Follow Slashdot stories on Twitter


Forgot your password?

Republicans Defeat Net Neutrality Proposal 504

LiquidEdge writes "A Republican controlled committee has defeated a bill that would have guaranteed fair access and stopped companies like AT&T and Verizon from charging high-bandwidth sites for allowing their customers to have priority access to them."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Republicans Defeat Net Neutrality Proposal

Comments Filter:
  • Wow (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Kujila ( 826706 )
    I really love the spin this story has... "EVIL Republicans RUIN the Internets!"
    • Re:Wow (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 06, 2006 @08:12AM (#15074856)
      I wonder if Joseph Stalin took time away from killing 20 million Soviets to blame all his troubles on the free press. Oh, wait a sec, he didn't have a free press.

      Talk about an ungrateful nation. Don't complain about the fact that your press is doing its job by being a watchdog. It's one of the few things left that's keep the States from slipping into a dictatorship.
      • Re:Wow (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 06, 2006 @08:27AM (#15074956)
        Just a little FYI, "our press" isn't really interested in being a watchdog. They're interested in making money.

        It just so happens that their preferred way of making that money is by providing the news.

        Not that there's anything wrong with that. People just need realize what they're watching, reading, and hearing to make informed opinions.

        But don't kid yourself into thinking that freedom of the press means we're always getting the complete truth.
        • So, what you're saying is that a group of people paid to bring in as many customers as possible, may not actually have the best interest of the people in mind?
          • Re:Wow (Score:3, Insightful)

            by ooze ( 307871 )
            Just look at tobacco corporations. Are their ways of making money the best for the people?
        • Re:Wow (Score:4, Insightful)

          by RedQueen.exe ( 966234 ) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @08:48AM (#15075084)
          Luckily "being a watchdog" and "making money" practially go hand in hand now days. What's one kind of story that sells very well? Now, of course, they're going to cover a bunch of other bs too just because its sensational, but you know they're going to come down on anyone or any group that's been doing something "scandalous".
        • Re:Wow (Score:3, Interesting)

          by stefanPryor ( 863364 )
          I think a lot of people live such miserable uninteristing lives (no offense intended) that they are looking for anything which seems new to continually distract themselves from their own life. News corporations are able to make much more money targeting this HUGE audience, than actually producing useful information. That is not to say that the market for useful information does not exist, in fact it is probably presently undervalued. As useful information becomes more and more valuable, I think we will see
      • Re:Wow (Score:3, Interesting)

        by JeffSh ( 71237 )
        I'd just like to point out that the refutation of regulation law actually flies contrary to what a dictatorship is.

        A dictatorship would be a government entity that tells its constituents what they can and can't do.. this bill would've, in essence, been dictating to the telecomms that they can't charge different rates to different people.

        which, in a free market economy, is unreasonable..
    • Re:Wow (Score:4, Insightful)

      by gowen ( 141411 ) <> on Thursday April 06, 2006 @08:13AM (#15074868) Homepage Journal
      Yeah, I hate it when they said "EVIL" and "RUIN".
      Oh, wait. That's not in the article, its solely your invention.
      The actual article makes no comment on whether its good or bad, and gives space to both pro- and anti- viewpoints.

      It's a factual article with little evidence of bias.
      And you're an idiot.
      • Re:Wow (Score:2, Insightful)

        He's not necessarily referring to the article, itself, but rather the spin Slashdot has placed on it. Slashdot, in this case, is acting in the biased manner. Clearly, this writeup is a hit piece on the Republican party, a reflection of the opinions of the submitter and the moderator who approved it. There's no reason to refer to the committee as "Republican-controlled" in the writeup. Congress is controlled by the Republicans, so all of the committees will be, as well.

        The repeated use of party definitio
    • Re:Wow (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      The subcommittee has 31 members. The vote was 23 - 8. Off the top of my head, I doubt it's a 23 - 8 split Republican to Democrat. So doesn't that mean the Democrats helped defeat the bill?

      And good for them. This bill is a bad idea. It's like passing a law that ISP's can't throttle port 25 to reduce spam, because that would result in "unequal access."
    • Re:Wow (Score:4, Insightful)

      by ( 645325 ) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @08:53AM (#15075112)
      What are you talking about? The entire article is fucking astroturf for the ISPs.

      A sample paragraph, emphasis mine:

      It centers on whether broadband providers will be free to design their networks as they see fit and enjoy the latitude to prioritize certain types of traffic--such as streaming video--over others. (In an interview last week with CNET, Verizon Chief Technology Officer Mark Wegleitner said prioritization is necessary to make such services economically viable.)

      The rest of it is essentially laying out an emotionally evocative argument for the "free market" and against government regulation. I'm suprised they even bothered to throw in the halfassed "They're breaking teh internets!!!!~1" quotes from the Democrats that they DID manage to find space for.

      I don't know which ISPs CNET intends to "partner" with, but they're sure as hell a video content provider, and they obviously have a dog in this fight. I don't think I've ever seen an ostensibly straight news story from an ostensibly objective tech news site where the corporate bias was so blatant.

      Shit, they closed with a quote from Grover Fucking Norquist. That's just lame.

    • Re:Wow (Score:4, Insightful)

      by vertinox ( 846076 ) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @11:25AM (#15076458)
      I really love the spin this story has... "EVIL Republicans RUIN the Internets!"

      Well if it was a Democrat controlled committee the story would be "EVIL Democrats RUIN the Internets!"

      Seriously, I'm not a democrat and used to be a republican, but the point of the matter is that it was THEIR committee so it is THEIR fault. Maybe some Democrats were involved, but I don't know... If they voted against or for the measure on the committee is irrelevant because they were not a deciding factor.

      Get over this partisan supporting crap, I am literally ashamed I voted for Bush in 2000. People are following the political party blindly and fight the other people without even realizing how wrong everyone is.

      Realize the other party aren't the only ones out to screw you over, but also the party you yourself belong to... Democrats and Republicans!
  • good....? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by joe 155 ( 937621 )
    Is this not a good thing... letting people who are on faster connections have priority seems like it will drive companies to provide a better service faster and might also reduce the cost of slower connections... or am I wrong?
    • by Too many errors, bai ( 815931 ) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @08:11AM (#15074854)
      Reduce cost? You're new to this, aren't you? ;)
    • Re:good....? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by mcvos ( 645701 ) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @08:13AM (#15074863)
      I think the issue here is that ISPs and telco's are going to make your access to google slower if google doesn't pay them. They're confused about who their customers are, and seem to think google should pay them for access to me, while I'm already paying them for access to google.

      It's a bit like commercial TV, where advertisers are the customers and viewers are the product.
      • I'm pretty sure that Google has flatly refused to ever pay any fees to any ISPs. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.
      • Re:good....? (Score:5, Informative)

        by Zocalo ( 252965 ) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @08:28AM (#15074964) Homepage
        Actually, you've probably got that slightly wrong. It's not so much "who their customers are" as "who their customers *were*". All Amazon, Google, Yahoo! et al need to do is agree not to cave in to the telcos demands for more money (they *are* presumably paying for their own connectivity, yes?) and sit it out - Google has pretty much stated they are going to do this anyway. After a while, once the word gets out and customers start to leave for alterative "single tier Internet" providers, the telcos will either have to quietly drop their demands and rate limits or suffer the inevitable stockholder backlash when their profits start to slide.
        • Re:good....? (Score:3, Interesting)

          by ezavada ( 91752 )
          All Amazon, Google, Yahoo! et al need to do is agree not to cave in to the telcos demands for more money (they *are* presumably paying for their own connectivity, yes?) and sit it out

          This would be great. But let's not forget that one of the's in this case is Microsoft, who seems determined to do everything possible to defeat Google at the search game. They have gobs of cash and as a convicted monopolist have a proven history of being willing to do unethical things to get ahead. Maybe they'll decide th
        • monopolies (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Ender Ryan ( 79406 ) <[ ] ['' in gap]> on Thursday April 06, 2006 @08:48AM (#15075083) Journal
          Most people are not in situations where they have the ability to pick their Internet provider. Most areas are served by a single monopoly, or at best, one telco and one cable co. With the largest telcos and cable cos forming alliances, choice is 100% out of the equation for consumers.

          Which is precisely why the Republicans are wrong here. The first Republican President warned of corporate power, corporate influence in government, and monopolies. Anti-trust law used to be something Republicans accepted as pro-capitalism, and pro-democracy. Current Republican politicians have been bought, it would seem.


          disclaimer: this post is in no way an endorsement of any other political party, if you assumed it was, then you're an idiot, and part of the problem.

    • Re:good....? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Cyber Akuma ( 901028 )
      Pretty much.

      EVERYTHING is starting to have extra charges towards it and even extra charges on those extra charges. You need to pay for absolutely every possible tiny thing. And thanks to all the modern companies bribing officials left and right, unless the mass "sheeple" actually get off their couches and do something about it there is little we can do to stop it. Eventually only the extremely rich will be getting the same level of "service" that normal people are getting now in just about everything. We
      • Welcome to the modern dark-ages: kings, nobles, and pheasants all over again.

        I've never had pheasant before. Is it really that bad?
        • Pheasant is pretty good, not quite as good as grouse (my favorite game bird), but I prefer it to duck or goose (it's not as rich as either, but it is much easier to prepare simply).
          • I just had my first real duck last weekend (as in not the stuff at a local chinese joint). It was good but I thought it was too rich. I almost felt sick after eating it. Maybe some day I'll feel like I an afford more exotic little birdies :o)
    • Re:good....? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by philipmather ( 864521 ) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @08:17AM (#15074893) Homepage Journal
      That would be a sensible theory wouldn't it, one suspects however that it'll create a tiered system that costs the end user more.

      Think about this; would something like slashdot be able to work? Obstensibly /. would pay more to provide a better service or those that use are the type of people who'd pay for a faster connection. Would you then really want a fast site with lots of links to slower sites?

      Would you then host all your images and shared web services with a "fast" provider and embed them into your sites hosted on "slow" providers. You'd then have a market for providing lots of "fast" images for embeding into your "slow" personal page. Lot's of technical implications to think about there, smells like someones "wealth creation" plan to me.
    • This isn't for consumers. This is form businesses. This allows for the creation of a multi-tiered internet. Companies like Google will have to pay not only their own bandwidth bill, but also a "premium" to any provider between themselves and you. So they will have to pay the company that provides their internet connect a premium to get their data to the internet "faster" (Which should translate into "not as slow"). But once it's there, there is nothing preventing other service providers from dropping them b
    • How does "profit" relate to "better service"?

      Remember, a business exists solely for the sake of providing profit to its shareholders. If a business has control of a telecommunication service, there is no incentive for them to do ANYTHING that enhances value to you.

      Capitalism ONLY works when there's millions of sellers and millions of buyers selling commodity goods. If there's only 1, or 2, or 3 sellers, it becomes monopolistic, and ANTI capitalist. In that case, socialism is best. Regulation and control
    • I can only assume you are being serious here, and so will respond seriously...

      Is this not a good thing... letting people who are on faster connections have priority seems like it will drive companies to provide a better service faster and might also reduce the cost of slower connections... or am I wrong?

      No, this is not a good thing. Think about what you are saying:

      1. If this is allowed then _every_ high bandwidth site has to pay _every_ provider. That means that Google, Yahoo, Sun, Oracle, Microsoft,
    • Re:good....? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by lynx_user_abroad ( 323975 ) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @09:16AM (#15075282) Homepage Journal

      Is this not a good thing...?

      I think the jury's still out on that. Those who are making the case that this is (or would be) a bad thing are doing so based only on historical precedent.

      Ever since the development of Strowger's automated (as opposed to operator-driven) call switching, an underlying principle of telecommunications (long since codified into law) was the ideal that the switching system should not make routing decisions based on the content of the call. (It's considered fair-play for a carrier to, for example, route a over a satellite circuit vs. an undersea cable based on whether it is a FAX/DATA call, but not based on wether it's a business vs. personal call.) This is the fundamental basis behind the concept of network neutrality.

      One could argue that without some concept of network neutrality, we can't really say we even have a telecommunication system. I'm not sure there's a good example of a system akin to what the Republicans are proposing here, which is a system where public rights-of-way are privatized into a handful of companies with monopoly control. The closest I can come-up with off-hand would be what was done in the era of the railroad tycoons. Not a perfect match, since in that age the railroads did not lead into every home, nor was the economy as dependent on them as ours is today in the Internet.

      ...letting people who are on faster connections have priority seems like it will drive companies to provide a better service faster and might also reduce the cost of slower connections... or am I wrong?

      My opinion only, but yes, you're wrong. ;-)

      The fear is that these companies will be driven by the interests of their shareholders, rather than the interests of the society. The two points of contention seem to be:

      • The Carriers are dependent on public rights-of-way to build their networks, so it's not really fair for them to benefit more from that right-of-way than I do simply because they are in a position to use more of it than I. If we are in support of private ownership, I should be able to sell my private citizens portion of that right-of-way to the highest bidder in the same way that the Carriers are demanding to be allowed to do. (Not really fesible, but that's why we have things like Regulation.
      • The Carriers are exploiting a natural monopoly and network effects to further their business model. If spectrum were limitless and if running fiber across long distances did not create an effective barrier-to-entry for new market participants, then the Carriers arguments about letting the markets decide might have some validity. But market forces are always distorted under monopoly conditions.

      History (both railroad and telecommunications) tells us that when a single entity is in control of the network, evolution of that network proceeds slowly, and only in a way as to increase control and profitibility. Let us not forget; between automatic switching (circa 1890's) and the 1984 breakup of AT&T, the two big telephone company innovations were DTMF dialing and the lighted dial Princess Phone(TM)

      The railroads fell only when an alternate infrastructure (the Interstate highway system and, to a lesser extent, commercial aviation) was built along side the existing network infrastructure. The Internet, as we commonly know it today, took-off as a result of the break-up of the Bell System monopoly and legislated network-neutrality. Prior to the 1997 Telecommunication Reform act, the Carriers were prohibited from offering data services (like AOL or CompuServe did) specifically to prevent them from favoring one provider over another. AOL, CompuServe, Earthlink, and the like, using modems and the fact that the telephone companies were required to carry these calls even though it prectically bankrupted many of them, were the impetus behind the

  • Oh, good... (Score:3, Informative)

    by irishxpride ( 912480 ) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @08:09AM (#15074838)
    Because the free market economy has done so much for improving the free flow of information. Does it seem redundant to make both the sender and the recipient pay for the same bandwidth? What if other countries ban this type of thing, how could you regulate speed in one area, and not in another?
    • Easy, the router/cable owning companies just throttle any content coming from out side the country.

    • Because the free market economy has done so much for improving the free flow of information.

      Well, yeah, it has. Obviously some of us take it for granted, but it certainly has when compared to centrally planned economies - information was a bit harder to come by in the old Soviet Union, for example.

      Does it seem redundant to make both the sender and the recipient pay for the same bandwidth?

      It's not like this has never happened before. Supermarkets charge manufacturers who want their products to have p

    • by Mille Mots ( 865955 ) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @08:25AM (#15074946)
      Does it seem redundant to make both the sender and the recipient pay for the same bandwidth?

      If you think about it, you might come to the conclusion that this already happens in other domains.

      Compare to cable television, for instance. If you subscribe to CATV, you are paying for the bandwidth (all those channels) to access the content, while at the same time, the CATV company is paying (slightly less) to carry those channels, and the network (CNN, Fox, TLC, SF, etc.) are charging advertisers for sending that content to you.

      If you don't have subscription television service, the advertiser alone is bearing the cost of assaulting your eyes with their commercials.

      This is analagous, I think, to a Tier {1,2} ISP charging for priority access. If you want the CATV equivalent (millions of channels, digital content, high speed), you're going to pay for it. So is the content provider on the other end of the session (after all, they need a connection to the Internet as well). If you are happy with over-the-air quality (quality, quantity and speed of delivery...not so much), you don't pay.

      Essentially, the chains would look like:

      CATV subscriber (-$) -> CATV provider (-$) -> Network ($$$) <- Advertiser (-$)


      Local ISP customer (-$) -> Local ISP (-$) -> Backbone provider ($$$) <- Content provider (-$)

      Just because you can do a thing, doesn't mean you should do a thing.

    • Re:Oh, good... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by AnotherBrian ( 319405 ) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @08:34AM (#15074995) Homepage
      Does it seem redundant to make both the sender and the recipient pay for the same bandwidth?

      It not just that. Google already pays out the ass for it's connection as would you or I if we uploaded as much data as Google. This is how it should be. What the telcos want is to add an extra charge if Google makes money on any of that data. It's like if I call you on the phone it costs me X to make the call and costs you Y to have the phone that receives it. Now they want X+Z from me if I'm a business and made any money from you on that call. This is not OK. They also want W from me if I want the call between you and I to be more free of static that the call between you and my competitor. This is also not OK.
    • Except for the fact that the sender and the receiver are *ALREADY* paying for their bandwidth.

      Google pays some company to get access to the net.
      We the customers of our respective ISPs pay to get access to the net.

      The collective ISPs pay (as part of their cost for doing business) the carriers as needed to allow their customers data to flow.

      Now, Customer A's ISP want's to charge Customer B to allow customer B's data (which Customer A has requested) to get to Customer A unscathed. In other words... "It woul
    • Re:Oh, good... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Ahaldra ( 534852 )
      Does it seem redundant to make both the sender and the recipient pay for the same bandwidth?

      The Internet is a system you pay to have access to - Normally you go by the resources you use (i.e. Bandwidth). So yes it is set up, so both the sender and the receiver have to pay for bandwidth.

      However, this is not the issue at hand - with the new bill it is not forbidden to hold certain kinds of traffic hostage, so essentially anyone who happens to come across your traffic can demand you pay him for this traffi

  • Republicans less inclined to regulate the market than Democrats. News at 11.
    • What doesn't make sense is the Republican inclination to make the government bigger in the past few years.
    • Re:Makes Sense (Score:5, Informative)

      by molarmass192 ( 608071 ) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @09:02AM (#15075177) Homepage Journal
      "regulate the market"

      If there was perfect competition in the ISP market, then fine, let market forces rule! However, the 1st tier ISP market today is far more oligopolistic than free market. You can bet that if there was perfect competition, this idea would not even have the slightest chance of gaining traction. Free market capitalism only works in competitive markets, that's why price fixing is illegal in the US. Sadly, the ISP market is beginning to resemble the telephone market, highly concentrated ownership, limited competition.
    • Um... (Score:3, Interesting)

      I wouldn't equate predictability with "making sense".

      It hardly makes sense to allow an ISP to charge other companies to allow their companies to access the other company's website, when the ISP's customers are already paying for that privilege.

      It only makes sense in that it is predictable that Republicans would go for this.

      Republicans always vote for big businesses above small businesses and individuals. After all, that's where their bread is buttered. But in any substantive sense, it doesn't make sense a
  • by Kylere ( 846597 )
    Did anyone RTFA?

    They basically did not entirely madate it, but they did not outlaw neutrality either. The article is slanted, and inaccurate. While I wish they had in fact mandated for neutrality, they took a middle of the road step, but that is NOT the article headline.

    Saying the republicans broke the net with this is like saying that Bush is a great president, both are wrong, and both have millions of idiots who believe it.
    • They basically did not entirely madate it, but they did not outlaw neutrality either

      You're either a good troll or a moron. How would one outlaw net neutrality? Require companies to charge different rates for traffic of their competitors? Would these be random rates?

  • if you want your own stuff to move faster, it should be on a separate parallel network. the ISP connection is where you switch it. and there should be enough router oomph so your great unwashed masses seeking data that wants to be free are not penalized for getting on somebody's internal business deal.

    until and unless laws and proposals put that in the legal system, "no" to pay-for-preference.
  • This is good.

    I'm not saying that abuses of network access aren't on the horizon. Far from it. It just strikes me that many of the proponents of "network neutrality" are taking the principle too far, aren't looking at the potential benefits of third parties being able to pay for enhanced access, and aren't necessarily that concerned about more important issues fixed first.

    It is absolutely right that if I pay for a 1.5Mbps connection to my home, that no external entity should suffer discrimination when tr

    • I don't they want it to work the way though. They will see the site you are requesting something from as a site that should be paying them access or they intentionally slow them down. Also while you are talking A to B you still go through other sites. If they implemented the same rules your packets would be intentionally slowed down as they have nothing to do with the place you are routing though.

      This is a bad thing.
    • by ClarkEvans ( 102211 ) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @08:25AM (#15074953) Homepage
      Well, this bill was to support the idea that "no external entity should suffer discrimination when trying to get their packets to me".

      What's going on is that packets from/to Vonage, and other voice over IP companies are being marked by Comcast, and Verison as 3rd class mail: if they are even permitted. This law was to prevent this pratice.

      This law had nothing to do with providers charging more for a T3 over a T1 for a web-service company. That would be brain dead to argue against. This was about network neutrality: that *infrastructure* companies can pick-and-choose what content you can get to and what content you cant (and what content is so damn slow you won't ever use it).

    • by js_sebastian ( 946118 ) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @08:27AM (#15074958)
      If when Apple wants to send me a file, they're able to pay Earthlink such that the data they send isn't part of the 1.5Mbps, but counts as additional bandwidth, then that works to both of our advantages.
      Naive. That's not how it works. Your internet connection is not getting any faster because of Apple (or whoever) paying.

      But that's not the problem either. If I were requesting a service from Apple and knew that they would be getting my provider to prioritize that traffic over the rest it would still be sort of fair. The point is that my internet connection is going to be slower because OTHER PEOPLE are using video services provided by a company who pays the extortion fee (or more likely, is another branch of the telco giving me access): the free sites which I try to access will be slower because of that.

      It's not about MY 1.5MBps on the cable that runs to my home, it's about the unknown amount of bandwidth I am sharing with an unknown number of other subscribers, on a bigger cable somewhere downstream.
    • by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @08:34AM (#15074993) Homepage
      But at the same time, I don't necessarily see a problem with external entities being able to pay my ISP for better access. If when Apple wants to send me a file, they're able to pay Earthlink such that the data they send isn't part of the 1.5Mbps, but counts as additional bandwidth, then that works to both of our advantages.

      Except, when literally dozens (if not hundreds) of ISPs try to make side deals with Apple so the content from iTunes doesn't get way-layed en-route to you, Apple will be forced to pass the cost on to you. And, since Apple will charge more, the record companies will try to sneak in extra costs for the tracks so they get a bigger cut of the pie too.

      Look at a traceroute some time ... your packets could go through a half a dozen or so different entities. If any one of them hasn't been paid their bribe from Apple, your 'net performance suffers.

      The way packets are routed on the internet, this will be a free-for-all of people trying to gouge a little extra money. The whole concept of peering -- since our packets travel over your network, and your packets travel over ours -- will all go to shit. As packets get rerouted around individual places that aren't playing nice because they haven't been paid, all of your traffic will be sent through congested chokepoints.

      The sum total will be an overall reduction in service and relibility for everyone.

      Your downloads of Mozilla, or Linux, or iTunes, or things from sourceforge, Microsoft updates, or whatever -- all of them will be subjected to intermediate 'road tolls' by people who feel they should get a cut for reliably delivering your data. Every single one of them will be approached little-by-little to cough up or experience packet loss/delays.

      Then, your Earthlink service you're so happy to allow charge Apple extra money to deliver packets at a good bandwidth will eventually turn to crap as every site you're visiting hasn't paid someone intermediary their cut. Anyone large enough to show up on radar will be subject to huge numbers of companies trying to gouge them.

      Have you really thought this through? To me, this sounds like the end of good internet access, and the beginning of separated, specialized networks. This is like travelling through some third world country where armed groups stop you and charge a fee to be allowed to continue.
    • Right now we need better standards and more competition.

      Yes, we do need more competition. So why do you support a Republican bill that stifles competition, in favor of giving ISPs more control over the content they deliver?

  • by digitaldc ( 879047 ) * on Thursday April 06, 2006 @08:14AM (#15074869)
    AT&T, Comcast, Time Warner, and Verizon spent $230.9 million on politicians from 1998 until the present, while Amazon, eBay, Google, Microsoft and Yahoo spent only a combined $71.2 million. (Those figures include lobbying expenditures, individual contributions, political action committees and soft money.)

    When will people learn that laws will only get passed in this 'K Street Project' Congress if you simply spend enough money to bribe them?

    Oh well, I guess people will be happy when I finish my life's work of designing and implementing a totally neutral "Internet 3"
  • by shr3k ( 451065 ) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @08:14AM (#15074871) Homepage
    No Internet Packet Left Behind?
  • What the Republicans are doing here is exactly what Republicans ought to be doing, by their charter. They are blocking the Federal government from enacting regulation that would seriously impede the actions of private companies. They are saying, in effect, if AT&T or whomever wants to make available special broadband services at higher data rates or lower cost to certain selected partners, then it is not the government's job to step in and legislate that deal. The limitation sought to force these broadband providers to offer equal or better service to non-partners and affiliates, which would stifle the ability of the providers to generate their own services.

    In effect, the law would have put a strict limit on what services the broadband providers could do business-wise. The idea was to keep broadband providers from forming monopolies by keeping other non-partner providers out with high costs or degraded services. However, the Republicans are doing the right thing by their constituents by allowing the maximum freedom to these broadband providers and only seeking legal recourse if there is proof of anti-competitive actions.
    • by saleenS281 ( 859657 ) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @09:32AM (#15075407) Homepage
      Except there's already proof of anti-competitive practices when they blackball vonage. Apparently you missed the part where they're hurting far more private companies than they're helping. DO a quick count on how many sites there are on the internet today, then do a quick count of how many ISP's you have providing your area, do you want to reconsider whether they're helping or hurting private business. You also missed the part where they're supposed to be looking out for consituents... how many small business owners have websites? How many small businesses are affected by this?

      This is yet another transfer of wealth from the little guys to the big corporations. The republicans haven't been looking out for their constituents for years, please stop trying to kid yourself.
    • by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @09:36AM (#15075449) Homepage
      What the Republicans are doing here is exactly what Republicans ought to be doing, by their charter. They are blocking the Federal government from enacting regulation that would seriously impede the actions of private companies.

      I think you've nailed it on the head -- only I don't think you realize what it means.

      Congress shall pass no laws which protect the consumer, because the Republicans are all about letting big business do whatever they want. Unless it's ensuring the companies are doing what THEY want.

      In my opinion, any company who wishes to be able to charge certain sites for reliable bandwidth should immediately lose any and all common carrier status afforded to them. They are now liable for every single packet which travels over their networks; since they clearly need to identify the source of every packet for specific billing purposes.

      If kiddie porn goes over their wires, they get fined -- if they can track it close enough to know Google's traffic, they are now obligated to identify and block all child porn, left-wing political content, and, um, vegan recipes so we can support the beef industry. All references to b00bies, Islam, and all things not sanctioned by the Republicans will be supressed -- the only place where Republicans DO pass laws that restrict the behaviour of businesses -- forcing their own moral standards on others.

      Oh wait, the Republicans already want to make it the job of having ISPs be fully responsible for monitoring the content. So maybe they'd be perfectly happy to see all of that happen. Then, they can be sure that only content approved by the MiniTruth and MiniPac will be allowed to be transmitted. This just lets the companies start asking for it first, and when they realize the implications, it's too late for all of us.

      Nope, you've convinced me -- bring on the thought police, and let's continue unbridled, so-called unregulated capitalism. I, for one, welcome our new Big Brother overlords.

      The Party is Mother, and Father.
    • by thefirelane ( 586885 ) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @09:51AM (#15075592)
      However, the Republicans are doing the right thing by their constituents by allowing the maximum freedom to these broadband providers and only seeking legal recourse if there is proof of anti-competitive actions.

      I agree... but this philosophy only works when there is competition. The reason this thing is so bad, isn't because AT&T is going to go off and do something dumb... its because AT&T is going to go off and do something dumb, and the market can't punish them by allowing their customers to switch. For 99% of broadband customers, they only have one high-speed choice.

      This is something, sadly, today's Republicans forget. They believe the solution to every problem is "the free market" when they forget that includes "competition".

  • by liposuction ( 176349 ) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @08:16AM (#15074890) Homepage

    From TFA:

    A Republican-controlled House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on Wednesday defeated a proposal that would have levied extensive regulations on broadband providers and forcibly prevented them from offering higher-speed video services to partners or affiliates.

    By an 8-to-23 margin, the committee members rejected a Democratic-backed "Net neutrality" amendment to a current piece of telecommunications legislation. The amendment had attracted support from companies including, eBay, Google, Microsoft and Yahoo, and their chief executives wrote a last-minute letter to the committee on Wednesday saying such a change to the legislation was "critical."

    Any time you start throwing regulations at something, you make it harder for everyone to compete. You also make it much easier for the government to start sliding in taxes here and there.

    And I'm sorry but anything that those patent-happy companies want for the internet is probably NOT a good thing to begin with. Microsoft and Amazon would patent the keyboard if they could. Just because Cnet and /. toss Republican on there doesn't automatically mean it's a terrible thing that this bill went down in flames. Don't subscribe to a political party because of a title or animal. Do your own research and come to your own conclusions.
    • by nagora ( 177841 ) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @08:47AM (#15075065)
      Any time you start throwing regulations at something, you make it harder for everyone to compete.

      Not true. In the short term, perhaps, but in the long term all free markets collapse to a singularity (called a monopoly, although a cartel like the RIAA or OPEC is fairly common too). Many of America's stock market regulations, for example, exist specifically because when the market was unregulated people manipulated it to prevent competition. Small investors got screwed over by rail barons and the like because there were no regulations to prevent it.

      No company wants competition and in the absense of regulation there will always be a snowball effect which eventually leads to one company or small group of companies effectively taking control of the market. At which point all of society suffers as prices rise and service declines (see Enron). The market has to be regulated in order to remain free; that's the central paradox of capitalism.

      There is such a thing as too much regulation, of course, but too many people use that as an excuse to ignore the fact that you can have too little as well.


    • Yeah, but the thing is that these big telecom service providers have their positions because their industry has been regulated by the government. They were given monopolies over utilities back in the telephone/cable days, and now that monopoly is progressing over to the internet.

      And while these utilities have done work to make their networks useable for broadband, they really gained their positions as the backbone providers by default, not through any sort of merit system or shrew business choices. They've
  • by Newer Guy ( 520108 ) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @08:17AM (#15074892)
    Here in the United States, we have the best government that money can buy!
  • QoS (Score:2, Interesting)

    Is this similiar to how people compain that Comcast has a lower QoS for VOIP packets and this law says that is OK because they can prioritize how their own network functions?
    • This is EXACTLY that, and much more!

      For example, let's say you have Verizon DSL and want to use Google. If Google doesn't pay Verizon their 'blood money" that 3000/768 connection you have will CREAW when you try to use Google.

      Get it? Verizon waznts to be paid TWICE - once by you (for YOUR service) and again by Google (for sending Googel to YOU).
  • Correct the Headline (Score:5, Informative)

    by C-Diddy ( 755183 ) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @08:18AM (#15074900)
    A transparently lame and misleading headline. Read the story. The story says the "republican controlled committee" defeated the proposed amendment. According to the story:
    "By an 8-to-23 margin, the committee members rejected a Democratic-backed "Net neutrality" amendment to a current piece of telecommunications legislation.
    The story does not mention which "subcommittee" of the House Energy and Commerce committee took the action, but the story does say several democrats voted against the measure:
    The vote on the amendment itself did not occur strictly along party lines, with one Republican voting in favor and four Democrats voting against it.
    Interestingly, the final measure, sans the amendment, was passed by an overwhelming 24-7 vote.

    • Blind? I read TFA. Quote:
      A partisan divide pitting Republicans against Democrats on the question of Internet regulation appears to be deepening.

      A Republican-controlled House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on Wednesday defeated a proposal that would have levied extensive regulations on broadband providers and forcibly prevented them from offering higher-speed video services to partners or affiliates.

      More proof people see what they want to see in spite of the facts.
      • by Syberghost ( 10557 ) <syberghost@sybCO ... minus cat> on Thursday April 06, 2006 @09:44AM (#15075535) Homepage
        More proof people see what they want to see in spite of the facts.

        For instance, some people didn't read down further, to see what the Republicans proposed in its place; namely, to broaden the powers of the FCC to investigate claims regarding net neutrality, and establishing stiff fines.

        This bill wouldn't have just prevented a group of property owners from choosing to downgrade service to their competitors; it would also have prevented them from offering premium services to their partners. In fact, it might have prevented your local ISP from offering cheaper rates for service to non-profit organizations.

        Throwing more laws at a problem isn't always the best way to deal with it; this was more about attempting to get votes than attempting to protect consumers.
    • by theoddball ( 665938 ) <theoddball@gm a i l .com> on Thursday April 06, 2006 @08:58AM (#15075154)
      The subcommittee in question is the Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet [], chaired by Rep. Fred Upton [] (R, MI-6). Upton's not a terrible rep, but he is basically beholden to the telcos. (Check where his lobbying dollars come from. Tons of telco money.)

      Rep. Ed Markey [] (author of the amendment) sits on this subcommittee, and has been one of the guys in Congress who has pretty consistently sided with the /. crowd on telco issues, privacy issues, etc.

      On the whole, it's not too surprising that you'd get Dems crossing the lines to support this one. Telecom is an industry where EVERYbody gets paid, regardless of political affiliation.

  • I wrote letters to my damn senators too. Neither one of them seemed to have any grasp what the bill was actually about. It was nice they responded, however the garbage in these emails was intolerable. Neither had any understanding of the implications. It's really sad.
  • by EmagGeek ( 574360 ) <gterich AT aol DOT com> on Thursday April 06, 2006 @08:21AM (#15074918) Journal
    If republicans support a bill backed by the largest of corporations, they're evil.

    If republicans defeat a bill backed by the largest of corporations, they're evil...

    Just making sure I have it right..
  • I hope this doesn't get modded (-1, flame) but the article is atrocious. McCullagh's libertarian views are well-known, and obvious to any reader of this article. Lowlights:

    "levied extensive regulations" -- why not just levied regulations? it's certainly not an objective fact that the regulations are extensive

    "broadband providers will be free to design their networks as they see fit" -- why not "free to charge additional fees to content providers?"

    "By 'very large companies,' Markey was not referring to Mi
  • What AT&T has said (Score:5, Insightful)

    by GPLDAN ( 732269 ) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @08:25AM (#15074951)
    THe chairman of AT&T has openly lamented during hearings that he gives websites like Google a "free ride". To his mind, Google is a service that should be paid for. That Google needs to apportion a percentage of its revenue into a general fund, because AT&T doesn't sell bandwidth to Google, but carries a lot of Google traffic. He specifically used Google in his example.

    That's called revenue sharing, and you know who does stuff like that? Sports team owners. They divide up the revenue from tv rights equally, despite teams representing unequal market share. You know what the big ISPs want? They want that. They want to see Microsoft and Google, and anyone else THEY deem to provide some essential function to the net to pay into a revenue sharing pool.

    You know the only time a free market can allow something like that to happen? When you have a oligarchy. And that's what the big backbones providers want. They want to consolidate the market, and start putting tarriffs in at peering sites. They want to exert influence outside the carrier market, and they see QoS as the first step to getting down the slippery slope. Pretty soon, some carriers decide to de-prioritize packets to Google. Maybe Google works, maybe it's really really slow. The internet routes around failure, but it DOESN'T route around a transit carrier who decides to fuck with the traffic en route.

    The Republican mindset has only one edict: Corporate self governance. Regulation, in nearly any form, is bad. THey see liability law and tort reform as key, so airlines can crash and not have to pay the passengers settlements. And they certainly want to reign in the FAA to stop "burdening" the airlines with all those expensive safety checks. Same with ISPs. You watch and see, nobody is stopping the oligarchy and now the carriers like Level 3, AT&T and others are going to collude and force a revenue sharing scheme. Next up: national firewalls. The reason Cisco and Google and others only got a slap on the wrist when censoring the Chinese nets, is that the US republicans want to see how well it works first and then start putting it in here under the guide of the Patriot Act.
  • If you don't like it don't use it, use omething else, build your own - I doubt anyone wants to nationalize the Internet.
  • by HangingChad ( 677530 ) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @08:36AM (#15075006) Homepage
    That big lobbying office Bellsouth employs in DC finally paid off. Republicans are truly the best party money can buy. Since they might be sensing they're in trouble this fall, it's possible they'll be shoveling out the no bid contracts and business favors hand over fist this summer before they get the big boot. Doll out as many favors as possible to keep the money rolling in.

    And some of you support these dirtbags.

  • by macbrak ( 101794 ) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @08:53AM (#15075116)
    Let me get this straight:

        I paid once for taxes that created the internet and supported most of the phone system infrastructure.
        I paid again for phone service and use of the lines.
        I paid again for all the people who can't afford access to the lines.
        I paid again for dsl.
        I paid again for the USF (which gets paid to Verizon so that they can pay themselves for using there own lines, which I already paid to use twice.)

    Yet the oposition to this bill wants me to think that someone needs to pay for al this service they're providing.

    I'm generaly against government regulation, but something isn't right here. It makes me glad we also paid all that money to brake up AT&T in the first place.
  • Illegal in the EU? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Aliks ( 530618 ) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @09:02AM (#15075176)
    If I am a road haulage firm in Europe, can I charge a different price to move a tonne of steel from London to Paris compared to a tonne of copper? What if the two loads are in sealed standard containers?

    If I run a toll bridge somewhere en route, can I charge a different price for the same weight?

    I beleive Common Market rules say such differential pricing is barred, and the situation should be the same for the Internet.

    In the real world the only way that a haulier (or toll bridge owner) could get away with such differential pricing is if they have a monopoly and that is exactly the case where rules are required to prevent abuses.
  • by tsaler ( 569835 ) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @09:10AM (#15075240)
    I have seen on many occasions the wonderful folks here at Slashdot completely butcher the facts and place into an article's title or summary certain statements that just don't mesh with reality. In some cases, they don't even mesh with the actual article that's been linked. This is a case where the article's authors suffer from a guilty conscience about trying to paint with a very broad political brush. Of course, no one here who would be responsible for submitting a summary of the story seemed to care that it was not "Republicans" who defeated the proposal.

    Some of the more logical among us, who do not as often subscribe to political stereotypes, might have asked themselves whether or not the "House Energy and Commerce subcommittee," which is actually called the Telecommunications and Internet Subcommittee (but why do research?), would be distributed along 23-8 partisan lines. After all, that's the vote count for the proposal, and both the article title, the post title, and the article summary are quite confident in their claims that Republicans defeated the net neutrality proposal. So it was 23 Republicans versus 8 Democrats, right?

    Not really, If you bothered to read on (I know, I know--I'm asking too much), you'd see that one Republican voted for the amendment. Three Democrats voted against it. But just the Republicans defeated the proposal, according to the folks here. Sure, if those three Democrats voted for it, you would have had a 20-11 vote, and then Republicans would have defeated the proposal. But that didn't happen.

    And those Democrats, who apparently feel so strongly about this proposal and are so deserving of the support of the Internet community, had no problem going along for the ride and voting 27-4 in favor of the final bill without the Markey net neutrality amendment. Wow! So principled!

    Markey, who is clearly an expert on such topics, declared, "We're about to break with the entire history of the Internet. Everyone should understand that." Indeed, because the entire history of the Internet has been based around the ability of broadband providers to offer high-speed video services. What?

    Let's go even more abstract: the entire history of the Internet has been one that prohibited the prioritization of network traffic. What what?

    It also would have been nice if the people at CNet News would have gotten an interview with Fred Upton, the chairman of the actual subcommittee that did all of this, instead of going to the full committee chairman Joe Barton. In many cases, the full committee chair doesn't have nearly the same kind of expertise on the issue as the subcommittee chairman does. Though with the way CNet News framed this whole thing, maybe they did interview Upton, but he made too good of a point, so they just trashed it and went instead with "Republicans Defeat Net Neutrality Proposal." Alright, got my mini conspiracy theory of the day out.
  • by gjuk ( 940514 ) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @09:34AM (#15075430)
    In London, we now pay for access to the roads. If I want to drive into Central London I have to pay for 'bandwidth' in the congested area [if I use low bandwidth access, like a motorcycle, I don't pay]. This is directly analogous to the fact that I pay for my broadband access at home. [some commentators might discuss other road charges, such as road tax and petrol tax too] The idea of service providers paying the ISP's for preferential access to customers is a bit like charging shops for my car usage. It would be like having a toll booth at the entry points to the City, asking me where I'll be shopping, then charging the shops for my access [potentially allowing me to go on faster roads if I'm visiting high paying shops]. At the very periphery of the real world this might just work [a shop are so keen for your custom that they will send a limo to collect you] but if this policy were applied wholesale, it'd lead to the death of the City's commercial centre. The logistics are simpler in the case of the internet, but the principle applies. Economic dynamism is achieved by having plenty of vendors vying for business. Economies which restrict this stagnate. The internet will stagnate if middlemen [ISP's] try to choose which sites we can visit [they may profit, but the consumer will not]. As ISP's enjoy a degree of natural monopoly, it behoves governments to prevent this potential abuse.
  • by SSCGWLB ( 956147 ) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @09:47AM (#15075567)
    Is there any way we can have articles with more spin please? Maybe: "Republicans kill bill that saves cute ponies from slaughter"!


  • by edremy ( 36408 ) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @10:00AM (#15075661) Journal
    Let's say Verizon decides to try this with Google. It seems to me that Google could just turn around and say "For Quality of Service reasons, we are implementing a scheme where you need to pay for priority access to Google resources. All searches from addresses must pay $1 per search or they will be dumped in a queue that may take 30+ minutes to respond."

    Next, Google puts up a page that Verizon DSL customers see if they try to access any Google resources at all which says something like "Verizon is deliberatly degrading your connection to our pages. We cannot assure reasonable response to any requests you may have. Please contact Verizon DSL customer service at XXX-XXX-XXXX if you find you cannot access Google, or alternatively switch to provider Y ".

    Now imagine that Google teams up with Yahoo, Amazon, eBay and a few other biggies to do the same. (I assume MS would pay, seeing it as a chance to overtake Google) How long do you think Verizon could stand up to this? Nobody gives a damn who carries the packets, but take away their eBay access and people will scream bloody murder

  • by erroneus ( 253617 ) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @10:04AM (#15075694) Homepage
    From what I have read, they seem to think that the solution is for companies to buy bigger data pipes. That's not what this net neutrality is about! As I understand it, it's preventing what amounts to "data access surcharges" from being applied in lieu of not having your service downgraded.

    Simply buying a bigger pipe isn't going to do anything as far as I can tell when some other party is artificially decreasing the performance of the service you provide because you don't pay the troll! They can do nothing to improve your potential service based on what you currently have... they can only degrade your service and allow you to pay to have the roadblocks removed.
  • by MECC ( 8478 ) * on Thursday April 06, 2006 @10:06AM (#15075709)
    Yes, this is bad news for regular users, but its also bad for the big telcos. That's because if they start trying to sell traffic prioritization to people, they'll end up with egg on their face due to the very nature of the Internet, and everyone will lose. Regular customers will just lose first, but I think telcos will lose later.

    The reason is that telcos think only in terms of their own networks, not in terms of the internet as a whole. For example, suppose I want to go to google video and so does Joe in Iowa. If Joe and I are both are customers AT&T, for example, and we both purchase some kind of fast streaming (steaming ?) video service from AT&T, and Google has direct uplink to AT&T, then we both will get faster video downloads. However, if Joe's traffic ever traverses another network like UUNet, then the fast steaming video service Joe paid for won't be so fast. Unless, that is, AT&T and Verizon/MCI (UUNet) have an agreement to honor each other's traffic prioritization.

    Here's where it gets interesting. What if Verizon sells the same traffic prioritation to its customers? Are we to believe that Verizon will treat AT&T's 'prioritized' traffic with the same expediency as their own high-priority steaming video traffic? I think not. The interesting thing is that it doesn't matter if Joe is an AT&T customer or not - the chances of his traffic traversing non-AT&T link somewhere on the internet are pretty good, since there are steaming video providers all over the place, not just on AT&T's network.

    The end result is that telcos may sell something to customers that they can't deliver, due to the nature of the Internet. What will happen in time, without 'net neutrality', is that telcos will try to re-engineer their networks to reduce the chances that their customers' traffic will ever traverse other provider's networks out on the internet.

    Who will scream first will be business customers. They'll insist on SLAs when paying extra for 'prioritized' traffic, and SLAs nearly always include rebate clauses when things go wrong, and things will go wrong until the internet gets all partitioned up (and functionaly broken). My place of work hosts many hundreds of large commercial web sites, and I'll for sure enforce rebate clauses when the content we pay to have 'prioritized' doesn't move with the specified urgency. And, yes there are ways to determine how to measure whether or not traffic like steaming video is getting the performance promised in SLAs. I think what will happen is that big telcos will be at each other's throats for failure to honor each other's traffic prioritizations.

    The Internet is an ocean, not a bunch of lakes. The telcos want to sell good weather and calm seas.

    The only thing a 'tiered' internet will result in is poorer service to people who don't pay for 'prioritized' traffic - that you can bet on. Once that becomes apparent, of course people will start coughing up extra dough, and telcos will get a temporary boost to their bottom line. Of course, that is, until the internet starts to break down as telcos start to partition up the ocean into nice, managable lakes.

    Well, it was interesting while it lasted.

The relative importance of files depends on their cost in terms of the human effort needed to regenerate them. -- T.A. Dolotta