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Small Cable Groups Seek To Break Net Neutrality 499

saikou writes "CNet's News.com has a story on the first cable companies openly going against Net Neutrality. As usual, request for equal treatment is labeled as 'special favors', and Google is used as an example of company that should pay for a fast connection to the end user." From the article: "'I think what the phone industry's saying and what we're saying is we've made an investment, and I don't think the government should be coming and telling us how we can work that infrastructure, simple as that,' Commisso said during a panel discussion about issues faced by companies like his, adding, 'Why don't they go and tell the oil companies what they should charge for their damn gas?'"
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Small Cable Groups Seek To Break Net Neutrality

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  • Umm... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by grub ( 11606 ) <slashdot@grub.net> on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @10:58AM (#15293680) Homepage Journal

    Google, et al. already pay for their bandwidth! This is just extortion to get their traffic in a higher priority QoS queue.
    • Re:Umm... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by bilbravo ( 763359 )
      Agreed. Any company who has a presence on the internet pays for it's bandwidth, and the people accessing it are paying. What more is there to this?
      • Re:Umm... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by SnowZero ( 92219 ) on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @11:08AM (#15293794)
        Well, the back story is that various internet companies have to eventually transfer data that didn't come from their associate ISP. Since these companies have been unable to work our peering agreements where they pay each other for bandwidth, they've decided to go after the (richest) end users.

        Of course, in other technologies such as telephone and physical mail, companies have shown that's its possible to establish international peering agreements where all the parties get paid their share. Amazingly, all the cost shows up in the end-user price, just like what us "Net Neutrality" people are asking for.

        I wonder if mail-order businesses such as NewEgg should pay extra for all that shipping "bandwidth" they are using.
        • I wonder if mail-order businesses such as NewEgg should pay extra for all that shipping "bandwidth" they are using.
          Pay extra?
          Heh, they get a discount.
        • Re:Umm... (Score:4, Interesting)

          by markhb ( 11721 ) on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @11:43AM (#15294183) Journal
          Of course, in other technologies such as telephone and physical mail, companies have shown that's its possible to establish international peering agreements where all the parties get paid their share. Amazingly, all the cost shows up in the end-user price, just like what us "Net Neutrality" people are asking for.


          You forget that in both of those cases, the "end user" winds up paying more for the use of certain infrastructure, like transoceanic cables, satellite time, or airmail. Users also, with certain exceptions like flat-rate phone service (which still doesn't include overseas calling), pay per actual usage of the service (i.e., per-minute phone rates or postage stamps). And in the case of stamps, you can pay more to get better service (overnight, 1st class v. Parcel Post, etc.)

          • Re:Umm... (Score:5, Insightful)

            by SnowZero ( 92219 ) on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @12:49PM (#15294792)
            You forget that in both of those cases, the "end user" winds up paying more for the use of certain infrastructure, like transoceanic cables, satellite time, or airmail.

            No I did not forget. In fact, the price paid was exactly my point. If an ISP wanted to start charging more for longer distance bandwidth, then it would be a similar situation, and one I'd be willing to accept. However that's not what the telcos are asking for at all. They want to tax profitable companies that use their service, and NOT do it through negotiation with the hosting ISP of said company.

            If I call Bulgaria, it may cost more, but I still get a bill from AT&T, not from a Bulgarian company. I certainly don't get a bill from "FranceTelecom", or some other intermediary who happened to carry the call. The reason for this is that those companies have worked out profitable peering agreements between themselves. I also do not get charged extra if my call happened to earn me money because it was for business purposes.

            How about another analogy: I buy a truck from a car salesman (as an individual). Then I use said truck as part of my contracting business, which turns out to be profitable. Then the car salesman comes back and tells me I owe him more for the truck, as additional fees apply when I make a profit with the truck he sold me. Nothing stating this is in the original sales agreement.

            This is exactly what the telcos are now doing. They want to charge extra for bandwidth that is already being paid for, simply for the fact that companies are making a profit off the bandwidth they paid for. If level3 wants more money, they should take it up with their peering ISPs, not the customers. The Entire Cost Should be in the Original Price Paid.

            P.S. Large sites already do pay a price based on bandwidth used. It is usually some combination of peak usage and total GB transferred. Individuals are paying mainly for overhead and the last mile infrastructure, which is where most of the investment is anyway (hence the flat fees for most home ISPs).
            • Re:Umm... (Score:3, Insightful)

              by einhverfr ( 238914 )
              Regarding the argument about telling gas companies how they can charge for their gas...

              The analogy would be to charge taxi drivers more for gas than the rest of the public because their livelihoods depend on it, or to threaten to do so if the taxi driver didnt sign an agreement to bu at least 80% of his gas from a specific gas station.

              Or for bus companies who are already profiting by charging passengers then to go to those companies who are serviced by existing stops and threaten to go away unless more mone
          • Re:Umm... (Score:3, Insightful)

            by minion ( 162631 )
            And in the case of stamps, you can pay more to get better service (overnight, 1st class v. Parcel Post, etc.)

            Ah, but you're missing something here. If I pay for overnight service, my parcel goes on a jet, and flies overnight to its destination. If I pay for ground, my parcel gets stuck in a depot until there is enough stuff going towards my parcel's destination to make it worth sending it all.

            Thus, my postage paid for different means of transit, with each means being a different cost for t
        • Re:Umm... (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward
          The funny part is that these completely incompetent CEO's have no clue as to who they are dealing with. If Google wanted to they could put a nice hurt on them all in short order. Google owns a crapload of wonderful dark fiber all over the place. A google Backbone ISP offering services that cut into the real pie of these idiots will wake them up fast. (VoIP over an encrypted port range that Comcast cant screw with to make QOS bad for customers other than THEIR VoIP service.. Yes they do that right now. V
      • What more is there to this?

        Billions of dollars a year in extortion--I mean, revenue--for the telecommunications companies?

        That's really all there is to it. They've figured out that they can't maintain the sort of growth that they've had over the past decade or so (because there's nowhere to expand to), so now they're trying to figure out ways to squeeze more money out of their existing customers. Because even if you don't realize it, everyone using the Internet is an indirect customer of the backbone providers. You pay your ISP, your ISP maybe pays another ISP, that ISP pays for a connection to the backbone. They get their tithe, it just goes via your local provider first.

        And there's really no way to rake in the dough like making people pay for something twice. Here's what the backbone providers want: the source of the packets pays for access (a portion of which makes its way up the chain to them), the destination of the packets pays for access (also trickles up to them), and the source and the destination both pay directly for increased QoS if they don't want said packets to spend a few seconds in the purgatorial "low-rent buffer" on their way across the network.

        It's just a protection racket, but without any of that messy kneecap-smashing business.
        • by BRSQUIRRL ( 69271 ) on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @02:41PM (#15295927)
          And there's really no way to rake in the dough like making people pay for something twice. Here's what the backbone providers want: the source of the packets pays for access (a portion of which makes its way up the chain to them), the destination of the packets pays for access (also trickles up to them), and the source and the destination both pay directly for increased QoS if they don't want said packets to spend a few seconds in the purgatorial "low-rent buffer" on their way across the network.

          I would go one step further. To understand what they REALLY want, I think you have to get a bit psychological:

          Your average corporate executive types, with their business degrees and business experience, have gotten to where they are by using their understanding of capitalistic concepts like control of supply, scarcity, and material goods. This is especially true of those in the content business (the "traditional" cable and media industries).

          The internet, at its most fundamental level, simply doesn't work that way. Sure, you can use the internet to sell advertising, or you can sell access to the infrastructure itself, but the internet is ultimately a free medium: anyone can put anything onto it, and anyone can retrieve anything from it. As someone here once wrote, "trying to make bits uncopyable is like trying to make water not wet." It is the great equalizer; no one "controls" it...and the corporations who utilize it to do business are ultimately just users like the rest of us. And I think because of this (and despite the fact that these corporations themselves benefit from the internet) they subconsciously DESPISE the way it works, because they can't control it.

          What do they really want the internet to be? Cable television. They control what is broadcast and distributed and they also control what you can access: "I'm sorry, but 'www.google.com' is not available as part of your current access package. You must upgrade to our Premium Package to access that site."
    • Re:Umm... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by DaHat ( 247651 )
      They would argue that Google only paid for their bandwidth to a certain point and likely that doesn't extend to that ISP's network... of course on the other side a rational person would say that the customer has paid for that portion of the bandwidth too.

      Sadly this is just another example of some companies trying to nickel and dime people to death in order to maximize revenue at all costs.

      Don't get me wrong, I am a major fan of free markets and capitalism... something we really don't have in this area in la
      • Re:Umm... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by grub ( 11606 ) <slashdot@grub.net> on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @11:07AM (#15293779) Homepage Journal
        Sadly this is just another example of some companies trying to nickel and dime people to death in order to maximize revenue at all costs.

        Really, I don't view the cableco's ideas as being far off from "Hey Google... accidents happen... packets get lost... connections get unexpectedly closed... it'd be a shame for something to happen to your traffic..."

      • Don't get me wrong, I am a major fan of free markets and capitalism... something we really don't have in this area in large part because of government regulations and municipal/regional monopolies that do much to lock out competition.

        A properly run free market can fix things - by holding it to the current system where the major carriers were net neutral.

        A small ISP wants to charge Google for fast access? Fine. Google pays for a one month "trial", but sends a message to other major parties that this ISP

        • Re:Umm... (Score:5, Interesting)

          by CaymanIslandCarpedie ( 868408 ) on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @11:31AM (#15294069) Journal
          I had a similar idea but without paying for any trial.

          Surely Google, Yahoo, MSN, etc can identify trafic originating from that ISP via IP addresses. When anyone trys to access your page from one of those ISP, redirect them to a page explaining that the ISP is holding back bandwidth to this site so your expierence may be slower than it should be. Then provide information about competing ISPs in the area which don't do this as well as contact information to the ISP to complain. Then after 5 seconds or something you are redirected to the actual page.

          Yes, this will probably annoy users but I think that annoyance will mostly be focused toward the ISP. Then the market can sort out if its worth it to implement this.
          • Re:Umm... (Score:4, Interesting)

            by loners ( 561941 ) on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @12:23PM (#15294553)
            Just display a page with a message saying "XYZ isp is making you wait N seconds before accessing Google".
            Using the end user's ISP named and N being the average from that ISPs throttling. Include a link to a page explaining what the ISP is actually doing - slowing down the users connection to try to make someone else pay them money. In other words the users service was reduced intentionally (without notifying them). Just use simple words because most users don't have a clue about computers.
            • Re:Umm... (Score:3, Interesting)

              by PasteEater ( 590893 )
              Wouldn't it be a good idea to do this *before* any of the proposed legislation takes effect? Once the laws are in place, it's going to be difficult to change/repeal them.

              I think that Google, Yahoo, MSN, etc. should go on the offensive on this issue and start playing hardball *now*, so that people besides those interested in tech (geeks) get an understanding of what's about to go down. Redirect people to a page explaining the proposed legislation and an email link to all 100 senators.

              Annoying? Yep. But w
      • Re:Umm... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by LordKazan ( 558383 ) on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @11:23AM (#15293983) Homepage Journal
        Don't get me wrong, I am a major fan of free markets and capitalism... something we really don't have in this area in large part because of government regulations and municipal/regional monopolies that do much to lock out competition.

        This statement shows a fundamental lack of understanding of capitalism. Capitalism is not "laissez-faire", capitalism collapses into cartels and monopolies in a laissez-faire environment. Capitalism only works when the transactions are fair, that's why you have government regulations, some things are more costly to the public than their worth (polution) and hence should also be restricted. Furthermore in situations of a power inequity between the two parties involved in the transaction (say: on life-criticial services like electricity, water, heating gas) the stronger party [the seller in these cases] can force unfair terms upon the customer - yet another situation in which the government must step in to ensure a fair transaction.

        If you do not ensure fair transactions capitalism does not function. Adam Smith, father of capitalism, recognized this himself.

        Municipal/regional monopolies on infrastructure services (gas, power, data, water) are not necessarily bad- however how they are managed here is terribly bad - they get away with screwing over the customer left and right because they greasy the palms of corrupt politicians of all stripes.

        • Re:Umm... (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Russ Nelson ( 33911 )
          Capitalism is not "laissez-faire", capitalism collapses into cartels and monopolies in a laissez-faire environment.

          Do you have any evidence for this? You realize that the theory is that cartels collapse and free markets don't sustain monopoly prices (monopolies per se are not bad; it is monopoly pricing that is not bad). If you're going to come up with something that goes against the theory, you need strong evidence.

      • Peering Agreements (Score:3, Insightful)

        by mrchaotica ( 681592 ) *

        They would argue that Google only paid for their bandwidth to a certain point and likely that doesn't extend to that ISP's network...

        And this is why ISPs have peering agreements with each other: so that they don't have to pay each other for all the traffic going between them. If these cable companies think peering is wrong, all the other ISPs they connect to should stop peering with them (and/or stop giving them the benefits of peering (lower prices) in the case of upstream ISPs), and then see how they li

    • Re:Umm... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Chanc_Gorkon ( 94133 ) <gorkon@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @11:12AM (#15293848)
      If net nutrality starts to slip away, then it's NOT just Google that they will go after. Next will be Microsoft or Yahoo. Next?? Podshow?? It's one of them there slippery slope things....once we start to go down it, we will continue to pay more and more until it's just not feasible to do business on the internet. Net Nutrality is needed....for the good of ALL companies....even AT&T....

      This may or may not be true, but personally, I think this may all stem from AT&T being pissed that Google does not buy bandwidth from them.

      • It isn't Google that needs Net Nutrality - Frankly, they are too smart to care. Do you think they care if their site takes 2 or 3 seconds to load... Uh NO - they expect their customers to bitch to their local ISP anyway.

        That said - who doesn't want net nutrality is the various high bandwidth low latency users of the internet. Think Video on Demand and Skype here. Their customers need the bandwidth guarantees, or their service "sucks". So it might be useful for a VoD provider to pay various large ISPs a

      • Re:Umm... (Score:4, Interesting)

        by XorNand ( 517466 ) * on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @02:31PM (#15295816)
        They aren't interested in Google, Yahoo, or Microsoft. This massive lobbying is the result of only one thing: VoIP. VoIP has freed people and businesses from being tied to the circuit-switched network that is the core source of revenue for many telcoms. AT&T, Verizon, and the other players desperately want to tilt the playing field back into their favor. VoIP startups have been popping out of the woodwork over the past two years. At the very least, Ma Bell wants to slow down the growth of these nimble companies by charging tarrifs, which get passed onto customers and lessen the biggest incentive to switch to VoIP: cost savings.

        Cable companies now are simply jumping on the bandwagon. Which, if you notice, seems to coincide with the rollout of their own VoIP services.

        Last December I founded a small-business VoIP [brightideavoip.com] company myself. So I've been following this issue very closely; it's the only time I've ever contacted a federal representative in my life. However, this is bigger than simply a slower Google or putting me out of business. It's about real jobs and real innovation being extinguished.

        Please read a recent blog entry [dailykos.com] of mine to put a face with this imporant issue. Or, even better learn what you can do to help [savetheinternet.com].
    • Google should just raise the stakes.

      Pay Google $100/Mbit/month or they cut off all the cable customers from all Google services.

      If they join up with Yahoo, Microsoft (Hotmail,MSN), AOL (AIM) then they could cut off almost all webmail, search and IM from all cable customers.

  • Because it's ours (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @11:00AM (#15293691)
    > Why don't they go and tell the oil companies what they should charge for their damn gas?'

    Because the citizens paid for the telecom infrastructure.
    • well, the gov't does tell oil companies where they can and can't drill, which influences the price of oil, so....
      • well, the gov't does tell oil companies where they can and can't drill, which influences the price of oil, so....

        Also, exploration for oil is also very costly. I am not so sure that you drill a bore hole and see 1s and 0s gushing out and screem 'we have internet' :) Might be an interesting sight though!
    • by Khammurabi ( 962376 ) on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @11:51AM (#15294271)
      Because the citizens paid for the telecom infrastructure.
      And there-in lies the rub. We built it initially, but I'm pretty sure the telcos maintain it (at least I tend to see their vans near construction sites and not federal marked vans). Unfortunately this gives them a valid point in which to make a ruckus. Since the internet is not regulated like a utility, market forces are free to come up with whatever assinine system they can to make money off of it. We shouldn't be surprised to see this happening.

      Telecom companies are having a tougher time making their shareholders happy. The Telcos haven't found a way to increase profits at the same pace that internet companies have done, yet these same companies are profiting off of the delivery path maintained by said telcos. (AKA: Chokepoint) Every telco executive is going to latch on to this as a way to make thier company more profitable, and won't stop until some legal force smacks them down.

      Begin Outlandish Analogy
      Let's say all road maintenance in my state is performed by Company A. This company charges each driver a fee based on the top speed of their automobile. However, unlike traditional road repair, Company A's maintenance costs are only higher if there are more roads (not if there is increased traffic on the same roads).

      Now then, let's suppose an executive at Company A finally notices that all roads leading to Smallville are packed with end to end traffic. There are two ways he can choose to profit off of this observation. The first method is to charge the customer more (via toll roads) to reach Smallville. The second method is to charge the city of Smallville a fee based on what speed limit the roads leading into the city are at. The first method upsets the drivers, who are already paying for the use of the roads. The second method upsets the city (and equates to extortion), who promptly begs the state to pass a law preventing the questionable behavior.
      End Outlandish Analogy

      Make no mistake, the only way to prevent a tiered internet from forming in this market driven economy is through state / federal intervention. The telcos are collectively "losing" money, and not a single one of them is going to be against a tiered internet strategy. Their stockholders demand it. So unless Google teams up with other powerful websites, Uncle Sam is the only one who's going to stop this from happening.
      • Re:Because it's ours (Score:3, Interesting)

        by ??? ( 35971 )
        "Since the internet is not regulated like a utility"

        Yes, but what these companies are leveraging is their control of last-mile connectivity, which is regulated like a utility. These organizations enjoy monopolies granted to them by municipal governments, just like other utilities.

        Since we're into outlandish analogies:

        Imagine that your city granted PowerCo the right to exclusively provide power service to all of the houses in the city on a promise that power usage fee rates would be set by a particular form
    • by Mateo_LeFou ( 859634 ) on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @03:13PM (#15296237) Homepage
      We should be talking about Pipes, not oil. IIRC, common carrier rules apply to the owners of pipes; they have to be neutral about who is allowed to buy for oil-width. If internet access had been defined as what it is -- a *communications medium, rather than an "information service" -- the same carrier rules would already apply to it. I think net neutrality people should focus their efforts on that. If it is an "information service" you would expect service's provider to be the source of the information I obtain through it. It is not that; when my sister sends me email she is the provider of whatever information is in it.
  • Singing two tunes (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ConversantShogun ( 227587 ) <dengel@sourcehar ... m minus caffeine> on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @11:00AM (#15293693)
    Butt out, government, and stop regulating our industry (except when we want you to prevent people from building their own infrastructures, like community- and municipality-based WiFi networks.)
    • The US government has been bought by big business these days, the FCC will do whatever they want.

      What cable companies want is free access to stream video over the net, and to keep their monopoly while they do it.

      All it takes is spending enough money in DC, and the desired legislation will magically appear in a must pass war spending bill.

  • Why charge the content providers? They are already getting their money for the use of the cable lines through their customers.

    Buncha money grubbers, I tells ya.
  • OK, here's a question.

    Let's suppose I order a cool Rubik Cube from eBay and they send it to me thru UPS.

    Me = Client
    ebay = Server
    Rubik cube = data packet
    Highway = Internet lines.

    Of course, I'm asked for the money to pay the shipping and handling, right?

    Right.

    So why TF should ebay (or actually the original owner) have to pay for shipping and handling, TOO?

    • Because both you and ebay already paid the shipping and handling. You both pay for access to the highway. In this case though, the highway is what actually moves the item in question; in the real world its a truck that moves the item over the roads.

    • So why TF should ebay (or actually the original owner) have to pay for shipping and handling, TOO?
      That's not quite the right analogy. What's actually happening is that ebay is paying for the half of the trip closest to it, and you're paying for the other half. What these cable assholes want is for both you and ebay to pay for the whole trip each.
  • request for equal treatment is labeled as 'special favors'

    And the cable companies' franchise/exclusivity agreements with town/county governments are not special favors? Where I live, I have the "choice" of exactly one cable company. They cry for government regulation when it suits them, and decry it when it doesn't. Why should I be surprised?

  • So after years of "Get your unlimited broadband internet" they now realize that maybe there is a limit and want to charge Google.
    That is fine if Google is your customer, if not you can't charge them.
    Another option is to charge your customers (the people at home) for the usage of google.com. You could even provide them with a detailed bill.

    200mb google video 30$
    50mb youtube.com 5$
    500mb pornlegends.com 50$

    Or wait a second didn't we have the pay per bit 10 years ago and everybody switched to "All ways on inter
  • YABA (Score:2, Informative)

    by archer, the ( 887288 )
    Yet Another Bad Analogy -

    Oil Companies produce their product, deliver it to the customer and sell it.
    ISPs take products from other companies and deliver it to the customer.

    If I'm requesting more info from Google, Yahoo, etc, I should pay for a higher bandwidth line.
    If Google, Yahoo, etc are transmitting more info, they should be paying for a higher bandwidth line (which they do already).
  • Bad Analogy (Score:5, Funny)

    by MECC ( 8478 ) * on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @11:05AM (#15293753)
    "Why don't they go and tell the oil companies what they should charge for their damn gas?"

    While the government doesn't really say what exactly to charge for gas, they do insist that prices are at least fair [cnn.com], just as net access should be. Besides, didn't the federal government give huge amounts to cable companies when they pledged to "build fiber optic to the home" back in the nineties? Or was that the telcos? I didn't get a reference to that, but I remember reading about it.

    Is it just me, or does the title 'CEO' these days somehow imply criminal in addition to stupid?

  • The oil companies aren't charging different prices for what type of car/truck you drive or where it's being driven to or from. The oil companies charge by grade of gasoline, just as the cable and phone companies already charge for broadband tiers (speeds).
  • I pay for Cable Company X to give me internet access, now they start slowing my access to Google, unless Google pays their higher fees. Am I not, as the user, getting screwed for my choice of Cable Company X? Now I get slowed access to the best search engine, and or other big sites (like Amazon, for example). Even if the cable companies paid for the infrastructue, am I, the user, not paying for the use of that structure? I sure won't be happy about paying for a deliberately slowed connection to my favor
  • Of course (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hey! ( 33014 ) on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @11:06AM (#15293763) Homepage Journal
    we've made an investment, and I don't think the government should be coming and telling us how we can work that infrastructure, simple as that

    Of course. And making the investment means you own the results. If the public wanted a say in the Internet, then they should have come up with the investment money to make it possible, instead of leaving it to the private sector.

    Oh, wait.
    • We -- the public -- have made investments. You think those federally-mandated telco surcharges to subsidize rural copper hasn't been used to further interenet technologies? If they want to start mucking w/ the internet, I say yank those monies and see how they like it.

      Fucking greedy pieces of shit, those telcos are...

      Or is that what you the subtle point you were trying to make? ;-)

  • by jjh37997 ( 456473 ) on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @11:07AM (#15293784) Homepage
    Sure.... the phone and cable companies put a lot of money into installing their lines and normally I'd say they should be free to do whatever they like with them. However, lets look where most of these lines are. Do the phone and cable companies own all of the land where their lines run? Hell no! They got an easements from the government and that gives the government some say in how these lines are used. If the cable and phone companies don't like that they can damn well buy all of the bloody land that their lines run through!
  • I'm waiting (Score:3, Insightful)

    by NineNine ( 235196 ) on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @11:07AM (#15293791)
    I'm waiting for my ISP (currently, BellSouth) to do this. I will take all of my business Net service (a decent amount... a lot more than a residential service) elsewhere. All it's going to take to kill this is for people to be aware, and for people to be willing to vote with their wallets. I know that I am. I'm even willing to pay more.
    • Just being devils advocate, i totally agree with you. However:

      Youd be willing to pay more, so that you dont have to...pay...more...
    • Don't wait... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by schon ( 31600 )
      I'm waiting for my ISP (currently, BellSouth) to do this.

      Don't wait for it, let them know beforehand.

      Tell them *WHY* you think that double-dipping is wrong.

  • Welcome to capitalism. The government doesn't have the right to tell companies how to practice their business. The argument dismissing common carrier status went out the window when the government decided they had the right to phone tap anyone without any authorisation.

    Common Carriers were supposed to be content agnostic -- meaning that all content (phone calls, faxes, anything passing over the phone line) would be treated equally and the contents would not be examined by the carrier. To deviate from this s
  • Bad analogy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ktappe ( 747125 ) on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @11:09AM (#15293806)
    Why don't they go and tell the oil companies what they should charge for their damn gas?'
    Because there are a myriad of oil companies and filling stations in my neighborhood. However, there's only one monopoly ISP. Second, that's a bad analogy because the government isn't trying to tell the ISPs what to charge, just what type of service to provide (that is, equal service for all packets). The government most certainly does tell oil companies what quality of gas they must provide.

    -Kurt

  • Time to get tough (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Billosaur ( 927319 ) * <{wgrother} {at} {optonline.net}> on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @11:09AM (#15293807) Journal

    The remarks indicated it's not only the nation's largest broadband players, both in the cable and the telecommunications sectors, that have voiced public opposition to what they refer to as unprecedented governmental regulation of the Internet. They've said repeatedly that without evidence of a problem, there's no need for new laws.

    Net neutrality, also called network neutrality, is the philosophy that network operators should not be allowed to prioritize content and services--particularly video--that come across their pipes. Proponents have launched a campaign to enact detailed regulations barring such practices, and so far they've won over some congressional Democrats.

    Network operators counter that they deserve the right to charge premium fees to bandwidth hogs in order to offset their vast investments in infrastructure and to ensure the quality and security of their products. Mediacom has made $1.7 billion in capital investments over the past decade, according to Commisso.

    And so I return to my premise that it's time to nationalize the communications infrastructure in this country. Declare it an important national resource, vital to the safety and security of US citizens, and then take it away from these greedy pinheads. Create a department to oversee telecommunications infrastructure and force these companies to bid on maintenance contracts for the various regions of the country.

    True, that means goverment oversight, and the government is an iffy proposition at best, but it's a damned sight better than allowing the telecoms to run amok and ramp up the prices for content we as customers want. In the end, they'd do well to listen to customers, before they don't have any.

  • by sourcery ( 87455 ) on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @11:10AM (#15293825)
    The government (DARPA) invented the internet--using public funds.

    Federal law protects common carriers. In exchange for that legal protection, the public has every right to require "net neutrality." If the communications companies want to run their networks their own way, then they must give up all the legal protections they currently enjoy. They must become directly and fully responsible for the content of every message sent accross their networks. The RIAA is drooling.
  • Network operators counter that they deserve the right to charge premium fees to bandwidth hogs in order to offset their vast investments in infrastructure and to ensure the quality and security of their products. Mediacom has made $1.7 billion in capital investments over the past decade, according to Commisso.

    Eh? All the bandwidth is already paid for: consumers pay for their connection, and Google picks up the tab for the (undoubtedly rather fat) pipes they need for their service.

    Suppose I build a toll

  • "'I think what the phone industry's saying and what we're saying is we've made an investment, and I don't think the government should be coming and telling us how we can work that infrastructure, simple as that,' Commisso said during a panel discussion about issues faced by companies like his, adding, 'Why don't they go and tell the oil companies what they should charge for their damn gas?'"

    I think the taxpayer money that was spent on research and development of what became the Internet gives us, the Americ
  • Oil companies (Score:4, Insightful)

    by BobaFett ( 93158 ) on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @11:12AM (#15293844) Homepage
    Actually, they do tell oil companies how much to charge for gas: "whatever you change the other guy". Filling in lawn mower and Ford Ranger costs the same, per galon. You end up paying more for the Ranger, because it uses more. So I see nothing wrong with the government telling cable and phone companies the same thing, they can charge whatever they want per mmegabyte whether it's Google or C-list blog.
  • by colonslashslash ( 762464 ) on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @11:12AM (#15293851) Homepage
    When Google and others tell them to go fuck themselves, and they try playing hard ball by blocking their users from accessing the sites.

    Aside from the end users getting the raw deal (as usual), I think it would be hilarious for these money-grabbing bastards to get a harsh lesson in just how dependant they are on these sites. Case in point: I personally do not know anyone, not one single person, that doesn't use one or more of Google's services in some way on a regular basis.

    Not trying to say everyone does of course, but the amount of people that do is large enough that any ISP that attempts to mess with them like this faces a giant backlash and loss of business as I can't see Google giving in to this extortion.

  • 'I think what the phone industry's saying and what we're saying is we've made an investment, and I don't think the government should be coming and telling us how we can work that infrastructure, simple as that,' Commisso said

    My thought is, If you have a monoploy on high speed access, then Yes the government should be able to tell you what you can and cannot do! Forcing me to pay and Google to pay is accepting double payment. We (customers) pay for your infrustructure for the privilege to use it. If that
  • How would Commisso react if some large men with crowbars appeared and asked for revenue sharing if they did not want their infrastructure degraded? I am guessing they would be asking for intervention against such criminal conduct.
  • Huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MrZaius ( 321037 ) on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @11:15AM (#15293885) Homepage
    I work for a small cable company, and I'd get skinned alive by my customers if I aggressively lowered the QoS of google et al. That said, I don't understand what this whole debate is about. It's only the peer-to-peer and big-file-http traffic that causes any sort of spike in our traffic. If we were to charge Google for their traffic, it wouldn't amount to anything next to, say, iFilm/YouTube/planet(quake/halflife/etc) or local companies' ftpds and httpds that their employees connect to from home. Presumably the former couldn't pay for a reliable connection, and assuredly the latter would jump ship.

    Anyone who actually implements anything other than net neutrality is shooting themselves in the foot.
  • 'Why don't they go and tell the oil companies what they should charge for their damn gas?'"
    They did that up until around 1970 or so. The petroleum industry was totally regulated. Wasn't working out too well.
    Bad analogy anyway. The government isn't saying what they can charge, just that they have to charge everybody the same.
  • by tlabetti ( 304480 ) on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @11:19AM (#15293928) Homepage
    If you support Net Neutrality then you should be making your case locally. If your existing cable company's cable franchise is up for renewal or if AT&T or Verizon are applying to operate a cable TV franchise in your town then you should be asking them about Net Neutrality.

    If they won't address the issue then you should press your local officials to reject their application.

    If the local cable application goes away then we need to make Net Neutrality part of the discussion when state or national franchise applications take place.

    If your town disagrees with a company's business practice then you shouldn't do business with them.

    I'm pushing these issues locally. You can see how at: http://www.redbanktv.org/ [redbanktv.org]
  • by panda ( 10044 ) on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @11:19AM (#15293932) Homepage Journal
    Someone needs to just come right out and say it. The telcos and cable providers want it both ways. They want their customers to keep right on paying for service, and they want Internet sites/businesses to reach those customers.

    In other words, they want to sell the bandwidth that their customers already pay for twice, once to the customer and one to the sites that the customer visits.

    They want to sell you as a "product" to vendors, and they want you to pay for the privilige of being sold.

  • by maillemaker ( 924053 ) on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @11:20AM (#15293939)
    Content providers are already paying for some level of bandwidth on their end.

    Consumers are already paying for some level of bandwidth on their end.

    Bandwidth purchasers should be able to use what they are paying for - period.

    If the pipeline owners are not making enough money because people are using what they are paying for, then they need to raise their prices.

    I don't have a problem with different tiers of service offerings. I have this already at home - there are two or three levels of speed I could pay my ISP for. I imagine Google has similar options.

    The inconsistency here is that the pipeline owners charge for tiers of service, but they don't guarantee any level of service - it's "best effort". If they want to start charging for specific levels of service and holding people's feet to the fire, then it better go both ways. If I'm paying for the "gold" level of service I better get it.

    Steve
    • Basically, what I'm saying is, I don't mind if the pipeline owners want to charge end users different rates for a spigot on their end of the pipe.

      But once data is IN THE PIPELINE, all data should be routed equally.

      Steve
  • Someone -should- go tell the Oil Companies how much they can charge for their damn gas. Europe pays more than we do for gas, but they have HUGE taxes on their fuel. Is it that much more expensive to ship it to the US?

    More to the point, if something becomes part of the infrastructure of a nation, it's going to become under a centralized, governmental control. Can you imagine if there wasn't fedral regulation of highways, or automotive safety standards? Oh, hey..what if the government didn't bail out the
  • Actually (Score:2, Interesting)

    > Why don't they go and tell the oil companies what they should charge for their damn gas?' Some states do set a minimum as to what a gas station can charge. In an attempt to keep the little guys in business the state of Wisconsin has a 5% minimum that gas stations are required to charge over the wholesale price at which they purchase it at. In the city of Milwaukee this is a big issue because a lot of the little guys are more than willing to use gas as a loss leader to get you into their convenience st
  • There are two groups to look at here.

    a) End point service providers. This is your cable company, or your local baby bell. They get data from a backbone out to your house. They also get some business data on there too.

    b) The serious infrastructure builders. These are the AT&T, MCI, etc companies (some of which are affiliated or have business operations in group A as well) Who spend lots of money to build out fiber lines and other things which are not part of the common carrier network but instead are
  • [Rocco Commisso, CEO of New York-based Mediacom Communications] said during a panel discussion about issues faced by companies like his, adding, "Why don't they go and tell the oil companies what they should charge for their damn gas?"

    "They" regulate the market for home heating oil and "they" also have rules to regulate how much gasoline can be marked up or down.

    So, while "they" don't explicitly set gasoline prices, it isn't like stations can charge whatever they want.

  • The same cable companies fight like hell to keep local franchising and other impediments to competition in place. I'd say that so long as they recieve these sorts of protections price regulation is necessary. If they are willing to go for an unregulated environment, then fine, they can be free to set their prices in what manner they want.

  • Some government regulation is bad. Ensuring that the entire internet stays available to everyone connected to it is not. ISPs are salivating over the amount of money that Google is making, and they want a cut. But when you go "pay to play" like this then we will eventually end up with a segregated internet, and I think you'll actually see it hurt ISPs more than help.

    What about companies who are big enough to get lots of traffic, but small enough not to be able to afford an extra net-extortion fee? Lowering
  • My take.. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by DoctorDyna ( 828525 )
    I'm starting to have the opinion that ISP's in general are loosing money on subscribers, especially since now people arent just checking their e-mail and browsing the web. We have, in the last couple of years seen an exponential increase in:

    1.) People that stay connected continually.
    2.) People sharing files (big ones)
    3.) People downloading bigger and bigger files, since hard drive space is el-cheapo.
    4.) Myriads of video sites popping up everywhere.

    So, rather than your little ISP eat it's own shit ov

  • The phone companies need to realize that it wasn't their investment. It was the government grants, and my money, that created the Internet. And it certainly wasn't any cable provider.

    Then, when things were just going good, they sent all the valuable work over to India and China, stealing a trillion dollars in sunk costs from this country and giving it to them.

    It's about time they learned who's really boss in this Democracy.
  • by robertjw ( 728654 ) on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @11:41AM (#15294164) Homepage
    These cable companies are being a bit shortsighted. This greed is going to come back to bite them in the ass. If they give up their Net Neutrality, all of the sudden they are going to have a responsibility for the traffic that goes across their network. This means the MPAA and RIAA will be lining up to sue them, they will have to put a stop to 'pirate' traffic and customers will leave them in droves. Many of the people I know only pay for high speed Internet because of 'illegal' activities.

    Parents will start suing because little Johnny was looking at porn, terrorist victims will be suing because al-qaeda used the network, joe six-pack will sue because he got screwed on the time machine he bought on ebay, Grandma Johnson will sue because she sent all her money to Nigeria.

    People do a lot of stupid stuff on the Internet. Giving up Common Carrier status could very well result in ISP's losing immunity for third party content and open Pandora's Box.
  • by nblender ( 741424 ) on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @03:10PM (#15296202)
    Cox to Google: "From now on you must pay us $10,000,000/month for bandwidth into our network." Google to Cox: "That's no problem. But first you must agree to pay us $10,000,000/month so your customers may access our services."

    Cox wouldn't have customers very long if none of them could get to Google. This doesn't address the real goal of defeating net neutrality.

UNIX was not designed to stop you from doing stupid things, because that would also stop you from doing clever things. -- Doug Gwyn

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