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Coalition Sounds Off on Net Neutrality Legislation 194

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

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

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

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

    Yes, but that doesn't make him wrong.

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

    Having said that, I'm glad Vint Cerf made that coalition. I'm sick tired of our rights being taken away because of some submarine legislations (DMCA, patriot act, etc. etc).
  • by walt-sjc ( 145127 ) on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @02:31PM (#15198800)
    Um, but don't ALL internet users have a huge vested interest in preventing a tiered Internet? Not that they all REALIZE that preventing a tiered Internet is important, but still...
  • Re:Split the net (Score:3, Insightful)

    by DaHat ( 247651 ) on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @02:33PM (#15198812) Homepage
    Good god no. No no no that would not be possible.

    Like it or not the Internet as we know it requires the sort of backbones it has that connect major networks at extremely high speeds. A wireless mesh might work out for basic email appliances in a large urban area (ie down town area), it would never be a viable option in slightly less populated areas. Not to mention the issues involved with sufficient levels of bandwidth that would be able to handle all of the users such a network would be available to.
  • by bogado ( 25959 ) <bogado@nOspaM.bogado.net> on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @02:33PM (#15198813) Homepage Journal
    google, MSF, yahoo, your random blogger, all those people have interest in an internet that works. As soon as one company starts to reduce the pipes for companies that do not pay protection, others will follow, and soon having a site that appears quickly in a browser will so costly that only a few will be able to have them. Then we will need another internet, just to be free.
  • by SlappyBastard ( 961143 ) on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @02:34PM (#15198820) Homepage
    What is funny is that the telecoms didn't get real horny for this issue until the DSL price war broke out.

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

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

    If the value proposition for putting up new lines isn't there, maybe Verizon can just ditch its FIOS roll-out and leave us with really old, worn-out copper wiring that runs dial-up at a blazing 7 kbps.

    Why is it the government's job to fix their value proposition?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @02:36PM (#15198839)
    Are the censors, spies, and congress in general. They want all sites to register with the government to prevent anyone anywhere to be protected from child porn. They want ALL data to be retained because of kiddie porn, but it will have convenient uses for all the police, spies and nannies in the government. They want to regulate us, nanny us, and tax us out of existence. These issues make the threat from tiered internet seem tame. I don't see these guys standing against the real threat which is from governments. They are getting in bed with the real devil to protect us from the supposed threat from ISPs which we can walk away from with our dollars.
  • by BigCheese ( 47608 ) <dennis.hostetler@gmail.com> on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @02:42PM (#15198902) Homepage Journal
    It used to be that the FCC was responsible for making sure the PUBLIC frequencies were used for the public good. Now, they are industry and special interest group lapdogs.
  • The what? (Score:4, Insightful)

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

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

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

    The good news is forces such as MS, Google and etc. are major shareholders as well and have clout. Its all about the money, nothing more. Screw the customer. If congress and the White House are looking for a riot, they sure did pick one.. just waiting to happen.
  • by GOD_ALMIGHTY ( 17678 ) <curt.johnson@NoSpAm.gmail.com> on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @02:57PM (#15199043) Homepage
    but let's face it, Vint is hardly an unbiased source

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    It seems like AT&T is becoming the new Mafia. "Yous wanted to connect faster, that'll be another $5000 in "Pipe money". Not out in the OPEN!!! Under the table, quickly now, I have to hit up Amazon next. Thanks, see you in a couple minutes.
  • by spun ( 1352 ) <loverevolutionary.yahoo@com> on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @03:32PM (#15199302) Journal
    Good point. But what do we do when the big ISPs SILENTLY limit access to content they don't provide? In a crippled Internet where not all the nets are connected together, will we even be able to find a provider that lets us access everything the way we do now? That is the problem we are talking about, not the idea that paying more money gets you better service.
  • by lynx_user_abroad ( 323975 ) on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @03:36PM (#15199346) Homepage Journal
    The pipes in question are owned by the carriers and it should be their right to do with them what they see fit.

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

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

    This bill would allow such a private company to bypass the local control by applying for a national franchise.

    If this were only about what private companies can do with their own pipes, the FCC would not be involved.

  • No. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by expro ( 597113 ) on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @04:02PM (#15199622)

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

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

  • by Qzukk ( 229616 ) on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @04:59PM (#15200184) Journal
    In just about everything else, we have tiers.

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

    The problem is that the ISPs are wanting to create new barriers to use the bandwidth that we paid for. Google's got plenty of bandwidth from their ISP(s), I've got plenty of bandwidth from my ISP, and the ISPs certainly have plenty of bandwidth between them, but if Google doesn't pay my ISP, then I can only use Google at 1kbps.

    Personally, I think its fraud. I'm hoping that Google resists shelling out the cash and that I can measure the difference in some way so that I can sue my ISP for intentionally degrading the performance of the service I'm paying for below the levels they promised to me.

    You'd want to be able to make sure that your stuff got through when you needed it to, even if it meant paying an extra five dollars a month.

    How many thousands of ISPs are there in the world? You say $5 a month as if thats anywhere near what they're thinking of charging. If all of them decided to charge for access into their network from the outside, google could be paying millions of dollars a month just to make sure that their stuff "got through" to the customers of all those ISPs. Maybe you misunderstand, maybe you think "get my critical document through" is a service you're buying from your ISP, but whats being proposed is that you'd have to buy this service from all the other ISPs your "critical document" might need to go to.

    If you want an analogy, it's like you have a company shipping a package to a customer in an apartment. Your company pays FedEx, FedEx ships the package, the package arrives at the apartment's front desk. Now, the apartment manager calls you to tell you it would be a terrible shame if the package didn't make it to the customer, and that just $20 will help protect it from being "lost". Just as in the ISP case, there is no actual reason that the package should not make it to the hands of your customer (and seriously, when was the last time you had trouble getting the google website to load while your internet connection was working? Do you think google paying up will make your internet connection go down less?) and yet here is some thug who insinuates something bad will happen if you don't pay up. You paid fedex to ship it, the customer paid the apartment manager for a mailbox, what does this extra money actually buy?
  • by mrpeebles ( 853978 ) on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @05:21PM (#15200364)
    It seems to me that the debate is really over who gets to decide what is in each tier. There is finite bandwidth. Maybe for example comcast will have to move to a model where I pay more for a larger average MB/month in some way, just as I now pay more for larger instantaneous MB/sec. Then I will decide whether google, or microsoft, or comcast, or whatever gets priority (most of) with my limited total bandwidth each month. Maybe these are the kind of tiers you are imagining. This is very different from google, or microsoft, or comcast having to pay comcast to even get access to me. Then the control is in comcast's hands, and they will presumably be tempted to give themselves an advantage. Imagine if a few companies could control how fast other companies could drive on roads. Those companies would instantly get a large amount of power. In that respect, the internet seems to be no different.

Never say you know a man until you have divided an inheritance with him.