ;)
  • by clickclickdrone (964164) on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @12:21PM (#16138450)
    Reminds me of the UK poll to see if people wanted ID cards. I can't remember the exact numbers but it was something like:
    Do you want an ID card? 85%
    Do you want an ID card if you have to pay for it? 7%
    So the govt reports 85% support and that will cost you GBP150 pounds each please.
    • by mordors9 (665662) on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @12:40PM (#16138621)
      Sort of like here in the US in the last election. The polls said that most people wanted to increase taxes on the rich. Then they were informed that the definition of rich was people making $35k or more per year. Guess what. Suddenly most of those people were against increasing taxes on the rich. It always goes back to, whose ox is being gored. Sure as hell better not be mine.
    • 150 pounds? Thats outragous!

      But seriously who is going to say they want a government mandates thing they have to pay for. But 150? Thats like a US nickle.

      HAHA Sorry couldn't resist :) (Its actually 281 dollars at todays rates).
  • Net Neutral = Fair (Score:5, Insightful)

    by John.P.Jones (601028) on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @12:22PM (#16138455)
    The ISPs already have a structural advantage in that it is far easier to push high speeds from their servers to my home than from a random spot in the Internet (less hops, they contol all of them) so I don't believe that requiring them to play fair would completely remove their advantage in providing content to me, but if despite this advantage I request data from some other service, I expect my ISP to not throttle that connection. There are bottlenecks enough in the net without artificially constricting flows to give your own services an advantage.
    • Not only that, but it's a company that you're already dealing with. You'll have one fewer bill to keep track of, one fewer account to remember, one fewer tech support line to call, and that alone, all other things being equal, will give them an advantage. Plus they can offer bundling deals, like a lot of cable companies are trying to do now with TV, Internet, VOIP.

    • by russ1337 (938915)

      There are bottlenecks enough in the net without artificially constricting flows to give your own services an advantage

      I remember someone reporting that a team of pro-NN programmers were working on a FireFox plug-in that 'polled' various servers on the net with different protocols, to give the user the ability to see if his internet was 'biased'. I haven't seen or heard of it since..... Anyone??

      Perhaps the Tel-cos are so hell-bent on getting more money out of their existing infrastructure that they are

  • by NewWorldDan (899800) <dan@gen-tracker.com> on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @12:23PM (#16138468) Homepage Journal
    By phrasing the question the right way, you can imply that net neutrality would limit services and download speed. In that scenario, you'll get an overwhelming response (from those who don't know what net neutrality is) that net neutrality is a bad thing. Phrased another way, you can imply that without net neutrality, Comcast and the baby Bells would be able to make web sites harder to reach. In that second scenario, most respondants would favor net neutrality.

    For comparison, Cato [cato.org] has similar things to say about polling for support of school vouchers. When you imply in the question that other countries are doing it with great success, people are in favor. When you imply that it would hurt the public schools, people are against it. Shocking.
    • That's a great point. When you bring up how vouchers would draw students away from public schools, show them to be inferior, and then make people's property values drop because they bought their house specifically to be in a good school district (which no longer matters), they'll start to oppose vouchers.

      Great fuckin' point there. We should all oppose vouchers for that reason.
      • I've never heard this logic. But its pretty insane as most voucher programs only affect low preforming schools. Even if it was an option in high preforming schools vouchers wouldn't draw many away if the school was preforming well enough.
    • Even if a survey has a genuinely random sample, you _can't_ be sure how much it means until you know the exact wording of the questions.

      That's a separate issue from "push polls", which are meant to change what people think as opposed to simply getting the desired answer. An example push poll was a telephone "survey" in the 2000 South Carolina primary asking "Would you be more likely or less likely to vote for John McCain for president if you knew he had fathered an illegitimate black child?" [sourcewatch.org].
  • Some Perspective (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) <obsessivemathsfreak@@@eircom...net> on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @12:23PM (#16138469) Homepage Journal
    Only 13% of young americans surveyed could find Iraq [cnn.com], but you still went to war there. I was under the impression that neither public knowladge or approval were prerequitites for American laws.
    • by soft_guy (534437) on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @12:42PM (#16138634)
      It doesn't matter whether the public supports Net Neutrality or not. This is a battle between Google et al. and ISPs et al. The American public has no say in this.
    • by cfulmer (3166)
      Well, that's just a bit inflammatory. Apart from arguing that the poll does not appear to have been well-constructed (apparently polling about 33 people in the US to achieve this result), I'd argue that your statement true of your country, whatever it is, as well. In fact, that's one of the reasons that representative governments exist -- to allow some people to specialize in policy-making while others specialize in other things. I happen to know a lot about Net Neutrality, but not much about farm subsid
    • Democracy dies when voters get their non-news from television instead of researching sites like Vote Smart [vote-smart.org], when voters leave school without a basic education and never get it later.

      How can US voters make wise decisions if they don't know who borders whom, or the difference between Sunni and Shi'a [washingtonpost.com] (read to near the end)? /. readers in the US, help your country: use Google and go find things out.
      I keep six faithful serving men
      Who teach me well and true
      Their names are What and Where and When
      And How and Why an
  • by Digitus1337 (671442) <{moc.liamtoh} {ta} {sutigid_kl}> on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @12:24PM (#16138477) Homepage
    I'm currently studying political science and public opinion, and 7% strikes me as very impressive. I'd be even more suprised if 7% of representatives that have a say in the issue understand it any better than the way it was outlined in the report. That being said, I am more than a little troubled.
  • by nightsweat (604367) on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @12:26PM (#16138494)
    The public good doesn't have a lobbying firm.
  • Question 1 (Score:5, Funny)

    by Rogerborg (306625) on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @12:27PM (#16138504) Homepage
    • Do you think that Ma Bell should be forced to give paedophiles and terrorists full and unfetted access to the AOLnet, so that they can swap their depraved upskirt images of your children, and instructions on how to blow them up?

    And that's how you skew a poll. Funny or insightful, I'll take either.

      • * Do you think that Ma Bell should be forced to give paedophiles and terrorists full and unfetted access to the AOLnet, so that they can swap their depraved upskirt images of your children, and instructions on how to blow them up?

      And that's how you skew a poll. Funny or insightful, I'll take either.

      I'd give you both, but I don't have either at the moment, so I'll have to offer one of my home-brew mods, a +1 Sad But True.

      At the rate we are going I would not be surprised to see that level of push po

      • Well we all heard about the anti McCain push polling a while back. So its not unheard of.

        I wonder if there were any "Given that Sen Lieberman could rape your children and kill your pets, will you vote for him in the Primaries." Last month.
  • New poll (Score:4, Funny)

    by smurfsurf (892933) on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @12:29PM (#16138515)
    Nice poll. I believe it should be verified with a second one. I propose a proved question type:

    Do you support net neutrality or do you support terrorism and child pornography?

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by neonprimetime (528653)
      Do you support net neutrality or do you support terrorism and child pornography?

      Can I choose the CowboyNeal option?
  • What a timely article...just finished a lecture with my class where we talked about net neutrality and how a tiered Internet system would most likely result in "haves" and "have nots" based upon the ability and willingness to pay. When I asked my class of 25 how many had ever heard of "net neutrality," not a single hand went up.

    Typical. They had never heard of ICANN, either.
  • by pb (1020)
    Americans don't know what net neutrality is, and they don't want it
    You can't have it both ways. At least, not honestly.
  • Call me old.. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Voltas (222666)
    Its seems like just a few years ago that I say a web address in an advertisement for the first time. The internet has changed so much over the past few years. The one thing I've always appriciated about it was how open and vast it was.

    Now I just feel this being segmented, sliced up, analized, commercialize, and legalized. Don't get me wrong, some of it has been good. Would have never gotten outta dial up days if nothing happened to it but the face of the internet in another 10 years scares me.

    Am I gonna nee
  • Inherent Flaw? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by markwalling (863035)
    isn't there an inherent flaw in net neutrality? my isp (road runner) offers trailers of the movies they have on the on-demand chanel. if i wanted those same trailers off imdb for example, it is slower then downloading them off the road runner servers. under this law, wouldn't road runner be required to throtle bandwidth to their own server to match the speed to imdb? or am i just way off.
    • Re:Inherent Flaw? (Score:4, Informative)

      by RpiMatty (834853) on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @12:59PM (#16138783)
      No you are way way way off.
      Its more like your ISP would be able to contact imdb and say "Hey your users like to download movies, pay us and we will make sure to send the packets as fast as we can, if you don't pay us, we will throttle the connection for your users."

      The end user would have no idea why imdb is slower than the roadrunner site.

    • by miyako (632510)
      You are way off. What net neutrality prevents is a situation like this:
      The only ISP I can get in my area is Road Runner. They want me to use AOL Search, so what they do is throttle all of the other search engines, so that I get so disguested I end up just using AOL Search.
      Another example would be:
      My ISP sees that a lot of traffic is going to MySpace. MySpace is making a lot of money on ads. They approach MySpace and basically say "our customers are going to your website. Pay us $x,000 a month or we
    • by WMD_88 (843388)
      That wouldn't work as you say, because Road Runner isn't making IMDB intentionally slower. RR's servers are faster because of location and capacity. Net neutrality tries to prevent sites being made intentionally slower.
  • ...at least this sort of survey. Asking the general uninformed population about an issue they know nothing abount and can formulate the questions in anyway that makes your conclusion valid is improper. If they had asked the same question of informed internet aware users, such as visitors to Slashdot, arstechnica, anandtecg, toms, dslreports, etc...the results would be different than what they wanted them to be no matter how babdly and twistedly they formulated the questions.

    Net Neutrality needs to happen
  • Yikes (Score:2, Insightful)

    by The Dalex (996138)
    How can so many people know so little about something that they all use every day, and is vital to our economy and way of life? Do we need to tell them that their ISP will slow down their MySpace if net neutrality isn't regulated?
    • by bcattwoo (737354)
      I think the main thing is that many people have neither the time nor motivation to research every thing that affects their lives beyond what the evening news or newspaper feeds them. I can't recall ever seeing anything on net neutrality anywhere other than on here and most people have better things to do with their lives than searching nerd news sites for things that might impact them.
  • What's in a name? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by TheWoozle (984500)
    I know it may seem stupid, but the term "Net Neutrality" may be a stumbling block to the average American. When was the last time anyone but the Swiss got really worked up about neutrality?

    Maybe we can call it "Not being sodomized by the bastards" or "Not paying extra for crap service" or "Leave my Skype alone!"
  • by snowwrestler (896305) on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @12:45PM (#16138657)
    How many of us have gotten off our asses to communicate that to Congress? There's more to gauging an issue than polls, and incoming comments to Senatorial offices can have a big impact. As few as a couple hundred well-worded letters or phone calls can swing a Senator's vote one way or the other, especially on more "niche" or technical issues.

    Start here:
    http://www.savetheinternet.com/=senatetally [savetheinternet.com]

    Most Senators are not on record and so are more likely to be open to influence from their constituents. Your best bet to describe, in simple terms, why it is important and why it is a major voting issue to you. It does not have to be a magnum opus, just a short e-mail, letter, fax, or phone call.

    And if you one of those who don't understand or care, I invite you to read this:
    http://www.savetheinternet.com/=faq [savetheinternet.com]
  • Sorry for the redundancy in my subject line.

  • by wbean (222522) on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @12:56PM (#16138748)
    The most useful thing we can do here is to write to our Senators [senate.gov]. If enough people write, they pay attention. Besides, you'll probably get a nice glossy photograph in the mail.
  • Democracy is great! At least it was until the marketing and lobbying set in.

    Just how much more blatant can you get with "buying" votes? Unfortunately, people don't want to be informed, they want to be led. They want someone to tell them "That's the way it is, swallow it!", and they even get away with it.

    Is free press really that bad? In countries where censorship is running rampart, people distrust government and press, and they try to find the truth. Often with their life at stake should they be discovered
  • "The very brief net neutrality description used by the pollsters is somewhat misleading insofar as it suggests that net neutrality would bar Internet Service Providers from selling faster service than is available today."

    Well, not to take sides here, but that is exactly how S.2917 [gpo.gov] proposes net neutrality should be defined: A prohibition against offering tiered Internet services.

    The problem here is that there is no one definition of "net neutrality" that is accepted by either side of the issue. Spin is put

  • by gtaluvit (218726) on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @01:10PM (#16138871)
    If Google, YouTube, and MySpace put banners on their screens informing people about Net Neutrality and what it'll mean for their services, this issue would go away quickly.
  • Perhaps the poll would have turned out differently if the poll had been amonng regular users of the internet. Like--an online poll.

    Arrrrr-genius. (talk like a pirate)

  • by SyncNine (532248) on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @01:22PM (#16138947)
    I don't understand why so many people here are like 'Oh, well, we'll wait until they enact it and then if it's a problem we'll stop it.' Welcome to the reason you pay Income Tax, morons. It was instated in WWI, then stopped after WWI. Then it was instated for WWII, and then it never stopped. And that's why we pay income tax. Because a bunch of people did the exact same thing -- 'Oh well, it will only be here for the war ...'

    Let me try and break this down into small, understandable chunks:

    Scenario A: The Die Hard Gamer
    Johnny plays Unreal Tournament 2004 and Quake 4 almost religiously. He has a nice DSL connection and usually sees ping times under 30ms to his favorite servers. His DSL provider contacts him and informs him that due to a restructuring, his $54.95 a month now only allows him 'Standard' service. He notices that his ping time has risen to over 200ms during his gaming sessions, significantly impacting his ability to play online games, but sees no other real latency issues while surfing. Another phone call to his ISP informs him that for the low, low price of $14.95, they will stop prioritizing his gaming packets lower than all other traffic. They would call it the 'Gaming Extreme' package. Now, Johnny is spending $15 more a month, just because his ISP has the ability to prioritize his traffic as they see fit.

    THAT SUCKS.

    Scenario B: The Mom and Pop Shop ISP
    Mom and Pop start an ISP and have a big contract with Concentric, one of the bigger backbones. A high percentage of their customers are in the SW, and a lot of what their customers do involves servers in the NE. In order for the data to get from Customer to End Server, it passes through Mom and Pop, Concentric, Cogent, and Level3. (I know, I know, it wouldn't likely go through that much.) Cogent and Concentric are at odds, because Cogent wants to charge Concentric $1.00 per megabyte for priority speeds. Concentric told Cogent to stuff it, so now every packet going through Cogent has 4x the latency of 'priority' traffic. As Cogent is a bunch of idiots in this example, it's not much of a stretch to assume that Level3 dislikes them as well. Level3 won't pay Cogent for priority traffic, either. So now, Level3 is slowing down Cogent's traffic, and Cogent is slowing down Concentric's traffic. This results in your latency being between 500ms and 750ms, instead of 30ms to 50ms. All because some assface in a suit at some table wants his $1.5M salary pushed up by another $250k/year.

    If reading THAT doesn't make you understand that 'waiting to see' is the stupidest idea in the history of stupid ideas, GET THE HELL OFF THE INTERNET. No one wants you here if you don't have the slightest of interest in the longevity and perserverence of the network.
  • by Caseyscrib (728790) on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @01:45PM (#16139121)
    There's a clip that sums up Net Neutrality pretty well here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IDRGdVf6Mf8 [youtube.com] Share it with your friends.
  • I'm all for net neutrality, but not in the form currently being campaigned for here and in congress. There is virtually no way that any net neutrality law that gets pushed through congress would be a good thing for consumers.

    Here's what needs to happen...

    The big problem in the US is that there is no competition between broadband providers. In most places, if you're lucky, you have a choice between DSL and Cable. That usually means getting service from a monopoly telco or a monopoly cable provider. Sure, there are companies like Earthlink that sell broadband services, but they have the uncomfortable position of having to be both the customers and competitors of the monopoly providers. This is never a good arrangement.

    For true net neutrality, we need to divorce the companies that own the copper and fiber (local loop) from the ones providing dialtone. This means breaking up the monopoly providers into 2 or more entities each. One monopoly company that owns/services/maintains the wires, and one company that rents these lines from the monopoly provider and provides dialtone. The first one is regulated as any monopoly should be. The second is essentially a peer with all other dialtone providers.

    This would put all the dialtone providers in the US on an equal footing, and give some serious incentive for them to add value since changing broadband provider wouldn't necessarily mean dealing with a company that has to buy stuff from their competitor.

    There is clear precedent for this. Look at the deregulation of long distance in the 80's.

    If we could ever make this happen in the current regulatory environment, then all this net neutrality stuff would go by the wayside. Any provider that wanted to pull this garbage of trying to charge both ends for traffic on a pipe would be writing out their own corporate suicide note, since people would just drop their inferior service.

    QED (except for the part of overriding the lobbies of the monopoly companies)

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