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House Committee Approves 'Net Neutrality' Bill 198

An anonymous reader writes "Ars Technica is reporting that the US House Judiciary Committee approved a bill yesterday that will prevent broadband providers from charging extra fees to websites for delivering their content to users." Ars's response is only guarded optimism, unfortunately. From the article: "The fate of the bill is not clear, as there are now two competing bills vying for the attention of the House floor. HR 5252, the Communications Opportunity, Promotion and Enhancement Act, was overseen by the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and is expected to be considered by full House. That bill is seen by some proponents of 'Net neutrality as being too weak, particularly after a Committee vote tossed aside an amendment put forth by Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA) that would have enshrined the principle of network neutrality into US law. There is speculation that today's bill, HR 5417, could be proposed as an amendment to HR 5252."
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House Committee Approves 'Net Neutrality' Bill

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  • by Cutting_Crew ( 708624 ) on Friday May 26, 2006 @01:46PM (#15411004)
    on another link spilling this news over on Daily Tech [dailytech.com] that reads and i quote. [quote] Interestingly, the members of the committee that supported the bill said that they voted for the bill because existing competition to another bill that was already approved by a different committee. The decision to support the current bill they said, had nothing to do with actual concerns on the future of the Internet and what net neutrality is all about. [/quote]

    existing competition? what competition? if they arent going to decided on these important issues then why the hell are they there in the first place? 3rd rate politics all the way will always reign until someone with some balls and backbone will let their common sense be heard and voted on, rather than dancing around the issue.
    • if they arent going to decided on these important issues then why the hell are they there in the first place?

      To suck up your tax dollars and prepare for their forthcoming lucrative careers as directors/lobbyists/consultants of course. What, you thought they were working for you?
    • by MikeRT ( 947531 ) on Friday May 26, 2006 @02:09PM (#15411155)
      The next time you get surprised by Congress' tone deafness, remember that they can get all worked up [washingtonpost.com] about a colleage getting raided, but not about a 80 year old couple getting raided under obviously horrendously false pretenses [blindmindseye.com]. They don't care about serving the public. Their approval ratings, both parties, are starting to approach single digits. If there was ever a time that it should be obvious that we live under the rule of an unaccountable, bifactional ruling party it would be now.
      • Their approval ratings, both parties, are starting to approach single digits.

        And yet people will vote for them in droves come November.
        • That's the biggest part of the problem - approximately 36% of voters actually vote in midterms.

          I'd wager that of those 36%, a smaller number are actually reasonably informed about who they're voting for.

          Hooray Apathy!

      • they can get all worked up about a colleague getting raided, but not about a 80 year old couple getting raided under obviously horrendously false pretenses. They don't care about serving the public

        Exactly. This is a prime example of how the two major parties collaborate to maintain the status quo. The idea that they are bitter enemies at the opposite end of the political spectrum (which is the picture we are presented with, at least by the mainstream media) is a joke.
    • The competition between the two bills. They knew the other one was on the House floor, and without this bill be passed by default.
    • The decision to support the current bill they said, had nothing to do with actual concerns on the future of the Internet and what net neutrality is all about.


      Nothing surprising there. Remember that pro is to con like progress is to congress.

      Regards,
      --
      *Art
  • I'm confused... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by packetmon ( 977047 ) on Friday May 26, 2006 @01:47PM (#15411014) Homepage
    Do you mean that under USC 31337 (1)(a)(c)(e) subsection (a)(g) which was superceded by USC 1337 (a)(s)(s) following the guidelines of pork barrel contributors to the aforementioned parties in limine to carrying forth judgement on this matter that someone has to play fairly? Well that makes a lot of sense now doesn't it. However, how long till lobbyists grease up the right pockets and allow the big boys to do as they always do... Monopolize. Strangely I just thought about AT&T's semi new VoIP offering... Aren't they cutting their own throats by offering an all inclusive $49.99 service (local and long distance svce)? I mean after all, if they didn't they would have to charge an average of about $60.00 per month per customer for LD only... I guess its better for them to shoo away companies like Vonage and keep all the money for themselves. Blah to Skype and purveyors of things big companies can't cash in on (sarcasm ... you know ;O)
    • Re:I'm confused... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by hackstraw ( 262471 ) *

      I'm confused as well. For example, what does this mean? " Net neutrality by some, inasmuch as it not only outlaws service degradation, but would also prevent service providers from selling Quality of Service (QoS) to consumers."

      So, is my upload and download speed now uncapped?

      Is it illegal for my work to use QoS?

      I have cable broadband (Cox), and I believe bittorents are QoSed, but I have no proof of it. I also believe that my ISP is spying on my Google searches. Maybe I'm just paranoid, but at work all
      • Re:I'm confused... (Score:3, Insightful)

        by drinkypoo ( 153816 )

        I also believe that my ISP is spying on my Google searches. Maybe I'm just paranoid, but at work all google searches are instantaneous. [...] I've had many searches with Cox broadband where it takes 30-40 or so seconds for a Google search to display, yet the Google search time on the left is often 0.2 or so seconds.

        They don't need to do anything to your connection to see what your google searches are, except sniff the first few packets, since google doesn't offer an encrypted page (though they do with

        • As an alternative, they could be doing transparent web proxying in order to reduce their traffic load, and they could have a super crappy/overloaded proxy.

          But I only notice it with Google searches. I suspect that I'm waiting for a database write. And like I said, I can load multiple pages before my 0.1-0.2 second Google search to return.

          I'll sniff my network connection and see if anything looks funny. Thanks for the tip. Never thought I would have to spy on my ISP to see if they are spying on me :)
    • However, how long till lobbyists grease up the right pockets and allow the big boys to do as they always do

      There's lobbyists on both sides, though. Sure, AT&T, Verizon, Comcast, etc may be pushing against this, but Microsoft, Google, Ebay, Amazon are pushing for it.

  • by golodh ( 893453 )
    This is a hopeful first step, and it seems that politicians might have an eye for the value of the Internet after all.

    If Telco's really need more money (as they claim) to pay for the infrastructure they are maintaining (and expanding), they can always use (non-discriminatory) a pay-per-byte billing scheme instead of pay-per-byte-value.

    • Not so fast (Score:2, Insightful)

      by packetmon ( 977047 )
      Your pay per byte scheme will never fly. Would you be willing to pay for bytes transferred per say, Windows Updates? How about if you were running a small business with 100 machines? Let Machines = M Updates (in megabytes) = U T = Times a Month: 100M x 5U x 4T ... Would you like to pay for Microsoft's additional bandwidth use? What about companies sending java ads, etc. The pay per byte would definitely not fly. As for companies acting under the guise of needing infrastructure work, I say have them justify
      • Your pay per byte scheme will never fly.

        Explain to me why my cell phone company bills me by the minute then?

        I do not understand why in the world local phone calls cost as much or more than international 24x7 internet access. Doubly so when one considers that the same people provide the lines and service.

      • Of course, putting a dollar cost on wasted bandwidth creates a financial incentive to remove the waste. e.g. Symantec could set the price of Windows Update Cache Pro(TM) just below the cost of bandwidth that it saves...
      • FYI, if I had a hundred machines they'd be on a WSUS server so the updates would be downloaded once.

        We're charged for usage of our connection, so it is done. It's not per byte, it's sort of a complicated capacity/average use/peak use aggregate.

      • by golodh ( 893453 )
        I think that a pay-per-byte scheme is very viable, if only because some of my European friends tell me that their ISP's already implement a scheme like that.

        It seems to work as follows: for your monthly fee you get a download limit of say 3 Gb. a month. If you exceed this limit occasionally and by a small amout, your ISP will feel that it costs them more to send you an extra invoice than they could charge you. Try to download 30 GB. in a month and you will find your connection suspended:

        (a) for the time

        • If you exceed this limit occasionally and by a small amout, your ISP will feel that it costs them more to send you an extra invoice than they could charge you.

          Or perhaps, being a monopoly and all, they might decide that one byte over your quota (which you surely won't be able to check-up on) means you move into the next tier, meaning you get an added $20 on your bill, because of that one large JPEG which you downloaded on 11:59PM, on the 31st of the month...

          I really, really don't see why people are making s

    • This is a hopeful first step, and it seems that politicians might have an eye for the value of the Internet after all.

      <cynical>The only thing the politicians have an eye for is keeping their jobs come November.</cynical>

      The voters are pissed off enough to really shake things up this year, and the politicians know it. Net neutrality had ridiculously broad support from an absurdly large number of organizations that frankly, I never thought I'd see on the same side of any argument. It made sense to
  • Yay! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by popeguilty ( 961923 ) <popeguilty@[ ]il.com ['gma' in gap]> on Friday May 26, 2006 @01:47PM (#15411019)
    Countdown to random Internet Libertarian telling us all how this is a horrible infringement on private enterprise in five, four, three, two...

    Seriously, though, this is great. The Internet doesn't need to be run on a Mafia-style extortion plan, and it works best, in fact, when it doesn't. This is one of those times when government can do something right.
    • Re:Yay! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by arivanov ( 12034 ) on Friday May 26, 2006 @01:51PM (#15411045) Homepage
      The Internet doesn't need to be run on a Mafia-style extortion plan.

      Afraid to tell you. It is being run on a Mafia-style extortion plan in the US for a long time. Ask any network engineer about "peering with a Tier 1 provider".

    • Re:Yay! (Score:3, Informative)

      by MobyDisk ( 75490 )
      ...one, zero... Howdy, I'm your man!

      You don't understand the libertarian viewpoint: Libertarians aren't against all regulation. We are against regulation that interferes with business. Regulation of natural monopolies, such as companies that own phone lines and carry the data, is necessary.

      Now, specifically on net neutrality: net neutrality promotes fair access to a monopolized resource. That is good for business. It is good for everyone. I strongly support net neutrality.

      • Funny, I thought libertarianism was about, well, liberty. Not business. But, then, I guess that's the difference between libertarianism-with-a-small-l and Libertarian-with-a-capital-L (as in Libertarian Party). IMO, big business is at least as much of a threat to liberty in the modern world as government. Personally, I don't give a damn whether I'm being trampled on by government or by insert-large-corporation-here, the effects are largely the same. (Unless you take it to the "men with guns" level, but
        • "Funny, I thought libertarianism was about, well, liberty. Not business"

          A lot of the libertarians I hear from/read would be better described as propertarians. Test yourself: if, when you hear about a rights issue, you immediately start asking who owns what, you may be a propertarian. If, instead, you ask who is being forbidden to do what, and whether doing that would violate anyone else's natural rights, it seems more "liberty-oriented" to me.

          SBC et al. want to play on the propertarians -- this is why t

      • You are the one who doesn't understand Libertarianism. Here is the party platform on monopolies [lp.org]. You can't just go redefining Libertarianism to mean whatever you want it to mean. That is one of my big beefs with Libertarians, whenever you call them on an issue, they waffle and say, "Oh, but that's not what we believe!" Either you are a Libertarian according to what the Libertarian party says, or you are a roll-your-own Anarcho-capitalist, and I would have a lot more respect for you if you would just call yo
        • The Libertarian Party isn't the only definition of libertarianism. You have multiple types of people who fall under the libertarian banner:

          • Classical liberals (they call themselves libertarians because the word liberal has come to mean social democracy in the US).
          • Minarchists
          • Goldwater conservatives (libertarians who choose to fall under the conservative banner)
          • Anarchocapitalists (and I don't think an anarchocapitalist would support net neutrality)
          • Objectivists (although Ayn Rand despised the libertarian movem
          • Why not call yourselves Anarcho-Capitalists? Libertarian, to me anyway, means a supporter of the Libertarian Party. If I say Libertarian, how does one know what I'm refering to? It could mean almost anything, and that fuzziness lets Libertarians get away with a lot. Anytime you complain about some silly part of Libertarian philosophy, your average Libertarian just says, "Oh, I'm not that kind of Libertarian." The word as you propose to use it is meaningless.

            Personally, I think every type you mention, includ
        • Fair enough. I am probably not really a libertarian, I just find that my ideas fall in that direction and it is the best way for people to understand my viewpoints. Most people don't understand that it is possible to have opinions that don't match a pre-defined label.

          Regarding the platform on monopolies: WTF? Monopolies are created by the government? Did these people miss macroeconomics 101? Even with no government, natural monopolies exist, even if the libertarians pretend they don't exist. I really
          • It's not a FAQ, it is the official Libertarian Party Platform! When in econ 101, these people covered their ears and went 'LALALALA I'm not listening LALALA.' This is the reason I have a hard time respecting 'Real Libertarians,' and why I try to point out to people who claim to be Libertarians that not only are Real Libertarians nutcases who don't understand basic economic realities, there are much better and more accurate labels to use as a shorthand for what you believe in.
    • Countdown to random Internet Libertarian telling us all how this is a horrible infringement on private enterprise in five, four, three, two...

      Speaking as a random Internet Libertarian I would consider this as potentially good legislation. Libertarians aren't anarchists, a libertarian should support good laws which seek to punish certain actions that are willingly harmful to others. And no thoughtful libertarian should view conveyance on public rights of way (whether that be in a car or in a data packet)
    • by mi ( 197448 )
      The Internet doesn't need to be run on a Mafia-style extortion plan, and it works best, in fact, when it doesn't.

      Spare the truisms, everything runs better without "Mafia-style extortion plan".

      Why can't the free market competition decide? Only when the local choice of the Internet provider is limited to 1 or 2 should the government bother itself -- with anti-trust investigations, that is.

  • This is awful (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Toby The Economist ( 811138 ) on Friday May 26, 2006 @01:59PM (#15411096)
    We all sit here and sigh with relief that the law is being used to ensure our beloved internet remains net-neutral, and yet - do we really understand the issues or just have a superfical knowledge from the media and fear based upon that?

    And do we properly understand the consequences of State involement in this issue?

    We applaud, from our fear, that the State will step in and ensure the net is kept neutral.

    What we do we do if the State later steps in - as it will, now it has begun - and enacts bills which we detest and shudder at?

    In both cases - those we applaude and those we detest - the choice has been taken out of our hands, the decision has been made by the State and will so be the same for everyone.

    The solution to these matters lies properly in our own hands.

    If you object, GET OUT THERE AND DO SOMETHING.

    Make sure people know - convince them not to buy from a net-biased provider.

    Those who care about it will have the choice to buy from someone else - they have what they want. Those who don't care can buy from who they like - they have what they want.

    Don't use or applaud the use of the State to achieve your own ends and impose them upon everyone, because it will come back to bite you when the State is used to impose upon YOU.

    Let people make their own individual choices with the money they pay.

    • Re:This is awful (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Make sure people know - convince them not to buy from a net-biased provider.


      Yeah, yeah... markets can work where markets exist. The vast majority of individuals have 1 (or if they are really lucky 2) choices. If the local telco and cable provider are net biased, then tho only individual choice available is to not have internet access.

      Lets stop pretending that home internet access can be influenced by market forces. That would require a market.
      • Just because there's no market in the current (static) situation, doesn't mean there's no (dynamic) market!

        As soon as providers would actually start to be non-net neutral, there might be enough users in a given place to either buy from a (new) alternative provider, or even start their own.

        Competition (and monopolies) aren't static, they are dynamic. Even if there's no competition, the mere possibility of competition prevents the market players from doing just *anything*. If they did that, there'd be compe
    • Re:This is awful (Score:4, Informative)

      by Dachannien ( 617929 ) on Friday May 26, 2006 @02:16PM (#15411197)
      Those who care about it will have the choice to buy from someone else

      What your diatribe fails to take into account is that broadband consumers have only three choices: one, their current broadband provider, be it their local phone or cable company; two, the other company not specified by number one; and three, no broadband at all.

      If we had true consumer choice in network providers, then we wouldn't need network neutrality laws - the market would work things out for itself. But that's not the case. As with any oligopoly, the government may need to intervene to ensure that the lack of competition isn't being leveraged at the expense of the consumer.

      • What your diatribe fails to take into account is that broadband consumers have only three choices: one, their current broadband provider, be it their local phone or cable company; two, the other company not specified by number one; and three, no broadband at all.

        Not necessarily. Many people have only one option, and some people have none, and are waiting with bated breath for something to come along. I can't get cable or dsl, there's no cellular coverage where I live, and I believe the trees are too t

        • No offense, but let me ask you one question: why do you live there?

          Most people take accessibility (roads, electricity, water, phone, broadband) into account when moving somewhere. Rural areas might be dirt cheap, but shops might be more expensive, and accessibility suffers. (many people live in cities for these very reasons, even THOUGH it's more expensive)

          I can understand very well that you'd like your country to fund net neutrality, or even broadband for you, but why should they pay for your decision to
          • I can understand very well that you'd like your country to fund net neutrality, or even broadband for you, but why should they pay for your decision to live there?

            They already provided roads, they've already paid for someone's decision to live there. Why should internet access be any different? It's rapidly becoming just as important in daily life.

            But anyway, to the real point, I just want them to deal with net neutraliy. I think that supporting, protecting, and developing infrastructure should be

      • "If we had true consumer choice in network providers, then we wouldn't need network neutrality laws - the market would work things out for itself."

        I agree. So maybe the government should concern itself with increasing choice for consumers instead of putting additional restrictions on broadband providers.

        • H.R. 5252 actually does that.

          It forbids states from outlawing publicly-run ISPs, cable TV services, or telecommunications services, which means that all those municipal wifi projects that states (read: cable and phone company lobbyists) keep trying to shut down will be able to live in peace. It also orders studies on broadband-over-power-line interference issues as well as the possibility of constructing a "seamlessly mobile" internet service.

          It also enacts national cable franchising, which would potential
      • What your diatribe fails to take into account is that broadband consumers have only three choices: one, their current broadband provider, be it their local phone or cable company; two, the other company not specified by number one; and three, no broadband at all.

        While you're right that the consumer's options are limited, it doesn't mean that the consumer can't show a little teeth now and then. What is needed is a demonstraion of consumer power.

        What I'd like to see is a large percentage of folks in any

    • You are the state. When it runs wild, it is only a reflection of the apathy of the people. You're right, get out there and do something; exercise your control over the state that serves you.

      "The State" does not exist in a vacuum. It is not a person. It is the tool that allows people, instead of dollars, to exert power.

      Ideally anyway. If we are not at that ideal, then the answer is to fix the state machinery. So go ahead, get busy!
    • The core problem with all of this argument is simply that communications providers are already a state mandated monopoly or duopoly in most cases. There is simply no competition to flee to if your ISP starts choking bandwidth to certain sites on the internet. What will you do if you live in GA and both your cable provider and your telco decide that you shouldn't be able to reach the website of planned parenthood? There's no other way to get broadband in GA, because the state (in the sense of the governme
      • Yes, in an aristocracy (as we have), any competition is strictly limited, as deemed necessary by the Keepers of Law and Order.

        Too bad many people confuse the current (FUBAR) system with free markt capitalism, when the latter would likely be very different.
    • The solution to these matters lies properly in our own hands.

      If you object, GET OUT THERE AND DO SOMETHING.


      I don't live in the States. Frankly, I'm inclide to leave you to the height you grew. If american sites become crippled, I'm confident they'll either set up mirrors abroad, or the outside competition will have an offerring.

      What does worry me is that the telecom monopolies will attempt to extend this idea to Europe. But given that they're all American companies, I can't really see the French giving in t
    • Yes, we should do our best to have as little state intervention as possible, after all lack of government interference has turned Somalia into the Libertarian Free Market Paradise that it is today. Now if only all of the Randroids would move there and leave us alone.
      • Just because Somalia isn't state-controlled doesn't mean that people there respect individual human rights or property rights.

        Anarchy without law is chaos, and regarding African law I have my doubts.

        Let's just say that the State failed to establish itself there, because obviously it failed to provide a form of government that's accepted by a vast majority.
    • You mistakenly assume that people have choices when it comes to their ISP. I have the choice between SBC (sorry, ATT now) for DSL, and Comcast for Cable. Yes, there are other DSL ISPs out there, but they all sublease from ATT and are at their complete mercy when it comes to fixing stuff. I'd love to buy into the free-market talk, but unfortunately, telecoms are about as far from a free market as you can get here. As a result, and much to my dismay, regulation is needed to force the telecoms to play nice.
  • by unity100 ( 970058 ) * on Friday May 26, 2006 @01:59PM (#15411101) Homepage Journal
    it may be. IT/Net crowd should push the law people to see things the right way. Google, microsoft, ibm, and others should spend money to get support in the congress, just like the telcos do. This is the only way.
  • by MikeRT ( 947531 ) on Friday May 26, 2006 @02:01PM (#15411111)

    The telecoms have resorted to blatantly socialist rhetoric [blindmindseye.com] lately. Google, Microsoft and Yahoo are "da Man" who is trying to keep the people down by "making them pay the whole bill."

    WTF?! Google, Microsoft and Yahoo probably pay more per month than all broadband users in the US combined for their bandwidth. The telecoms are just trying to avoid an ugly truth: $15 DSL that is 50% the speed of a several hundred dollar T1 is not a viable business. What we need is metered bandwidth.

    Metered bandwidth would be good for several reasons. First of all, it would in the long run reduce the cost of providing extremely fast service to most people because they don't use that much bandwidth. Most broadband users could easily get by on 5GB/month for $10-$15, then $0.25-$0.50/GB downstream after that. Second, it would provide a financial disincentive for people to use file sharing software for illegal reasons, thus providing the "social solution" to the "social problem" of how to handle mass copyright infringement without DRM or legislation. Third, it would distribute the costs of funding network development fairly.

    If 1% of a broadband service's users are using up to 40% of the bandwidth (which Comcast has said is their problem), that's a lot of people paying to subsidize the costs of 1% enjoying the "full benefits" of the network. Why shouldn't that 1% pay for downloading 50GB,100GB (or in one guy's case, 600GB) of data?

    I don't want to subsidize the infrastructure with my taxes anymore, and I don't want to pay the same rate for my ~5GB-10GB/month of bandwidth use as someone who uses 100GB+. I also don't want the government telling private businesses that they cannot reserve part of their networks for their own services. As long as they are providing you with the QoS that they advertise and contractually agree to provide you, why do you care if Verizon keeps 80% of the network for their IP TV service? If we get up to 10mbps as the standard rate, and they keep 40mbps for themselves, is that 10mbps any slower? Of course not. Your piece of the pie just keeps becoming more and more in real numbers as their network expands.

    • Metered bandwidth would be good for several reasons. ... it would provide a financial disincentive for people to use file sharing software for illegal reasons...

      Maybe, maybe not. In that scenario, if I download an episode of "24" from iTunes, I have to pay Apple and my ISP, but if I download it through unauthorized channels I only pay my ISP. But metering would certainly shift the balance from sharing towards leeching.
    • I don't want to subsidize the infrastructure with my taxes anymore, and I don't want to pay the same rate for my ~5GB-10GB/month of bandwidth use as someone who uses 100GB+. I also don't want the government telling private businesses that they cannot reserve part of their networks for their own services. As long as they are providing you with the QoS that they advertise and contractually agree to provide you, why do you care if Verizon keeps 80% of the network for their IP TV service? If we get up to 10mbp

      • Or the provider, whose board of directors has a preponderance of individuals with strong religous beliefs, suddenly deciding that they can't in all conscience operate a company that provides access to 'immoral' content and implements blocking for any site that serves porn, nudity, excessive violence, abortion-rights views, or any other opinion they disapprove of?

        Loss of their common carrier status, and responsibility for all traffic that crosses their network?

        • Or the provider, whose board of directors has a preponderance of individuals with strong religous beliefs, suddenly deciding that they can't in all conscience operate a company that provides access to 'immoral' content and implements blocking for any site that serves porn, nudity, excessive violence, abortion-rights views, or any other opinion they disapprove of?

          Loss of their common carrier status, and responsibility for all traffic that crosses their network?

          Interesting! So maybe we could apply the same
    • Oh, god! Metered Bandwidth! What happens when I download a file just to find out it's corrupt and have to download it again? Why did it get corrupted? Was it my ISP or the server on the other end? If it's my ISP, am I entitled to a refund? If so, how do I prove it was my ISP?

      More importantly, we'd all have to think about how much bandwidth we're using. To provide a financial disincentive for people to use file sharing software for illegal reasons, they'd have to charge for upstream bandwidth too (otherwise
      • What happens when I download a file just to find out it's corrupt and have to download it again?

        You would pay for it. It's not that big a deal, really. Do you kick yourself when you forget to turn off the lights in the basement overnight? It's still a far cry from running a 20 kW air conditioner.

        Truly such a thing would kill the Internet.

        It would kill the provider who tried it, thanks to the good old competition. As long as the statistics hold up, the flat-rate model is viable.
      • That also means I can't run my own web server because if I got slashdotted, I could go bankrupt.

        Metered bandwidth for servers is not unusual, and often comes with caps -- your service gets cut off if you are over your bandwidth limit, until you agree to pay for more. Presumably, household metered serice would work the same way, so if you got slashdotted, you'd just go down and be notified that your bandwidth was exceeded. Not metering bandwidth, though, probably saves ISPs money with household users -- d

    • by arth1 ( 260657 ) on Friday May 26, 2006 @02:33PM (#15411334) Homepage Journal
      If 1% of a broadband service's users are using up to 40% of the bandwidth (which Comcast has said is their problem), that's a lot of people paying to subsidize the costs of 1% enjoying the "full benefits" of the network. Why shouldn't that 1% pay for downloading 50GB,100GB (or in one guy's case, 600GB) of data?

      Because those people already pay for this?
      The real problem is that in the US, you have oligopolies that are careful not to thread on each other's toes. Like Comcast/Cox -- you seldom if ever have the choice between the two, so it's not really competition.

      Why should I pay $80 per month for a 0-4 Mbps up / 0-384 kbps down, when my friends in Norway pay $50 for a 8-20 Mbps up / 4-10 Mbps down? And in addition, I'll lose my service if I use "too much" bandwidth, or use it for any non-approved purpose, unlike them. Never mind that I don't get a full internet service in the first place, but blocked ports both ways.

      Some kind of regulation is needed as long as there is no true competition.

      Regards,
      --
      *Art
      • Why shouldn't that 1% pay for downloading 50GB,100GB (or in one guy's case, 600GB) of data?

        Certainly, the providers could price service on a model of max 5Mbps bandwidth with a data cap at 10 or 50 or 200GB or 1200GB of volume per month . It would even be more honest. But they like calling their service "unlimited data". They want to have their cake (unused bandwidth) and sell it too (pretend to be selling unlimited data service). There are several good reasons for the providers not to admit to capping
    • Metered bandwidth would be good for several reasons.

      An obvious question is, how much would adding the capability to meter monthly throughput of end users increase costs, and how would such increased costs be passed along?

      Second, it would provide a financial disincentive for people to use file sharing software for illegal reasons, thus providing the "social solution" to the "social problem" of how to handle mass copyright infringement without DRM or legislation.

      MMM... no. First, that would have the sid

    • Most broadband users could easily get by on 5GB/month for $10-$15...

      Fine. I already pay for bandwidth, by the gigabyte, through AstraWeb, for my Usenet services.

      But try 25gb for $15 if you're going to spread figures around. And they've been in the business of providing bandwidth for a long time, so this isn't a non-profit organisation. And I still feel this is a little bit expensive.

      alt.binaries.gardening.photos
      alt.binaries.home.video.wedding.receptions
      alt.binaries.old.fashioned.cakes.with.cherrie

    • What we need is metered bandwidth.

      A lot of DSL ISPs already do this. My ISP, for example, provides DSL accounts with a cap of 100 GB per month. Cable companies, on the other hand, seem to love the concept of not being entirely open about what their caps are. If you want transfer caps, feel free to sign up for DSL.

      If we get up to 10mbps as the standard rate, and they keep 40mbps for themselves, is that 10mbps any slower?

      Perhaps you don't understand the QoS concepts that have been bandied about. That 10 M
  • by vertinox ( 846076 ) on Friday May 26, 2006 @02:03PM (#15411123)
    Check out Savetheinternet.com [savetheinternet.com].

    Grass roots campaign for the Net Neutrality bill. They have been helping out by giving information to people on how to contact their reps and so on.

    Heck even Moby supports them.
    • http://www.handsoff.org/ [handsoff.org] is the website for the supporters of Net Neutrality.

      Personally, I prefer SaveTheInternet. But you can't really understand your own position without knowing your opponent's.
      • Personally, I prefer SaveTheInternet. But you can't really understand your own position without knowing your opponent's.

        Well after seeing AT&T and Bellsouth in their members section [handsoff.org] I certainly do. ;)

        (Or at least understand their motives)
      • is the website for the supporters of Net Neutrality.

        You mean for the opponents of net neutrality. Hence the name "hands off" meaning "don't force net neutrality." That's why it is supported by all the major telecoms.

        It's interesting how they talk about "vast new regulations" when all the regulations would do is keep the status quo. It talks about how the US will fall behind other countries, even though those other countries have net neutrality. Their May 24th article complains about how difficult it wi

  • by QRDeNameland ( 873957 ) on Friday May 26, 2006 @02:30PM (#15411318)
    The article neglects to mention a little known competing Congressional bill sponsored by the Telcos...the Communications Opportunity for Protecting Revenue Of Providers Harping About Government Intervention Act or COPROPHAGIA.

    Basically it says that the Telcos can write their own rules and the rest of us can eat shit.

  • Pandora's Box (Score:2, Insightful)

    by king_ramen ( 537239 )
    The inability to "block impair, discriminate or interfere with anyone's services or applications or content," makes the following illegal:

    - QoS
    - NAT
    - Virus Scanning
    - Spam filtering
    - Traffic Shaping
    - Pop-up blocking
    - Port Blocking

    This means the traffic on the Internet will now be even more dominated by malware and scumbags then ever before. This is a good thing?
    • Would the bill make it illegal for non-ISPs to perform those activities?
    • Did you (or the mods for that matter) bother to read past that first sentence? Immediately after the part you quoted, it says:

      If a provider were to offer increase VoIP performance, for instance, the bill would require such providers to prioritize or offer enhanced quality of service "to all data of that type... without imposing a surcharge or other consideration for such prioritization or enhances quality of service."

      In other words, QoS and the like is still allowed, it just has to be fair. You can't give

    • OK let's go 1 at a time:
      • QoS
        No, they can impliment QoS correctly - providing traffic shaping by Protocol but not by source or destination.
        If a provider were to offer increase[d] VoIP performance, for instance, the bill would require such providers to prioritize or offer enhanced quality of service "to all data of that type... without imposing a surcharge or other consideration for such prioritization or enhances quality of service."
      • NAT
        NAT is a network technique for hiding a collection of systems beh
    • Good riddance! I don't want my ISP blocking ports, blocking pop-ups for me, performing QoS for me, filtering my spam, performing NAT on me, or "shaping" my traffic. I want my ISP to deliver my packets as fast as possible and that's it. All of those functions belong at the edge of the network, under *my* control, not at the ISP under the control of a monopoly or duopoly.

      The only legitimate ISP traffic modification, IMHO, is to intervene when a customer's connection is being used to maliciously degrade t

  • oh boy (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Because when I think "things that are efficient and unbiased", I think "US government regulations".
  • Every time Congress passes a cable TV bill, the price goes up. The same will be true of the internet.

  • and which bill has the broadcast flag tacked on it again?

    does it matter?

    if this passes both house and either of them have this amendment on it kiss TV neutrality goodbye.

    all you net neutrality people need to take a step back and put things in perspective, exactly how much is it worth? is it worth drming the living bejesus out of every device capable of receiving tv(e.g. the computers you use to access said "neutral" internet)?
  • HR 5252, the Communications Opportunity, Promotion and Enhancement Act, was overseen by the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and is expected to be considered by full House.

    Forget writing your senators, direct those letters to Bob Saget and John Stamos instead.

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